Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stump the Chump Answer....

This week's question comes from Eva: "Should we hate the devil?"

My Answer:

Well, honestly this is a very tricky question. First, though I wish to turn your question around a little. Before we think about whether we should hate the Devil, maybe we should think about whether we should have love for him. That probably sounds strange, but some people question this as Jesus tells us we should love all people, even our enemies: "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:44-45)

Obviously the Devil is our enemy and he persecutes us, so is Jesus implying that we should love him and pray for him? Now before I answer that question, I wish to share these inserts from the Catechism: "Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign...[#392] It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. 'There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.' (St. John Damascen, De Fide orth.) [#393]
So this is saying that the Devil (and demons) has already decided what his will is, and he CANNOT change that. He has rejected God forever. Period. Now let's go back to the question above of whether we should love and pray for the Devil. How can we pray for the devil when he will not change? We can pray for God's protection from him, but praying for the Devil will not do any good as Satan has forever rejected God's grace. How about loving him? As I wrote about earlier when I was questioned about God's love for the souls in Hell, I stated how God's love simply cannot be given to the damned souls as they have rejected God and therefore His love. The same would be applied to the Devil. The Devil cannot receive God's love, because God IS love (1 John 4:16), and since the Devil has rejected God, he has rejected His love which is inseparable. We are to be imitators of Christ and His love, but it is impossible to love the Devil as a Christian as the Devil has rejected God and his love forever. Our 'love' for the Devil would do no good.
But then you didn't ask whether we should love the Devil, but whether we should "hate" the Devil. Now this is where it gets really tricky. Does God "hate" the Devil? Should we hate the Devil? I think we need to define the word hate first before going further. Hate can mean to "wish evil or death on someone" or it can simply be "to detest". The Church clearly condemns "hatred", but renunciation of sin (evil) is simply what every Christian must do. At a baptism, the candidate or sponsor is asked: "do you renounce Satan?... And all of his works?" to which the reply is, "I do renounce him.". When we equate or define hatred as "renunciation" and "detestation" then I think it is safe to say that we should indeed "hate" the devil. As Christians, we should never hold hatred which is a desire or wish for evil upon someone, but we should always seek after love as Christ taught us. Hatred of this latter kind is evil, and although this sounds funny we should really "hate" (despise) that kind of hatred. Unfortunately languages are limited and words can have broad meanings, thus making words like "hate" quite difficult to define. As the Holy Scriptures say: "The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate." (Proverbs 8:13)
The Bible uses this word hate in other references where I believe the definition is clearly "to despise" and not the kind of hatred which is a desire for evil. Look up Psalm 5:4-6 and Luke 14:26 to see further what I mean.

To sum it up: "Should we hate the Devil?"

If you are defining "hate" as "despising" or "renouncing" then the answer is yes. As for "wishing evil", this kind of hate should simply not be apart of a Christian as it is not of God. I hope that answered it pretty well.

Think you can stump the chump???


Sancta Familia said...

I agree, although, to complicate things, I have read that God loves the devil, since God is love and is incapable of hating. Time to ask Thomas Aquinas?

Pueo said...

wow, very enlightenig! :-)

Catholic Chump said...

Very Very Interesting... feel enlightened Thanks!