Category Archives: On the Nature of Satan

Seriously: Have We Been Rescued From Satan?

I have volunteered to be a discussion group facilitator in my parish’s presentation of The Rescue Project . The goal of the Rescue Project is strengthening belief in the Christian Salvation story.
The project is guided by the maxim: “We live our lives according to the story we believe” The website announces:

“We passionately believe that the most urgent task is the compelling proclamation of the gospel, one that not only shares it in an attractive – and concentrated – way, but that also offers people a way of seeing reality, and of making sense of the world, history, and life that is vastly different from the story our modern culture tells.” N.T. Wright is quoted: “This is how stories work. They invite listeners into a new world, and encourage them to make it their own, to see their ordinary world from now on through this lens, within this grid.”

The project is structured around eight videos in which Fr. John Ricardo dramatically lays out the Christian Salvation Story. There are group discussions after each video.

The third video is titled “The Enemy is the Enemy.” Fr. Ricardo speaks in an emphatically realistic way about Satan, the devil or the evil one as OUR ENEMY. In the fourth video, Fr. Ricardo dramatizes how humanity, with the disobedience of the first two humans, were captured by Satan. The fifth video describes Jesus’ crucifixion as rescuing all of us from him.

I am uncomfortable about participating in discussions of Satan. I cannot decide what I believe about the narratives. I do not want indications of skepticism to undercut the point of the Fr. Ricardo’s narratives. So, I tell myself a “metaphysical story.” What is the story? I begin by adapting St. Augustine’ doctrine that angels are essentially messengers.* I use, and maybe misuse, Thomistic notions of matter and form. My metaphysical story should not be blamed on St. Augustine or St. Thomas. Is in my “metaphysical story glib?.” I grasp at metaphysical straws to build a conceptual structure. Telling a metaphysical story is my rationalization for participating in discussions about Satan. In The Value of Conceptual Models of Satan , I exam why I seek a rationalization. via metaphysics.

In creation the transcendent God has there be out of nothing potentiality for being formed in various ways for various purposes. (I use a passive construction “has there be” to avoid attributing our concept of action to what is transcendent.) The transcendent God has, also out of nothing, there be entities conveying to potentiality the various ways of being formed for various purposes, i.e. formal and final causes. These entities for conveying ways of being formed for various purposes can be regarded as messages from the transcendent; as such they are angels. They are not the Word of God. They are the messengers bringing the Word of potentiality.

Without conveying ways of being formed for various purposes to potentiality, potentiality is formless void. So, having there be conveying ways of being formed for various purposes, viz., angels, is the beginning of creation: When God said “Let there be light.” Angels are not identical to that to which they bring form and function. Nonetheless, the conveyers of the form to potentiality, viz. matter, have the form and function conveyed but without forming matter. So, the angels forming humanity have the forms of free will, self-consciousness, thoughts of God and obedience to laws of God.  (Attributing the forms conveyed to the conveyers of forms is my construction for rationalizing anthropomorphizing angels. )This is not platonic self-predication in which the form of man is a man. It is the conveyer of the form of man to potentiality which has the form it conveys, while remaining spiritual.

Angels are spiritual entities because they have no matter. This means that they have no potentiality for taking on accidental forms by which they can be spatially located and distinguished from one another; they can only be what they are essentially. However, these angels can change if their essence, the forms they have, provide for the attainment of a goal, eg. informing matter or making a decision as would be the case for angels conveying the form for free will. There is a formal succession; a before-and-after succession which cannot be tracked by an spatial succession.

This metaphysical speculation has set the stage for Fr. Ricardo’s anthropomorphic tale of the fall of Satan and Satan’s enslavement of human beings. The conceptual structure makes anthropomorphism plausible. For the angels for humanity have the forms of the traits they convey to humans. We think of them as similar to people while trying to ignore any spatial imagery of them.

Some of the highest angels, perhaps those charged with bringing the highest intelligence to humans, were envious that humans would share with them eternal life. They believed that the humans tied down in matter should not share their high goal of eternal life. In their pride, with their free will they chose not to convey the form of eternal life to humans. With their choice not to convey the form of eternal life to humans, they chose not to be what they are essentially, viz., conveyers of the Word of God. By choosing not to be what they are essentially, they chose total death. Total death is annihilation; not being at all. But they cannot be annihilated for they have the form of eternal life. The result is that they have chosen eternal torment of having as their chosen goal being annihilated while they can never be annihilated. Simply being, as opposed to not being at all- is an eternal torment for them. There is no rest. That is hell.

