Interesting quote from “Theology for Beginners”

“Theology for Beginners” by F. J. Sheed

“Chapter X: THE FALL FALL OF ANGELS All spiritual beings, angels and men alike, are created by God with the Beatific Vision, the direct vision of Himself, as their destiny. All of them need supernatural life to give them the powers of seeing and loving that their destiny calls for. And for all there is an interval—for growth or testing—between the granting of supernatural life and its flowering in the Beatific Vision. Once God is seen as He is, with the intellect in the immediate contact of sight and the will in the immediate contact of love, it is impossible for the soul to see the choice of self against God as anything but repulsive, and in the profoundest sense meaningless; in the immediate contact, the self knows beatitude, total well-being, and no element in the self could even conceive of wishing to lose it. But until then, the will, even supernaturally alive, may still choose self. So it was with the angels. God created them with their natural life, pure spirits knowing and loving, and with supernatural life. And some of them chose self, self as against God. We know that one was their leader; him we call the Devil, the rest demons; he is the named one—Lucifer (though he is never called so in Scripture), Satan which means Enemy, Apollyon which means Exterminator, Beelzebub which means the Lord of Flies. The rest are an evil, anonymous multitude. The detail of their sin we do not know. In some form it was, like all sin, a refusal of love, a turning of the will from God, Who is supreme goodness, towards self. Theologians are almost at one in thinking it was a sin of pride; all sins involve following one’s own desire in place of God’s will, but pride goes all the way, putting oneself in God’s place, making oneself the center of the universe. It is total folly of course, and the angels knew it. But the awareness of folly does not keep us from sinning and did not keep them. The world well lost for love—that can be the cry of self-love too. One of the secondary theological excitements of the next life will be learning the detail of the angels’ sin. The angels who stayed firm in the love of God were admitted to the Beatific Vision. The rest got what they had asked for—separation from God: He still maintained them in existence out of their original nothingness, but that was all. Note that their choice was final. Men are given another chance, and another, and another. Not so angels. We have no experience, and never shall have it, of being pure spirits, spirits not meant for union with a body as our souls are: but philosophers who have gone deep into the concept see reasons why an angel’s decision can only be final, and a second chance therefore pointless.”

Start reading it for free: