In a previous post I critiqued the idea that God loves Satan. That post was inspired by Tyler McNabb and William Craig defending that God does love Satan. Here I will expound what can and cannot be meant by “love” in this context. There are several possibilities: (1) God loves Satan df= God is actively attempting to bring Satan closer to Himself through a redemptive process.
(2) God loves Satan df= God wishes the best for Satan and would bring him to redemption if possible
(3) God loves Satan df= God has goodwill towards Satan
I believe (1) has no plausible defense. Revelation 20:10 shows the devils fate, ” And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (KJV) This verse also suggests against (2). Does God really wish the best for Satan if He will be tormented forever? Perhaps, there is some kind of theory of justice where this is the best for Satan, but any kind of theory that suggests that will be dubious. And it reasonable to assume that God could keep Satan simply locked up in chains. If that is the case, there is something a little less than torment suggested by this verse that God can do. In addition, it is odd to suggest that God loves a person if redemption was possible. For example, if I had a sister God would love her. However, I don’t have a sister and thus, there is no one for God to love. But if conditions were different and I had a sister then redemption would be possible and God would want her to be saved. But she does not exist, so redemption is not possible, and there is no love. But, Satan does exist. However, there is no reason to suppose he is capable of redemption. Thus, we are left with definition (3). Which states God wishes Satan would have chosen differently (at best). If this is what they mean by love, I think their definition of love is weak. God has always shown love by actions of revealing and healing. In the same way, when people speak of God’s love they mean that God is active and drawing them closer in addition to wanting what is best for them. Given that there is no adequate definition of love for Satan defended, I can only conclude this love isn’t for the full agape love most people mean.