“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” – Verbal Kint/Keyser Soze
It is common place to place blame for evil on the devil. Everything that is bad about the world can be heaped on his shoulders, and that’s all well and good. But who is the devil really? What is his mission? Where did he come from?
Now, Christians believe that God is good, God is perfect, and God is all-seeing, and all-knowing. He knows what you’re going to do before you do it and He has never changed His nature. God made man and gave him free will, and God also made angels, who have no free will. And therein lies the rub.
For you see, Satan aka Lucifer, aka the devil, used to be an angel. Then, as the story goes, he rebelled and was cast out, falling to earth where he began to use his angelic powers to oppose the will of the Creator, tempting mankind, and scoring an instant success with Eve and the forbidden fruit.
Now, angels have no free will, they do as they’re told, carrying messages to mankind and occasionally slaughtering a few hundred thousand Egyptian children to make the point that their boss is not to be fucked with and when He says “Let my people go” you let them go (despite shoving His hand up Pharaoh’s arse and working his mouth like a puppet so the poor man said no all the time). But I digress.
The point is, if there was no evil before Lucifer was made, and God is perfect, and Lucifer has no free will, then all he has ever done is follow his programming like any properly made machine. And follow it perfectly because his maker is perfect. Therefore, God deliberately created an evil angel, and is simultaneously the source of good and evil.
And like any good soldier, the devil remembers to check in with central command for updates to his mission and any special assignments. The best illustration of this occurs in the book of Job. The sons of God came to present themselves before Him, and Satan came among them, and God asked him where he had been, and he replied that he’d been travelling the world. Whereupon God asked him if in his travels he’d seen a man as faithful as Job, and Satan replied that Job was faithful only because God had blessed him with riches and a good family. And then God basically ordered Satan to go whack Job’s children, and destroy his business to prove that his faithfulness came from much deeper roots.
Now, get this: Satan not only has free access to Heaven, he is still considered to be one of the sons of God. And when he showed up God didn’t demand to know who let him in or what he was doing there, then throw him out, and fire whoever was on gate duty, oh no. Rather, God demanded to know where the heck he’d been, then gave him a special job. All of which makes Satan an elite general who is permitted to pick and choose his missions, but is working toward a general strategic objective.
The Bible tells you that ultimately, God will triumph over Satan. Which means the creation of Satan was a Machiavellian power play that the man himself would be extremely appreciative of. For one important piece of advice Niccolo gave the Prince was that he ought to create an enemy for himself that he could defeat, but make sure this enemy was not perceived as too weak to be a challenge to himself. Thus, when this enemy is defeated, the Prince’s prestige would rise.
So, Satan serves two purposes: firstly, he’s an “enemy” who has been created so he can be defeated at some point in the future. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, he serves as a figure everyone can blame their inherent character flaws on, and blame for all the ills that assail them. For, if I personally came by your house one day and gave you a million dollars and then the next day I personally came by and burned your house to the ground and murdered your children, you’d say I was one crazy, twisted, fucking bastard, and you’d never want to have anything to do with me.
However, if I sent someone to burn your house down and murder your children, you’d still think I was a good guy, as long as you don’t connect me to the murdering arsonist I unleashed on you. And if you do, I can always claim that he’s a former associate who went rogue. Why would I do that to you? Well, because I can.
And that, is perhaps Satan’s greatest purpose. He’s ostensibly the ex-servant of God who turned evil, defied his master and came down here to screw up this perfect creation of His. He’s not of God, he’s just a twisted, sick bastard and one day God is going to punch his ticket and put an end to his reign over the world.
When you read between the lines, you discover that Satan is no more than a highly dedicated servant carrying out the instructions of his master, and even though those instructions make him appear to be opposed to his master, he fits into an overall game plan.
I say the greatest trick God ever pulled was convincing the world that the devil isn’t actually working for Him, and has been the entire time. Which makes Satan the world’s greatest and most successful double agent, for he isn’t actually playing for "the other side." The other side doesn’t exist.