In what sense is Satan evil?

From Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica

Part 1 Of Second Part Q. 75 Art. 1 “Reply Obj. 1. Sin signifies not only the privation of good, which privation is its lack of order, but also the act which is the subject of that privation, which has the nature of evil; and how this evil has a cause, has been explained.”

Sin is the privation of good, and sin is the sinful act, which is evil by nature.

“Reply Obj. 3 …] Now the fact of not applying the rule of reason or of the Divine law has not in itself the nature of evil, whether of punishment or of guilt, before it is applied to the act. And so accordingly, evil is not the cause of the first sin, but some good lacking some other good.”

The first sin was not caused by anything evil.

Art. 2 138 Augustine says that “the will is the cause of sin.”

So the first sin was caused by a will.

First Part Q. 5 Art. 3 Whether Every Being Is Good?

25 “It seems that not every being is good.”

“Every [living or sentient] being that is not God is God’s creature. Now every creature of God is good (1 Tim 4. 4): and God is the greatest good. Therefore every being is good.”

Now, if every being is good, this means that the fallen angels are good. So Satan is good.

“Reply Obj. 2 No being can be spoken of as evil, in so far as it is being, but only so far as it lacks being. Thus a man is said to be evil because he lacks the being of virtue; and an eye is said to be evil because it lacks the power to see well.”

What exactly does Satan lack? I guess it would be the grace of God. So even though Satan is good, he is also evil?

First Part Q. 20 Art. 2

121 “It is said (Wisd. 11. 25): Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made.”

“God loves all existing things. For all existing things, in so far as they exist, are good, since the being of a thing is itself a good, and likewise, whatever perfection it possesses.”

Satan’s being is good.

“Obj. 4. Further, it is written (Ps. 5. 7): Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity. Now nothing is at the same time hated and loved. Therefore God does not love all things.”

122 “Reply Obj. 4 Nothing prevents one and the same thing being loved in one aspect, while it is hated under another. God loves sinners in so far as they are natures; for they both are, and are from Him. In so far as they are sinners, they are not, but fall away from being; and this in them is not from God. Hence under this aspect, they are hated by Him.”

Satan’s nature is good.

First Part Q. 61 Art. 1

315 “God alone is His own being, while in everything else the essence differs from the being, as was shown above…]. From this it is clear that God alone is being through His own essence, while all other things are beings by participation.”

Art. 2 315 “God’s being is His will.”

Does “X’s being is X’s will” only apply to God? This will relate to the next comments.

First Part Q. 49 Art. 1

265 “On the contrary, Augustine says (Contra Julian. i):^3 ‘There is no possible source of evil except good’.”

“For evil is the absence of the good which is natural and due to a thing.”

“But only good can be a cause, because nothing can be a cause except in so far as it is a being, and every being, as such, is good.”

“Nevertheless the movement itself of an evil will is caused by the rational creature, which is good. And thus good is the cause of evil.”

Only good can be a cause of evil. All beings are good. Now if Satan’s will is Satan’s being, and beings are good, then isn’t Satan’s will good? But then how does ‘evil will’ come into play…is Satan’s will good and evil at the same time?

So…

  1. Satan’s being is good.
  2. Satan’s nature (pure spirit) is good.
  3. Satan’s first sin was not caused by evil.
  4. Since only good can cause evil, all of Satan’s sins are caused by good?
  5. Since being is good, and Satan’s being is his will (not established), then Satan’s will is good.
  6. Yet Satan’s will is evil, since the concept of ‘evil will’ appears in the last quote.

What are your thoughts? In what senses is Satan good, and in what senses is Satan evil?

Seriously faulty reasoning… Where does it say that? Certainly not in the Bible.

All beings are good.

That’s not what it says. It says…and means that all things were created good. Genesis 1:31 says so, but nowhere will you find it stated that all beings are good, and reason tells us that that is manifestly untrue.

Now if Satan’s will is Satan’s being,

Your logic here is seriously messed up. One’s will is nowhere stated to be the same as one’s being. Moreover, it was Satan’s own will that led to his fall because he chose to take great pride in himself instead of the humility of acknowledging the fact that he was created that way by God.

and beings are good,

This fails because the previous premises are all false.

then isn’t Satan’s will good?

Perhaps initially…but once corrupted by his willfulness (literally, since all evil is a choice of the will) he was ruined.

But then how does ‘evil will’ come into play…is Satan’s will good and evil at the same time?

Not at all. You just walked out a path of very bad logic.

So…

  1. Satan’s being is good.

Only as created, not as it is now.

  1. Satan’s nature (pure spirit) is good.

Nope…corrupted by his own will.

  1. Satan’s first sin was not caused by evil.

Just straight up wrong conclusion…

  1. Since only good can cause evil, all of Satan’s sins are caused by good?

Again, wrong logic and errors in thinking as a result. Besides, good does not generally cause evil. People (or angels in this case) corrupt good by their own will.