In their hellish state, they still envy humans having eternal life with being with God as their good. Other angels fulfilled the function of conveying the form of eternal life to humans. Perhaps, the other angels taking over this function could be portrayed as St. Michael casting Satan and his angels down from heaven. In their envy, they wish to pervert the good of eternal life in humans into the eternal torment to which their disobedience perverted their eternal life. Satan persuaded the first humans, viz. the humans from which the forms and purposes of humanity would be biologically transmitted to other humans, to choose not to be with God by choosing to disobey God. By choosing not to be with God, these first humans chose for humanity not to have the goal of being with God. For humans not to have the goal of being with God is not to be. For humans not to be as they ought is NOT TO BE. So, the first humans who chose the forms for subsequent humans, chose the final form as not to be. Thus, humans, by this primeval choice have their final goal as the perverted good of not being. But it is perverted because they have the form of eternal life while having the goal of not having life, viz. annhilation. Thus, humans now have the hellish condition of the fallen angels. They eternally seek annihilation; a restless striving for a total death which never comes.

To be sure, humans have a type of death for death is what has been chosen. The death we get is not being full humans because we are all ultimately to be separated from matter, viz., biological death. We still have the form of eternally being which is now a curse for our choice is not to be. So, with Satan we have the eternal torment of seeking not to be.

Thus, Satan has captured us by making our destiny the same as his, viz., eternally tormented spiritual beings. For each of us the capture is completed at our biological death. For in the spiritual condition we are completely in his realm. So, it is biological death, becoming disembodied, which is the doorway to hell. In this sense, death is as much our enemy as Satan. Overcoming death, as disembodiment is the way to rescue humans from the hellish destiny of Satan.

I shall not attempt a rationalization of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection as overcoming death. I try to understand the Paschal Mystery with philosophy. But these philosophical speculations are only faith seeking understanding. I regard philosophical speculations as rationalizations when used to excuse anthropomorphic stories about spiritual beings.

* See Taylor Marshall on creation of the angels according to Augustine. Taylor Marshall writes clearly on this point. I need not agree with all of his opinions on theology and Catholic Church policies.

The Problem of Evil as the Cornerstone of a Christian World View

As links reveal, this post coheres with efforts to find foundations for divine command morality. A factor of my motivation for understanding morality as based on divine commands is to understand retributive punishment. I believed that retributive punishment is crucial to understand the Christian world view that evil has been introduced by God’s creatures which God in His love for His creatures will correct. A Christian world view is a plausible account of what it would be like for line 11 below to be true.

A significant challenge to prevailing secular world views would be showing that an intelligible line of thought in philosophical theology leads to claims well explained by the Christian world view. Lines (1) through (10) below are philosophical theology. If I were to document sources for any of these lines, I would cite historical figures recognized as philosophers and not as theologians for any particular religious tradition. If I would cite sources on how to develop line (11) I would cite scriptures and theologians such as Church Fathers. I should be citing sources because I do not want to claim any originality for what I write. I admit originality only for what is not worth taking seriously. Perhaps, line (1), then, is original. Still, I believe line (1) is correct.

1. We cannot imagine experiencing reality without physical and moral evil.

2. If God is omnipotent, all good and the sole creator of reality, then reality is without physical and moral evil.

3. So, if God is omnipotent, all good and the sole creator of reality, then reality of which God is the sole creator is a reality which we cannot imagine experiencing.

4. We can, because of our experience, only too well imagine experiencing reality with physical and moral evil.

5. So, God is either not omnipotent or not all good or not the sole creator of the reality as we experience reality.

6. If God exists, God is omnipotent and all good.

7. God exists .

8. Hence, God is not the sole creator of reality as we experience it.

9. If God is not the sole creator of reality as we experience it , then the other creators are less than God and have been created with God’s permission to be subsidiary creators of reality as we experience it.

10. If God has delegated creation of reality as we experience it to subsidiary creators, He had a good reason for delegating creative activity and has a good reason for correcting the experienced reality produced by susidiary creators.

11. So, ultimately there will be a correction of reality as we experience it although we cannot imagine experiencing it!

Some remarks on the lines of the argument:

On line (1): An observation in a homily by my pastor, Fr, Matthew Hoover, gave me the insight that we pose the problem of evil but have no clear idea of what would solve it.

On line 9: I have sketched out how Satan could be the primary subsidiary creator.

The Transcendent vs Nothing

I am trying to understand the Christian* theme that there is a cosmic battle in progress between God and evil forces. This theme is, on the surface at least, incompatible with the Christian theme of God as the supreme unlimited source of everything except God. The latter theme expresses the standard philosophical concept of God with all the Omni’s, omniscience, omnipotence, etc..

