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Epic Battle Between Good And Evil

2210 words - 9 pages

The Bible portrays the story of the Devil’s fall from grace as an epic battle between good and evil. The devil faces off against God and the good angels, demanding that he be granted the same power as God. God cast down the Devil and all of his followers for turning away from him and willing for power they were not able to possess. In order to understand what it was that made the Devil turn away from God and what he willed for that was considered such a sin, I read Anslem’s On the Fall of the Devil to find out, not how the devil fell from grace, but why he fell from grace. By primarily interpreting Anselm’s accounts from On the Fall of the Devil, and reviewing Saint Augustine’s view on the Devil’s, biblical texts, and other philosophical interpretations, I will compare various accounts to discover why the devil chose to turn away from God and why he ultimately fell from grace.
In On the Fall of the Devil, Anselm argued that in order for the angels to protect their “righteousness” of will, they had to will for justice and will for happiness. “Imagine”, the Teacher in On the Fall of the Devil states, “that God creates an angel and gives him only the will for happiness. Is it possible that the angel wills anything besides happiness?” The Teacher explains that if the angels only had a will for happiness then they would have only willed for what they believed would make them happy, and because they were created by God, they would only find happiness in him and therefore, could not possess “self-initiated” action . In other words, they would not have free choice. If He only gave them a will for justice, then their will for justice would be in God, not themselves, just like the will for happiness. This is why, Anselm says, God gave them both wills, because the angels could choose to will for happiness through justice or ignore justice for direct happiness, thus giving the angels the ultimate free will, because that was not given to them by God . Anselm says that the rebel angels abandoned justice in pursuit of direct happiness, and as punishment God took away their happiness. As a reward to the good angels, who chose to will happiness through justice, God granted them unlimited happiness . He later explains that because of this gift from God, the good angels could not will for any more happiness and therefore would never turn away from justice, making them incapable of sin .
The student then asks the Teacher what it was the devil and the rebel angels willed to have. The Teacher replies, “he willed something that he did not have and that he ought not to have willed then…I do not know what it could have been, but whatever it was, it is sufficient to know that it was something that could have increased their greatness.” I think Anselm is being purposefully vague here when he talks about whatever it was the devil willed. I feel like that is a crucial component of to his interpretation of the devil’s fall so why refuse to give an answer outright. Others...

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