  1. Since being is good, and Satan’s being is his will (not established), then Satan’s will is good.

  1. Yet Satan’s will is evil, since the concept of ‘evil will’ appears in the last quote.

Reasoned out for you above…

What are your thoughts? In what senses is Satan good, and in what senses is Satan evil?

Already answered…

"1. Satan’s being is good."

Yes. Otherwise God would annihilate Satan out of existence, which He doesn’t do.

“2. Satan’s nature (pure spirit) is good.”

No. Satan’s original nature was good, but his current nature is completely evil.

“3. Satan’s first sin was not caused by evil.”

Correct. Satan’s first sin was the first instance of evil.

“4. Since only good can cause evil, all of Satan’s sins are caused by good?”

Yes, in a sense, but that’s a very weird way to think about causation. Causation is always a thorny issue, and since God is the cause of everything, you can attribute God as the “but for” cause of everything that ever happens. But that is a different thing than direct causation or proximate causation or necessary causation.

"5. Since being is good, and Satan’s being is his will (not established), then Satan’s will is good."

Haha, good try, but no.

“6. Yet Satan’s will is evil, since the concept of ‘evil will’ appears in the last quote.”

Yep.

"What are your thoughts? In what senses is Satan good, and in what senses is Satan evil?"

Satan is no sense good, except that it is better for Satan to exist than for Satan not to exist. That’s about all I can tell you.

One of the most difficult mysteries in all of Christianity (for me, THE most difficult mystery) to grasp is the mystery of free will and the freedom to choose evil, especially for those creatures that chose rebellion without the clouding influences of Original Sin and fleshly desires. Why does Adam and Eve chose sin despite lacking a fallen nature? In what manner can Jesus and Mary be said to have had a choice to remain faithful if they always had full grace? What in the world mades the 1/3 of angels who chose rebellion different from the ones led by St. Michael who remained faithful?

I can’t even begin to fathom what it means for a created angel to have the instantaneous choice to remain ever-faithful or ever-rebellious against God. I just believe that they did have that choice, and that it was not pre-determined by God, but rather, God willed for all the angels to remain faithful, but not all of them did.

It’s some crazy stuff to think about at night, is it not?

God is infinitely good. Evil is the absence of good, thus the absence of God. So, since there is nothing good in Satan, that means he’s infinitely evil, every single fiber of his being, so to speak. Satan is evil in every sense. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise.

My first thought is that you’re just pulling bits and pieces of different questions, objections and answers from various sources, including the Summa, St. Augustine and others, then tossing them all together like a salad made with poison ivy and other disgusting vegetation that was never meant to be in any kind of salad. It’s just a jumbled mess that will never make any sense to anyone, the way you’ve thrown it all together. IMHO, it’s just another variation on proof-texting. :shrug:

Telstar answered your post better than I could. Congratulations Telstar - total common sense.

Suggest OP prays hard for guidance from Our Blessed Lord as I will pray for him.

Nobody knows exactly what Satan did that put him in a position against God–Though there are several viable theories. The bottom line is that Satan IS evil and it’s a a little like the old joke about divorcees wanting company. Satan knows his fate and every soul that he steals from God and takes to hell with him is a notch on his bed post.

I think it’s easier to relate this in human terms, using a tyrant like Adolf Hitler as an example.

I’ve included a series of links to photographs of Hitler as a baby, child, young soldier, and dictator.

google.com.au/search?q=Photographs+of+hitler+as+a+child&tbm=isch&imgil=GO82LEdC6-WDZM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcSv50KqUZ-ky7tycLoPBnwwzNl-qAAl2Yhg4ewQp5Euigc0nZ60%253B200%253B248%253BTiWyFI_26seYAM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.listal.com%25252Flist%25252Fvery-rare-photos&source=iu&usg=__sbsQgCECRBc6ZXaKpbbP4Qg_jZM%3D&sa=X&ei=IDCU-uOJcnHlAW9n4GoBA&ved=0CCgQ9QEwBQ&biw=1440&bih=736#facrc=&imgdii=_&imgrc=GO82LEdC6-WDZM%253A%3BTiWyFI_26seYAM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fi500.listal.com%252Fimage%252F3301664%252F500full.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.listal.com%252Flist%252Fvery-rare-photos%3B200%3B248

