Why was Satan allowed to approach God?

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  • Why was Satan allowed to approach God?

    Why was Satan allowed to approach God?

    Job 1:7 says:
    "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them."
    After this, He and God had several conversations about Job.

    My understanding is that because God is holy, sin or evil cannot be tolerated in His presence. Sin separated us from God. Sin separated Satan from God (Ezekiel 28:16-18). God had to restore our broken relationship through Jesus' blood so that we could be with Him again. Throughout the Old Testament God only reveals Himself partially to men and men are afraid of seeing His full glory. I understand God is omniscient which presumes He can be in the presence of sin but maybe in a different form? So how is it that Satan can stand before His throne? Are there different "rules" for the angels? Are God's presence and His glory two different things?
    What do you think? Any insights?

  • #2
    Originally posted by alex View Post
    Why was Satan allowed to approach God?

    Job 1:7 says:
    "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them."
    After this, He and God had several conversations about Job.

    My understanding is that because God is holy, sin or evil cannot be tolerated in His presence. Sin separated us from God. Sin separated Satan from God (Ezekiel 28:16-18). God had to restore our broken relationship through Jesus' blood so that we could be with Him again. Throughout the Old Testament God only reveals Himself partially to men and men are afraid of seeing His full glory. I understand God is omniscient which presumes He can be in the presence of sin but maybe in a different form? So how is it that Satan can stand before His throne? Are there different "rules" for the angels? Are God's presence and His glory two different things?
    What do you think? Any insights?
    Hi Alex, and welcome to CF!

    This isn't only in Job, but even in Paradise the Serpent was present. One could ask why was Moses allowed to approach .... even when was instructed to remove his sandals Exodus 3:5, not that the removal of his sandals made him holy. And later we read that Moses was allowed to see God's back and not fully. Also remember Isaiah, a man that trembled in the sight of God for having unclean lips Isaiah 6:5.

    Like the prophets, I also think Satan was serving God's purpose, much to how evil itself can be used by God for His goodness, in this, case for the elect's sake, Job. For example, God may of used Satan as the adversary to teach that true repentance begins in the acknowledgement of truth 2 Timothy 2:25 which leads to Job's confession in Job 19:25.

    As to God's Glory and Him having revealed Himself only partially to men and men being afraid of seeing His full Glory... you basically summed up and defined God's Glory. God's Glory is the sum of all His holy attributes. Partially revealed may be an invisible attribute such as Justice, Wrath, Mercy, or Grace etc.... Just putting this out there for you to think about, even the Seraphim with six wings cover face, feet, and with two wings fly Isaiah 6:2-3 in God's presence.

    God bless,
    William
    Comment>

    • #3
      HI Alex, first off, I'd like to join William by saying, WELCOME TO CF :)

      Secondly, GREAT question! As William pointed out, even holy beings such as the Seraphim in the temple covered their eyes and feet (I remember being taught that their feet are a sign of their creaturelyness .. is that a word?) in His presence, yet Isaiah was able to see Him and not be consumed.

      It is also true that God is omnipresent, so how can evil remain hidden from Him? Rather, it is ever before Him as is everything else (i.e. Psalm 139:1-12 .. see especially v7-12). (as you already pointed out in the OP)

      And there is the matter of our progenitors, who (along with the Serpent who William mentioned earlier) stood before God in their newly fallen state to give their excuses to Him about why it happened and why it wasn't their fault, to hear His pronouncements to them, and finally, to be clothed by Him (see Genesis 3:8-21).

      There is also this to consider, 1. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and 2. No man has seen God at anytime (John 1:18). So how can that be true since we know that both Isaiah and Moses "saw" God (and saw Him in a 'physical' form). It's also interesting to note that while the Bible specifically teaches us that Moses saw His back (literally his "hind quarters"), the Bible also says that he talked to God "face to face", like one friend would do with another (Exodus 33:11).

      And then there's Jacob, who told us that he saw God "face to face" (Genesis 32:30) when he fought with Him (he even named the place they fought, "Peniel", because he saw God, "face to face", there).

