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Written by Ángel Manuel Rodríguez
If God knew Lucifer was going to rebel, why did He create him?
This is a question to which it is practically impossible to provide a definitive answer. This topic is not explicitly addressed in the Bible. Therefore, any attempted answer will remain incomplete and to some extent will include an element of speculation. Questions like this carry within them the fear that God may somehow be implicated in the origin of sin and evil in the universe. Let me share with you a few thoughts.
1. God’s Connection to Sin and Evil: When it comes to the origin of sin and evil the Bible rejects monism—God is the originator of both good and evil; and dualism—good and evil are two eternal principles that have been fighting each other eternally. The Bible offers a modified dualism that denies the eternal nature of sin and evil by affirming that such phenomena had a beginning and will also have an end. Since God is eternal and sin and evil are not, we can conclude that they do not belong to the divine essence. But could they be part of God’s creative activity? Did God create them? The biblical answer is clear: Everything God created “was very good” (Gen. 1:31). This affirms the essential goodness of that which came Into existence through God’s creative power.
2. God’s Connection to Lucifer: What about Lucifer? He was created by God. The Bible states three important things about him. First, he is a creature; second, when God created him he was “blameless”; and third, “wickedness was found in [him]” (Ezek. 28:15, NIV). The text affirms the goodness of God’s creation (in this case, Lucifer) while recognizing that something awful happened to this creature (“wickedness was found in you”). But, does not the last phrase suggest something intrinsically wrong with Lucifer that at some point came into the open?
Here we face the mystery of the origin of sin: its irrationality. While the blamelessness of the cherub is clearly explained as the product of divine creation, wickedness is an unexpected phenomenon that “was found” (Hebrew: matsá) in him. The passive use of the verb in other legal contexts inclines us to conclude that here it also has a legal sense (cf. Esther 2:23; Ps. 17:3; 1 Sam. 25:28). The strange behavior of the cherub was legally examined and found to be wicked. The legal proceedings were necessary because the behavior of the cherub did not correspond to what was expected from him. The court concluded there was “wickedness” in him.
3. Exploring the Divine Mind: The fact that God is omniscient means that He foreknew that Lucifer, the light bearer, would become Satan, the accuser. Since God is omnipotent, sin and evil exist because God permits them to exist. Why did He permit them to exist? That is your question. Some theologians have established a distinction between the nature of Lucifer and his will. His nature, as created by God, was good; but his will, as used by him, led to sin and evil. God is responsible for the first but not for the second. The misuse of the will is based on, but not determined by, the freedom with which God invested His intelligent creatures.
But, could not God have avoided all of that by not creating Lucifer? The cost to Him would have been too high, in fact inconceivable. We have to use human analogies as we speculate about why God did what He did. At some moment in eternity God decided to create intelligent, free creatures. In His omniscience He knew that one of them would rebel against Him. Should He not at that moment change His plan? The natural human answer would be, “Yes!” We would give up our plan because we fear facing such a terrible problem. In doing that the anticipated problem defeated us by forcing us to change our plans.
But God is not like us! Once He decided to create, no real or potential force would force Him to alter His plans. Otherwise, the fear of sin would have defeated Him before He created anything. God is the Fearless One, who, without changing His plan, decided to confront the problem of sin and evil and resolve it once and for all through His Son. And He did!
Perhaps that’s what happened. Who knows? I certainly don’t.