In my last post I promised to come back and tell you how it has helped me to take the devil seriously. You might wonder why someone can benefit from the knowledge of such a ridiculous figure? Well he might seem to be ridiculous, but that doesn't mean that he isn't dangerous. What is the most dangerous point is to act as he doesn't exist, because that is exactly what he wants. Do you really believe that Eve would have eaten of the forbidden fruit if she knew who he was when he tempted her?
I don't believe that!
Before I say anything more, let us take a quick look upon the Church's teaching: God created the angels before he created humans. As I hope you know they were created pure spirits without bodies. They were created with a level of intelligence that is much higher than ours. Since they don't have a body, they cannot speak to each other the same way as we do (no tongue, no muscles in the trout, no mouth, no lips). When they want to speak they just think it and their utterance is received by the others. There is a hierarchy of angels.
One day one of the most beautiful angels, high in rank, refused to be obedient to God. They were put to some sort of a test. Some say that God had informed the angels about His plan to create man whom the angels in some ways were to serve as messengers. The angel that had the high rank, did not want to serve either God nor human. His sin was pride and envy. A sin that also is to be found often in humans.
One doesn't rebel against God, the Creator, unpunished. Satan, as his name came to be, was thrown out of Heaven at once. As we know: Humans will be given many more chances when failing while being tested. A human being that has fallen can, by the the ministry of the Church Jesus Christ instituted, be forgiven and reconciled to God in the confessional. The highly intelligent angels, however, had only one chance! When they refused to obey it was OUT of Heaven for Satan and his demons (his followers among the angels). There is no place for sin in Heaven. With their choice they became evil, at once, and was no longer good as they were created to be from the beginning. Luckily all the angels did not made the evil choice. The archangel Michael and all the angels that chose to be original good as they were created to be, started at once to fight for the good case, Gods Kingdom. «And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels» (Rev 12:7).
This war among the evil and good angels is still going on and will not end until the last day of the earth the way we know it. «And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more» (Rev 21:1).
To deny that this war between good and evil is going on, is like trying to hide under the bed when there is a fire in the house and believe that nothing will happen to you if you only lie still under the bed.
How can I say that? I have referred to the Church's teaching about that there broke out a war in Heaven (CCC 391 – 395). The Church has never taken back the teachings about the devil and never will do so, even if many people these days act as if they have never heard about these teachings.
Back to me: How could it happen that I came to see the Church's teachings about Satan and his demons as a jewel given to me? In short; if you and me are to go out in a big forest and there are some animals who could be expected to attack us, we would surely be glad to have a map of were these dangerous animals are expected to be found and some guidance about how to behave if we in spite of trying to avoid the most dangerous places still meet them.
The Church's teaching about these matters is that map and that guidance! Sometimes I wonder if I would ever have parked God for some years in my life, if I had been taught properly about how the evil spirits work. Luckily. Now I know and that is exactly what I want you to know too! Knowledge may sometimes be seen as jewels!
When I was a little child I remember that I thought of the devil like a person in black ready to snatch me into hell if he caught me. Since I was safe with mom and dad the most of the year or with my grandparents, uncles and ants in the summertime, he didn't seem so very dangerous to me. All my knowledge about him I had from other children, not from the grown ups. As far as I can remember, later on when we were taught more about Christendom in school, I think I saw the devil as a distant person far away that perhaps would try to snatch me away from God at my deathbed 80 years into the future. In daily life he was no real danger. Well I was wrong about that. Satan is a daily danger to us! I was right about the danger at the deathbed, however. He will be there ... Be sure of that!
I will try to explain in my next input how that can be.
Until then, be well!