Monday, October 8, 2012

What The Devil?

FAUSTUS:...Thou, Mephistopheles,
Answer again, and this time all the truth,
Art thou God's henchman or His master? Speak!
Who made thee?

MEPHISTOPHELES: God, as the light makes the shadow.

FAUSTUS: Is God then evil?

MEPHISTOPHELES: God is only light,
And in the heart of light, no shadow standeth,
Nor can I dwell within the light of Heaven
Where God is all.

FAUSTUS: What art thou, Mephistopheles?

MEPHISTOPHELES: I am the price that all things pay for being,
The shadow on the world, thrown by the world
Standing in its own light, which light God is.
So first, when matter was, I was called Change,
And next, when life began, I was called Pain,
And last, when knowledge was, I was called Evil;
Nothing myself, except to give a name
To those three values, Permanence, Pleasure, Good,
The Godward side of matter, life, and knowledge.

--from The Devil To Pay, Dorothy L. Sayers, 1939.

[Commenting on St. Augustine's theological influence on Milton:]

1. God created all things without exception good, and because they are good, "No Nature (i.e., no positive reality) is bad and the word Bad denotes merely privation of good."...

2. What we call bad things are good things perverted...This perversion arises when a conscious creature becomes more interested in itself than in God,...and wishes to exist "on its own."...This is the sin of Pride....

3. From [Augustine's] doctrine of good and evil it follows (a) That good can exist without evil,...but not evil without good....(b) That good and bad angels have the same Nature, happy when it adheres to God and miserable when it adheres to itself...

4. Though God has made all creatures good He foreknows that some will voluntarily make themselves bad...and also foreknows the good use which He will then make of their badness...For as He shows His benevolence in creating good Natures, He shows His justice in exploiting evil wills....Whoever tries to rebel against God produces the result opposite of his intention.

--from A Preface To "Paradise Lost," C. S. Lewis, 1941.

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