The most pivotal point in Goethe’s Faust is the conversation between God and the devil Mephistopheles in Heaven (Magnùsdòttir, 2015). During this correspondence with God, Mephistopheles loathes God’s creation and the mankind’s faith in him (Magnùsdòttir, 2015). This leads to God agreeing to make a bet with Mephistopheles over Faust, a servant on Earth (Magnùsdòttir, 2015).
God believes that Faust will never turn away from him and will remain his faithful servant regardless of the challenges thrown at him to test his faith (Kierans, 2003; Magnùsdòttir, 2015).
Mephistopheles, on the other hand, is convinced that Faust will not fall short of his expectations and will fail in remaining faithful to the Lord (Kierans, 2003; Magnùsdòttir, 2015). Because of this, God permits Mephistopheles to tempt Faust and set challenges across the servant’s path (Kierans, 2003; Magnùsdòttir, 2015). God firmly believes that Faust will not falter despite the challenges Mephistopheles throws at him and he will remain steadfast in faith (Kierans, 2003; Magnùsdòttir, 2015). But apart from his confidence in his servant, God’s permission to let Faust be challenged by Mephistopheles stems from his view that as long as Faust does not “find one moment so fulfilling that he will want to stay with it forever,” he will continue to fail Mephistopheles and affirm his faith in the Lord because it is often in the presence of turmoil that a person naturally turns to God for guidance and embrace their faith in him (Kierans, 2003, p. 44). With this in mind, God permitted Mephistopheles to challenge Faust because he knew that the more his servant is challenged, the more his faith in God is strengthened (Kierans, 2003).
Kierans, K. (2003). Faust, Art, Religion. Animus, 8. Retrieved from http://www2.swgc.mun.ca/Animus/Articles/Volume%25208/kierans8
Magnùsdòttir, S.H. (2015). The Battle of Good and Evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
University of Iceland School of Humanities, Department of English. Retrieved from http://skemman.is/stream/get/1946/22867/52185/1/The_Battle_of_Good_and_Evil_BA
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