Friday, August 24, 2007

The Devil's Sin

1. Contra Porphyry,{1} Beelzebub is not naturally wicked.{2} For as an intellectual substance, he is naturally inclined towards good which is the intellectually apprehensible object of the will. He did not sin in the first instant of his creation.{3} Jesus did not teach that He did, but simply that he never ceased to be evil after his first sin.{4} For God, the agent Who created the angels, is not the cause of sin (the evil of fault) and the operation of the angels came from God Who created their nature. But there was no interval between Satan's creation and his fall. For he used his free will in the first instant of his creation and was created in grace, and if he merited in the first instant of his creation then he would have received the beatific vision.

2. Now Satan was absolutely the highest angel God created.{5} Thus he is called Lucifer on account of the state from which he fell.{6} He was set over the terrestrial order as Rex Mundi.{7} The Seraphim are the highest order of angels{8} and Satan was from the order of the Cherubim.{9} Given the Catholic angelic hierarchy then, how is he said to be the highest angel? He is called a cherub (full of knowledge) instead of a seraph (on fire) because knowledge is compatible with mortal sin but the heat of charity is not compatible with mortal sin.{10}

3. And how could God’s will be frustrated in the noblest creature? This question is based on a false premise; God's will is not frustrated in the reprobate or the elect since He foreknows and makes glory from both. The wise God made it so that the intellectual creature so that even an exalted one such as Lucifer could use its own will in order to act for its own end, and thus could stray from its due end.{11} Further, though Lucifer's inclination to good may have been exceedingly high, he was not forced to incline towards good contrary to free will and hence he was able to not follow it.{12}

4. Satan caused the other angels to fall, not via coercion, but via encouragement,{13} and the cause and effect occurred in the same instant, since no angel needs to take time to deliberate and choose and consent, as we do. Of the seven deadly sins, only pride and envy can exist in a demon with regard to affection of their spiritual nature.{14} Beelzebub’s first sin was pride. For he first desired not to be subject to a superior when he was supposed to. His second sin was envy because he coveted the excellence which ceased to be singular when God, against Beelzebub’s will, used man for His glory.{15}

5. Satan sinned by seeking to be as God, not be equality, but by likeness.{16} In other words, he sinned by seeking final beatitude of his own power, which is proper to God alone. He desired final beatitude without God’s assistance by grace.{17} And thus he evilly wanted to have the authority of dominion over other beings. The will of Satan and his demons is forever obstinate in evil.{18} This sin is still in him according to desire, but he obviously doesn’t think he can get what he sought at this point. In the same way, a lustful man who remains in the same location while the lustful woman he knows moves to another country would fornicate if they could, i.e. if they weren’t so geographically separated.{19} Demons always sin when they act of their deliberate will; for they may tell the truth so as to trick somebody and when they unwillingly confess the truth when compelled by the evidence,{20} as in the case of the exorcism of Nicola Aubrey when Beelzebub, Legion, Astaroth, Cerberus, and other demons were forced to confess the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.{21}

6. Satan is the most wicked and miserable being in the universe.{22} But he and his demons are not sorrow for the evil of sin on account of the sin itself, since that would mean he and his fallen angels have good will. Their sorrow is not evidence of a good will, but of their good nature which was created by God.{23}

7. The demons are subject to everlasting punishment. Origen incorrectly believed that God’s mercy will deliver the demons from their punishment after a very long time.{24} Scripture, on the other hand, teaches that the pains of Hell NEVER end.{25} If their sufferings ended then the bliss of the blessed would likewise end. God per se has mercy on everyone{26} but since His wisdom orders His mercy, the damned who are forever obstinate in evil (5) and make themselves unworthy of His mercy are not saved by His mercy. Mercy is not contrary to justice but is more than justice.{27} There is justice and mercy in every work of God.{28}

Notes and References
{1} Bishop St. Augustine the Great, Doctor of Grace, De Civ. Dei x, 11. Porphyry claimed that "There is a class of demons of crafty nature, pretending that they are gods and the souls of the dead."
{2} Pseudo-Dionysius, Div. Nom. iv.
Moreover, Lateran IV, cap. i, Firmiter credimus, says that "Diabolus enim et alii dæmones a Deo quidem naturâ creati sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali." This means that "the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil."
{3} St. Moses says [Gen 1:31], "God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good."
St. Ezekiel says [Ek 28:13,15], "You were in the pleasures of the paradise of God. … You have walked in the midst of the stones of fire; you were perfect in your ways from the day of your creation until iniquity was found in you." St. Ezekiel is representing the instantaneous spiritual movement of the free will tending towards good as a corporeal movement measured by time.
St. Isaiah says [Is 14:12], "How you are fallen, O Lucifer, who did rise in the morning!"
Origen says [Hom. i in Ek], "The serpent of old did not from the first walk upon his breast and belly."
{4} St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 8:44], "He was a murderer from the beginning."
{5} That is why the Bible says "the Devil and his angels" [Mt 25:41], "the prince of the Powers of this air" [Eph 2:2] (referring to the seventh highest circle of angels, cf. Eph 1:21), and "the dragon and his angels" [Rev 12:7].
Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, Hom. xxxiv in Ev.: Satan, "being set over all the hosts of angels, surpassed them in brightness, and was by comparison the most illustrious among them."
{6} Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4.
{7} St. John the Evangelist quotes our Lord as saying [Jn 14:30] "I will not now speak many things to you, for the prince of this world comes, and in Me he has not anything." Wherefore St. John Damascene says [De Fide Orth. ii, 4], "He who from among these angelic powers was set over the earthly realm, and into whose hands God committed the guardianship of the earth, was not made wicked in nature but was good, and made for good ends, and received from his Creator no trace whatever of evil in himself."
{8} St. Ezekiel says [Ek 28:14], "You were a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set you in the holy mountain of God."
{9} Pseudo-Dionysius, Coel. Hier. vi-vii.
{10} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{11} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{12} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{13} St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 12:3-4], "And another portent appeared in Heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth…"
{14} Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Civ. Dei xiv, 3] that Satan "is not a fornicator nor a drunkard, nor anything of the like sort; yet he is proud and envious."
{15} St. Thomas Aquinas, 1.63.2.
{16} St. Isaiah says of Satan [Is 14:13-14], "You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to Heaven, above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.'"
{17} St. Anselm, De casu diaboli, iv: "He sought that which he would have come had he stood fast."
{18} King St. David says [Ps 73:23], "The pride of them that hate You, ascends continually."
{19} Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{20} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{21} "Satan's Aliases." The Banana Republican. 1 June 2007. 24 Aug. 2007 <>.
{22} St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 18:7], "As much as she has glorified herself, and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give Ye to her."
{23} Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Civ. Dei xix, 13] that "sorrow for good lost by punishment is the witness to a good nature."
{24} Bishop St. Augustine the Great, De Civ. Dei xxi.
{25} St. Matthew, quoting Jesus, says [Mt 25:41], "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels."
St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 20:9-10], "The devil who seduced them was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast and false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
{26} King St. Solomon says [Wis 11:24], "You have mercy upon all, O Lord, because You can do all things."
{27} St. James the Less says [Jam 2:13], "Mercy exalts itself above judgment."
{28} King St. David says [Ps 24:10], "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth."

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