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Question

Why did God not forgive satan in the beginning after satan's fall?

Answer

Thank you for an interesting question. You are obviously thinking more deeply than many about the nature of God and of evil. There are two aspects that deserve some thought. First, why does God act in one way and not another in His sovereignty? And second, what do we know about the fall of satan and other angelic beings?

The first issue is about the sovereignty of God. As far back in history as the time of Abraham the righteousness of God's wrath against sin was a concern. So it was that when God told Abraham He would destroy the people of Sodom for their wickedness, Abraham pleaded for mercy upon them, and stated this principle about God: "shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).

Such confidence in God is necessary in the face of evil - because He could destroy all opposition to Himself with complete justice and no-one could accuse Him of evil in doing so. But it is only possible to say that He is good when we combine three truths about Him: i. God is perfect; ii. God is sovereign; iii. God is merciful to sinners. But if that is true, why has He not been merciful to satan? We can see four possible explanations.

- First, God may have simply chosen in His sovereignty not to be merciful to satan or other rebel angels. Mercy is neither God's duty nor anyone's right, but is wholly of His free choice. There is an interesting mention in 1 Timothy 5:21 to God's elect angels as if the others who fell were not chosen to remain God's servants, and in 2 Peter 2:4 we are told that God did not spare the angels that sinned.

- Secondly, it may be that fallen angels were not included in God's plan of salvation. That is not simply about forgiveness but about God's justice being satisfied. He forgives sin only on the basis that Christ died in the place of sinners - Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6-8). But we are only told that Christ died for the descendants of Adam: as in Adam all die, so in Christ are all made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). The fallen angels weren't 'in Adam' - they weren't part of the human race and therefore perhaps God has provided no sacrifice for their sins.

- Thirdly, let us suppose for a moment that satan's rebellion was in fact covered by the sacrifice of Christ. The fallen angels may simply refuse to repent. Certainly, satan's great sin was pride in wanting to take God's place in ruling creation and he did that in the full knowledge of God's character. There is no 'good news' about God for someone who has already finally rejected the good news. Something similar is said about human hardness of heart in Hebrews 6:4-6.

- Fourthly, there may be something about the nature of angels that precludes their return to God after rebelling. The Bible tells us that they were created, not to have the friendship of God in the way of humans, but rather to serve God and His People (Hebrews 1:14). Theirs is a lower order of being than humans, even though it is glorious. Perhaps that lower order includes either the incapacity to repent or a nature not intended for salvation. For example, if I saw someone being attacked by a lion and I had the means of killing it, I would do so. Lions are magnificent, but the nature of a lion is of a lower order than that of a human life.

Perhaps the difference is that human life was designed to be eternal while angelic life was not.

In summary, salvation is only certainly made available to human beings who repent and turn to God to receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. That is a definite turning point each one of us must reach in our lives and I want to encourage you to do that for yourself if you haven't done so already.

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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