Why can't satan choose to come back to God?

I was helping lead a girl’s discipleship event on Zoom today and the speaker said that Satan is the only one who can’t ever come back to God. If satan had the freedom to choose to forsake God, why does he not have the freedom to make the choice to come back?
Perhaps this is faulty teaching.
Maybe satan can in fact come back to God, but just doesn’t. That would suggest that satan is completely evil in his nature.
Any scriptural teaching on this would be helpful.

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Hello @Sgpage

Great question.
Let me just share with you a brief response here.
I believe we have to understand this from the beginning of angel, Lucifer until he became fallen, Satan.
The Bible makes it clear, that even before the creation, angels are with God. Angels are spiritual beings, that have no nature to sin. Imagine the reality of those angels knowing and seeing the glory of God. Yet, angels also have freedom. The Bible does not give specific details about this, but it is evident because of what is seen to the story of Lucifer.
Again, from the creation, angels have no reason to rebel againsts God, there is no temptation and devil there at first. What happened? Despite of knowing and seeing the glory of God, Lucifer chose to rebel against Him. Lucifer thought he could be above God or be God, and the Scripture tells us that God throws Him out from heaven. Scholars believe that there are angels who remain faithful to God, there are angels who also rebelled and follow Lucifer (became Satan).
Look carefully the consequences of what Lucifer had done. Lucifer personally saw the glory of God, and yet chose to rebel. They are spiritual beings, therefore whatever they chose to do, will inevitably become their nature. And the Bible makes it clear that God does not have plan of redemption for angels. The Scripture does not give any details about this, but it is evident throughout the Biblical narrative.

Lastly, we also need to look at the book of Revelation. God revealed all those things to John, the things that are ought to happen. We read on those passages that even in the end times, Satan chose to still rebel against God. And the revelation is Jesus defeated him and his troops, and the new Heaven and Earth comes.

I hope these help!

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@Sgpage Good question :slight_smile: While it is clear from Jesus’ own teaching that the accuser, satan, has been a liar and murderer from the beginning, I am not sure that we can say why this happens to be the case. The Bible does not give us a lot of information about spiritual beings or their history, but it is clear that satan is an enemy and will not be switching sides.

To summarize, I don’t think the Bible tells us why satan is incapable of returning, but it does tell us that he will not because his nature is to steal, kill, and destroy.

John 8:42-47 - Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

1 Peter 5:8 - Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Some people believe that the satan’s fall is described in the Bible, but I tend to agree more with this professor that those passages have been misinterpreted.

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Dear Sadie
You are broaching a subject that does not have a lot of specific Scripture to give us knowledge. The 2 principle Scriptures dealing with Satan and his status and creation are: Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. There are many others concerning the character of Satan but these 2 give a picture of Satan as created and his fall. From them we can ascertain the following:

  1. Satan is a created being
  2. Satan was the seal of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty
  3. Satan fell because of pride in his beauty and wisdom
  4. Satan wanted to be like God.

First, Satan is a created being. Thus Satan was created out of God’s Love and is loved by God as nothing can exist outside the Love of God because God is Love (1John 4:8). It is from this concept that we get the phrase God loves the sinner, but hates the sin. And so this is true of Satan as well.

Second, Satan has free will. Satan had and exercised the ability to rise up against God in his pride and thus sin. This free will is part of Satan’s nature and will never be removed from him. Thus Satan can return to God. However his rejection of God and his pride will not let him and he is lost forever. The fact that he can return to God and does not is a sin of even a higher level than his sin to reject God. Just as with us when we sin the greater sin is not the sin itself but the failure to acknowledge the sin and repent.

The conclusion is then that Satan has the capacity of free will and thus the capacity to return to God. However Satan has rejected God’s Grace and thus has condemned himself to forever be separate from God. This fact also demonstrates to humanity that there is a boundary that if it is crossed we also will not ever repent. I believe that based on Ecclesiastes 12:13 that one of the purposes of humanity is to demonstrate to Satan that Free Will allows us to choose to follow God’s Law. But even further, a sinful humanity can respond to Christ and repent and return to God. This action by us who are both weaker and less knowledgeable than Satan act in judgement against him as he has no excuse not to repent. I believe that this is one of the reasons Satan hates humanity and wants humanity to be destroyed.

