How Far Does Forgiveness Go?

So there is this thought I have been sitting on, and I’m not sure how to tactfully or sensitively present it. I actually wrote on it, but deleted it when I decided the tone was just a little too “flip” for the subject. I want to talk about Satan. (I can hear the Church Lady right now… ) Or rather, I want to pose a question that has been bouncing around in my brain. Please keep in mind that my brain is sopping in pregnancy hormones, and I may be nowhere near rational, and I wouldn’t have a clue. If there is doctrine or even opinion out there on this, I would be fascinated to hear it.

So, as I contemplate my own parenting, or lack thereof these days, I find myself thinking about how our parenting is a microcosm of the Lord’s macrocosm. I have an unruly second son who is really trying my patience these days, and forgive the serious stretch, but I find myself wondering if the Lord also loves his unruly second son. Which leads me to ask, when all is said and done, the prophesies are fulfilled, and the sorting done, will there ever be forgiveness for Satan?

This is not a question I am aching to stand up and ask the ladies in Relief Society, and the very idea of “googling” anything with the word “Satan” in it is ludicrous- I would get back miles of crap and nothing close to resembling a real answer. But I can’t shake the question.

Satan was originally Lucifer, Son of the Morning Star, and was, I assume, loved by his Father. Now, knowing what I do (limited, at best) of the pre-mortal existence, and by extension, the Plan of Salvation, isn’t Satan, in his fallen state, still fulfilling an important part of his Father’s Plan? Would our agency and ability to make the choices that progress us towards exaltation be possible without temptation and sin in the world? In other words, could we really choose Good, if there were no Bad?

And, if Satan is necessary, is it possible that the forgiveness, love and miracle of the atonement could cover even him? In my mind, this seems likely- the atonement is infinite, and the love of Christ without measure. It is impossible for me to imagine the Lord does not love his bad children- even the baddest of them all. So if I, in my fallen state here in mortality, can see how much a parent loves a child, even when they are bad, how much greater must be the love of God?

Is there any doctrine on this? Or am I just way out in left field?

8 thoughts on “How Far Does Forgiveness Go?

  1. It is so funny that you should be asking these questions. The very same questions have come up in both our Relief Society and Sunday School classes lately. This is the general consensus of conclusions we came to (and they make sense to me – this is what I believe.)

    First of all, there is NO forgiveness for Satan. He’s done. He did not keep his first estate and has no right whatsoever to anything involving the second estate. As for our Heavenly Father’s love for even his wicked children, we have no doubt that he loves us when we make even drastic mistakes, but as for whether or not he loves Satan – we just don’t know for sure. Perhaps worrying about it could be considered “looking beyond the mark.” I don’t know. Whether he does or whether he doesn’t is of little or no consequence to us. Satan as the Son of the Morning had all the information that he needed to become exalted as every other son of God. He used his agency to fight against it. With that in mind, knowing that we really DO need to have opposition in all things – to know sadness before we could know joy, etc. – the question is brought up, did God arrange for Lucifer to become Satan to fulfill that purpose? NO! Lucifer was NOT MEANT to be Satan. The Lord does not plan for ANY of his children to fail. Lucifer was meant to be a glorified Son of God like everyone else. God did, however, in his infinite foresight, know that Lucifer would use his free agency and lose his first estate. It’s not unlike Joseph Smith. Joseph was told that if he had not chosen to fulfill the things he was fore-ordained to fulfill, that someone else would be called in his stead because the works of God CANNOT be thwarted. The plan is flawless and will go forward no matter what. If Lucifer had not chosen what he did, someone else would have.

    No, there is no forgiveness for Satan. He used his agency with his eyes wide open knowing exactly what he would be giving up. God may love him still. I just don’t know how to answer that one for sure. But I understand your concern.

    We also need to remember, though, that Satan is completely unrepentant. We know that we need to repent and become humble to receive the gifts of the atonement. Satan is so evil now that he will never repent. He will never give in. He has no claim on forgiveness. We all still do. Aren’t we blessed to have our free agency and to be able to act on it? I love the gospel! I love that we each have opportunity to do better again every time we fall. We all have a choice and – since we’re here – we know that we’ve each already made a very, very good choice! That’s awesome to comtemplate!