      It's also interesting that the "finger" of God wrote the words of the 10 Commandments on two stone tablets and Moses watched Him do so (since we are taught that God the Father, "Spirit").

      So how can this all be? I've gotta run, but I'll get back to you later. I think St. John may give us a clue to this mystery in John 12:41 (where he indicates that the Being sitting on the throne in the temple may not be the member of the Trinity we normally associate with that passage).

      Thanks again for joining us here at CF!

      Yours in Christ,
      David
      p.s. - please forgive any typos that are probably up there as I don't have time to proof read this before posting it.
      Last edited by David Lee; 07-07-2016, 08:28 PM.
      Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

      "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

      "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

      "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

      "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
      Comment>

      • #4
        Hi Alex/William, one thing that occurred to me is this, that holy beings "abide" in God's presence (i.e. Luke 1:19; Matthew 18:10), where sinful creatures who come into His presence do so for as long as they need to be there to serve His purposes only (i.e. Satan, who was summoned into the presence of God first, in Job 1:6-7, and then later in Job 2:1-2, had been roaming the Earth prior to their meeting, not abiding in His presence, and apparently he returned to the earth after the meetings had concluded .. and now he is banished altogether until the "Day").

        Being God, He can do anything He wants to do, of course, so it appears to me that He allows/made a way for fallen creatures to gain temporary access to Him (as you said Alex, perhaps it's some form of "partial" access), IOW, He "tolerates" sin and sinners in His presence for a time, but they cannot "stand" or "abide" in His presence on a continual basis.

        Perhaps this partial access is made possible in some way by the physical form that the pre-incarnate Christ apparently existed in?

        Thoughts?

        Yours and His,
        David
        "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed
        belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may
        observe all the words of this law"

        Deuteronomy 29:29

        Last edited by David Lee; 07-07-2016, 08:18 PM.
        Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

        "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

        "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

        "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

        "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
        Comment>

        • #5
          Also, what do you think about the idea that whenever God appears "physically" in the OT, that it is actually the pre-incarnate Son of God (who we know is the Creator and Sustainer of all things .. i.e. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17), rather than His Father (who we know is "Spirit" and that "no man has ever seen")? I know Michael Card discusses that idea in a song of his called, "Scribbling in the Sand", the idea being that the "finger" that wrote on the ground before the angry mob and the woman caught in adultery (John 8:6), belonged to the same hand that wrote the 10 Commandments (Deuteronomy 9:10) on the top of Mt. Sinai.

          Yours in Christ,
          David
          p.s. - very sorry about the "thread drift" Alex, I promise I won't take us any farther down this rabbit trail!

          Scribbling in the Sand
          Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

          "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

          "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

          "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

          "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
          Comment>

          • #6
            Prior to Jesus coming to redeem man since God could still commune with God, sinful though he was, Satan could also present himself before God. In the book of Zechariah, we also get to see Satan in heaven: [[[ Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. ]]]. And when Jesus was here, apparently satan could still approach God because Jesus tells Peter, [[["Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.]]]. I believe though that after Jesus sacrifice Satan no longer has access to heaven.
            Comment>

