The Psychology of the Devil
Using Sacred Scripture and other sources, certain aspects of the psychology of Satan and his wicked Angels can be understood. Although the devils have differences among themselves, they are alike in their desire to do evil and in their fallen nature. That is why, whatever is said about Satan, their chief, also applies to all devils.
A perverted will
The devils are pure spirits, since they are Angels. They do not have the weaknesses of men. From this, we understand why their revolt against God is permanent, immutable, eternal. Their will became perverted and fixed in evil after they abandoned the Highest Good as their objective. As a consequence, the devils do not wish anything but evil in all their voluntary acts and, even when they appear to do good (as, for example, when they restore someone's health, give riches, or teach something), it is only as a means to cause more evil, leading the person to final perdition, which is their ultimate wish for all men.
Since God created them good, their nature continues good in itself. However, their will became perverted. Instead of striving for the end for which they were created – the service and the glory of God – they do exactly the contrary. They do everything to impede God's glory. Since they cannot reach Him directly, they act upon God's creatures, within the limits He allows.
Murderer and liar – cunning, false, deceiver
The Divine Redeemer summed up the diabolic psychology thus: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (Jo 8, 44).
The devil is a murderer and the father of lies, the liar par excellence, who hates truth, because truth leads to God: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jo 14, 5). Satan hates the Creator. When he rejected God, he renounced to truth and life forever. And it is by the lie that he spread death, spiritual death.
About Our Lord's statement that the devil is a murderer and a liar, Saint Augustine says: "We ask how come the devil became a murderer from the beginning and we reply that he killed the first man, not slaying him with a sword, or causing any other harm to his body, but he persuaded him to sin and thus, cast him out of the happiness of the earthly paradise".
And Father Maldonado, an erudite Jesuit exegete from the XVI Century, says on this same phrase – ‘For he is a liar and the father of lies' (Jo 8, 44): "Most authors believe this refers to Satan's words to Eve: ‘You shall be as God, knowing good and evil' (Gen. 3, 5); for he evidently lied with these words; that is, he added the lie to the act of (spiritual) murder, committing two crimes, at the same time… and we call the devil father of lies because he is the author and the inventor of the lie, in such a way that we can say that he gave birth to it".
When he tempts man, trying to take him away from God, he lies presenting a false image of reality, hiding his true feelings and enmeshing his victim in error, sophisms and deceit.
He is a cunning, false, deceiver.
"Satan is distinguished by his guile – writes Monsignor Cristiani. Guile is a deceitful scheme. The being that acts with guile has bad intentions. If he speaks, it is not to say the truth, but to deceive, to lead to falsehood. Satan is treacherous, false. One cannot trust him. He lacks equity, loyalty, frankness. He is erroneous, voluntarily obscure and dissimulative."
(From Angels and Demons, by Luis Solimeo)
DAILY QUOTE for July 24, 2021
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Charbel Makhlouf
John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California