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I wanted to know what is the Church’s position on evil; I’ll explain:

I’m convinced that evil is disobedience to God, just like Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit that God had forbidden them to eat.

Still, in the New Testament we see that evil is caused by an evil entity named satan; now, if satan were an entity, it would be some sort of god of evil and this goes against the idea that there’s only one God, because it would mean that there are two gods: one evil and one good.

I think that, in order to solve the problem of evil, we should focus instead on free will and say that evil is the free choice to disobey the only one God.

Therefore satan would only be an allegory or a symbol of this disobedience to God and it wouldn’t exist as an entity because, if it actually existed, we would have an evil god that would destroy God’s unity and, most importantly, God’s Goodness and Omnipotence, since God wouldn’t just be sitting back and watching the “god satan” wreak havoc; on the other hand, if evil is a choice to disobey, than that wouldn’t detract from God’s unity and His Goodness because His Goodness causes free will and therefore the possibility to obey or disobey.

What do you think about my considerations?

I hold you Dominicans in great esteem, you’re probably the order I esteem the most and I’m most fascinated by, so I ask you kindly to give me an answer.

Thank you.


Priest’s answer

Dear Federico,

1. thank you for the appreciation and faith you have in the Dominican order.

I hope that present-day Dominicans are as up to par as of those who gave the order its glorious past.

2. Getting to the point of your email, it is correct to say that evil comes from man’s free will and his choice to disobey God.

Wanting to disobey God is the same thing as wanting to be without God.

3. Starting from the idea that the devil is an evil entity (this statement is correct), you come to the conclusion that, if that were so, we would make of it a deity opposed to God.

And since this is false, it follows that the devil doesn’t exist.

4. We should then make it clear what we mean by evil entity.

Let’s proceed in stages.

5. Let’s start with the statement that everything that exists is a good.

Existing is undoubtedly better than not existing. It is something compared to nothing.

Because of this, ancient philosophers said that being and goodness are interchangeable: what exists is good and vice versa.

Saint Thomas has no problem admitting that the devil has goodness in the same measure he has existence.

6. It follows that evil doesn’t exist in itself.

Evil is always present in a being.

And it is present as a privation of good.

It’s a privation of a good that is owed to it.

7. We can therefore ask: where is evil in the devil?

It is certainly not present in its being and in its nature. The devil has an angelic nature, it is pure spirit. The nature of his intelligence is superior to ours because it’s intuitive, it understands everything at once, without the hard work and the slowness of our minds.

Again, the question: where then is evil in the devil?

It’s in his will, which rebelled against God and is therefore without God.

This is its evil.

8. Is it correct to call it an evil entity?

Yes, it is correct.

But we should immediately point out that its wickedness doesn’t derive from its existence, and even less from its angelic nature, but from its will which is rebellious against God and therefore without God.

And it is also wickedness because it encourages evil and rebellion against God, which means being without God.

This and only this is what we mean by evil entity.

9. Therefore, there’s no contradiction in saying that Satan is an evil entity.

The devil keeps its condition of creature. God was pleased with it, with its angelic nature.

God wasn’t pleased with its rebellious will to be separated from Him, and to be without Him.

Nor is He pleased with its will to encourage humanity to be rebellious against God and therefore without God.

I wish you well, I recommend you to the Lord and bless you.

Father Angelo