This effort to understand the theme of a cosmic battle is crucial for my project of presenting morality as constituted by divine commands. In modelling morality as laws which are commanded it is very easy to slip into modelling morality as eternal standing laws. The model suggests that there are these immutable laws which were somehow established by a divine command. However, there really is no place for commanding. Classifying the moral laws as simply divine commands adds little to standard natural law models of morality. No new prescriptions can be added. And new prescriptions that some harm ought to occur upon violation of moral laws is crucial to morality as authoritarian morality. To emphasize that the divine commander of morality is an active commander, I try to model the divine commander as a “battlefield commander.”

At the risk of appearing to accept a childish reification of nothing, I explore a conjecture that God is struggling with nothing. There is a cosmic warfare between creating and nothing. Whatever the creator creates, the creator takes from nothing. Whatever the creator sustains keeps something from nothing. Nothing is the loser in creation.

In general, I do not like solving philosophic problems with a verbal change. If the change solves the conceptual problem, it seems an admission that the problem was only verbal. Nonetheless, I will experiment by frequently making the verbal change of “not being” for “nothing.”

The answer to “What is nothing?” is “not being.” So I rewrite my the crucial sentences of the previous paragraph as follows.

I explore a conjecture that God is struggling with not being. There is a cosmic warfare between creating and not being. Whatever the creator creates, the creator takes from not being. Whatever the creator sustains keeps something from not being. Not being is the loser in creation.

Let us suppose that the cosmic struggle is a reaction to creation. Creatures with intelligence and some power are necessary for there to be a struggle not to be – a struggle on behalf of nothing.

The creator creates intelligence with powers. There are intelligence beings with powers to influence what is created. Intelligence recognizes that it depends upon the creator for being. All intelligent beings dread not being. As dependent beings all intelligent beings are essentially capable of not being. And they know it!

There are two ways to react to awareness of dependence. One is to accept the dependent status with faith that the creator sustains one from not being. The other is to rebel against that dependent status.

In rebellion against the dependent status, a creature is rebelling against its being. The rebellious creature is choosing not to be. For a creature to be is to be dependent. Choice of not being dependent is a choice not to be. For a creature to be independent is for it not to be a creature and hence, not to be.

Choice against being a creature is choice against creation. Creation can be attacked only by preventing creatures from being – by having creatures not be. There is a limited way in which creation can be prevented. The only creatures that can be prevented from being are creatures who can not be as the creator intended that they be. These are creatures with free will. The moral laws tell these intelligent creatures what they are created to be. By violating the moral laws they choose not to be. For creatures with free will not to be as the creator intends in a particular area is always a general rebellion against being a creature and, hence, a choice not to be.

Some intelligences have chosen against their dependent status and hence have chosen creation not to be what it is. That means that some intelligences with powers have chosen that there not be creation – that there be nothing. The rebellious creatures want their choice to be correct. The vain hope for ratification of their choice is to have it chosen by all. Thus creatures in rebellion against being seek to use their powers to have others choose not to be which in its limited fashion is always a particular choice not be be as the creator intended in a particular area.

Hence, there is resistance in creation against what the creator creates. The resistant forces can alter what the creator intends in arenas in which the creator grants freedom of choice to some creatures. The typical resistance is disobedience to the moral laws of the creator who is the moral authority.

Subsequent posts will reconsider and clarify the notion of the creator being a moral commander in a contest with intelligences, with powers and free will, who have chosen that there be no creation.

* But I am not working in Christian theology. I want my work to be philosophic. I am here giving philosophic support to Christianity. My line of thought is that authoritarian morality is the correct philosophic model of moral thought. The authoritarian model posits a moral commander in conflict with evil. So, Christianity is shown to use a philosophically approved model of morality.

Our Global War Against Coronavirus Pandemic Is Sacrificial Worship to An Idol

We commit idolatry when we take a finite thing as a supreme being. In the global war against the covid-19 virus we have taken health as the supreme being. Health is our idol. Suppression of liberties, creation of poverty, destruction of civil society and locking places of worship are all supposedly justified by simply saying “this is to protect health.” Leaders all over the globe believe health is requiring them to require uncalculated great sacrifices, especially from the less fortunate, for an indefinite time.

Health offers us nothing of lasting value. With death we all lose health. With health as god, there is nothing after death. That is nihilism.

The global war against the coronavirus pandemic is a battle to make nihilism the religion of the world. Who, or what, is leading the forces in this battle? It is world-wide. We cannot specify any person, agency or government. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that something which wills the destruction of all that is good, which is to will there be nothing at all, is deceiving the hearts and minds of leaders, by means of apparently good intentions, to mislead everyone to worship it. Satan is that which wills there be nothing at all – total death.

