The famous fictional castaway, Robinson Crusoe, saves a slave from cannibals who come to his island to have a man-picnic. In gratitude, the rescued man becomes the voluntary slave of his rescuer, who names him Friday.
Understandably perhaps, Crusoe has put much thought into his relationship with God in the 15 years of his solitary existence, before he saved Friday. Somewhat converted himself, he feels it's his duty to bring his man Friday into the Kingdom. This leads to a religious dialogue between the educated Crusoe and the unlettered Friday, which is not without humorous overtones. The question from the uncomplicated Friday which really stumped Crusoe, is the title of this piece, wherein I attempt to give a Biblical answer to Friday's excellent question.
My answer to why the all-powerful God does not simply eliminate Satan:
God did not create Satan as we see him now (through scripture).
He was created sinless, good, highly intelligent and beautiful in every way. Apparently, he held a very high, perhaps even the highest of positions in the ranks of the multitude of Angels.
He had a free will as demonstrated by his evil choice to replace God. He said in his heart, “I WILL be like the Most High.”
God reads all hearts and so He immediately rejected Satan. He fell from his honored place, a castaway of Heaven. Attesting to his powers of evil persuasion, we note he took one third of the angels with him and made subservient demons out of them. Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightening from Heaven." (Luke 10:18).
Satan knows his day is coming because he has learned the Bible and knows it far better than most Christians do.
Therefore he is Christ’s implacable enemy as he knows Christ will one day rule the world which is currently under his evil influence. He cannot usurp Christ. Consequently, he is seeking to steal, murder or rob the Good Shepherd’s sheep.
Of course, God could immediately destroy or remove Satan from the earthly scene as Friday correctly reasoned, but He has chosen rather to use the Enemy in various ways (without ever compromising His own Holy righteousness).
Here’s an example of God using his Enemy to do His will for the good of His people. We all (should) know the story of Israel coming out of Egypt to possess the Promised Land.
Israel had been in Egypt for about 350 years and had prospered. They went into Egypt through God, using Joseph, numbering some 70 people. There they were protected, prosperous and prolific, becoming a nation of 2.5 million Jews.
Meanwhile, God was also patiently, mercifully allowing the pagans, back in the Promised Land, 400 years to repent and come to Him, the One true God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had testified to the true God in their midst, planting spiritual seeds of truth. Yet God waited in vain for a harvest. It never pays to ignore God's invitation to trust Him. The next time the Promised Land Pagans saw God's power was as displayed through Joshua, who was commanded by God to completely destroy them.
While God put Israel in Egypt to protect them, He still planned on them possessing the land He swore to give Abraham and His decendents. However, it's not easy to transform comfortable people into seasoned warriors who obey their Heavenly Commander and enter willingly into conflict.
Enter Satan, on a short lease, restrained by God from fully expressing his hatred for God and His people. He influences a fearful Pharaoh and soon the Israelites are in slavery and no longer comfortable. In their now painful, rigorious lives as slaves, they cry out to God for deliverance.
Here’s a Biblical description of what I'm trying to explain. This is what God did to transform a contented Israel into a conquering army, poised to possess the Promised Land.
+As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings" Deuteronomy 32:11
The eagle is a symbol of Deity in scripture. In nature, when the eagle’s fledglings do not want to leave their comfortable nest and learn to fly, the adults bring sharp objects into the nest. The discomfort is motivation to fly.
This experience of Israel is only one of many Biblical examples of God using His Enemy to cause His people, both individualy and collectively, to learn to fly rather than forever being dependent on others.
Our God is more than a Conqueror!