The Power Of Satan (1)

The Power Of Satan (1)

Fr. Gabriele Amorth was the Chief Exorcist of Rome. He performed hundreds of exorcisms over many years. He is the author of the best-selling book, An Exorcist Tells His Story. He is also the author of An Exorcist: More Stories. This excerpt, “The Power of Satan,” is taken from An Exorcist Tells His Story (pages 25-36).

Fr. Amorth writes:

Because of the subject that I have decided to address in this book, I cannot pursue other very interesting theological questions. I will merely touch upon certain points that come up as a result of exorcisms. An exorcist with a solid theological and scriptural background, such as Father Candido, who spoke with demons for thirty-six years, is well qualified to make some assumptions on subjects such as the sin of the rebellious angels-that theologians have dismissed in the past with a “we do not know”. Everything that God created follows a harmonious design; therefore, the smallest atom influences everything, and every shadow casts some darkness on everything. Theology will be unfinished and incomprehensible until it focuses on the world of the angels. A Christology that ignores Satan is crippled and will never understand the magnitude of redemption.

We will now continue with Christ, the center of the universe. Everything was created for him and in view of his Coming, in the heavens (angels) and on earth (the tangible world, man first of all). It would be wonderful to speak only of Christ, but it would not be according to his every teaching and action, and we would never be able to understand him. Scripture talks to us about the kingdom of God but also of the kingdom of Satan. It tells us about the power of God, the Creator and Lord of the universe, but also of the power of darkness. It speaks of the sons of God and of the sons of Satan. It is impossible to understand the salvific action of Christ if we ignore the destructive action of Satan.

Satan was the most perfect being created by the hands of God. His God-given authority and superiority over the other angels are recognized by all, so he thought that he had the same authority over everything that God was creating. Satan tried to understand all of creation but could not, because all the plan of creation was oriented toward Christ. Until Christ came into the world, God’s plan could not be revealed in its entirety. Hence Satan’s rebellion. He wanted to continue to be the absolute first, the center of creation, even if it meant opposing God’s design. This is why Satan continually tries to dominate the world (“the whole world is in the power of the evil one”, I Jn 5: 19). Beginning with our forefathers, he seeks to enslave men by making them obey himself and disobey God. He was successful with our forefathers, Adam and Eve, and he hoped to continue with all men with the help of “a third of the angels”, who, according to the book of Revelation, followed him in rebellion against God.

God never rejects his creatures. Therefore, even though they broke with God, Satan and his angels maintain their power and rank (thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and so on) even if they use them for evil purposes. Saint Augustine does not exaggerate when he claims that, if God gave Satan a free hand, “no man would be left alive.” Since Satan cannot kill us, he tries to “make us into his followers in opposition to God, just as he is in opposition to God”.

The truth of salvation is this: Jesus came “to destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn 3:8), to free man from Satan’s slavery, and to establish the kingdom of God after destroying the reign of Satan. However, between the first coming of Christ and the Parousia (the second, triumphal coming of Christ as judge), the devil tries to entice as many people as possible to his side. It is a battle he wages with the desperation of one who knows he is already defeated, knowing “that his time is short” (Rev 12:12). Therefore, Paul tells us in all honesty that “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

…to be continued.

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