Tom:

Our topic is evil and picking up where we left off last week, we were talking about why God would allow evil, even evil in the personal form of Satan who was once one of God’s most notable creatures as the angel Lucifer, which means ‘light-bearer.’  In this discussion as well as many other discussions we’ve had, we are using Dave Hunt’s book In Defense of the Faith as a source of questions and Dave’s collected these over his many years of ministry and they are in In Defense of the Faith.  Let me repeat the question we started to address on last week’s program.  Why would God, knowing all the evil that would follow, create a being that would become Satan?  What could be the purpose of Satan’s existence?  The biblical devil, in fact, is presented as so powerful that he seems to be God’s equal.  If not, why has it taken God so long to conquer him? 

Dave:

He or she, I don’t remember who this person was that asked this question.  But they think that Satan must be on God’s level because it has taken God so long to deal with Satan.  See, it’s not a matter of raw power.  We haven’t mentioned the word Calvinism, I guess, in a long time.  I don’t like to, but there are some people who think that it’s simply a matter of power.  Well, God is all powerful isn’t He?  Isn’t He sovereign?  Doesn’t He run the universe?  Well, then He could do anything that He wants to do.  He could save everybody.  He could cause everybody to believe in Jesus, couldn’t He?  He could take everybody to heaven if He wanted to.  Well, that raises problems.  If He could and He doesn’t, why not?  But God is love.  Now if man has the power of choice, then it’s not a matter of raw power.  Again, we’ve talked about Islam.  This is the problem with Islam.  They think it’s a matter of raw power.  So Islam was spread by sword and today in Indonesia you’ve got a machete at your neck, you either confess there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet, or off with your head!  But it doesn’t work.  You can’t force someone to believe something they don’t want to believe.  You can’t change a person’s heart by force.  That’s the thrill of love.  That’s why lovers draw a heart and put their names in it.  That’s why we use a heart on Valentine’s Day.  It’s mysterious.  It’s something that comes from within and that’s why at a wedding the bride and groom say to one another ‘I do.’  ‘I will take you, I will be faithful to you, I will be true to you.’  This is a promise that is not coerced, it can’t be coerced.  If it’s coerced, it’s not from the heart.  It’s that simple.  So God has a serious problem.  God could slam Satan across the mouth and throw him into the bottomless pit and be done with him, but that wouldn’t change anything.  Sometimes there is an undue emphasis—           

Tom:

Change anything in terms of the heart, right?  That’s what you mean? 

Dave:

Right, thank you.  There’s an undue emphasis often upon miracles, for example.  John Wimber, who is now deceased, taught what was called “power evangelism.”  And there are people out there who think signs and wonders would really do it.  If we could just do enough miracles— If Benny Hinn could just heal people and they’re really healed, which tragically they’re not.  We could tell you of people who died at his crusades and so forth, even up on the stage.  But they think mistakenly if people could just see miracles, that then they would be convinced.  Well, to be convinced doesn’t change the heart and no one saw miracles like the children of Israel.  When you consider the Red Sea opening up in front of you and walk through on dry land and the enemy is trying to follow you and they are drowned, and God speaks with an audible voice from Mt. Sinai.  It’s aflame and there’s an earthquake and an audible voice coming down and you are led by day by a pillar of cloud; a pillar of fire at night leads you day by day, step by step, shows you where to camp, you get water out of a rock, your clothes don’t wear out, your shoes don’t wear out, you have food on the ground every morning and so forth.  Talk about miracles!  No one saw miracles like the Jews.  And yet, He said they were a rebellious, disobedient people.  He says, “All the day long I have held out My hand unto a gainsaying and disobedient people.  Psalm 81 for example He says, I would have fed Israel with the finest of wheat, I would have subdued all their enemies, I would have given them all the blessings from My heart of love, and they would not.  

Tom:

Dave, just go back to the parting of the Red Sea.  How soon after did they create a golden calf to worship an idol? 

Dave:

