Why does God allow the ongoing existence of Satan? Why does he allow him to unleash his assaults against Christians and the work of the Gospel?
In Ephesians 6, we learn that our battle is not fundamentally against fellow human beings, but against rulers, principalities, cosmic powers—terms that unequivocally depict Satan and his demonic forces. We are consistently urged to stand firm, and the means to do so is by adorning ourselves with the armor of God (6:14-17).
The question frequently raised is: "Could God not simply eradicate Satan and his demons immediately?"
In other words, why doesn't God annihilate Satan and his demons right away, rendering Ephesians 6 irrelevant?
Is God giving Satan and his demons time to repent? No, the scriptural testimony is clear that Satan and his demons are irredeemable. Jesus did not die for angels (Heb. 2:14-18).
So, why doesn't God eliminate Satan instantly? After all, God is omnipotent and Satan is a creature entirely subject to God's sustaining power. God has the right to destroy Satan--and it wouldn't be unjust to consign him to judgment immediately.
Moreover, Scripture assures us that God will judge and remove Satan permanently. The ultimate purpose is to cast Satan and his demons into the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41, Jude 1:6, Rev. 20:10, etc.).
So, why does God permit Satan to persist in hurling his "fiery darts" at Christians worldwide? Wouldn't life be significantly easier without Satan?
In short: The Bible doesn't explicitly answer this question. But an answer can be derived from Ephesians 6:18-20 and Romans 11:36. This verse in Romans asserts that everything exists to bring glory to God. Therefore, God permits Satan and his demons to exist because their presence somehow magnifies God's glory more than their immediate judgment would.
When we face temptation, turn to God's grace, and resist Satan, it brings more glory to God than if we were never tempted. Our spiritual growth in battling Satan and trusting in God's mercy glorifies God more than if Satan were absent. The incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus magnify God more due to Satan's presence.
God's strategy is to defeat Satan progressively, showcasing his greatness and beauty. The stages include the incarnation, Jesus resisting temptation, casting out demons, the cross disarming demonic hosts, bringing people to faith, believers resisting Satan, and the final judgment.
This plan may seem costly, but it emphasizes God's glory and worth. Remember, our trust should be in the wisdom of an infinitely wise and omniscient God, even if it seems counterintuitive to finite creatures.
Additionally, victory over Satan requires perseverance in prayer. Though God could defeat the Enemy without our prayers, he desires us to seek his strength and power through prayer, magnifying his glory as the one worthy of our trust and devotion.
In conclusion, the overarching answer to why Satan continues to exist is grounded in Romans 11:36—all things are from God, through God, and for the glory and praise of God.