One of the mysteries of the Christian life is why God didn’t destroy Satan immediately after Satan sinned. We know that God will one day defeat Satan by throwing him into the Lake of Fire where he will be tortured day and night forever (Revelation 20:10), but sometimes we wonder why God has not destroyed Satan already. Perhaps we will never know God’s exact reasoning, but we do know certain things about His nature.
First, we know God is absolutely sovereign over all creation, and this includes Satan. Certainly, Satan and his demons wreak havoc in the world, but they are only allowed a certain amount of freedom. We also know that God has planned everything from the beginning of time to the end. Nothing can thwart His plans, and things are proceeding exactly on schedule. “The LORD of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand’” (Isaiah 14:24).
Second, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Whatever God has planned for Satan, that plan will be the best one possible. God’s perfect wrath and justice will be satisfied, and His perfect righteousness will be glorified. Those who love Him and who wait for His plan to be fulfilled will be thrilled to be part of that plan and will praise and glorify Him as they see it unfold.
Third, we know that to question God’s plan and its timing is to question God Himself, His judgment, His character and His very nature. It is not wise to question His right to do exactly as He pleases. The psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). Whatever plan comes from the mind of the Almighty is the best plan possible. It is true that we can’t expect to understand that mind perfectly, as He reminds us, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Nevertheless, our responsibility to God is to obey Him, to trust Him, and to submit to His will, whether we understand it or not. In the case of His timing for Satan’s demise, it has to be the best possible plan because it is God’s plan.
Recommended Resource: The Serpent of Paradise by Erwin Lutzer.