Dr. McNabb’s post can be found here: https://tylerdaltonmcnabb.com/2016/06/26/god-loves-satan-and-i-do-too/
His argument for loving Satan is simple:
(1) God loves every person as much as possible.
(2) Satan is a person.
(3) God loves Satan as much as possible. [Therefore] (4) God loves Satan.
It is clearly the case that (4) does not follow from the premises. Dr. McNabb would need the following proposition p: every person is lovable to make his argument deductively valid. If he does not intend this argument to be deductive then the premises would still be needed for an inductive argument. But what defense can we make for a person who doubts p? I think it unlikely that there is any strong reasons we can give for p. However, let’s place this to the side and examine the second part of his argument.
Here is Dr. McNabb’s second argument: “Well, God tells us to be perfect as He is perfect (Matt 5:48). In fact, the context of that commandment is in reference to loving our enemies. And can you think of a greater enemy than Satan? It seems to me that we should follow God’s command and love Satan.”
Here is the argument formally:
- We are to be perfect as God is perfect
- God tell us to love our enemies and God loves his enemies
- Satan is an enemy
- We should love Satan
This argument is much stronger than the first. I am very sympathetic to calls of loving our enemies. Anyone who knows me knows that this call to love thy enemy played a large part in convincing me of pacifism. However, I still disagree with the conclusion that we should love Satan. First, the bible is not a philosophical work so there is much in its language which is loose. The Jewish people would often use hyperbole to make their points clear. So, what data do we have to clear this up? First, we are to model after Jesus, and he loved his earthly enemies dearly. You can see this in his crucifixion when he asked the Father to forgive those who were killing him. However, we have no example of Jesus loving Satan. The closest thing we have is that Jesus granted Legion’s request to be cast into pigs (Luke 8:30). This can be seen in the light that Jesus had compassion on Legion. Presumably Jesus cares about animal’s well-being and having demons in them would not be good for their well-being. Thus, if Jesus is moral, then demons here have more worth than the animals. This is why he granted their request, out of compassion. But all this is hypothetical. I do not think we should pretend to know the mind of God in this matter. He could very easily had some other reasons for doing this that we cannot understand. In fact most of the time Jesus talks about Satan his tone seems to be harsh. For example, John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This verse isn’t directly about Satan but it isn’t a loving picture of him either. One point that is salient “whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature”. This leads to the question how can the person whose very nature is lying be healed without losing their essence? There was a time when Satan was not a lier, but that time has past. It seems that if God were to “heal” Satan he would have to go against Satan’s own will, which would be unloving. If God cannot do anything for Satan, then there is nothing we can do for him either. Our prayers for Satan would likely be useless since there is no way that Satan would desired to be saved given his new nature. For these reasons I do not love Satan. My primary reason for not loving the greatest enemy is that there is no clear action of Jesus or the apostle doing so.