Why cant we love our enemy the Devil?


(Ashish Money) #1

A nine year old girl from 4 class asked a question to her value education teacher. The question is,
Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, devil is also our enemy then can we not love devil who is our enemy?

How can we answer a child with simplicity and profound truth that makes sense to her?


(SeanO) #2

@Ashishraj Wow, the questions that kids ask - that is a zinger.

Possible Answer: God is love. His love is higher than the sky and deeper than the sea. The devil is very bad - he lies, murders, steals, kills and destroys. God wants to protect us from all of the bad things that the devil does, so God fights with us against the devil. And one day the devil will be destroyed. God loved us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to protect us from being destroyed with the devil. But I think if the devil were ever truly sorry for all of the bad things he has done, that God would forgive him. God does not want to destroy anyone He has created. Does that answer your question?

I’m not sure if the intent of your questions is to force me into an awkward position. But I feel no awkwardness whatever in affirming that God most certainly does love Satan. Indeed, what I should find awkward would be affirming that he does not! God is a perfectly loving being, whose love is not based on a person’s performance. Satan is a person, indeed, on the traditional conception an angelic person of unparalleled beauty and perfection among creatures. How could God not love him? The fact that that person is now fallen and unspeakably evil does not imply that God ceases to love him, any more than he ceased to love us when we fell and became enemies of God (Romans 5.10).

Satan is morally depraved and irretrievably bent on evil, but this is from a moral sense. However, Satan does retain a remnant of the goodness of God’s creations (intelligence, power, free will etc.). If Satan retains even a remnant of the metaphysical goodness of God’s creation, there is enough latitude for God to love Satan. So an absolute assertion that God hates Satan cannot be sustained. Therefore we could reasonably affirm that God loves Satan from the metaphysical sense and yet assert that God hates Satan from the moral sense.


(Kathleen) #3

Is it also worth noting that Satan is not human, but a spiritual being? I think jesus’ teaching was more for our interpersonal human relationships.


(C Rhodes) #4

I think I would say to my children; satan is not my enemy, he is GOD’s. That automatically places him beyond the influence of my heart and ability to love. My love is effective because those I love are capable of returning love, we are human. Satan hates GOD therefore what influences our hearts, has no impact upon his, he is beyond human.

Matthew 12:31-32 hints of why the choices satan has made place him beyond redemptive love. Ultimately we are given that same choice. Despite our choice GOD still loves us. But all choice comes with results.

Satan faces the results of his choice. When you linger in a position or thought long enough it becomes home to you. Evil and hatred of GOD is satan’s home. It is his normal. GOD does not need hatred to judge any of us. Nor is it needed for judgment on satan. Satan’s damnation is inevitable, his choice made it so.

Of course I would have to break down words like damnation. But every moment is a time of learning!:wink:


(SeanO) #5

@KMac I can see where the command to love your enemy is given in the context of human relationships. But I wonder if the reality that God is love would allow us to generalize to any sentient being?


(Kathleen) #6

It’s certainly a fascinating thought! I agree that God is love, but have never really thought about that fact in relation to Himself and angels. I guess I’m just thinking about, as humans, we have not been asked to love angels. In fact, our relationship to them is not even really referred to in Scripture. I just know that we are to ‘resist the devil’ (James 4:7)…which, I suppose, we could do by loving our human ‘enemies’.


(SeanO) #7

@KMac Yes, how exactly we relate to angels is a subject that Scripture does not really address directly. We know they are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14) and that there are evil spiritual forces (Ephesians 6). But the Bible focuses on how we relate to God and to other people; not so much angels. So it is rational that we should have that same focus as well.


(Anthony Costello ) #8

@Ashishraj

Whoa! Kids do really ask hard questions, don’t they?

I would definitely agree with what @KMac has said here. I think we need to make an important distinction between human beings who might be enemies of God (and other human beings), and spiritual beings like Satan, i.e. the Devil, who just is God’s enemy. There are very different metaphysical categories going on here and I don’t think we should conflate the two.

