Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Devil and His Wiles (6 of 6)

...continued from part five.

6. Confronting the Devil

Throughout the biblical and patristic tradition two views of the devil can be discerned. The first is that the devil is not merely a personification of evil or something abstract, but a specific being who works to prevent human beings from being saved. The second is that the devil’s authority, power and energy are of limited strength since the Incarnation of Christ. God’s supremacy over the strength of the evil one is obvious throughout our Tradition.

Christ, as mentioned already, came to defeat the devil and to free man from his tyranny. This is clear from the miracles when people possessed with demons were healed. The demons themselves understood this, because at one point they said, “What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?” The healings of demoniacs are an expression of the eschatological destruction of the devil’s power. This destruction of satanic power was achieved through the Cross, as the Apostle Paul tells us: “Having spoiled principalities and powers, He [Christ] made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it [the Cross]” (Col. 2:15).

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Devil and His Wiles (5 of 6)

...continued from part four.

5. The Devil’s Tactics

The devil does not just make war on human beings, but uses the most appropriate methods to defeat them. He uses many tactics. He is the most experienced general ever in the art of war. St Nicodemus the Hagiorite says on this subject,

“There are three reasons why the devil is very experienced and resourceful in the invisible war against human beings. Firstly, because he and the demons who serve him are by nature subtle spirits, so they are very ingenious in inventing strategies and devices beyond our comprehension. Secondly, because the devil and the demons are seven thousand three hundred years old, and over this long period they have become great experts in tactics. Thirdly, by fighting against all human beings from Adam until now, particularly against saints and hermits eminent in asceticism, and by being counterattacked by them, the devil and the demons have learnt new wiles and tricks from this experience and warfare. They are well-practised and have become highly skilled, as St Isaac the Syrian, St Symeon the New Theologian and St Makarios say.”