Just some things to think about from an old man.
Dan

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Hello Sadie,

That is a great question. Can Satan repent and return to God? The short answer to that question is no. We see a clear teaching on this in Matthew 25:41 where God will say to those who have rejected Him, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”
In this verse, we see a description of the eternal fire of hell, and also that it has been prepared specifically for the devil and those who fell with him(demons). The implication here is that their punishment has already been prepared, there is no chance of their repentance.

Now, this begs the question…why can they not repent?
We can look to another teaching in Matthew to answer this question as well. In chapter 12 verses 31-32, Jesus is talking to the religious leaders and says this, “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Now, what was the issue that Jesus was confronting here?
When we read the earlier verses, beginning with 22, Jesus had just healed a man who was being oppressed by a demon. We are told in verse 24, however, that when the Pharisees heard of it they accused Jesus of casting out demons by the prince of demons, Beelzebul. Jesus answers this accusation throughout the next few verses and then comes to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in verses 31-32.

Why does Jesus come to this point? Because the Pharisees were the religious leaders of the time. They had full knowledge of the law and the prophets that had come before. If anyone should have been able to recognize that Jesus Christ was the One who had been prophesied, it should have been them. They also should have recognized the truth that if Jesus was really casting out demons by the power of demons, then that would be saying that Satan is fighting himself. As Jesus pointed out in verse 25, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste.” But the Pharisees did not recognize this, or the power that Christ had demonstrated, and they accused Him of being in league with Satan himself.

Here, Jesus was warning the Pharisees of the dangers of what they were saying. If one who is enlightened by the Holy Spirit and who has come to know the truth that Jesus is the Christ, then makes an accusation against Him that He is in league with Satan, they have committed a sin which does not have any pardon available. The unpardonable sin is to have a full and complete knowledge of who God is, and then to completely reject His Spirit and the salvation offered by Him.

This is the sin that Satan and his followers are guilty of. They were angels of heaven and had communion with God and lived in the illumination of His Spirit, but they rebelled against Him with full knowledge of these things. They are all guilty of the unpardonable sin. That is why there is no chance of their redemption or repentance.

Satan and his followers know who God is, and they have completely rejected Him in that fullness of knowledge. They have no possible forgiveness available to them for this rejection of God.
Many times people get nervous that they have unwittingly committed this sin, but such a fear is not necessary. The reality of this sin is that it is not one that can be committed accidentally. The only way that it can be committed is by those who have a full knowledge of who God is, and then slander His Holy Spirit in rebellion against Him.

I hope that helps a bit with your question Sadie. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask. May God guide you and grant you wisdom as you seek to know Him more closely through His Holy Scriptures. God bless you and thank you.

Matthew

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Its not that Satan can’t come back to God, spiritual beings by their nature live perpetually in their disobedience whereas humans (because of death) don’t live perpetually in their disobedience.
Hope it helps.

Hi @Sgpage, you raise some interesting questions.

From what I read, there is no indication in Scripture that Satan or the angels who rebelled with him can return to God.

Jesus talks in Matthew 25:41 about everlasting fire being prepared for the devil and his angels. Jude echoes what Jesus says, writing that God has reserved the angels who fell “in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6).

Going back to the beginning, Isaiah was shown that Lucifer was “cut down” for seeking to rise up to God’s throne (Isaiah 14:12) and this is a fall from which Satan cannot recover, based on what Jesus and Jude describe.

It seems Satan cannot repent because God, in His wisdom, has not granted it. Jesus said that change, or repentance, is something humans must do (Matthew 18:3). The church at its beginning recognized that repentance — the opportunity to turn or change one’s direction — is something that God grants (Acts 5:31, 11:18).

Satan, however, has never changed, and never will. Jesus said the devil “was a murderer from the beginning…he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). What Satan did in the beginning he continues to do now — there is no changing him and nothing in him that wants to change because “there is no truth in him” (John 8:44).

Hopefully this helps to answer your questions. May the Lord bless your discipling ministry.

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Hi, @Sgpage :wave:

Adherents of young Earth creationism (YEC) would likely agree that after the Creation, it did not take long before the Fall of Man happened. And they would also likely agree that, neither the Heavenly Rebellion did. The perfect Creation lasted perhaps no longer than that Creation week, or two. Adam fell into rebellion just as quickly as Lucifer fell into pride.

Hebrews 2:16
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Here we are given the idea that God chose to redeem Man, but not the angels.

Hebrews 2:7
Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

Here we are painted a picture of our heirarchical standing. Man are created inferior to the angels in power, but were given superior authority than the angels.

