Sophie de Villeneuve: Do bad angels exist?
Frank Dubois: Unfortunately yes. It is important to name the evil, in this case the devil and his cohort, to confine it to its place. To prevent it from spreading, we must be able to talk about it freely.
Why does the tradition say that it is about angels who, at the beginning were good, but revolted?
FD: The Bible says little about the creation of angels and their fall. But it says repeatedly in Genesis that God creates a world that is good. But very quickly, Adam and Eve, good creatures, are tempted by a serpent. The readers of this story, Jews or Christians, then wondered where this serpent came from, and how it happened that this creature, a priori good, like all creatures, began to tempt man with the obvious will to knock him down. We logically say to ourselves that between the moment of creation, good, and this episode, something must have happened. Some creatures had to rebel against God and turn their backs on his plan for them, which was to persevere in good. The book of Revelation says that the “ancient serpent” is the devil (20.2). The devil is a good creature from the start who began to wish evil for men and to make God lie. The serpent of Genesis twists, deforms, the discourse that God addressed to man and woman.
Do bad angels have the same power as good ones? Are they of the same nature?
FD: God created all the angels, although the Bible does not say when (some church fathers thought they were created with light, because they are beings of light). All angels are therefore of the same nature, but some have fallen. If they have fallen, they are less powerful, because the power of good is greater than the power of evil, as we can experience in our lives. Following in the footsteps of God who wants us to do good makes us more powerful than those who oppose God’s purpose and do evil. Evil ultimately leads to death, while good ultimately leads to life. In that sense, fallen angels are less powerful.
Should and can men fight against these bad angels?
FD: According to the Apocalypse, the good angels fight against the bad, under the command of Saint Michael, and win the victory. In the Epistles of Jude and Peter, it is said that certain angels were imprisoned by God in the underworld (2 Peter 2, 4; Jude 1, 6). Jesus also says: “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning” (Luke 10.18). In heaven, therefore, the victory over the bad angels is achieved. Of course, the demon continues to stir on earth. Fighting against the bad angels is rather the work of the good angels and especially of Christ. But each time we do a good deed on earth, with the weapons that are ours – medicine for the doctor, poetry for the poet, theology for the theologian – we participate in the fight on earth of good against evil. This fight is a reflection of the one that takes place in heaven.
→ VIDEO: Who is Saint Michael?
Is this called spiritual warfare?
FD: Spiritual combat is intended to be embodied in very concrete actions. There is something heroic about a parent who quits to care for a sick child or their own very elderly parents. Making difficult choices in the name of good is spiritual warfare. The victories over good that we achieve in our lives are a reflection of the great battle fought by the good angels against the forces of evil, and which has already been won. The role of the good angels is also to whisper in our ears that our fight on earth is good because it participates in the fight that the good angels have already won. They encourage us to fight for good, because they know that good is already victorious. They are witnesses for us of the triumph of good.
It evokes those images of Tintin or Snowy who hesitate between their good and their bad angel…
FD: I don’t know if Hergé had read the Pastor of Hermas, one of the first texts of Christianity, which tells us that man stands between two angels, one good and the other bad. One speaks to us from God, the other from nothingness. Man has a natural inclination for the good, because he was created for goodness. But it is true that occult forces come from time to time to set traps for us on the way. This does not relieve us of our responsibility to choose the good rather than the bad, even if we sometimes have extenuating circumstances, lack of means or lighting. Affirming the existence of the devil does not make man less responsible for the evil he commits.
→ READ: Is the devil responsible for the evil we do?
But do we have all the means we need?
FD: We have Christ, through whom we obtain the victory.
→ Do angels intervene in the course of the world?
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Are there bad angels?
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