When I have a conversation about God with a conscientious objector, there seems to be three main arguments against the Man upstairs: 1) His role- both passive and active in violent/evil actions that we read about in the Bible; 2) some seemingly irrational aspect of the Mosaic Law- like stoning non-virgins or prohibitions against mixing fabrics; and 3) why did God make the devil if He knew he would turn out to be the devil?
The short answer is this: without the devil, you would not know how good you can be. Let me explain.
God did not create “the devil” by the way. He was created an angel- Lucifer the light-bearer- the highest- ranking amongst the created beings of the realm. He chose to become the devil. There are alot of lessons to be learned from the tale of Lucifer- but God did indeed know beforehand how he would ultimately end up and created him anyways. God did indeed know that the role he would fulfill as Satan- murderer from the beginning- was a necessary one in the perfection of man.
This actually is one of those situations, believe it or not, that is well-served by a good old sports analogy.
When I was a young Bondo, I joined the church youth basketball league. It was for 12 to 18 year olds. Our team was all 13 year olds. Our first game was against a team of older kids that had been together a few years. We lost 89-6. Most people understand that is pretty bad. Once we recovered from the shame and embarrassment, which was how long it took to get to the Whataburger down the road, there were some things to think about. Like ‘our team is not good’, ‘losing is no good’, ‘I want to win’ and ‘our team needs to get better’. So we started to practice more. Listened to the coach more. A couple of people quit. We didn’t win any games, but by the end of the season, we were starting to look like a team.
The next season was a little better, we even won a couple of games. We still couldn’t compete with the best, but we didn’t get blasted anymore. And so we kept on practicing, kept on playing, kept on learning the little things it takes to win. We recruited a couple of players along the way.
We kept at it, and our last couple of years we were really good, winning the league both times. We never beat anyone 89-6, but we were undefeated the last season. There was only a couple of teams that could compete with us. We learned that by giving it everything you have, enduring through all the setbacks and disappointments, overcoming obstacles brings a reward in the end- success and victory. You cannot truly appreciate how it feels being the best and what it takes unless you have lost a couple of humiliating embarrassing butt whuppins and have the faith and hope and determination to keep seeking victory. Kind of like the saying ‘you can’t appreciate the sweet without first tasting the bitter.’
When you win or lose by a wide margin, the lessons learned are simple- keep doing what works or start doing things that work. Those games were never really in doubt, no suspense, so the really good lessons that can only be learned in the heat of battle, were missing from these games.
When there are fourteen seconds left in a 66-65 game, that’s when the real lessons are learned. Some people thrive and some wilt. One player will hide behind defenders to make sure the ball doesn’t come to him, or another wild-eyed player will panic and throw the ball right back to you even though he’s open and you got three guys draped on you.
That’s when you learn who to give it to- the guy who calmly sinks the shot because he’s done it a thousand times before in practice. You give it to the guy who’s gonna fearlessly take it to the friggin bucket. That’s how you win.
I know there isn’t much originality to my explanation. It still leaves unanswered questions. I think ultimately it comes down to this: If you didn’t know the treachery and hatred that comes from the devil, you wouldn’t desperately seek the comfort and joy of God’s love.
I know it sounds simplistic and patronizing, but it’s a way of learning through experiencing that teaches remarkably well. When you decide that the fear and anger and hatred the Enemy offers is not the way, it helps you to seek the real reward.
If there was no Hell, nobody would seek Heaven.
Remember when you are down 89-6, this is an opportunity for dramatic improvement. When you are up, be mindful of what it took to overcome and persevere and learn the winning ways. And when it’s 66-66, push that fear and doubt aside, and take it to the hole.
The devil is real and God made him to help you choose Light over Darkness, Love over Hate, Life over Death. He made him so you can learn how good you can be.
that’s the real deal