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The relationship between God and evil has long been a central issue in Christianity and is one of the points that atheists always bring up. These are not original questions, but I am curious as to what people here who believe that satan exists think. I would also be interested in the Islamic view.

1. Is satan a part of God's plan? If so, can he really be considered evil if his actions ultimately contribute to the greater good? In other words, does God require that satan be evil in order for God's purpose to be accomplished? In this case, satan becomes a somewhat tragic figure, a bit like Judas.

If satan is not part of God's plan, but instead is attempting to defeat God's plan, then what does this say about God's omnipotence if He allows evil to exist?

2. I have heard it argued that free will, the capacity to make moral choices, requires the existence of evil. Afterall, how can one have the free will to choose to do good without having the simultaneous option of doing evil? At the end times when satan is finally defeated, does that mean that the option of doing evil also ends (in other words, can evil exist independent of satan)? Would this also mean that we will no longer have free will or that free will becomes irrelevant (will we still have choices to make)?

3. Thomas Aquinas argued that evil was the absence of good. Others argue that evil is an active force, which would be more consistent with the concept of satan. If the latter, did satan create evil, i.e., is satan a creator? Or did satan simply uncover evil that already existed in the universe created by God (leaving the uncomfortable conclusion that God created evil)?
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