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Why didn't God just destroy the devil before he had a chance to do so much evil?

By Billy Graham, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: Is the devil responsible for all the evil in the world? If he is, why didn't God just destroy the devil before he had a chance to do so much evil? Or do we know? -- Mrs. K.J.G.

A: The Bible doesn't answer all our questions about the devil -- but one fact is crystal clear: the devil is real, and he is absolutely opposed to God. In that sense, therefore, all evil comes ultimately from Satan. Jesus called Satan "a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).

Why, then, didn't God destroy the devil at the very beginning? The Bible doesn't say -- but it does tell us that without the devil, Adam and Eve could never have chosen to love God -- or to turn away from Him. In other words, God gave them a choice between good and evil -- and without that choice, their love for God would never have been tested. Tragically, they made the wrong choice, listening to Satan's lies and turning their backs on God.

Yes, Satan brought evil into the world, and he's still working behind the scenes to cause chaos and death. But we can't blame Satan for everything; we too are responsible! We have rebelled against God -- and every day, our rebellion continues. Sin -- like a deadly virus -- has invaded our hearts and lives, causing us to turn away from God. The Bible warns, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9).

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This is why we need Christ, for only He can forgive our sins and transform our lives. Satan is a defeated foe, for by His death and resurrection Christ broke sin's power over us. Have you committed your life to Him? The Bible says, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" (1 John 3:8).

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(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)

(c)2018 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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