google.com.au/search?q=Photographs+of+hitler+as+a+child&tbm=isch&imgil=DeacTXrTC-hlM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcSfZnRAg6R1N2u91jE7ctNrIhimR8Lz9M4EhTAz_eGtaK6nAxJAdA%253B760%253B1210%253BsJoAB7G_l8eX5M%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.reddit.com%25252Fr%25252FHistoryPorn%25252Fcomments%25252F1vvgsd%25252Fadolf_hitlers_4th_grade_class_1899_the_fuhrertobe%25252F&source=iu&usg=__iNW9fsFYnFRZOSfIyHM1qBFcRJM%3D&sa=X&ei=IDCU-uOJcnHlAW9n4GoBA&ved=0CCIQ9QEwAg&biw=1440&bih=736#facrc=&imgdii=&imgrc=DeacTXrTC-_hlM%253A%3BsJoAB7G_l8eX5M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fupload.wikimedia.org%252Fwikipedia%252Fcommons%252F4%252F44%252FAdolf_Hitler_as_a_child.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.reddit.com%252Fr%252FHistoryPorn%252Fcomments%252F1vvgsd%252Fadolf_hitlers_4th_grade_class_1899_the_fuhrertobe%252F%3B760%3B1210

google.com.au/search?q=photograph+of+hitler+in+world+war+I&tbm=isch&imgil=8j_mj6LsKaCe_M%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcR6NwStnWSHcBCm6ogz7gULrsphGlnZCDskQJYM9oALb-26gWzc%253B3040%253B2048%253BTF8uqX5BOxcmoM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.studenthandouts.com%25252F01-Web-Pages%25252F01-Picture-Pages%25252F10.13-World-War-II%25252FAdolf-Hitler%25252FYoung-Soldier-Adolf-Hitler-World-War-I.htm&source=iu&usg=__aDsza4Wmb_N1KzpUSOxcnEOPNu0%3D&sa=X&ei=L4LCU42aIcvFkQWE74CACg&ved=0CCAQ9QEwAQ&biw=1440&bih=736#facrc=&imgdii=&imgrc=8j_mj6LsKaCe_M%253A%3BTF8uqX5BOxcmoM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.studenthandouts.com%252F01-Web-Pages%252F01-Picture-Pages%252F10.13-World-War-II%252FAdolf-Hitler%252FYoung-Soldier-Adolf-Hitler-World-War-I.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.studenthandouts.com%252F01-Web-Pages%252F01-Picture-Pages%252F10.13-World-War-II%252FAdolf-Hitler%252FYoung-Soldier-Adolf-Hitler-World-War-I.htm%3B3040%3B2048

google.com.au/search?q=photograph+of+hitler+as+dictator&tbm=isch&imgil=6bJ3oHIXCAnlDM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcTGu3snS79pFbJ7SYpb7XGxKcZrXzYxqo_XKLLo18jmbhAuFDW6%253B964%253B1327%253B4QNWd7-fHSIUyM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.dailymail.co.uk%25252Fnews%25252Farticle-2362848%25252FImages-Hitler-dictator-rehearsing-public-speeches-start-political-career.html&source=iu&usg=__sC5tsOllbNzAEl8TSWhPBQtxFek%3D&sa=X&ei=0oLCU46BBs6gkQW1u4GYCQ&ved=0CCgQ9QEwBQ&biw=1440&bih=736#facrc=&imgdii=&imgrc=Vi3R1q5plfy9bM%253A%3BGyksPHd8glvDMM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmedia-2.web.britannica.com%252Feb-media%252F58%252F129958-004-C9B8B89D.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fhotspicscelebrity.blogspot.com%252F2011%252F04%252Fpictures-of-adolf-hitler-as-child.html%3B343%3B450

Yet he was human like us, born in the usual way, of ordinary parents, and had the same built in human nature as we do.

Yet he became a byword for human evil.

Why?

It’s a mystery.

While I’m at it, I remember my old pastor commenting, “The one who scares me is Lavrenti Beria. He looks like a Sunday School teacher.” He was referring to the way evil can look so innocent, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Beria was the head of the dreaded NKVD, Stalin’s right hand man in the terror which epitomised his entire rule.

Here’s his photograph.

google.com.au/search?q=photographs+of+beria&tbm=isch&imgil=Rclojphf16FjuM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcRCePhsNYF5T0DP546tdlKFXAtyvyeP1rX4zkFALiBWPxfMxX7gBw%253B714%253B900%253BGybCzajFdkAGbM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Ffineartamerica.com%25252Ffeatured%25252Flavrenti-beria-1899-1953-director-everett.html&source=iu&usg=__uf4HcEeE-bx5w5DedXPs7yRikyY%3D&sa=X&ei=-IPCU6WSO4zfkgWL2oCYCg&ved=0CCMQ9QEwAQ&biw=1440&bih=736#facrc=&imgdii=&imgrc=Rclojphf16FjuM%253A%3BGybCzajFdkAGbM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimages.fineartamerica.com%252Fimages-medium-large%252Flavrenti-beria-1899-1953-director-everett.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ffineartamerica.com%252Ffeatured%252Flavrenti-beria-1899-1953-director-everett.html%3B714%3B900

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