They’re at the base of Mt. Sinai, where God has spoken with an audible voice.  So miracles, power, God says you do this or else!  It doesn’t change the heart.  And you mentioned the millennium when Satan will be locked up.  He can’t even get at people like he could in the Garden of Eden and Christ will be reigning in His resurrected glorified body.  We will be there in our glorified resurrected bodies and there will be no question, the whole world will know and as soon as Satan is released at the end of a thousand years, the people follow him.  Multitudes it says, like the sand of the seashore.  Tom, I think in the latest newsletter someone challenged me with a question, well why do some people believe in Jesus and other people don’t if this isn’t something that God causes?  If God causes some people to believe in Jesus, other people He doesn’t give that grace and so forth.  How else can you explain it?  Why does a person do something?  I think I said in my response, “Ask them.”  It’s not an external thing.  It’s not from the brain cells; it’s not conditioning, we’re not Pavlov’s dogs making conditioned responses.  There is autonomy within each person.  It’s mysterious, I cannot explain it.  Why do two people with the same set of facts make different decisions?  One of our children’s families was visiting us from down in the Los Angeles area and I was mentioning that oh, I saw on TV the other day they were showing the whole thing shot from helicopters, these two bank robbers, I don’t know if you remember that case, they are in full body armor.  These guys shot 1100 rounds and they out gunned the police.  The police in fact, I just learned, were stopping in because the SWAT team, I don’t know where the SWAT teams were, but they were nowhere to be found, they must have been busy elsewhere.  Believe it or not, the police were going into gun shops, buying M16s and so forth.  They were buying automatic weapons so they could match the bank robbers.  And these guys would not give up.  They swore they would fight to the death.  Now why would someone decide to do that?   Pride?  Macho?  I’ll show them?  Whatever, it’s stupid, it doesn’t make sense, but that was a decision that they made from within their hearts.  Now man has the power of autonomy.  He can say yes or no.  We see this.  I remember Augustine way back, he said I realized that the decisions I made came from myself.  That when I sinned it was my responsibility.  I did it.  And all through the Old Testament, for example, and you come to the exodus and the children of Israel are commanded by God to build a tabernacle where He says He will manifest His presence.  It says they were to bring an offering “willingly from the heart.”  And the sacrifices of the animals, each sacrifice was to be offered willingly.  The Bible says God loves a willing, a cheerful giver.  It wasn’t something that was coerced and you can force them to do what they don’t want to do, but you can’t force them to like it.  

Tom:

So Dave, in the context of Satan, which means “adversary” you just said that someone that has autonomy is going to make decisions, but there are influences out there.  What part does the adversary play in that?  Because it’s really the heart.  

Dave:

 Yes, a person can say the devil made me do it.  But the devil can’t make you do anything.  Now he can deceive you and if you believe his lies— 

Tom:

But there is a bondage that can become a possession. 

Dave:

Yes, yes.  But the question, of course, was, “Why would God create Satan knowing all the evil that would come from him?”  Now God did not create Satan to be an evil being.  That was Satan’s choice.  So that tells us something about evil.  It wasn’t that Satan was raised in a dysfunctional family, it wasn’t that he was abused as a child, all excuses that are given today.  He knew nothing but the presence of God.  He grew up in perfection, but in his heart is what Isaiah 14 says: “In your heart you are lifted up with pride and you said I will be like the most high.”  So sin began in the very presence of God.  That’s astonishing!  It tells us something about evil.  And knowing that Satan would do this, because God knows everything in advanced, why then would he create this, the most beautiful, powerful, wisest, brilliant being.  Why would God create him knowing that he would do this?  Well, I think for a number of reasons.  First of all, it shows God’s willingness to give him a genuine choice.  Secondly, Satan does play an important role.  I think I used the illustration in the book of a king who wants to marry this beautiful woman and he wants her to be his bride, the most beautiful woman in his kingdom, but he’s afraid that maybe she won’t love him, so in order to win his heart, he banishes from his kingdom anybody who might possibly be a rival.  Well, then how can he be really sure that he’s won her heart?  He has coerced her. 

Tom:

Or set conditions that are overwhelmingly in his favor.  [That’s] not honest. 

Dave:

So God is not doing that and I often say to people: “Look if Satan has a better deal for you than God, follow him.  Go ahead.  So Satan I think presents the ultimate alternative to God.  In fact, he’s called the god of this world.  He tries to entice men and women with everything. 

Tom:

With pleasure and sin for a season.  

Dave:

In fact, it’s interesting this is what paradise is for a Muslim.  It’s sacks of food and pleasure, rivers running with wine and so forth. 

Tom:

Yes, all the things that are condemned in this world. 

Dave:

Yes, that’s amazing.  So the Bible says there is a genuine battle for the human heart and soul, the mind, the affections.  Satan blinds the minds of those who believe not.  In other words, if we do not believe God’s Word—that was the problem with Eve, you can go to the Garden of Eden.  If Eve had believed what God had said, she wouldn’t have gotten us all in this mess.  God clearly said, “The day you eat of it, you will surely die.”  Satan said you won’t really die and look; you can become one of the gods.  He had rebelled against God, claiming that he was one of the gods and did away with monotheism, one God and created polytheism, many gods and told Eve, “You can be one of the gods too.  So you could say the root of the problem was she did not believe God.  So he blinds the minds of those who believe not and he leads them astray.  There is a genuine battle and God is not going to play games, he’s not going to trick us, he’s not going to coerce us, it’s not a matter of power, but it’s a matter of love and love that is based upon truth. 

Tom:

Yes.  Dave, I want to go on to our next question which will help us to fill out more about Satan’s character about who he is and so on.  But before we do, just simply, the last part of the question: Why has it taken God so long to conquer him?  What’s the end of Satan?  Is he going to be around forever or…?  

