(with thanks to Trent B for submitting today’s topics)
It’s a question that gets asked fairly often in various forms, but basically all boils down to this: why doesn’t God just destroy evil and the devil right now and put an end to the suffering that results from their existence?
After all, while there may indeed be some benefits concerning the suffering we see and experience in this life—as I’ve discussed previously in blogs 31, 11, 10 and 9 at bigquestions411.wordpress.com—the Bible does say that God will one day put an end to the devil’s schemes and temptations by banishing him to the “lake of fire” for eternity. And after that, God will hold a “final Judgement” for humanity and subsequently create a “new heaven and earth” where those who have put their trust in Christ as Savior will live with Him forever—a place where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (see Revelation 20-22).
So what is God waiting for? Why not just do all of that now and put a stop to “death, mourning, crying, and pain” once and for all? Why allow the devil to continue using the free will that he has to rebel against God and “steal, kill and destroy” like he does (John 10:10)? Is Satan some kind of “necessary” evil?
Allow me to give you two thoughts to consider on that from a Bible perspective:
First, I love the point that Pastor Francis Chan made about this topic around a decade ago in a sermon he preached at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. He asked a question along the following lines:
“If the goal for the Christian is to glorify God, then think about this: which scenario actually brings more glory to God and silences the devil—to simply destroy the devil? Or to leave a time when the devil can tempt us with all the sin the world has to offer, yet we, as followers of Jesus, genuinely respond to that temptation with, ‘no thanks—I’ve got God and I’d rather have Him than anything else.’”
Obviously, from an eternal, God-focused perspective, the latter option Chan poses accomplished the task far more effectively than the first.
Secondly, the Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
In other words: the main reason God is waiting to bring about His final Judgement and destroy evil is…you. And me. And people just like us. He loves human beings more than we can comprehend (see John 3:16), and wants as many people as possible to put their faith in Jesus and be saved for eternity before the aforementioned judgement takes place and the opportunity ends forever. So He’s waiting.
Which, naturally, leads me to the question I must ask at this point: if God were to hold His final Judgement right now, would you be ready? If not, I encourage you to check out peacewithgod.net to learn more about how to be ready—and even excited about the eternity God is preparing for those who put their trust in Jesus.