What was the purpose of Satan’s Fall?
The short answer: To bring Jesus glory, to purify us and to give us grace.
God has a purpose for everything, even Satan himself, as we read in Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Yet, there is a tendency within Christendom to fear Satan and to ascribe to him all kinds of evils in the world. And while he is the destroyer bent on deceiving and undoing our faith in God, he always has been and always will be under the sovereign control of God himself. His fall was not a surprise to God. God didn’t lose control of Satan and so banish him to earth, that would mean that God was no longer God, no longer all-powerful and sovereign King of all. But God had a plan for Satan’s fall, a use for it even. The fall of Satan, his every existence here on earth, was meant to be. But how can that be? How can we possibly believe that? Let’s follow the logic.
If Satan had not come to earth then there would be no evil in the garden and therefore no sin and so no need for a Savior. But because of the presence of evil, sin exists, and because of our sin we need salvation. And because of that we need Jesus, who we cannot be saved without. So because of our sin Jesus becomes our Savior and so gets glory. And therefore, because of Satan’s fall, Jesus gets the glory.
But that’s not all. Not only does the presence of Satan bring Jesus glory, it also serves to purify those who love him. I can say that because according to Romans 5:3-4 suffering purifies us. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” To make this connection then to Satan, you have to understand that all suffering is brought on by the presence of sin in the world. And as Satan led Adam and Eve into sin he ushered sin and suffering into our lives. But yet God uses our suffering to purify us, so suffering is ultimately from God’s will, not Satan’s. So we can say that Satan’s fall was used to purify us through our suffering.
Far from being something beyond God’s control, the fall of Satan was meant to bring Jesus glory and to purify his people, and ultimately to give us grace. Grace is the kindness that God shows us when we sin and he doesn’t punish us for that sin. The amount of kindness, or grace, God shows us increases as sin increases: “Rules were added to increase the failure. But where sin increased, God’s kindness increased even more. As sin ruled by bringing death, God’s kindness would rule by bringing us his approval. This results in our living forever because of Jesus Christ our Lord.1” Romans 5:20-21. So we get grace, only because of our sin. People who have no sin have no need for grace. An there is sin in our hearts because Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin. Therefore, the purpose of Satan’s fall was ultimately to establish the reason for God to give us grace. Romans 11:32 confirms this when it says, “God has placed all people into the prison of their own disobedience so that he could be merciful to all people.”
So the next time that you worry over what Satan is doing, or over the presence of evil in the world, remember the gospel and sovereignty of God and your place in his hands. And know, as Joseph did in Genesis 50:20, that whatever others intend for evil God intends for good.