Satan and the Fall


My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,

By Protopresbyter John Romanides of blessed memory (+m 2001), from "The Ancestral Sin," pp. 75-84.

In the devil, there is no truth. He is the very source itself of every form of lie. "For the devil has sinned from the beginning" (1 John 3:8), and leads mankind astray into sin. Satan is not simply a negative concept of evil but, quite the contrary, a real power. He has free will, devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), and wiles, (Ephesians 6:11). He is a personal force capable of perceiving, even before the Resurrection, that Christ is the Son of God.

Under his command, he has whole legions of demons and invisible powers, and among them, some are more evil than others. The devil and his army of demons have the same teachings. Thus, there exists demonic wisdom (St. James 3:15), "the wisdom of the rulers of this age" (1 Corinthians 2:8). The demons know that there is one God, and from their assaults against Christ, they perceived His Divinity. They know who Christ's true followers are. But Christians also know the devices of the devil. The demons instigate the Crucifixion of Christ. They do not know the wisdom of God, however, or they would not have crucified Him.

Satan, like God, has faithful sons and followers. The views that Satan is an instrument of the Divine wrath (which is typical of Post-Augustine Western theology) or that the present power and energy of the devil is only an illusion stand squarely in opposition to Biblical and Patristic testimonies. According to the thought of the first Christians, Satan continues to be a powerful enemy of God. Like a kind of parasite, the devil subjugated creation to death and corruption. "He was the man slayer from the beginning" (St. John 8:44). Thus, through the instrumentality of man's fear of death, the devil became the holder of that power, and through that fear drew the world into sin. In other words, "Sin reigned in death" (Romans 5:21) because "the sting of death is sin" (1 Corinthians 15:56). "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear because fear hath torment. He that feareth has not been made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18).

Because of the sins that spring forth from the fear of death, "the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:19). Through falsehood and fear, Satan, in various degrees, motivates sin. In a certain way, he is the god and ruler of this age or world. But this does not justify the devil's claim that to him has been given all authority over the kingdoms of the earth. God has never ceased to care for the world. Through laws, Prophets, and chosen leaders, He guides and chastens men. If it were possible, the demons would have pulled down everything, even the heavens along with the rest of creation. But in no way are they able to do it. Certainly, the God and Father and Creator of all things has not abandoned mankind but has given a Law and sent Holy Prophets to teach and proclaim to the human race the return to sobriety and the knowledge that God is one.

Despite the victory of the Lord and of the baptized over Satan, the evil spirit is able to move the "hear to lie to the Holy Spirit" (Acts 5:3). Moreover, the "god of this age" blinds "unbelievers' minds lest the light of the Gospel of Christ rise on them" (2 Corinthians 4:4). For the restraint which human laws could not effect, the Divine Logos/Word would have effected has not the demons, taking as their ally the wicked lust in every man which draws him to all manner of vice, scattered many false and profane accusations, none of which attach to us. With great sincerity, Justin, a former Platonist, writes: "Therefore, we forewarn you to guard yourselves lest the demons we speak against delude you and turn you away from reading and understanding all that we have said. "But I fear", writes Saint Paul "lest in any way, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts should be corrupted from the simplicity that is toward Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3). The devil persistently and in every unlawful manner tries to subjugate men. To accomplish this, he has effective, powerful, and cunning ways of deception. And if indeed the wrath of God had such agents, it would be hopeless for the human race because the only way to be saved would be absolute predestination.

Athenagoras and Justin write that God "committed the care of mane and of all things under heaven to Angels whom He placed over them. But the angels violated this appointment and were captivated by women and began children who are called demons." The souls of the giants are the demons that wander around the earth. And furthermore, they subjugated the human race to themselves...and sowed every manner of evil. Therefore, having believed the deceiving demon, men dared to disobey God and departed from Paradise. The devil was the cause of his own apostasy and that of others. Man disobeyed God, having been deceived by the angel who, because of God's many gifts to man, was jealous and cast a spell on him, thus ruining himself and convincing man to sin through disobedience of the commandment of God...Thus, by his falsehood, the devil was the cause of man's exile from paradise.

(To be continued)


"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!-Saint John Chrysostomos


With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George