            • #7
              God must have planned the whole thing and knew exactly what would happen. After all, he is an all knowing God. And really, when he said "consider my servant Job".... was that not a set up? Look some things in life are fairly predictable. If I stick my hand in an alligators mouth, I already know what is going to happen. I am wondering who was manipulating or tempting who in this game of wits. I never fully understood the book of Job though! I remember the first time I read it, I had read it in parts, believing Job's erroneous friends were spouting something that was biblical teaching. I would read a few paragraphs of Job's friends ruiminating, and think, "Well gett the bible says this, so it must be true but I don't get it." I had to sit down and read it in one sitting to understand Job's friends were very wrong, and were refuted and proven wrong. I was exhasperated at God's response for the reason for it all at the end. My first thought was, oh so you're a big God and made Leviathons and all this. That's an answer? Then I thought about it and read it again, and realized behind all that, God was telling us he is all powerful, all knowing, and knows better than us what is right and wrong, good and bad. He is the one who decides such things, not us. And we really can't know the bigger picture he does since we aren't all knowing all powerful beings. I guess I finally realized he was testifying to his own sovereignty, a concept I had not grasped yet. I finally realized it meant that we are idiots if we think we can tell him how to run the universe. I still don't understand it all though, and I have to read it again. I wonder how many times I will have to read that book before I completely understand it.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by bluebetta View Post
                I still don't understand it all though, and I have to read it again.
                You might not understand it all but you seem to have grasped the main teaching of the book. :D
                Clyde Herrin's Blog
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                • #9
                  God uses the Devil, the Spirit of Lies and the like from time to time to do his bidding.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    I always wondered if God allows Satan to see if he will repent. God was capable of forgiving our sins through Jesus, I wonder it it extends to fallen angels, if they could repent too. Angels obviously have free will if they can turn their backs on God and fall. God can't be tainted by something as simple as being in the presence of Satan because Satan is inferior. Kind of how shadows always give way to light, no matter how dark the shadows are a little light can illuminate everything.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Hi LoF, here's a short article on the subject:

                      Question: "Why doesn't God give the fallen angels a chance to repent?"

                      Answer:
                      The Bible does not specifically address the issue of fallen angels having an opportunity to repent, but we can gain some insight from what the Bible does say. First, Satan (Lucifer) was one of the highest angels, perhaps the highest (Ezekiel 28:14). Lucifer—and all the angels—were continually in God’s presence and had knowledge of the glory of God. Therefore, they had no excuse for rebelling against God and turning away from Him. They were not tempted. Lucifer and the other angels rebelling against God despite what they knew was the utmost evil.

                      Second, God did not provide a plan of redemption for the angels as He did for mankind. The fall of the human race necessitated an atoning sacrifice for sin, and God provided that sacrifice in Jesus Christ. In His grace, God redeemed the human race and brought glory to Himself.

                      No such sacrifice was planned for the angels. In addition, God referred to those angels who remain faithful to Him as His “elect angels” (1 Timothy 5:21). We know from the biblical doctrine of election that those whom God elects to salvation will be saved, and nothing can separate them from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Clearly, those angels who rebelled were not “elect angels” of God.

                      Finally, the Bible gives us no reason to believe that angels would repent even if God gave them the chance (1 Peter 5:8). The fallen angels seem completely devoted to opposing God and attacking God's people. The Bible says that the severity of God’s judgment varies according to how much knowledge a person possesses (Luke 12:48). The fallen angels, then, with the great knowledge they possessed, are greatly deserving of God’s wrath. ~GotQuestions.Org
                      We also know, prophetically speaking, that Satan will never repent (since God has already told us what will happen to him at the end of the age).

                      Yours and His,
                      David
                      Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                      "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                      "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                      "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                      "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Hi, St_Worm2! Thank you for sharing that article! I have never thought of this argument before - that what the fallen angels did was the utmost evil for they rebelled against God despite knowing of His glory. But if the fallen angels possess great knowledge, then shouldn't they have known what will happen to them if they rebel against God? And even if they didn't, it is now written in the Scriptures what their fate would be. Wouldn't that make them afraid and doubtful of their decision? Sorry if my questions are foolish. It's not that I want to know their thoughts. I just got curious after reading the short article.
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Hi Luna, fallen angels ARE afraid of God (James 2:19), but I'm not sure whether they doubt or regret their decision to become demons. Quite frankly, I cannot understand how a being can live in God's presence and turn against Him, but apparently a third of the angels did when they decided to follow Satan.

                          As to being doubtful of their decision, it doesn't matter because, like us, a single disobedience is all it takes to condemn them, but unlike us, they have no path to redemption because (as far as we know) they have no Savior who lived a perfect life for them and then died in their places like we have (i.e. 1 Peter 1:12).

                          And as far as possessing great knowledge, as you can see from 1 Peter 1:12, they don't know everything, and they're certainly not omniscient like God. So they may have be told what would happen to them if they chose to disobey, but if they were, they obviously chose to ignore the warning (not unlike many/most? human beings who choose the "wide road", yes :().