More than fearing the flu, we should be living with fear and trembling that Satan will win by establishing nihilism as the dominant world religion with health as its idol through whom we worship him.

Irrationality of Moral Rationalization

In my post immediately before this post,Pope Francis and Satan I proposed interpreting temptations from the devil as the temptation to practice moral rationalization.

I noted that in general, “rationalization” is an honorific term indicating an effort to make a practice or idea agreeable to reason by removing objections of reason to the practice or idea. For instance, my effort in the previous post to represent Satan in abstract terms is rationalization by avoiding the objections that there is no evidence of any beings corresponding to pictorial images of Satan and devils.

However, “moral rationalization” is a pejorative term. It stands for proposing reasons for not following a moral principle which provides for no exceptions. To be more specific: You engage in moral rationalization in a situation under the following conditions.

1. You accept, or ought to accept, a moral principle that says an act is wrong regardless of the circumstances in which it is to be performed, regardless of the intentions of the agent who performs the act and regardless of the consequences of the act. Such principles are classified as categorical or absolute and such acts as intrinsically wrong.

2. You search for and find in the situation circumstances of performing the action, intentions of the agent, or in the likely consequences of the action reasons for setting aside the absolute moral principle.

As I use the term “moral rationalization,” engaging in moral rationalization is logically inconsistent. The moral rationalizers both hold and reject an absolute moral principle. They cannot really avoid the logical inconsistency by saying that they may not give full consent to the moral principle because they are only committed to it by a social role such as being a church official. In these cases, they ought to accept it to avoid the inconsistency of accepting the principle by accepting the social role and then privately rejecting the principle.

People who do not hold absolute moral principles cannot engage in moral rationalization. In fact, they might hold that always considering the circumstances of the act, intentions of the agents and likely consequences of the act is rational deliberation.

People who do not hold absolute moral principles might do something similar to moral rationalization when they deceive themselves about the circumstances etc. in deliberation. For instance, a man might tell himself that she freely consented although he applied quite a bit of social pressure.

I am logically required, by acceptance of absolute moral principles and my model of Satan, to say that people who accept no absolute moral principles are under the influence of the Satanic temptation never to obey without question a moral principle. Of course,people who hold absolute moral principles but engage in moral rationalization are succumbing to the temptation of Satan as well as being logically inconsistent.

This talk of Satan is not as bizarre as it sounds at first. My model for angels is a model for new thoughts entering human thought. Human thought is that repository of thoughts available to all humans. Angels are beings capable of putting thoughts into human thought prior to any human individual thinking the thought. On my model Satan is the angel who put into human thought the thought of rejecting absolute moral rules.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. I do not introduce anything like the notion of Satan in my book. I argue that the rejection of absolute moral principles for sexual activity ultimately leads to rejection of absolute moral principles for all activities. I go on to make a case that dismissal of all absolute moral principles leads to a stance that since everything in principle is permissible, nothing matters. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.

To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Pope Francis on the Role of Satan in Sexual Abuse

Let us endorse Pope Francis recognition of the devil’s role in the sexual misconduct of some priests.

In this post I diagnose the action of the devil as insinuating the theory of the moral neutrality of sexual activity into human thought and profess that ultimately prayer in addition to reason is very helpful, if not needed, to combat the morally corrupting theory of the moral neutrality of sexuality.

As a reminder of Pope Francis’s thoughts on the role of the devil in sexual abuse, consider an excerpt from an April 1, 2019 National Catholic Register translation of of Pope Francis’ March 31, 2019 in flight press conference on his return flight from Rabat Morocco

In a question a Ms. Cristiana Caricato, TV2000. noted: “you often denounce the action of the devil, you did so also at the recent Vatican summit on abuse”.
Pope Francis emphasized his realistic stance about a devil by responding :

“I try to give you all the explanations and also the limits of the explanations. But there is a point that cannot be understood without the mystery of evil. Think of this: virtual child pornography.” . . .”this is not understood without the spirit of evil. It is a concrete problem. We must solve it concretely, but say that it is the spirit of evil.”. . . “to overcome the spirit of evil is not ‘washing one’s hands,’ saying ‘the devil does it,’ no. We too must struggle with the devil, as we must struggle with human things”.

I agree with Pope Francis that we must struggle with the devil. But how?

To resolve the sexual abuse crises we need to be clear about the misdeeds, we need to understand their causes and how to prevent the operation of those causes.. There are two kinds of misdeeds in the abuse crises. On one hand, there are the sexual acts of priests; usually with boys. On the other hand, there are the so called cover-up by clerical officials of the actual sexual misconduct. As a Catholic it is proper to regard the misdeeds as sins and their causes as temptations. Catholic tradition tells us that the world, the flesh and the devil are the sources of temptation to sin.