Dave:

Satan, of course, will be locked up for a thousand years so that he cannot influence man during the millennium. I think the millennium is the final proof of the incorrigible evil in the human heart.  God speaking through Jeremiah said that “The heart is deceitful above all things, desperately wicked, who can know it?  I, the Lord, search the heart.”  and Solomon in Proverbs said “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life, (Proverbs 4:23).”  David in Psalm 139 said “Search me, O God, know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts.  See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”  So Solomon says to his son, and it is like God speaking to each of us, “My son, give Me thine heart.”  So we have to really give our heart to the Lord.  We have to give our will willingly to Him and willingly submit to God’s will and say, “Lord please lead me, please deliver me, from the deception and deceit of my own heart.”  The Bible talks about deceitful lusts, the deceitfulness of sin and we can be deceived.  So I say, Lord please help me to know You, to love You, to be led by You, to be led of Your truth, not to be deceived by lies and we have many people today who are. The Scripture says, “Of this they are willingly ignorant.”  I was looking at a tremendous video.  I think we are offering it, “Unlocking the Mystery of Life”.  I was watching last night with my family and the evidence is so overwhelming.  

Tom: 

For a Creator. 

Dave:

Yes, and when you get into the cell and you see literally there are thousands of machines, some of them irreducibly complex, you couldn’t use natural selection - survival of the fittest. 

The human brain has trillions of cells, I think about 240,000 miles of nerves, trillions of connections, the eye—we can’t build an eye like the human eye.  They just discovered recently a starfish way down deep has over a thousand eyes; they are all the same.  They all evolved by chance independently of one another simultaneously?  They have a lens ten times better than any lens we’ve been able to develop.  And this all happened by chance?  But wait a minute, natural selection wouldn’t work.  Survival of the fittest wouldn’t work because the thing won’t help you.  The eye won’t help you survive until it works.  And you are going to go through all these intermediate stages by chance; all heading in the right direction and somehow come up with an eye and a brain and I mean, come on!  I am sorry, I don’t want to insult anyone out there, but you’ve got to - dare I say it? - be an idiot to believe that.  It’s not possible.  It’s impossible.  All the evidence is overwhelming that there was a Designer, a Creator, and yet they are willingly ignorant.  They won’t even allow the alternative to be taught in our public schools.  [They] insist on pushing this ridiculous theory upon mankind in our schools, on radio, on television - why?  Deceived by Satan?  Well, because they don’t want to believe in God, they don’t want to be in submission to him and I am speaking to my own heart right now and to everyone out there.  Let’s let God be God.  Let’s let him make the rules, this is his universe and we can’t really fit into it and we can’t really be in His new creation unless we are willing to allow Him to run the show.  You know, Tom, the illustration I often use?  Here’s a guy and let’s say Tom McMahon and Notre Dame, after all you once were a Catholic and so forth. 

Tom:

I went to Notre Dame High School. 

Dave:

Yes, and they call you in and you’re going to be the coach of the football team.  Now the only thing is the President of the University is going to call the plays.  He decides who goes in and who goes out.  Let’s say you were the greatest football coach in the country - in the world!  

Tom:

I’ll use my imagination. 

Dave:

And they’re going to give you $20,000,000 a year.  You say, “Look, for all the tea in China, for all the money you want to give me, you are going to ruin my reputation.  You call me the coach, but you’re going to call the plays? Wait a minute!  That’s no deal.”  That’s what people do who call themselves Christians.  “Oh, I’m a Christian.  Jesus is my captain, He’s my Lord.” But they’re calling the plays.  They’re running their own life and that’s what makes this whole world a mess.  We need to submit to God and seek His will through His Word in our lives and understand His truth and allow Him to lead us.  Dave, in James 4:7 it says, “Submit to God, resist the devil.”  We’ve been talking about Satan, the adversary and that’s really the heart of it.  He is an adversary.  But we give him place.  He has no place in us or to deal with us because “greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.”  So what you’re saying is absolutely true, but it involves doing things God’s way.  That’s the resistance.  

Dave:

And it is based on the truth. When I face the facts and I know, wait a minute, I’ve got a glass poison and a glass of vitamins in front of me.  You try to get me to stop drinking that poison.  Oh, I just can’t give it up, it just tastes so good.  Wait a minute; do you realize it’s going to kill you?  Do you realize—so when I face the truth of God’s Word, of His will and who He is, who I am, He’s created me, God loves me so much that Christ, who is God the Son, came to this earth, became a man through the virgin birth, paid the penalty for our sins, and offers pardon, forgiveness if we will believe in Him and accept Him.  Let’s face the truth and the truth will set us free and that’s what God’s Word is and that’s why we want people to search the Scriptures. 

Tom:

Right.  Dave, the adversary is going to be as we know from the Scriptures, relegated to the Lake of Fire.  God is going to deal with him for eternity and for us we are going to spend eternity with God without sin, without tears, it’s just so wonderful to even contemplate.