Satan, The Tool (of God)

C. S. Lewis, after speaking of the good that can come from human suffering and pain, has this to say:

Quoted from The Problem of Pain (Harper Collins 2001):

Offences must come, but woe to those by whom they come; sins do cause grace to abound, but we must not make that an excuse for continuing to sin. The crucifixion itself is the best, as well as the worst, of all historical events, but the role of Judas remains simply evil. We may apply this first to the problem of other people’s suffering. A merciful man aims at his neighbour’s good and so does ‘God’s will’, consciously co-operating with ‘the simple good’. A cruel man oppresses his neighbour, and so does simple evil. But in doing such evil, he is used by God, without his own knowledge or consent, to produce the complex good – so that the first man serves God as a son, and the second as a tool. For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John. The whole system is, so to speak, calculated for the clash between good men and bad men, and the good fruits of fortitude, patience, pity, and forgiveness for which the cruel man is permitted to be cruel, presuppose that the good man ordinarily continues to seek simple good. I say ‘ordinarily’ because a man is sometimes entitled to hurt (or even, in my opinion, to kill) his fellow, but only where the necessity is urgent and the good to be attained obvious, and usually (though not always) when he who inflicts the pain has a definite authority to do so – a parent’s authority derived from nature, a magistrate’s or soldier’s derived from civil society, or a surgeon’s derived, most often, from the patient. To turn this into a general charter for afflicting humanity ‘because affliction is good for them’ (as Marlowe’s lunatic Tamberlaine boasted himself the ‘scourge of God’) is not  indeed to break the Divine scheme, but to volunteer for the post of Satan within that scheme. If you do his work, you must be prepared for his wages.


2 Responses to “Satan, The Tool (of God)”

  1. 1 Iohannes January 21, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Thanks for sharing this. Countless quotations from St Augustine should be coming to mind, but all I remember for the moment is that he had countless things to say about the topic. But it’s very late, if that’s an excuse.

  2. 2 vacation June 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm

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