The Profession of Faith
Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.
consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and
God and his reign. We find a reflection of that
rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be
The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a
liar and the father of lies.”
It is the
character of their choice, and not a defect
in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgiv-
able. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as
there is no repentance for men after death.”
Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one
Jesus calls “a murderer from the beginning,” who would even try
to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father.
reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the
In its consequences the gravest of these works was the
mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only
a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a
creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Al-
though Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his
kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave
injuries—of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical
nature—to each man and to society, the action is permitted by
divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides
human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence
should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything
God works for good with those who love him.”
272 St. John Damascene,
De Fide orth.
2, 4: PG 94, 877.