Why Didn’t God Just Punish Satan? He Started It. (Lent 6-2018)

Parents see it all the time with kids: an argument ensues and each child passes the blame to the other until it ends up with the pronouncement: “He started it.”  That’s the child’s version of Game Over.  It’s supposed to end all argument and settle the score.  The first to do wrong is at fault for everything that followed.

Even in the Garden of Eden, we see this passing of the buck.  The man blames the wife (and indirectly blames God for giving him this woman Genesis 3:12).  The woman blames the serpent (Genesis 3:13) and the serpent (Satan) is without a leg to stand on.  Serpents don’t have legs.  Plus, he started it.

For God, that doesn’t wash.  The serpent didn’t jam the fruit in Eve’s mouth or Adam’s, nor did he hide it in the applesauce.  He tempted and ensnared, but he didn’t force-feed.  So, all of them get punished, together and separately.  There’s plenty of brokenness to go around.

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t swoop in, kill Eve, spare Adam and give him a new wife?  One younger, maybe a blonde and Swedish or perhaps a Brazilian babe who really knows how to samba?  Have you ever wondered why Eve’s eyes weren’t opened immediately so that she would say, “Uh-oh!  Adam don’t do what I just did!”?  It took both Adam and Eve to launch the consequences.

This introduces two of the most fundamental concepts known to man: temptations will always come (and because of that), representation.

Had God just punished Satan, he’d still be at his old tricks after his time out.  Like the tiger Richard Parker in our series Pi and Chi, his animal soul and animal nature killed because he is a predator.  In 1 Peter 5:8, our enemy (Satan) is likened to a roaring lion “looking for someone to devour.”  As a predator, evil stalks and waits. 

Evil is persistent and insatiable. Temptations would come again and again.  Therefore, punishing Satan would eventually prove pointless.  Adam and Eve, despite their God-given freedom and Image-bearing, would someday choose poorly.  In fact, we are never told how long Adam and Eve behaved themselves before eating that forbidden fruit and how long those temptations had been resisted, maybe 1 day or maybe 1000 years.  To God, it’s all the same.  

Threats and punishment do little in the face of desire and autonomy, two of the worst predators out there when temptation crouches for the kill.  But God had something amazing in mind!

Without the Fall of Man happening as representation (Adam representing Eve and all who followed as future generations), we couldn’t have the beauty of representation in Christ—forgiveness and salvation—for all who follow Him. 

Food for thought: 

  • Have you ever had a temptation that keeps coming around? 
  • Does it become easier to resist over time? 
  • Why is giving in to temptation to break your diet a totally different animal than giving in to temptation to disobey your Creator?

Join me tomorrow for Why Does God Send People to Hell?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 20, 2018

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