The sexual misdeeds always involve mortal sins: Always by the seducer and sometimes by the seduced. In this post, the focus is on the sources of the temptation to these mortal sins. In my opinion, many of the cover-ups are at most venial sins. Outright perjury is, of course, a mortal sin. I suspect, however, that many of the cover-ups were simply imprudent acts of mercy and forgiveness. We do not need to invoke the devil to explain imprudent acts of mercy and forgiveness. Any parent with a wayward child understands that temptation all too well as coming from a natural love for their children. Imprudent love for one’s children can be classed as a temptation coming from the flesh – human nature. I concede that it is almost certain that many of the cover-ups were motivated by a concern to protect the reputation of the clerical order. Such a temptation could be interpreted as coming from the world – concern about status in society. And the temptation could be called clericalism. It seems unlikely that concern about clerical rights and privileges are operative in a man lusting for a boy, or girl for that matter. Indeed, if a priest uses his clerical status to seduce a boy, lust explains his succumbing to temptation and “clericalism” only labels a means he has chosen to act out his temptation.

So-called clericalism is relevant for explaining the cover-ups; not the sexual sins. So let us turn to the role of the flesh and the devil in temptations to the actual sexual sins. Strong sexual desire, which I here equate with lust, may be a necessary condition for a sexual misdeed; but it is not sufficient for explaining sexual sins.

I propose that the devil by making available to us moral rationalization* techniques together with lust is almost sufficient for sexual sins. There still needs to be the free choice even after moral rationalization has concocted all sorts of excuses for setting aside moral rules.

In previous posts, I have sketched out how a devil corrupts human thought by providing moral rationalization techniques. One of the main posts is What is Satan?

Here is a brief synopsis of my model for the devil. God created an intelligence almost as great as his own. The function of this intelligence is to convey God’s thoughts to humans by placing God’s thoughts in human thought. (Angels are beings for conveying God’s thoughts.) Human thought comprises those thoughts which are somehow common to all human beings. Whoever thinks can think what is in human thought. God gave this supreme messenger free will. It could convey to human thought what God willed or it could choose to will something else. This supreme messenger rebelled by chosing to reserve to itself whether or not it would convey what God willed. Before conveying what God willed, it would consider whether or not it had reasons for passing on what God willed. This supreme messenger was the first moral rationalizer and it passed on to human thought this thought of rationalization-seeking reasons for setting aside the moral law.

Hesitating to obey an command known to come from God is illogical and immoral. By logic about the concept of God what comes from God is right and ought to be. So this moral rationalization of this supreme messenger is irrational and immoral.

In brief, the work of the devil is making available to human thought rationalizing thoughts for following the temptations of the world and flesh. In regard to sexual temptations the basic rationalizing technique is the thought of the moral neutrality of all sexual activity. According to this moral rationalizing thought there are always considerations which can justify any sexual activity. When under the pressure of lust simply thinking that there might be justifying considerations can lead one into succumbing to sexual desire.

So to struggle against the devil when sexual temptations arise is to block oneself from any rationalizing thoughts, which all depend upon the thought of the moral neutrality of sexual activity. Prayer and religious activity may not be necessary conditions for blocking rationalizing thoughts from becoming active in your thought. But I, and presumably those who have recommended prayer, have found that prayer and religious activity are sufficient for filling the mind with thoughts and sentiments which keep out rationalizing thoughts.

* I modify “rationalization” with “moral” because in general “rationalization” is an honorific term suggesting the removal of objections raised by reason. However, I intend “moral rationalization” to be a pejorative term. In moral rationalization, objections – reasons against- are raised which logically and morally ought not be raised. Indeed, my model of Satan is type of rationalization.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. In my book, I argue that the assumption of the moral neutrality of sexual activity ultimately undercuts all objective morality. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.

To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

We Cannot Know Whether We Respect the Moral Law or Love God.

The previous post in this seriesThe Impossibility of Being Moral by Normal Human Reasoning and Choosing argued that after original sin normal human methods and motivations for choosing were insufficient for us to become the kind of person who chooses what is right because it is right, viz., a person with a good will. So for us to still have the good God wills for us even after original sin, God has to give us special thoughts and feelings to choose to be people who do what is right because it is right.

The phrase “God has to give” must not be misunderstood. There is no suggestion that God has to give us these special thoughts and feelings because we have done, or can do, anything to deserve them. Logic requires us to say “God has to give.” By assuming that God still wills the good for us after original sin, logic requires that we assume God also wills the means of attaining that good. Part of the means is that we be given the non-normal thoughts and feelings of choosing as our dominant moral stance choosing what is right because it is right.

