St. Anthony Messenger

Why Does God Make the Devil So Powerful?

If God created the angel Lucifer, who failed God through pride, why didn’t God simply dump him in hell instead of allowing him to torment and wreck so many human lives? Isn’t God more powerful than Satan?

I have heard this explained in terms of free will. When did that theory begin? It seems that our all-knowing and all-powerful God has been shoved aside. What am I missing here?

Human free will is not a theory but a realityÑas the Priestly account of creation (Gn 1:1Ñ2:2a) tells us. The key verses there regarding human beings read: “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them ” (1:27), and “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followedÑthe sixth day ” (1:31).

The older Yahwist account of creation (starting at 2:2b) presumes that Satan had already rebelled before Adam and Eve were created. The serpent opposes God and tells Eve that eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will make Eve and Adam as powerful as God. This incident shows that every sin begins with a lie that sinners tell themselves.

The first account of creation tells us that God created everything in complete freedom (the image of God); only human beings can reflect that freedom completely. If your interpretation of Satan’s existence is correct, isn’t that understanding dangerously close to Adam’s defense for eating the forbidden fruit ( “she made me do it “) and to Eve’s defense ( “the serpent tricked me “)?Accepting one’s responsibility for sin is sin’s first casualty. Satan is not more powerful than God; unfortunately, many people


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