I've been thinking (this Christmas day) about what might be the greatest gift God has given mankind. Many will say, "Salvation and eternal life!" And I will not argue against that answer but I will suggest a qualification: Perhaps the greatest gift God has given to this earth, to all His creation in all the universe (all the worlds) [Hebrews 1:1-3], is the gift of freedom of choice.
There are (at least) four things God cannot do: 1. He can not coerce any being (angelic or human) to love and serve Him (Satan is the apogee of examples in this matter); 2. He can not forgive sin without the shedding of blood (Christ is our Perfect example in this matter); 3. He can not save without faith; and 4; He can not lie [Titus 1:2]. [Thanks to David Asscherick, from whom I stole two of these].
Joshua--a type of Christ--led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Jesus Christ will soon lead His children into the heavenly Promised Land. That is...all who exercise the choice to follow Him both here on earth and (very soon) into the eternal life He has promised. Every person is free to make the choice between eternal life and eternal death. Joshua said to the children of Israel,"Chose ye this day whom you will serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" Joshua 24:15. This is the way it is because this is the way it has to be.
If Christ were to coerce any being--earthly or heavenly--He would be acting outside the boundaries of everything understood about Him and His divinity. In other words, He would be very unlike God and more like a god. Satan has always wanted to be like God but he cannot because he was the first to possess and exercise every character trait that is the antithesis of God.
In His pure, holy, perfect love, God is bound to Himself: He cannot lie nor can He be a lie. Therefore, each of us is free to choose destruction. But it doesn't end there because those who choose destruction too often take others with them either by perverted example or by coercion. The only thing Satan has done perfectly is to distort the character of God by his perfect example of evil and to coerce untold numbers of mankind (and one-third of the angels) to reject God and elect self destruction.
Blessings this Christmas day and every day. e.c.