Now, I’m not sure how to explain this to a child, but perhaps something like this might help:

Satan, or the Devil, is the evil angel who tries to make us hate God, and each other. He is the one who tries to make us to be enemies against each other, and God wants us to freely reject the Devil and his ways, and instead accept Jesus and His ways.

If we accept Jesus and reject the Devil, then we can learn how to love our enemies, and pray for those who hurt us. If the Devil had his way with us, we would never love our enemy, we would hate each other. Because the Devil rejects God, even though he knows very well who God is, he cannot ever love. So, if the Devil will never love God, then we can refuse to love him, because he just is everything that love is not. If we loved the Devil, we would be on board with his hate, which is neither good nor possible. We want to love people, so in order to love people, even bad people, we have to reject the Devil, because he is always trying to stop us from loving.

That may still be too technical for a child, but maybe it could help.

in Christ,
Anthony


(SeanO) #9

@anthony.costello @KMac What question do you guys think this little one is really asking? We always talk about answering the questioner rather than the question. Do you think there is a question behind the question? Or is this just one of those kids being curious things? I suppose maybe you’d have to know the child to tell.


(Anthony Costello ) #10

@SeanO

I think it’s a very intuitive question. If Satan is God’s enemy, and if Jesus tells us to love our enemies, then does God love Satan? And, if God loves Satan, should we also love him?

Seems actually quite logical, and I want to give kids the benefit of the doubt when it comes to practical reasoning. I think they see paradoxes like this pretty quickly.

Just my two cents,
Anthony


(SeanO) #11

@anthony.costello True - I guess I wonder if the child is just asking out of curiosity about the devil or is more curious about the consistency of God in applying His love. As if to ask - if we are supposed to love our enemies, does God love His enemies? Not sure which way the child is taking it, though I imagine the former is more likely.


(Kathleen) #12

Such a good question, and it’s interesting that we 3 hear slightly different things. :blush: I latched on to the human element. That is, are WE supposed to love the devil? As he is the biggest enemy, what does that look like, if indeed we are supposed to love him. That’s why I was led to reflect on the place of love in resisting the devil. That is, by actually resisting him, we actually love him in a way? I don’t know. Just reflecting… :thinking:


(SeanO) #13

@KMac Yes, quite a profound question! There are a number of ways to come at it and they are all in and of themselves worthy of ample thought.


(Roger Warton) #14

So far as I can tell, God is Love and as His children we love because He first loved us. We love Him because He is our Father, we love the Son because He is our brother and our Saviour and we love the Spirit because He is our Advocate/Counsellor/Helper et al. We are to love other people regardless of their spiritual status because they are made in God’s image. We love creation because in it we see the hand of God and because it clearly displays different aspects of Him. In my view each person is to love God and draw to Him, enjoy anything that portrays His Glory and His Godness. If I can answer something love is not simply “ah shame, I will love him.” Love commands us to act, the Bible is explicit about our love driving us to action.
If you love the devil, what would you do to show it? Also the devil is God’s enemy. We see the Trinity intent on destroying and defeating him. Not only what he stands for but the devil himself is to be destroyed. The devil is the epitome of everything God is not. That is why when He tried to usurp God’s throne, the Lord would have none of it. Yet why the Lord would decide to save us is far beyond our understanding. Ultimately we cannot know. But that is entirely up to Him.
My point is if those who are love hate the devil and they never sin then I don’t think it’s wrong for us to hate the devil as well.
But having said that best not to start out hating the devil, rather start out loving the Holy Trinity and spending time getting closer to Them. As time goes on, you will have a better and clearer understanding of what is required of you as a follower of Christ.

Sorry that was long but I hope it helps.
Roger


(SeanO) #15

@roger.warton I think that is a great point - we should focus on loving God. This particular question does not have an obvious application from Scripture, so we should start with what God has revealed as His will.


(Monica Diane Hall) #16

Is there a specific scripture that calls satan enemy? I’ve heard teachings where he is called adversary. And from the original languages are adversary and enemy different translations for the same word?
We know from Proverbs 6:16-19 there are 7 things the Lord hates. All of them are things that have been attributed to satan.
Perhaps answering the little girls question with this scripture might be helpful.