God and the Devil: What If Satan Says He's Sorry?
One Bad Apple
If you live in America, as well as many other civilized nations of the world, you are most likely aware at least to some extent of the story of Lucifer and his fall from grace whether you are a Christian or not. This tale, though Biblical in origin, has been told many times not only in churches and houses of worship, but also in many books, films, and other media.There are many variations and even some disagreement as to whether Lucifer (the fallen angel) and Satan (the Devil) are the same entity, but for the purpose of this hub, let's set those conflicts aside and assume that Satan is indeed Lucifer, God's adversary who in some way brought about his own downfall and as a result has sworn to try to lure away as many souls from God as possible.
So that would make him a pretty bad apple, wouldn't you agree? I mean, here's a guy who is out there constantly tempting anyone and everyone 24/7, always looking for a way to steer that innocent little girl down the road to drugs and prostitution or that faithful husband into the arms of that formerly innocent little girl who now makes her living as a prostitute to support her drug habit. While he is at it, Satan probably tries to get the guy to join the girl in partaking of the crack just to get him hooked on drugs for good measure. Satan spreads the seed of destruction everywhere -- envy, greed , lust, betrayal... Mankind with his flimsy free will barely stands a chance, right?
The Ultimate Do-Over
Well, you say, humankind has free will and can choose which path he follows. Furthermore, since Jesus was kind enough to die for our sins, even when a man makes a mistake, no matter how horrible that mistake, he can simply ask for God's forgiveness and he will be washed clean of his sins. Now when you think about it, that is an awesome deal. Of course, if you simply think you can live life on the wild side and then wipe your slate once the party is over, well, you might want to think again. It probably has something more to do with your intentions and you attitude. You have to put forth the effort to at least try or at the very least truly recognize the errors of your ways and repent.
So sincerity is likely the key to earning your place in Heaven. You have to truly admit your sins and have a real desire to live a good life. You must put forth real effort and feel remorse when you fail. Otherwise you end up in the fiery pit with Ol' Beelzebub doing the Brimstone Shuffle. You have to wonder if Lucifer once sat at God's side and saw all the joy and beauty in the world, wouldn't he at some point just maybe feel a tiny bit of guilt, maybe a little sadness about what he had lost, or maybe just recognize the fact that he is basically not a good being no matter how much power he might have? Despite all his followers and believers, what if he came to understand that he has not lived a good life throughout the eons? What if he wanted to change?
Can a Heartless Being Have a Change of Heart?
Now suppose Satan, just like you and me, has free will. And if you think about it, he almost has to be free to make his own decisions. Otherwise, if he had no choice but to be the complete jerk that he is, would he truly be evil? He would just be a force of nature like the rain, the wind, or Chuck Norris. So in order for him to truly be the Prince of Darkness, he has to have the ability and intelligence to understand who he is, what he does, the results of these actions, and how he can change if he so chooses. Which brings us to our main question...
What if Satan said he is sorry? What if he truly came to see the horror he has caused, the lives he has ruined, the destruction he has left in his wake... and asked God for forgiveness? What if the Devil got down on his knees and begged God to please forgive him, admitting the error of his ways, promising in good faith to change those ways, and truly was willing to make the effort to do so. What would God do? What could He do? You might say Jesus died for everyone's sins so that would include Lucifer, but then Jesus only died so that man might be forgiven and Lucifer is not exactly a man.
Sympathy For The Devil
So where does this leave us? If Lucifer has free will (and did we not decide that he must?) and truly were to repent and ask forgiveness, would God refuse him on the technicality that he is not a man. This does not seem fair. Oh, but you say, perhaps the key is that in God is all knowing, so he knows Satan will never ask for forgiveness. But wouldn't this mean that Ol' Scratch never really had a chance. And if he is destined to fulfill a certain role in this eternal drama, doesn't that negate his supposed free will?
Well, all this has my head spinning like Linda Blair! Of course, we are only speaking hypothetically here because certainly the Devil as represented in the Bible and M. Night Shyamalan movies is not going to change his evil ways. It defines his persona to such an extent that he likely cannot change, free will be... well, damned. It is forever his task to stir the pot, shake the tree, and rattle the cages. But still, you just have to wonder... What if he did? What if he did?