Let us call these special thoughts and feelings “respect for the moral law.”

Previous posts have brought out that nothing we do entitles us to this gift. God gives it to us because God still loves us after original sin.

In this post, I shall try to give some indication of what respect for the moral law is like. I offer only indications because I am not certain that I have accepted this gift or am alert enough to recognize it if I ever accept it. Indeed the main point of this post is that no one can recognize that they have respect for the moral law. Use of normal human reasoning is not likely to bring us to trustworthy recognition that we are using properly something which is beyond reason. The theory being developed in these posts teaches that God provides the gift of respect for the moral law. But reflections of this post bring out that we cannot recognize whether or not we ever accept the gift.

Is it not preposterous that anyone could seriously think that they had reached a stage of moral perfection? Resolving to break off a bad habit or immoral practice is analogous to respecting the moral law. Consider a man who needs to stop drinking alcohol completely. First he has to conclude that alcohol is unconditionally bad for him. It is not enough simply to think that drinking has bad consequences for him. Things change with time. So bad consequences may not result from drinking in the future. Such thinking about the future undercuts the resolve needed to stop drinking completely. Secondly, he has to have confidence that he will not abandon his resolution. People realize that they need on going support to stick with a resolution to avoid a single vice. So certainly no realistic person would be confident that they could keep to a resolution of avoiding all vices.

Consider a personal example. I know that suicide is wrong without exception. Nonetheless as I age and physician assisted suicide is becoming legal in more and more communities, I can think of several situations in which suicide is highly desirable. All the way to death, I will have that temptation. I am resolved not to succumb to the temptation. However, by the time I can never succumb to the temptation, I cannot know of my success by natural means.

Denying the existence of morality by developing some theory that the thoughts of universal binding rules is an illusion and there are no rules that are more binding than the local rules of law and custom might be an indication of not responding to the gift of respect for the moral law. The theoretical position of denying the reality of moral laws is called “amoralism.” However, a better indication than amoralism of not having respect for the moral law is leading an immoral life.

Respect for the moral law differs from a fear of disobeying a moral rule. Leading a very moral life and frequently rejecting temptations with the thought that the action to which we are tempted is a violation of the moral law is not sufficient to show that we have respect for the moral law. In our efforts to lead a moral life we can become conditioned to feeling very uncomfortable by violating a moral rule. So we develop inclinations, which can be very strong, to obey moral rules. Such people, and I class myself among them, must admit we obey the moral rules because we are strongly disinclined to break them; not necessarily because they are the right rules.

Discussion of problems of free will would lead us away into long discussions not directly relevant to building a conceptual model of the Paschal Mystery. However, problems of free will are extremely relevant to explaining why we cannot be certain that we have freely committed ourselves to being moral or loving God. To be sure we are not here considering choices to perform particular acts such as a choice to spread a rumor. We are considering choices to have a policy such as never breaking a moral rule again or to obey God unconditionally. However, if natural factors could explain our having thoughts such as “I’ll never violate a moral law,” then we can doubt whether it is we ourselves who have accepted the gift of God to form such resolutions.

The devil plays a part in darkening our minds so that we think becoming morally good is an illusion. One of my motivations for writing this series of posts on Satan, original sin, build a conceptual model for there being a warfare of God with powers of darkness over whether or not humans can attain the good God wills for us. See Why Does Satan Want Us to Go to Hell?. Satan who was originally created to convey God’s messages to humanity conveys messages to humans by introducing thoughts into that interpersonal body of thoughts and sentiments we call human reason. After Lucifer’s choice to convey his own thoughts to human reason rather than God’s, Lucifer, who is now Satan, introduces thoughts which undercut human ability to receive God’s gift of respect for law. One such thought is a theory that it is irrational to ever commit ourselves to a policy of avoiding a certain type of act regardless of the consequences. Such a theory is in direct contradiction to respect for the moral law. This theory rejecting moral categorical imperatives is pervasive in human thought. It is promoted in classes in moral theory which use counterexamples to weakened commitment to principles which categorically prohibit actions, such as intentionally taking innocent human life. This principle of rejecting all moral categorical imperatives is, I submit, an example of a temptation from the devil.

People who pass on thoughts originally introduced into human thinking by Satan are not acting as agents of Satan. In inconsistent human thinking almost all of us who reach maturity pass on such thoughts. Consider that people who teach Newtonian physics are not agents of Newton.

