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?
- Satan’s being is good.
- Satan’s nature (pure spirit) is good.
- Satan’s first sin was not caused by evil.
- Since only good can cause evil, all of Satan’s sins are caused by good?
- Since being is good, and Satan’s being is his will (not established), then Satan’s will is good.
- 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?