Lou: Something you said reminds me of another question that I should ask. If God is all-powerful, why isn’t He able or willing to save everyone? You’ve mentioned how this approach might turn the whole universe into a prison house . But isn’t there a way God can lovingly save everybody?
Graham: Well, if salvation just meant admitting us into the kingdom, He could. He has the power to do that. He even has the power to put us all in terrorized subjection, and then have us grumbling for the rest of eternity. What human father would want that for his family? No matter how powerful a father is, he cannot enforce love and trust in his family. You cannot terrorize your children into a happy home. It just doesn’t work. They may behave as long as you’re around because you scare them so, but once they’ve grown up and gone their own ways, they will do what they wish. So I think people who have families and teaches of children are in a position to understand what God is trying to do. He is omnipotent, to be sure. But you cannot produce love and trust by force. It simply can’t be done; hence the length of the experiment, and the extent of the scriptures.
Lou: Here’s another question: “If Satan was the first creature to rebel, where did the idea of sin originate? Or was there sin before Satan sinned?”
Graham: Well, there’s no record of there being any sin before Lucifer. According to the Biblical record, the whole diabolical thing was created within the mind of the most magnificent of all God’s beings. It wasn’t that he lacked intelligence, or that he had a bent toward evil, or that he didn’t know God. He lived in the presence of God. He knew what God was like. In fact, I think he knew God so well that he dared entertain these thoughts without fear. He knew how gracious God was. That is what makes his rebellion so diabolical, so utterly rebellious. And of course it’s also insane, that a creature would think that he could be equal with God. He even asked his creator to get down on His knees and worship him. This whole insane thing was created in the mind of Lucifer himself. But maybe if we could explain sin, we could find some excuse for it, some rationalization.
Lou: When you say “created in the mind of Lucifer”; you don’t mean God created it there, do you?
Graham: No, Lucifer did it all by himself. We are quite capable of that too. But there’s something good in it. While God is not the author of sin, He has actually created us capable of thinking things like that up. When He made us free, He made us creative like Himself, and what a risk He took in doing that! Evidently freedom means everything to God. So even the terrible thing Lucifer did speaks well of God. In light of that, how could I say to God, “take some freedom back from me?”
Lou: This same person went on to ask, “Does Satan really think he’s going to win in the end? Or does he know he’ll lose, and he’s just trying to take down as many people as he can?”
Graham: I think that’s rather well said. When Hitler realized he had lost the war, he announced that he would take the whole Third Reich down with him. And the world said, “He’s mad. He’s a maniac.” I also believe that when Lucifer realized that he had lost the war—and Revelation says that he knows that he has but a short time left (Rev 12:12)—he dedicated himself to taking down with him as many as he can.