Fortunately, the fact that we cannot use our normal reasoning to recognize that we are at least on the way to moral perfection, does not mean that we must abandon hope that we can have the gift of respecting the moral law or growing in respect for the moral law. The hope however is grounded in a faith that God, or the moral order, provides us the undeserved gift of respecting the moral law.

I want to close this post by shifting to a religious instead of moral perspective. I can make the shift readily because I am identifying moral laws as God’s commands.* Respect for the moral law can be interpreted as willing what God wills simply because God wills it. For humans to will what God wills is to love God. Why? Generally to love is to will the good of the other. Of course, there is no alternative to God having what is good. So to will the good of God is to will what is truly good and that is what God commands. So for humans to love God is to will what God commands simply because God commands it. Just as it is uncertain whether we have respect for the moral law, so it is undertain whether or not we accept the gift of loving God.

* In my book on sexual morality I show how one can identify moral laws as commands of God and avoid those problems brought out long ago by Plato in his Euthyphro dialogue by a naïve identification of moral laws with divine commands.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.

To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Inheritance of Original Sin Compatible With The Immaculate Conception

This post is actually a footnote to the previous post on the inheritance of original sin. The gist of that post was that the original sin of the couple, Adam and Eve, who chose to act on the maxim of occasionally setting aside God’s will to satisfy their inclinations was inherited as a principle in the universal human conceptual scheme which forms the core of human reasoning. This core is comprised of principals such as basic arithmetic operations, axioms such as equals added to equals gives equals and some moral principles such as treat equal cases equally. So the position being proposed in these posts is that the principle “On occasion we may set aside the morality to satisfy our inclinations” is as deep in our reasoning as basic arithmetic. This core of human reasoning is the inheritance of each human individual.

Recall that I am identifying the requirements of morality with what God wills. I am also using freely the names of characters in the biblical stories of original sin and the Annunciation.

Observe that this maxim is a way of expressing the principal that the end justifies the means. We are allegedly justified in setting aside the demands of morality to attain the end of the greatest satisfaction of human inclinations. Put this way it is not hard to accept that it is a universal principle of reasoning.

Now the first human couple committed the sin of adopting this maxim. Their sin of commission was a creative conceptual act of introducing this principle into human reason. They committed the original sin. Other human beings have the original sin by virtue of having the new conceptual scheme enriched, or rather fouled, by the principle which the original couple chose.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin. That means that God expunged the principle of setting aside His will from the conceptual scheme which she inherited.

On the surface, this does not seem to be a blessing. It is like being born without a basic component of reasoning. Indeed for those who believe that a fundamental principle for moral reasoning is that there are no moral absolutes, Mary lacked a fundamental capacity for moral reasoning.

However, Mary still had free will. There is no reason to fear that Mary could do nothing but accept God’s offer to accept the virginal conception of Jesus. Her moral reasoning capabilities were those of Eve before she chose the twofold sin of both satisfying an inclination against God’s will and thereby also choosing the maxim of setting aside God’s when so inclined. Mary could have chosen just as Eve chose. Mary had the choice to decline God’s offer in order to satisfy her inclinations for a normal woman’s life. If she had done so, she would also have chosen the principle she hitherto lacked of occasionally putting inclinations over God’s will.

However, Mary chose to do God’s will and let it be done unto her according to His will.

Having Original Sin vs. Committing the Original Sin:How Original Sin Is Inherited

In a series of posts on how Satan and God are in a warfare over whether or not humans go to hell, this post follows, Humankind’s Original Sin & the Emergence of the Human Soul in Evolution.

In that post, we started with a man and a woman who could distinguish right acts from wrong acts but, as was the case with all members of their species had no concept of becoming the kind of person who always chose the right act regardless of any inclination to do otherwise. The moral concept they lacked has a variety of descriptions. We could say that they had no concept of the moral good of always choosing the right act. They had no concept of a good will. We could say that they had the “local” moral concepts of the right acts to do but lacked the “global” moral concept of becoming the kind of moral person they ought to be, namely a person who always chooses the right act because it is right. We could say that they had concerned for doing right acts but not being a righteous person.*

God brought it about that this man and woman acquired this concept of becoming a morally proper person by having as their maxim for making choices to choose what is morally right,i.e. choosing what they have an inclination for only if it is in accordance with what is right. On a momentous occasion when they were tempted to satisfy an inclination to violate a moral law or command of God, Satan provided them with a second temptation. The second temptation was to adopt as a maxim the policy of occasionally setting aside the moral law in order to satisfy an inclination. The temptation was to set aside the goal of being a morally proper person or one in obedience to God’s will. The original sin is the choice of this maxim. For the line of thought that I am pursuing here, it must be emphasized that the original sin of the original parents was the choice of a maxim or policy of occasionally setting aside the moral law. The original parents committed the original sin. Having original sin is having this maxim or policy. I now argue that we can accuse a person of having original sin independently of accusing the person of committing the original sin.