                          Actually, your questions are excellent ones, I just wish I had better answers for you. The good news is, all that we 'need' to know we ARE privy too (amen :) .. Deuteronomy 29:29).

                          Outside of the Bible, the book that best helped me understand demons and why they do what they do is actually a collection of short stories strung together by C S Lewis called, The Screwtape Letters. It's fiction, written by Lewis from the POV of the demons, and it will give you a somewhat frightening (but important) look into the way demons think and act (which can be very beneficial to the objects of their temptations/confusions .. IOW, us :eek: .. we're referred to as "patients" by the demons in the book).

                          You can get it in book form, on Kindle, or read it for free online here. If you do decide to read it, be sure to read the preface and introduction so that you'll understand what you're reading (for instance, when the demon "Screwtape" speaks of the, "Enemy", in this book, he's referring to God. Remember, it's written from the demons' POV).

                          Here's the intro to the book (which I do not believe is included in the free online version of it)


                          The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis Introduction

                          Originally published in The Guardian from May 2 to November 28, 1941, Lewis conceived of The Screwtape Letters in the summer of 1940. On the evening of July 20th, he heard a broadcast speech by Hitler and later wrote to his brother, Warnie: “I don’t know if I am weaker than other people, but it is a positive revelation to me that while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little.” Lewis went on to explain that he was “struck by an idea for a book which I think would be both useful and entertaining. It would be called As One Devil to Another and would consist of letters from an elderly retired devil to a young devil who has just started work on his first ‘patient.

                          The idea would be to give all the psychology of temptation from the other point of view.” This reversal, whereby God becomes “The Enemy” and “Our Father’s House” is not heaven but hell, is crucial to understanding The Screwtape Letters and also accounts for much of its power. All questions of Christian faith are approached from the perspective of a devil who wants to undermine that faith and capture the soul of “the patient.” This radical shift allows Lewis to reveal, as the patient moves precariously through one temptation after another, both what is required to maintain one’s virtue and the precise nature of the forces of darkness deployed to destroy it. The Screwtape Letters was greeted with great critical and popular enthusiasm when it first appeared. The book was reprinted eight times in 1942 alone. Contemporary reviewers wrote that “Lewis is in earnest with his belief in devils, and as anxious to unmask their strategy against souls as our intelligence department to detect the designs of Hitler” (The Guardian, 13 March 1942) and that “Mr. Lewis possesses the rare gift of being able to make righteousness readable” (New Statesman and Nation, 16 May 1942). The Saturday Review (17 April 1943) called it an “admirable, diverting, and remarkably original work … a spectacular and satisfactory nova in the bleak sky of satire.” The Screwtape Letters continues to be admired both as a brilliant literary work and a powerful exploration of Christian faith.
                          It's fiction (as I said .. and a great read :)), but you'll get the sense that you could well be reading a non-fictional account instead (you'll see what I mean if you end up reading it).

                          Yours in Christ,
                          David
                          Last edited by David Lee; 08-23-2016, 05:01 PM.
                          Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                          "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                          "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                          "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                          "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            One last thing Luna, I see you're pretty new here and I don't believe I've said hello yet, so WELCOME TO CF :)
                            Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                            "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                            "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                            "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                            "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Hi, David! Thank you for your response! I find your explanation pretty satisfying actually, and you even recommended something for me to read! The concept is interesting and so is the introduction. I'm a little bit scared of what I will find out but I'll make sure to read that this weekend. It's not like I want to pry further on how they think, but it may be important for us to at least know what they do and how they've been affecting us. Perhaps human beings are not that far off from them as, like you said, most of us choose the wide road instead of the narrow path which leads to life. And even if these people are told of the consequences of entering through the wide gate, they don't listen and choose to follow what they think is right instead. The same logic can possibly apply to the fallen ones. It's sad when you think about it that way.

                              Anyway, thank you for the warm welcome! I hope to learn a lot from this community and, with everyone's help, be a better Christian. May God guide us and bless us all. :)
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