The devil and temptation


#1

I was discussing the devil and tempation with some people after the reading in Sunday’s mass where Jesus is tempted. They brought up some interesting and I thought funny comments, but not really.
I don’t believe anyone is more powerful than God so wouldn’t God be able to quiet the devil for us too?, Wouldn’t his temptations, great as they are, be “allowable by God”, because being all powerful, he can take them away? It doesn’t make the temptations better, but thinking of them as equal powers tugging at a soul is disconcerting.
I know too that some believe that the kingdoms the devil showed Jesus are his also in hell, that movies like the fictional “Devils Advocate” where you sell your soul for empty riches is real to an extent. Can it be that the devil has it’s own empty kingdom, of things but not love or any nice emotion? Or if hell is just a place of agony and dispair, where does the devil rule over, just earth?
I have to admit, the devil and demons were never part of my church going except to mention him briefly in scripture. He had the power to enter humans, tempt, etc. but no mention of anything else. I know we shouldn’t be overly concerned with him in general, but so many have a “not too scary” take on him, which is not good also.
Anyone have anything to add or to comment?


#2

The devil is never an equal to God. He is a (fallen) created angel and nothing more whereas God is the Creator.

Certainly, God can and does make temptation go away, but He sets part of the task upon us as well.

James 4:7 Be subject therefore to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you.


#3

I agree with you 100%, but the questions brought up were what was his kingdom? Did he just wander about the earth or did he rule empty, loveless, but not “fire and brimstone” kingdom? That is the “lie” I thihk some believe, why they joke about seeing all their shady friends in hell. I think the reality of hell has been watered down a lot, but to be fair, a lot is not really known or taught.


#4

I know what you mean. C.S. Lewis has some curious points that he makes in his (excellent) “Science Fiction” (Get a copy of “Out of the Silent Planet”) about angels. They may actually be confined to the Earth, but it’s probably not as simple as that.

I don’t think that he and the other third of the angels that fell wander aimlessly. They hate us because God loves us and are actually at an unseen war with God and us.

The New Testament calls him “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) so there is some insight there.

As for hangin’ with shady friends in hell…I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read. “The party in Hell has been canceled because of the fire.” :whistle:


#5

I like reading “The God Squad” column, which was until recently,a column by a priest and rabbi, that are good friends, answering questions of readers. Someone wrote him about the devil and power and he responded. This letter followed and I think it was a good response.

"Many of you wrote to me about my recent answer to the reader who wanted to know about Satan and demons. I thank Christine Hirschfeld for sending me the Papal Preacher’s Commentary for the first Sunday of Lent:

“For Christians, Christ and demons are not two equal, but rather contrary principles, as certain dualistic religions believe to be the case with good and evil. Jesus is the only Lord; Satan is only a creature ‘gone bad.’ If power over men is given to Satan, it is because men have the possibility of freely choosing sides and also to keep them from being too proud (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7), believing themselves to be self-sufficient and without need of any redeemer.”

This is exactly what I said in my column. We all seek some reason other than our own free will and our own bad choices for our failures and our betrayals. It’s easier to believe that we are just helpless pawns in thrall to Satan’s demonic powers. In the end, it’s just us and our own refusal to do the right thing. Faith brings us comfort, but we often forget how faith also brings us courage and moral responsibility.

I’m trying my best to consult pious teachers of others faiths so that my answers to you, my dear readers, will be accurate and authentic. Its comforting to an old rabbi to get Catholic theology right once and a while. Thanks to Christine for sending me the good preacher’s sermon and God bless you all in this holy Lenten season.


#6

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