One of the explanations when I was first coming to understand why Jesus' sacrifice was necessary was something along the lines of: Sin separates us from God. God can not be around sinners, so with Jesus' sacrifice wiping away our sin, we can be with God once more.

But if God cannot be around sin, how is it that Satan was able to go before him in the book of Job ?

6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.

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    Where does the idea come from that GOD and sin can't be in the same place at the same time? The incarnation completely refutes that idea for me, seeing as GOD made him who knew no sin (himself) to be sin that we might become the righteousness of GOD. I feel like the idea that GOD and sin cannot be inthe same place is a tenet of evangelicalism today that is straight-out unbiblical and has gone too long unquestioned.
    – jchaffee
    Oct 7 '11 at 19:13

Given that God is able to do as he wishes, the question is more whether sinners can be around God. The text is pretty clear that God permits Satan into his presence so he can show the faithfulness of his servant, Job.

Throughout the scriptures and in other places we find that God can 'reveal' himself or be 'in the presence of' sinners in some fashion; and that he is able to mediate that experience to allow communication. If this was not so, there would be no faith at all!

In Orthodox theology, what is at stake is not God being able to be around sinners, but the experience of sinners in the presence of God. Hence, we see it does not tell us in the text what Satan's experience of being around God was, but we can only assume it was not pleasant.

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    Yes I think that the question should be rephrased. "How can Satan be around God?" Sep 6 '11 at 16:30

Considering the omnipresence of God, a good question to ask would be, "How could God not be around Satan?" Psalm 139 as well as other places describe how God is everywhere and fills heaven and earth.

There is, however, a distinction in the impact of His presence. For instance, if the police show up while a crime is taking place, how can they tell the difference between the criminal and the victim? The answer, of course, is that the criminal runs in fear, while the victim is relieved. Two people with two very different responses to the presence of the police.

Thus, Adam and Eve hide from God, Cain tries to excuse his responsibility, many people try their best to convince themselves that God does not exist. Adam said it well, "I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked (shame), so I hid."

Two people can be in the same room, and a married couple can even sleep in the same bed, but they can be completely isolated from each other--not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. So, it's possible for God and Satan to be in close proximity, yet be completely isolated.

So, God's presence does fill heaven and earth, but the response to His presence varies greatly. The response can be joy or terror, acceptance or condemnation, communion or isolation.

  • Narnian, I realize this post was from 2011 but I really appreciate what you have said here. It has brought great clarity to one of my questions. Thank you! God bless you!
    – user23793
    Oct 14 '15 at 15:00

Good question. The question revolves around the fact that Satan was around God. The point here is that Satan was not legally condemed, because there was no proof that he was the one doing all the bad actions. Sure, God knows that he did it. But in order to properly condemn Satan of his sins, which came to the sacrifice of his only son, Jesus. This is where crucifixion comes from. In order to be a witness of Satan's sins, he had to be crucified. Why do you think Jesus was hesitated in prospect of being crucified? It is not because of pain, but the prospect of having to face the revolting hatred and sins of Satan, directed towards Jesus. Think, Jesus is repulsed by the sins. When he was hung on the cross, and when God turned away from Jesus:

46 About three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" This means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

At this, Satan took the chance and took his hatred out on Jesus. Since nobody was looking, he took at as a chance. However, what he had not expected was for Jesus resurrecting. Since he was resurrected, Jesus became witness for Satan's sins, and was able to fully condemn him.

However, it is certain that Job was written before this, however there is no exact pin-pointed location of when. But looking that the original text, it is safe to assume that story of Job occured at the time of Abraham, if not Isaac and Jacob. From there it seems to be that it occured during Jacob's generation. Satan was officialy rebelled, but he was still at the point able to condemn us through the Laws of God, him being not condemned through it before the crucifixion.

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