As Hollywood has put it, “with great power comes great responsibility.” God intended our strengths to be used for service to Him. God expected more from the angels for their superior capacity (Ex.: Parable of the Seeds). But when Lucifer and his cohorts rebelled against the order God intended for them (Jude6), grace cannot cover them anymore because Christ’s substitutionary atonement can only happen once and God intended it for Man’s redemption.

1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

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Excellent response, @mmingus36 - I felt no need to post a response after reading yours - thank you!

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You are right, @DCGotiza - as a YEC myself, I do indeed believe that the Satanic rebellion happened sooner rather than later. And the deadline that Genesis 5:3 puts upon the Fall excludes the kind of ages between creation and corruption that OECs would require.

That’s also an interesting statement that Jesus could only die once, and He saved it for men rather than angels. I enjoy having my thoughts provoked!

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TY Sadie Page for your question I’m sure we have all wondered about .
I think from a human perspective it could best be understood in the fact that the deeper a person goes in rejecting God, as they age ,the harder it becomes to ever be reconciled to God.
In that regard we can see that Paul’s talk of God resulted in a mature adult being " almost persuaded "
while Jesus spoke of small children having a nature ideally receptive to the Lord .
No created being has ever been deeper into sin than Satan .
This same nature of being hardened in sin can be seen in convicted murderers in prison for life , yet maintaining until they day they die that they are innocent .
They literally have nothing to lose by admitting their murder & in fact have everything to gain in terms of confession being a first step towards reconciled to God thru Christ, and attaining eternal life, yet their " pride" won’t allow them .
If we as humans are able to let our pride destroy us in this way and even be willing accomplices in our own destruction how much more could the most beautiful angel God ever created become hardened in their beauty, pride, and arrogance ?
God Bless+ Mike

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Great question!

After reading the different replies, I must say that we actually speculate more and lean more on tradition than on Scripture.

The passages in the Ezekiel and in Isaiah are highly debated whether or not they do apply on Satan. And for good reasons. I would not use them. It’s not good hermeneutics.

The Bible is mostly silent on what Satan prerogatives are. He is not God and has definitely limitations as a created being. Jesus calls him the father of lies.

Could he repent? That’s a theoretical question. What we do know is that he has not. And nothing in Scripture, especially in Revelation, give us any reason to believe that he will or would. His people are unwilling to repent…

So while your question is fascinating, it’s theoretical, and a potential set up for loads of error. The question is perhaps not quite the right one to ask? My question to you would be: what are you trying to find out? What is your deeper question?

Thanks again for your question!

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I agree. There is a by Anselm called Cur Deus Homo.

It is an awesome read either way. But anyways. It mentioned the fallen angels and will they be able to be saved.

The argument is that they do not have to rely on faith to believe in God as we do.

They knew and know God exists. Therefore, they chose to disobey God knowing who he was and what he was. (The almighty)

Essentially, the claim is there is no forgiveness to deny truth.

Of course this is a hypothetical. We don’t know the mind of God.

But it makes sense to me.

Hope that helps ?

Marco

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I’ve heard this same question from my son. When he asked he was in a state of anger and rebellion toward God. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look closely at what is going on in a person’s life before we respond. God looks at the heart, so should we. I’m happy to say that after much searching and changes in his own life, my son now has a different perspective of his question. I think we can so easily lose sight of God’s eternal plan. Just taking into consideration prophesy and Revelation, not to mention our own eye-witness to the horror that Satan has, is and will continue to wreak on mankind is enough for me, personally, to know without a doubt why he will not be redeemed. Not to say that that I am troubled by that…at all. One final thought, I wonder if people who ask such questions think that if somehow Satan would repent then all the bad things that happen would stop, or even be reversed? Remember, he has an army of demons, plenty to step into his shoes. In any case, there are more than enough souls to pray for and lead to Christ than we have people to do the leading. That’s where we need to concentrate our thoughts and efforts. I hope your friend finds peace in your response.

I finished reading the book last night and it does not address the topic directly. It does go into Satan’s strategies but then so does the Bible. I recommended Kindle Free Christian E-books because I have already read several very helpful books by Andrew Murray, D.L. Moody, R.A Torrey, E.M. Bounds, George Muller, C.H. Spurgeon, A.W, Tozer, and many others that are free if you use a Kindle reader.
This verses may be helpful for your question about Satan as they applies to everyone that God created, Mt 12:47-48 and the Parable of the Talents Mt 25:14-30.

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Those authors have indeed something to say and teach us!