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The Faith Once Delievered (8 of 15)
Clarence E. Macartney
In the course of instruction which Robinson Crusoe
gave to his man Friday in the doctrines of the
Christian faith, he came at length to the Devil, and
told him how the Devil, who was God's enemy in the
hearts of men, used all his malice and skill to defeat
the good designs of Providence and to ruin the kingdom
of Christ in the world. Whereupon, Friday asked him,
"Is God not as strong as the Devil?"
Crusoe answered that God was stronger than the Devil
and above the Devil, and therefore we pray to God to
tread him under our feet.
"But," rejoined Friday, "why God no kill the Devil, so
make him no more do wicked?"
At this, Crusoe was hard put. In order to gain time he
pretended not to have heard Friday and asked him what
he had said, hoping that he might forget his question.
But Friday repeated the question. This time Crusoe
answered that at the last Satan would be punished;
that he was reserved for the judgment and would be
cast into the bottomless pit.
"But," asked Friday, "why not kill the Devil now, not
kill great ago?"
The question that Defoe put into the mouth of the
unlettered savage is one which may come to our minds
when we are confronted by the reference to Satan in
the Scriptures and by the works of Satan in the world.
Why does God permit him? Why does God tolerate him?
Why does He not destroy him? There is one answer that
Robinson Crusoe did not give, and which he might have
given-that God does not destroy Satan now any more
than He destroys you or me; that is, Satan, like
ourselves, a created being, has the power of choice,
the power of free will. For the present, as long as he
wills to do evil, although he is under certain
restraints, he can do evil, and does evil. When the
Bible speaks of the overthrow of Satan, cast into the
lake of fire, it cannot mean the annihilation of
Satan, but his eternal ...
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