  2. Here is what I think, and yes, I am limited in my knowledge.

    The power of the Atonement could cover Satan, yes. It is infinite, and infinte has no bounds. But it won’t, simply because Satan has done and continues to do everything in his power to avoid everything about Christ and the Atonement. But IF Satan should choose to accept it, and have Christ as his Savior, then it would be a whole new ball game. I don’t see that happening any time soon, but I’m not God.

    And yes, I still believe HF loves him. Uncoditional love is uncoditional love.

  3. I believe God loves him and all those that followed him…I also believed we all mourned and cried for our lost brothers and sisters. As far as God’s plan Satan was not a necessary part…life would have been a test and we would have been sinners with or with out Satan tossing in his temptaions.
    I do doubt there would be forgiveness for Satan..but who knows? We all have free agency and he chose and still chooses his path just like we do.

  4. This is what I think.

    Heavenly Father loves ALL his children.

    Just because my child could do something really bad, I would still love him. However I have a line as far as condoning things. Meaning somewhere in the future if my son killed someone else I would still love him but I would let him know that he crossed a line. Not in my love because I would always love him but in my acceptance. I would not condone, accept or allow him to bring acceptance of that behavior near my other children. Period. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love him. Quite the opposite, it’s because I would love him that I would not accept that behavior. I think that’s the same as Heavenly Father we have to remember that Satan effectively killed 1/3 of His children. Doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love them, just that he’s said No this is because I do love you that I’m showing you the right way.

    As far as forgiveness goes, it takes a repentatent heart and we know that Satan and the 1/3 won’t go there. Maybe that’s why there will be no forgiveness. Not that it’s not/hasn’t been offered just the the Omnicient Father KNOWS they will not repent.

  5. So is there doctrine that says there will never be repentance from Satan and the 1/3?

    I completely understand about the crossing of a line (acceptance vs. love), and I’m in no way trying to defend Satan and what he does.

    At the end of times, will there be the opportunity for these souls to repent and be forgiven for thier choices? Or is this just something there is no doctrine or firm knowledge of that we can look to?

  6. I think that it is less a matter of whether the Atonement extends that far than whether Satan and those that followed him will ever allow themselves to accept the Atonement… As far as I can tell infinite is infinite….. But it is also true that Satan sinned against the greatest knowledge and light… eternal outer darkness kind of stuff.
    I’m just not convinced that “eternal (misery and endless woe…etc.)” necessarily means without and end in time… I mean the Atonement was eternal and yet it took place in a measureable amount of time that had an end…. So perhaps eternal in that sense has more to do with the amount and extent of the pain/punishment/suffering than how long a soul will spend in it.

    So no… I have no official doctrine on the status of Satan’s soul….. but I don’t suspect that God has given up on any of his children…. he just can’t force them into eternal life. He has to wait until they choose that way on their own…. and I suspect He’s willing to wait forever, or as long as it takes……. but will Satan ever make that choice? Dunno. Maybe it’s one of those eternal truths we haven’t had explained to us yet because we cannot wrap our little mortal minds around it.
    But I’m okay not knowing for now…. I seem to have my hands full just thinking about my own potential for salvation.

  7. “eternal (misery and endless woe…etc.)” necessarily means without and end in time…

    I always learned eternal when said in the scriptures was “Eternal” meaning proper noun meaning the not eternal judgement misery… but the judgement and misery of God. Eternal being the name of God. So in that sense God Knows.
    🙂 We have to remember God does know all. I’m sure his hand is still extended to all those who will repent. He would know if certain souls would eventually repent…. and those who wouldn’t. I’m ok to leave it up to him.

  8. Matt 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

    D&C 132: 27 The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.

    The one unforgiveable sin is sinning against the Holy Ghost. I read somewhere once (can’t remember where–you should do more research rather than take my word for it) that this is referring to having a full and complete knowledge of Christ and the atonement, as in having seen Him face to face, and then rejecting Him and the atonement such that you’d condone His death. I remember it being compared to actually driving the nails in yourself. Obviously, very few if any people would ever be in a position to commit that degree of sin.

    But I’d put Satan in that category.–>

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