Why is Satan allowed to be Satan?

1. Why was satan cast to earth instead of any other place in the vast of the universe? Revelation 12:12. which eventually led to sin/evil into this world.

2. Why was satan given power to tempt man? thus leading many into sin and eventually causing people go to hell!!!

3. In the garden when satan tempted Adam & Eve why wasn't he cursed directly as it was the case with man? Afterall God knew satan used the snake as a disguise!

Asked By: 
David
Unravelling some confusion about Satan
You asked several questions about Satan and they overlap, so here are some things to consider:
 
1. On Satan and the serpent in Genesis. Go back and read the story of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent carefully in your Bible. Nowhere does it say that the snake is Satan. Because Adam and Eve give in to the temptation, later Christians assumed that must have been the devil doing the tempting. But the Bible itself does not make that connection. 
 
To me that story tells us that God gave human beings free will, and this was the first test to see how we might use it. It was a disappointing result and gave God enough information to know that these new humans should not be able to live forever or who knows how bad it would get. So they were barred from the tree of life and cast out of the Garden. People don’t get that access again until the end of days in Revelation 21-22. 
 
Satan is not involved in the Genesis story except by later people assuming that the snake’s actions were evil and therefore must have come from the devil. The devil showing up to tempt Jesus in the wilderness helps to associate temptation with the devil, but I don’t think that means that all temptation is evil. Just like stressing our muscles in exercise makes our bodies stronger, stressing our spirits with temptation makes us spiritually stronger. It wasn’t until after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness that he was ready to begin His ministry. Remember that the Lord’s Prayer itself assumes that God might actually leads us into temptation sometimes, since the prayer asks that God refrain from doing that. “Lead us not into temptation…"
 
And for those who fail the test and give in to temptation, we have the forgiveness of a gracious God. Despite the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God still provides clothing for them and cares for them. Even Cain, who murders his brother, is given a mark so that his life will be spared by others. Temptation is hard and we often fail; but God is right there to pick us up and help us get it right the next time so that our spiritual muscles will grow and we can then have both the strength and the courage to help get the world back to loving our neighbors as ourselves. So failing when we are tempted isn’t an automatic dump into hell. That’s the good news of the Gospel!
 
2. In Revelation 12:2, the word “serpent” is used, but it is depicting Satan as a dragon. Eastern cultures saw dragons as giant serpents, rather than the winged, fire-breathing kind of dragons in today’s western fantasy literature. We actually had a previous question about dragons in the Bible and you can find the answer here: https://www.massbible.org/exploring-the-bible/ask-a-prof/answers/here-be-dragons. It mentions the Revelation reference. So calling Satan an “ancient serpent” in the text here is not necessarily a Genesis reference.
 
Also, the prophecy in Revelation is about the future, not the past. The common belief that Satan was an angel who tried to take God’s power and was cast down from heaven to earth represents an interpretation of several different passages of the Bible—including this one from Revelation 12:2 put together. Nowhere in the Bible are all the different pieces put together in the way that many assume. So God isn’t purposely trying to disrupt the world by throwing Satan into it.
 
Satan is a complicated character in the Bible. The word “Satan” in Hebrew means “accuser” and in the Old Testament Satan plays the role of a prosecuting attorney, as we see in the book of Job. Satan as the New Testament devil is a transition that happens over thousands of years. One of our former professors, Dr. Greg Mobley, has an entire book about how the concept of Satan/the Devil evolved across the Bible. It’s called The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil’s Biblical Roots. You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Birth-Satan-Tracing-Devils-Biblical-ebook/dp/B00OO199EY/ref=sr_1_1
 
It is the same with the concept of hell. We had a previous question about that, and you can read the response here: https://www.massbible.org/exploring-the-bible/ask-a-prof/answers/references-hell-bible
 
All of that may raise more questions than it answers, which is one of the reasons I find Bible study so fascinating. There’s always more to discover and to think about. Just when we think we have it all figured out, some pesky verse pops up that challenges our assumptions.
 

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Author: Anne Robertson

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UNDERSTANDING

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