In this post I speculate how this original sin is inherited. Suppose the man and woman were selected by God from all the homo sapiens at certain time to introduce a new moral concept which would be a cultural universal for all humans. They, “Adam and Eve,” were selected to be the creative geniuses who brought a fundamental concept to humanity along with a host of associated concepts. Whatever God let evolution give them so that they could have this thought will be passed on in their biological reproduction. Also whatever God allowed evolutionary processes to give them so that they could have the thought of setting aside a command of God will also be passed on in their biological reproduction.
Recall that concomitant with the concept of obedience to all the moral laws was the associated concept of occasionally setting aside the moral. Here, though, we are primarily concerned with sociological inheritance; not biological inheritance.

All humans contemporaneous with the “original sinners” can be said to have this defective moral character. For the couple with the concept of moral good but who yet succumbed to the temptation to set aside its pursuit belonged to the community of homo sapiens. Once a concept is introduced by some individuals it becomes a concept of the human community. For instance, when someone introduced the concept of zero, we had the concept of zero. That’s how creativity works. So every one has these concepts of moral good and setting it aside once “Adam and Eve and Satan introduced them.”

Which should we assume to be dominant?. Having the maxim of always obeying the moral law requires a lifetime to exhibit. Setting aside the moral law to satisfy an inclination is readily exhibited from earliest childhood. So the presumption is that every child inherits as its operative maxim the policy of occasionally setting aside a command of God. Thus it is a presumption that every child has the original sin of those original parents. This is not a judgment that every child has chosen to do a wrong act. It is a judgment that every child has a moral character that it ought not have. Discussion of restoration of moral character is for subsequent posts. Satan claims that because of the defective moral character of all human beings, they are all on his side and deserve his fate.

*If we say that being a person who has as a maxim always choosing what is right, is a righteous person, , we can say that a fundamental assumption about human beings is that none of us are righteous.

Subsequent posts in this series will focus on why God did not abandon us although none of us are righteous.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. The central thesis of my book can be interpreted as a temptation from Satan to believe that in principle any pursuit of sexual satisfaction is morally permissible.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.

To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Why Does Satan Want Us to Go to Hell?

This post follows a post What is Satan’s Sin? proposing that there is a Satan with the capability to convey messages to human beings contrary to messages that God would convey to humans. Here we consider what kind of messages Satan would convey to human beings and for what end.

I will refer to Satan with the neutered masculine pronoun “He.” Consider the following line of thought.

Satan has chosen, on occasion, to convey to humans what he wants rather than what God wills.
By choosing to convey what he wills rather than what God wills, Satan has chosen not to be as he ought to be. Satan ought to be a reliable messenger of God’s will.
By choosing not to be as he ought to be, Satan has chosen not to be.

(This crucial identification of not-being with not-being-as-it-ought-to-be has been defended in Moral Harm and non-Being .)

I am afraid that the line of thought I am developing requires at some stage I confront the fundamental question of philosophy: What is Being? I am afraid of this confrontation because I doubt that I can say anything worthwhile that has not already been said. Plato et al. have left the question -die Seinfrage- open.
What Satan has chosen can be defined as Satan’s goal or good.
Satan’s good can be considered as negative and positive but the negative is ultimately more accurate. Negatively considered Satan’s good is simply not-being
Positively considered Satan’s good is some way of being but which is not-being as it ought to be.

For instance, Satan conveys to humans the false message that the end justifies the means. Now being a bearer of that false message is not the way Satan ought to be. Nonetheless Satan is actually something as bearer of that false message. However, at the end of the ages when all that is exists as it ought to be Satan’s accumulation of states of what he ought not have been vanish. Satan is nothing – truly dead.

This total death is hell.

Satan wills his’ good for human beings. Satan’s good, as we have just noted, is that human beings receive and act on messages contrary to what God would tell human beings such as “The end justifies the means.” So Satan wills that humans not be as they ought to be and at the end of the ages be truly dead. Satan’s good for human beings is truly evil for human beings. So when we regard love as willing the good of a being we can regard willing evil for another as hatred for that other being. Thus Satan truly hates human beings just as he hates himself by willing his total death or hell..

We have now answered why Satan hates us and wills that we go to hell. The next post in this series on Satan confronts the issue of how Satan enters into a contest with God to bring all humans into hell with himself.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. It could be said that I confront the false message of Satan, sent through our culture, that there is no objectively right way to exercise our sexuality; rather in sexual matters the end justifies the means.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.

To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.