Satan's actions during this time were undoubtedly sinful and wicked, and betrayed a lack of love for both God and his Son. And yet, it was evidently in accord with God's will that Satan do exactly what he did, for it was the spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tried by Satan (Matt. 4:1; Mark 1:12). Had it not been God's will for Jesus to undergo this trial by Satan, the spirit would not have led Jesus into the wilderness to be tried by him. Thus, we have yet another example of the sinful activity of Satan being in accord with the counsel of God's will.
It is clearly stated in Scripture that Satan has been sinning "from the beginning" (1 John 3:8) and that Satan has been a man-killer "from the beginning" (John 8:44). From the beginning of what? Evidently, the beginning of his creation, or existence. When Christ used the same expression in reference to Adam and Eve (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6), the "beginning" in view refers to the time of their creation - i.e., the beginning of their existence. When used in reference to Satan, therefore, it is most natural to understand the "beginning" to refer to the time of his creation - i.e., the beginning of his existence.
What then of God's being represented as grievously regretting his decision to make man? This is likely an example of the literary device known as anthropomorphism. God's "regret" should not be understood any more literally than what we read in Gen 2:9 (where God is represented as being ignorant of Adam's location in the garden of Eden), Gen 9:13-17 (where God sets the rainbow in the sky in order "to remember the age-abiding covenant" he made with Noah), or Gen 18:20-21 (where God speaks as if he doesn't have full knowledge of the past or present). God is described as regretting his decision to create mankind to give emphasis to the radical wickedness and corruption of mankind at this time and to the unexpected, cataclysmic event that was about to transpire to remedy this problem.
According to what Mr. Farwell seems to believe, God's plan and
expectation when he created the heavens and the earth was that his creation
would remain forever free from sin. If this is the case, then we have a sad and
pathetic God indeed - a God who is more deserving of our pity than our praise.
For if this were God's plan and expectation, then he experienced - and is
continuing to experience - the greatest disappointment imaginable. And not only
that, but we would have no good reason to put our trust in God. We could have
no assurance that the ultimate redemptive purpose of God will ever be
accomplished if anything has ever happened contrary to his plan and expectation
- especially if that which was contrary to his plan and expectation was the
introduction of sin and evil into the universe. If, however, God's sovereign
plan all along was that sin and evil would enter his creation, remain for a
time, and then be abolished through the redemptive work of his Son, then his
plan is truly the expression of a perfectly wise, competent and good Being.