This is an excellent question which has puzzled many. Before we consider why God allows Satan to continue to rebel against Him and to exert his influence over men, we must remind ourselves that God is SOVEREIGN and in COMPLETE CONTROL over His universe and everyone in it. Romans 13:1 declares: “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” This includes Satan! Yes, he still has power, but God is allowing him to have it and we must believe that God has a purpose in allowing it. We must also remember that the day is coming when Satan will be stripped of all power. Romans 16:20 states, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” When Jesus died He laid the groundwork for Satan’s ultimate defeat, for we read in John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world: NOW SHALL THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD BE CAST OUT.” It’s only a matter of time and Satan will be cast out! It will take place in three stages. Revelation 12:9 says he will be “cast out into the earth, and his angels with him.” This will be followed by his being “cast…into the bottomless pit” (Revelation 20:3). And his final doom is seen in Revelation 20:10: “And the devil …was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone…and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

In the meantime, God is indeed allowing Satan to remain in power. Every sane person rightly asks, why would God allow this? We will offer two main reasons, though there may very well be more. We shall see that God indeed has a definite PURPOSE and that Satan is LIMITED in what he can do.

  1. God uses Satan to TEST MAN. At the dawn of man’s creation Satan tested man in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:1-7 records the testing of man by Satan and how man succumbed to his temptation to eat of the forbidden fruit. Just as God gave Satan free will and the power to choose to obey Him or rebel against Him, He also gave Adam and Eve the power of choice. God used Satan to see if they would obey His one simple command in Genesis 2:16-17: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Ever since that fateful day men have had to make the same choice, to obey God or to rebel against Him, and Satan is used of God in testing man to see if they will choose to follow God or Satan.
  1. God uses Satan to GLORY HIMSELF. In Job 1:1 we are introduced to a man named Job who “was blameless and upright, and one that feared God and shunned evil.” In Job 1:9-11 Satan enters the picture and he says to God, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him…You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” The Lord’s response to Satan was: “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person” (verse 12). We see here that God did indeed allow Satan to retain his power and to test Job. Yet after Satan took away Job’s children, possessions and health, we read these wonderful words in Job 1:22, “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Though Job’s faith was put to the supreme test, he passed that test and GOD WAS GLORIFIED! I might also add that Job’s faith was no doubt strengthened through this trial, so God also used Satan for MAN’S BLESSING. Dear fellow-believers, we too are tested by Satan, the enemy of our souls. We are told in Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Like Job we can “win the battle” and “pass the test,” and if we do, it will surely BRING GLORY TO GOD and WE WILL BE BLESSED. So, even in this, Satan serves a purpose according to God’s Master plan. (221.9)  (DO)