Why can’t demons and fallen angels repent and be saved? The answer to this is going to show us something wonderful about ourselves, so hang in there with me. Why can’t the kingdom of darkness be converted? After all, the Enemy deceived them same as us, yet we have been given the opportunity to repent from our allegiance to Satan and return to God. Why can’t they? Why won’t they?
There have been people in church history who thought that the demons and fallen angels would be saved in the end, because God is so magnificently forgiving, His grace is so good and His power so invincible. Surely He will forgive them! In reality it’s not a question of forgiveness. God evidently has is it in His heart to forgive anyone for anything. Conceivably the demons and fallen angels could be forgiven, but that’s not what’s in play here. There are two sides to this enigma.
First of all the demons and fallen angels absolutely don’t want to repent. They have made their minds up and have no desire to change them, being utterly committed to both their pride and their rebellion. They have come into entire agreement with evil and the Evil One and quite literally see no reason to change their minds: They are sin personified. We’re only half committed to sin and evil compared to them!
The other side to this is the sheer impossibility of them being drawn into repentance due to the radically different environment in which they live. This takes some explaining. They live in (what to us) is the invisible and spiritual realm of creation; we live in the visible and material world, blind to that other realm. How little we appreciate it that we cannot see the invisible realm! How often we lament “If only I could see God…” And yet our hope of repentance and redemption lies in the mercy-gift that our spiritual blindness is due to our sight being shrouded by the material realm.
Spiritual blindness is the baleful effect that happened to Adam and Eve when they fell into sin: They could no longer behold their God with a true and accurate idea of who He really is. They lost sight of His Image, turned and hid from Him instead. But the Lord prepared the material realm as a safety net to catch them when they fell away. True, they were blind to Him most of the time, just as we are, but they could still be reached by Him through conscience, through their senses, through His signs in creation and through His word.
By leaving this “back door” open the Lord ensured that He would have a pathway for revealing Himself to His fallen children. By degrees the Holy Spirit works with all of us from birth on, seeking to turn us from darkness to light, from foolishness to wisdom, and thereby opening us to revelations that will return our hearts to God. The very blindness that keeps us from seeing God enables Him to reveal Himself to us in minuscule measures that we can tolerate.
The demons and fallen angels were bereft that grace. God was at all times and in all places fully revealed to them in the invisible, spiritual realm they occupy. Those who chose to fall away did not fall into spiritual blindness as we did. They could still see everything about God—their eyes are fully opened to His Light. Since they never lost sight of who He is (as we did), there was nothing further God could reveal about Himself to them. Because they turned against the Light that eternally shines in the heavenly realm, there was nowhere they could go to get away from it in their rebellion, except to flee into spiritual darkness. They live in everlasting darkness to this day in order to hide from the hated Light of the One that they utterly reject.
We can be drawn out of our darkness by having our blinded eyes opened by the Light of Christ, albeit through scant and scattered revelations, lest we, too, turn to flee. Their eyes, however, are forever opened to the Light they hate to behold. There is nothing left to show them that might entice them to return.
We share a piece of this problem for our eyes, too, are sensitive to too much Light. If God suddenly revealed Himself more fully, we would all fall down like dead men at His feet as John “the beloved disciple” did at Patmos when Jesus suddenly appeared. At the Last Supper John was comfortable enough to lean against Jesus’ breast—in no small part because his eyes were blind to the full glory of who Jesus forever is.
As we grow spiritual eyes (through receiving and believing what He reveals) perhaps one day, even in this life, our natural eyes will be opened to behold Him without flinching. As it is we are mercifully allowed to grow along a path of trust and obedience to what He has so far revealed. Perhaps, it’s time to thank God that He is still so hidden from our natural eyes and that we only see “in part.”
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