I have two questions. I have searched high and low, yet no one seems to address the questions I have. I'm a born again Christian that has struggled with my faith for many years. I'm trying to reconcile the many unanswered questions I have. I have found answers to most of my questions, but there are two that still bother me and are as yet unanswered.
1) Why did God cast Satan out of heaven and allow him to wreak havoc on earth and torment mankind? Why didn't he just throw Satan and his host into the lake of fire right off the bat and spare us the pain and agony of the fall in the first place?
2) God says he cannot be tempted, yet isn't that exactly what Satan did concerning Job? Satan threw a challenge out to God concerning Job, and God took up the challenge. To me, the whole issue of Job is hard to reconcile. It's like some cosmic chess game between Satan and God, and poor old Job was the pawn in this game. This doesn't seem like a loving God to me. Inoccent lives lost, needless suffering of Job and his wife. All so God could prove a point or win a challenge? I'm not trying to be arrogant, I just really need to understand these things because they are hindering my faith, trust and relationship with God. I look forward to your response,
My response is in Green:
You have asked two very good questions. There are answers to them, but we have to quit thinking like humans to see them. What I mean is that we think everything in the universe is about us, but we are wrong. Everything in the universe and beyond is about God, not us. I will not try to tell you that I speak for God, but I think I can give you another perspective on what is going on.
Number 1. You seem to be assuming that without Satan around Adam and Eve would not have sinned. I don't think that is true. Look at this: (James 1:13-15 NIV)  When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James tells us that it is our own flesh that tempts us. My point is that I believe Adam and Eve would have sinned even if the devil had not tempted them. It might have taken longer, but I think it would have happened. That brings up the point why did God allow them to sin. Well if Adam and Eve had not had free will to choose then they would have been no better than the animals, they would have been slaves. God does not want slaves, He wants us to love Him because we choose to love Him, not because we have no choice. So He gave them a choice.
Number 2. For one you need to read the beginning of Job over again. Who challenged whom? Satan did not start this, God used Job as an example and Satan then said he knew why Job followed God. God was not tempted but He did allow certain things to happen to show the truth. It does more than that it also shows us that God is in charge and can do whatever He chooses to do. At the end of Job when God tells Job to stand up like a man and He will ask him some questions, God is showing us all that He does not answer to us. We may not understand what He is doing or allowing to happen, but we must trust Him.
Let me give you another example. Abraham. Do you think that God really needed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to know whether he would or not? Of course not, but Abraham needed it. The Bible is written for us so that we can understand, but we have to be careful that we don't take that too far. God says to Abraham that "now I know you love me" and we tend to think that means God was not sure before this happened. That is not true, but it makes a point. It makes the point that our love has to involve actions and trust. If we claim we love God but we don't trust Him to do what is best for us, then we don't truly love Him. Can you truly love your parents, yet lay awake every night listening for the door in case they run away and leave you alone? No, love involves trust. Abraham trusted God even when what God asked of him seemed to make no sense. God did not need the assurance but Abraham was taught a valuable lesson through what happened.
Job also was taught a valuable lesson through what happened. He learned more about God and himself. I also believe that Satan learned more about God through this ordeal. Satan does not understand us and he does not understand God. He can't understand why we would trust God even when things go wrong. That is why he said if God did not protect Job, Job would curse Him. He (Satan) also does not understand God's love for us. He does not understand why God would die in our place. Who are we? That is the problem it is not who are we, it is who God is. God is showing His grace and mercy to us and all of the created world by loving us, who are unlovable.
That was my first point, this is not about us, it is about God. Who God is and His character. When we focus on us, we lose sight of the important things.
I hope that helped.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)
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