Tract #68: When Does Satan Get Credit?

Tract #68, When Does Satan Get Credit?, is ready for you to  print and hand out. Download it, see page #3 for printing instructions, and let me know your comments! Thanks!

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When Does Satan Get Credit?

Imagine that there is a horrible jumbo-jet crash. The huge craft plummets from the sky, smashing into a suburban neighborhood, destroying six houses, killing hundreds of people on the ground and in the aircraft. From the wreckage, one man emerges injured but alive. He thanks God for the miracle of his survival.

Now imagine a woman driving to Nevada. On the edge of a long stretch of desert, she gets the urge to stop at a gas station and buy herself a soda. While she’s stopped, she notices that one of her tires is worn to the point that it is about to fail. She thanks God for giving her the urge to stop, because without it she may have lost a tire in the middle of the desert.

The typical atheist response to stories like this generally involves incredulity, eye rolling, and similar shows of dismissal. Why does God get credit for good things but not blame for bad ones? This question has been asked often enough that I’m not going to bother.

Instead, I’m going to offer a different question: assuming that Christianity is true and that these incidents really are supernatural occurrences, how can we tell whether the miracles are the work of God or of Satan?

Does everything that seems to be good come from God? If you say yes, then you are implying that either God doesn’t know all possible consequences of His actions, or that nothing that is good on its face can lead to evil. If God is omniscient, we can rule out the first possibility. And the second possibility is incorrect on its face: The miracle of birth may be creating a serial killer. Getting into your first-choice college might mean that you never meet the person who would be your perfect mate. Free ice cream might give you a headache.

Does nothing that seems to be good come from Satan? If he’s powerful, active in the world, and clever, why would Satan limit his actions to things so unsubtle that they are obviously his work? Perhaps Satan made the jumbo-jet crash so that the sole survivor would be inspired to become the charismatic leader of a false religion? Maybe the woman on her way to Nevada was inspired to stop and get a new tire so that she’d contract a disease from the mechanic and carry it to a more populated area? Surely Satan wouldn’t mind a little good so long as it creates a larger evil.

If something is so good that you can’t imagine it’s anything but the work of God, then ask yourself this: are you so wise that you could never be deceived, even by the most powerful of evil intelligences? Are you so knowledgeable, that you can see into the future and know that only good will come? And if you answer yes to either of these questions, isn’t that a strong statement of pride, one of the seven deadly sins?

Or look at it this way, if Satan’s plan was that at a certain time a horrible leader, or a crazy scientist, or even the antichrist himself was to be born, wouldn’t it serve Satan’s purpose to help that person’s ancestors by saving them from accidents, helping them succeed at work, maybe even letting them win the lottery? So the next time you hear of a miraculous survival, don’t think “God must have a special purpose for that person,” think “Could that person be an ancestor of the antichrist?”

Posted on June 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Defining god, Tract

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Tom_M
    on July 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    The example of the jet crash is very shallow in the description of the conditions which surround the survival of the one person. That may be by design, or an oversight. But, one must examine what is provided, and the following questions come to mind:
    (1) If all people immediately surrounding the survivor are killed and the airplane demolished and/or burnt, then how did the person survive? The conditions for all others were the same as for the survivor. What caused the window for survival?
    (2) If the area where the jet grounded is nothing but death and destruction (including fire), then what caused a window for survival?

    There is no physical condition which could permit the survival that I’d find believable, when all other people close to the survivor are killed. Random probability for this would be so small as to be nearly zero. Yes, by our understanding of statistics, there is a possibility – but the odds are against it. It points to another probability, which concerns the existance of this universe without design.

    That aside, your subsequent questions and discussion concern the ‘goodness’ of God and the ‘badness’ of Satan.

    Believers in God claim that He is TRUTH, meaning that He allows Himself to do nothing which is not TRUTH. TRUTH is exercised in thought, word, and deed in order to be fully consistent.

    However, the crux of the title statement deals with ‘good’ and ‘bad’. As believers assert, ‘good’ is a behavior. And, that behavior must necessarily be in line with God’s desires for His creation. Using the English antonym of ‘good’ we get ‘bad’. Likewise the antonym of TRUTH is FALSEHOOD.

    According to the literature in the Bible, Lucifer (most powerful angel in this creation) was made with the capacity for exercising ‘free will’. ‘Free will’ is the capacity to make a decision without coersion from outside. A decision, once made, is subject to consequences (cause and effect). Lucifer made a decision to believe that he was as powerful as God and should receive accolades for his position. As a creation, he was stating that he was as meaningful as his creator. This is inconsistent with truth. God cannot abide falsehood to exist alongside truth (call it a cancellation question, or severe perpetual conflict). God had to expel Lucifer from His presence. Lucifer was renamed Satan, because he was rebellious. He was expelled from heaven and confined to earth (where he caused rebellion to spread).

    Satan isn’t happy with the constraints imposed upon him. His rebellion continues, and his actions must be contradiction to God in order to be rational. Satan cannot do ‘good’ if God is perpetually going to do it. Satan must be contrary.

    God has a plan to recover the earth and restore it to its former consistency with Him. He will necessarily demonstrate His existence, to lead people to TRUTH. If there is no contrast, can people recognise TRUTH when they see it? From the record thus far, they are very challenged in doing so.

    God permits Satan to work, on a short leash, to give His leadership and bounty a chance to be recognised. Some people see it, others do not. In order to learn how resist Satan, it is necessary for people (believers included) to suffer adversity. In enduring the troubles, the believer is strengthened. It causes the believer to seek consolation and hope in God’s promise for the future of faithful believers.

    The idea that Satan has unfettered freedom to exercise his full fury is a misconception. He is restrained by God, in order that God’s plan can come to completion. God is using Satan (who will suffer separation from God) to support the reclamation of human beings from their sinful (rebellious state initiated by Satan) condition. God loves His creation – that is is His overwhelming motivation. He doesn’t want to see it devolve into denial of TRUTH.

    If God is LOVE, then Satan must be HATE – because (like a stubborn child) he resists the parent’s idea. Satan turns inward, thinking of self (instead of outward, which is characteristic of love). In looking inward, Satan denies God (LOVE). Satan wants control for his own purposes, he doesn’t care what others may want or need.

  2. Written by Ryan Eakins
    on July 17, 2014 at 11:49 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Sounds like Satan is working for God, Tom_M. The same way Judas acted for his people in Jesus Christ Superstar.

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