Trying to understand the role of Satan in temptation

Satan gets a lot of “credit” for a lot of bad stuff. Does the Church teach that the fallen angels play an active part in tempting people today to sin? Is there a demon trying to tempt me right now? I am aware of temptation. There’s candy just down the hall… I can (usually) resist this temptation. But how much does a demon have to do with it?

I looked at the relevant section of the Catechism. The Church definitely teaches that Satan played a part in the fall of mankind. But what about direct influence on anyone other than Adam & Eve (and Jesus)?

The most direct teaching I could find is in #407:

By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”.

That seems to fall short of teaching that any fallen angel engages in active temptation of anyone. It’s more like we’re living in the devil’s dungeon (but he could be ignoring us).

There is, of course, the matter of demonic possession, which is briefly addressed in CCC 1673.
But this extreme example is not what I refer to.

Does the Church teach that the activity of a demon is at least partially responsible for all (or ANY) of the temptation that I (or you) personally experience?

Or, does the Church teach that we have a fallen nature and are predisposed to temptation without any deliberate activity by any demonic entity? Because that’s what the Catechism seems to say.

Most of the time with most people, it’s likely that demons don’t have to tempt anybody directly. We tend to tempt ourselves, or other people tend to do it.

However, demons definitely work to set up this kind of “humans tempting humans” environment.

OTOH, if one is trying to be holy and doing a good job of it, one is more likely to receive direct attention from a demon. The “humans tempting humans” thing isn’t working, so they have to try something else! This is when people tend to experience really scary amounts of temptation – because they are resisting longer, so the demons are pouring on the heat! This is also when people tend to get attacked in spiritual ways by demons, because they are frustrated by direct demonic temptation not working, either.

However, demons cannot take away human free will. Any human can resist any demon, and a baptized human has special graces that will help.

It’s also traditional to attribute certain kinds of temptations in dreams to demons. Obviously you can’t really sin when you’re not conscious and not fully able to make choices; but sometimes people experience dreams that seem to be a sort of “psychological warfare” to get them interested in bad stuff. Of course it’s hard to tell if it’s demons or just one’s own mind, but there are ancient prayers and hymns dealing with this possibility for direct demonic attack and temptation.

However, none of this should discourage or terrify you. St. Anthony the Abbot compared demons to little annoying flies or mosquitoes. They’re always around and always annoying, but they have little real power compared to Christ. Jesus will keep us safe.

Satan is behind it all.

We are taught that there are three sources of temptation: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The world…riches, fame, security, luxury…
The flesh…sexual drive towards abuses, vanity…
The devil…quiet promptings to evil, laying traps in the future, suggestions for revenge, pumping up our pride…

Some sins may envolve all three, and the devil knowing our weaknesses by observation, use them against us by setting us up and waiting for the right moment.

Why we know that the devil is guilty of temptations. One reason being that there is hardly a saint who has not indicated this and warned us about him.

Christ in the 40 days in the desert…all three of his temptations came from the devil and the devil even used scripture to tempt.

St Peter’s letter warning us about the devil going about like a roaring lion seeking
whom he may devour.

The whole book of Job in the old testament. Adam and Eve sinned at the suggestion of the devil.

Why would Satan do such a thing. Because he is without God, without any goodness and love. All he is about is to hate and see suffering in others. This aspect of hell is overlooked…the fact that everyone in hell is hating everyone else there and is solely concentrated on their own individual self. So much so that there is no love, but just the desire to torture and be as ugly and nasty to others as much as possible. For that is all they have…nothing. They cannot give what they do not have, and all they have is …

For this reason, some have suggested that this is the reason the devils chose the
pigs to enter rather than go to their places in hell…to be spared that hatred from others in hell.

So being what they now are, they are envious of us and wish to take away our happiness as their’s has been taken away, and in some small way to make the suffering of Christ for us to mean nothing to get back at God. Not to mention how they would in some measure get satisfaction from making us miserable in hell as well when they get their hands on us.

Im sure others on here know in our past, demons were blamed for quite a few things, today, many people claim this was because they did not have the technological or scientific understanding of things, thus they just blamed things they didnt understand on the supernatural (demons/satan)…Some people consider this comical, they laugh about those people in the past blaming demons for anything and everything…

I think its possible, in our modern times, we have gotten so dependent on our technology, oru science, we dont blame anything on demons anymore, because we think we know the true cause, but we could be wrong about this too…Maybe those people in the past were right, at least about some things being the actual work of demons?

It goes hand in hand with our modern world, getting further and further away from the spiritual world, we think we have it all figured out. LOL

Evagrious of Pontus and Diadochus of Photikë were experts at what they called “Discernment of Spirits.”

Following the Footsteps of the Invisible: The Complete Works of Diadochus of Photikë translated and edited by Cliff Ermatinger.

Evagrius of Pontus: Talking Back


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