What Is the Bible’s View?
Did God Create the Devil?
JESUS CHRIST said of his Father, Jehovah God: “This one is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (John 7:18) That being so, then how did the Devil come into existence? Could the Devil have been one of God’s creations? Not at all.
In a song written by Moses, he spoke of God’s works, saying: “Do you attribute greatness to our God! The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.” Moses then went on to say of the nation of Israel, whom God had chosen, delivered from Egypt and taught his law: “They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted!”—Deut. 32:3-5.
God was not to blame for the deviation of Israel. He had taken care of them, protected and led them, and they were fully aware of all of this. They acted deliberately. So, when they chose to go in a bad way, he did not forcibly prevent them. He let them exercise their free will.
All of God’s creative work is perfect, and his ways, his dealings, are righteous. Everything that he creates is for a purpose, and is equipped to fulfill that purpose. In the case of angels, their origin was perfect. (Ps. 103:20) They were made in the image of God, who certainly has the faculty of free will. In fact, perfection, for intelligent creatures, would essentially include freedom of choice. Had they been made unable to choose to do good or bad, they would have been mere robots, just as an electronic computer is able to do only what it is programmed to do. No intelligent person can be happy if he is deprived of the exercise of free will.
Also, from Jehovah God’s standpoint, intelligent persons with freedom of will can bring much greater glory to God. Now, God has many inanimate creations, such as the stars and the planets in the universe, that have no choice but must run perfectly in their orbits. These reveal the wisdom and power of the Creator. But a person who has free will, when he chooses to take the course of righteousness because he loves that which is right and because he loves his Creator for his fine qualities, brings much more honor and pleasure to God.
The Scriptural evidence, then, is that the angel who became Satan the Devil was perfect from the time of his creation. He earned for himself the names Satan and Devil by choosing to take an independent course of action in rebellion against God. Jesus said of him: “That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie.”—John 8:44.
Having been created by God, and being one of his heavenly angels, it could be said that this angel was “in the truth” originally. Jesus says: “He did not stand fast in the truth.” He was the father of the lie, not before he spoke it and became a liar, but when he spoke the original lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 3:1-5) He was therefore a manslayer “when he began,” that is, when he told the lie that brought about the death of Adam and Eve. It was not when he was created, but when he began his lying, rebellious course.
Therefore, it is clear that God did not make a Devil. This angel made himself Satan the Devil by taking a course of opposition to God and slandering God by lying about him, and so that original liar ruined his own perfection. From then on he was called Satan, meaning “resister,” and Devil, meaning “slanderer.” God did not destroy him at the time of his rebellion but permitted him to live for a purpose. However, he is under sentence of death, to be executed at God’s due time.—Rom. 16:20.
We could illustrate God’s action toward Satan the Devil by considering God’s dealing with Pharaoh, ruler of ancient Egypt. This particular Pharaoh had subjected the Hebrews to hard slavery in Egypt. Seeing their oppressed condition, Jehovah God sent Moses with the message to Pharaoh to let Israel go. God knew Pharaoh’s attitude, and he told Moses that Pharaoh would deny the request. He said: “I, even I, well know that the king of Egypt will not give you permission to go except by a strong hand. And I shall have to stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonderful acts that I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will send you out.”—Ex. 3:19, 20.
Later, Jehovah told Moses: “I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” (Ex. 4:21, Authorized Version) This does not mean that God injected evil feelings into Pharaoh’s heart. The New World Translation reads: “I shall let his heart become obstinate.” God did not interfere with him for the time being, but ‘let him go to the full length of the rope and finally hang himself.’
So Jehovah did not make Pharaoh act against his will. Pharaoh’s heart was set on keeping Israel in slavery. God actually showed kindness to Pharaoh by removing plague after plague from Egypt at Pharaoh’s request. But God’s toleration of Pharaoh merely allowed him to reveal his true “colors,” his actual hard-set disposition. God told Pharaoh: “For this cause I have kept you in existence [or, “have preserved you”], for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth.” (Ex. 9:16) Additionally, Jehovah was proved superior to the gods of Egypt. (Ex. 12:12) As a result, many Egyptians joined Israel in worship of the true God Jehovah.—Ex. 12:37, 38.
So God does not create anyone or anything that is wicked. Neither does he tempt anyone to do evil. Said Jesus’ half brother James: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.” (Jas. 1:14, 15) The angelic son who became Satan, therefore, let his own selfish desire entice him into wickedness. We can see from this example that we should immediately dismiss wrong desires that come into our minds, or that are put before us. Entertaining the desire nourishes it, and it will become fertile and bring forth sin, to our sorrow.
“Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone. But take your stand against him, solid in the faith, knowing that the same things in the way of sufferings are being accomplished the entire association of your brothers in the world.”—1 Pet. 5:8, 9.