The Preposterous God, The Creator and Evil

Chapter Three

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made” (Genesis 3:1).

The serpent, as we find elsewhere in the Bible, is Satan, an angel who rebelled against the Creator.[1] We also know him as the devil, the commander of demons. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). 

Satan is a creature, as were all the other angels. C.S. Lewis recognized this and wrote, “There is no uncreated being except God.”[2] And who created Satan? None other than the Creator God. How preposterous!

Satan has another name as well—Lucifer—which may be translated, “Day Star.” This information is from Isaiah, the prophet who wrote in the eighth century before the common era. Here is what he said:

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven, above the stars of God I will set my throne on high, I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15)

The striving for power, authority, and adulation on the part of a created being/angel is at the heart of human history; it moved from Adam and Eve to Cain and on down to us. This is a thoroughly biblical worldview.

Theodicy—The Problem of Evil

David Hume, the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher, captured the core of the puzzle in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Attempting to define our impulse to question God on the matter of the presence of evil, Hume wrote: “He is willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing: whence then is evil?”


The questions could go on and on with no satisfying answer. The real question, however, is whether our questions require an answer. The Scripture, both the Hebrew and Greek portions, from Genesis to Revelation, make no attempt to confront the problem of evil; it merely assumes and acknowledges it with no explanations given. Evil is assumed, with its root cause being a creature who rebelled against the Creator at some unknown point, inside or outside of time. This knowledge does not deter human inquiry, however; we are stuck on the notion of evil being a problem needing a solution.

Is it possible that we humans are not capable of true understanding here? Might the Creator not intend for us to understand? Would it change things if He provided a solution? We would likely just continue on our way, making Satan either a friend or an enemy.

In a way, God has indeed given an answer to the problem of evil. As an answer to Hume, my view is that the Creator is both able and willing to subdue Lucifer. What’s more, He has already dealt a victorious and deadly blow to Satan. This is what the work of Christ is all about!

The Beautiful Devil

Satan desires to be worshipped and has franchised his corporation out across the globe. Some submit to him directly and knowingly; others do so indirectly. We know of straight-on Satanic worship and also of the occult arts, bundled together under the broad spectrum of spiritism, magic, and divination. His presence and abilities are enough to turn a hyper-materialist into a super-naturalist in a flash. Once one experiences a demonic presence, one is never the same again.

Beautiful is the Day Star, so very attractive and powerful. He has miracles, signs and wonders, and real raw power. He delights to anoint his priests and priestesses with dark and sensational gifts. He counts his converts by the billions.

Satan would claim the authorship of evil, but though he is malevolence itself, he is ultimately impotent.

The Work of Messiah[3] Jesus

Before the foundation of our world and the entire universe, the Creator God both foreknew and predestined the course of the history of the entirety of the creation, both on the micro and macro level.  If not, He is not God.

Slowly, and from our point of view, painfully slowly, He is allowing the entire script to be played out. This is revealed piece-meal in the Bible, with the first core prophetic revelation being stated directly in Genesis 3:15. This statement is part of a longer narrative from verses 14–19 and is what the Creator said to the creature, the serpent:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

The “woman” is a type but always female. First came Eve, the prototype, then the nation Israel, then the remnant Israel, then finally the single woman, Mary, mother of Jesus called the Christ.

“Enmity” is stronger than the English word generally conveys and means warfare or deadly conflict. We see “he” refers to Satan, including his followers, those angels who sided with Lucifer in the cataclysmic rebellion.

“Your offspring,” the Creator says, and these are the followers and worshippers of Satan, knowingly or unknowingly, both demon and human. Quite an army!

“Her offspring” is in the singular, “he shall bruise.”

Her offspring deals a deadly head blow to “your offspring,” which offspring is capable only of dealing a bruise on the heel.

The “he” is the Messiah, the Christ, the One appointed by the Creator to undo all that the serpent brought upon the creation. This is the fundamental theme of all the Bible. The apostle John summed it up by saying: “The reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:18b).

The work of Satan is to induce humans to hide from their Creator because of their guilt and shame, which is the natural effect of sin. His plan is to blind and possess those who follow him, so they might be with Him in eternal gloom and darkness. We all are rebels against God, whether we recognize it or not. Therefore, God acted to bring peace and freedom to His beloved creation.

This “plan of salvation” moved directly to the Roman cross on which Jesus was hung about AD 30 outside the walls of Jerusalem. As the old hymn so eloquently presents it, “Only His blood can wash away my sin” — the blood Jesus shed while on the cross.

Problem of Evil Solved? 

The problem of evil is not solved, not satisfactorily answered, merely understood to some degree. This must be enough for us this side of eternity.

Will the great question be answered when we are in the presence of God? I doubt it; any possible relevance will be negated. Joy will fill us to fullness.

[1] See Ezekiel 28:11–19; Revelation 12:7–10; and 20:1–3.

[2] The Screwtape Letters, p. vii.

[3] Messiah, from the Hebrew, meshiach, means the Anointed One, leading to the Greek, Christos.

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