Summa Th. I EN Qu.63 a.3
Objection: 1. It would seem that the devil did not desire to be as God. For what does not fall under apprehension, does not fall under desire; because the good which is apprehended moves the appetite, whether sensible, rational, or intellectual; and sin consists only in such desire. But for any creature to be God's equal does not fall under apprehension, because it implies a contradiction; for it the finite equals the infinite, then it would itself be infinite. Therefore an angel could not desire to be as God.
2. Further, the natural end can always be desired without sin. But to be likened unto God is the end to which every creature naturally tends. If, therefore, the angel desired to be as God, not by equality, but by likeness, it would seem that he did not thereby sin.
3. Further, the angel was created with greater fulness of wisdom than man. But no man, save a fool, ever makes choice of being the equal of an angel, still less of God; because choice regards only things which are possible, regarding which one takes deliberation. Therefore much less did the angel sin by desiring to be as God.
On the contrary It is said, in the person of the devil (Is 14,13-14), "I will ascend into heaven . . . I will be like the Most High." And Augustine (De Qu. Vet. Test. cxiii) says that being "inflated with pride, he wished to be called God."
I answer that, Without doubt the angel sinned by seeking to be as God. But this can be understood in two ways: first, by equality; secondly, by likeness. He could not seek to be as God in the first way; because by natural knowledge he knew that this was impossible: and there was no habit preceding his first sinful act, nor any passion fettering his mind, so as to lead him to choose what was impossible by failing in some particular; as sometimes happens in ourselves. And even supposing it were possible, it would be against the natural desire; because there exists in everything the natural desire of preserving its own nature; which would not be preserved were it to be changed into another nature. Consequently, no creature of a lower order can ever covet the grade of a higher nature; just as an ass does not desire to be a horse: for were it to be so upraised, it would cease to be itself. But herein the imagination plays us false; for one is liable to think that, because a man seeks to occupy a higher grade as to accidentals, which can increase without the destruction of the subject, he can also seek a higher grade of nature, to which he could not attain without ceasing to exist. Now it is quite evident that God surpasses the angels, not merely in accidentals, but also in degree of nature; and one angel, another. Consequently it is impossible for one angel of lower degree to desire equality with a higher; and still more to covet equality with God.
To desire to be as God according to likeness can happen in two ways. In one way, as to that likeness whereby everything is made to be likened unto God. And so, if anyone desire in this way to be Godlike, he commits no sin; provided that he desires such likeness in proper order, that is to say, that he may obtain it of God. But he would sin were he to desire to be like unto God even in the right way, as of his own, and not of God's power. In another way one may desire to be like unto God in some respect which is not natural to one; as if one were to desire to create heaven and earth, which is proper to God; in which desire there would be sin. It was in this way that the devil desired to be as God. Not that he desired to resemble God by being subject to no one else absolutely; for so he would be desiring his own 'not-being'; since no creature can exist except by holding its existence under God. But he desired resemblance with God in this respect---by desiring, as his last end of beatitude, something which he could attain by the virtue of his own nature, turning his appetite away from supernatural beatitude, which is attained by God's grace. Or, if he desired as his last end that likeness of God which is bestowed by grace, he sought to have it by the power of his own nature; and not from Divine assistance according to God's ordering. This harmonizes with Anselm's opinion, who says [*De casu diaboli, iv.] that "he sought that to which he would have come had he stood fast." These two views in a manner coincide; because according to both, he sought to have final beatitude of his own power, whereas this is proper to God alone.
Since, then, what exists of itself is the cause of what exists of another, it follows from this furthermore that he sought to have dominion over others; wherein he also perversely wished to be like unto God.
From this we have the answer to all the objections.
Objection: 1. It would seem that some demons are naturally wicked. For Porphyry says, as quoted by Augustine (De Civ. Dei x, 11): "There is a class of demons of crafty nature, pretending that they are gods and the souls of the dead." But to be deceitful is to be evil. Therefore some demons are naturally wicked.
2. Further, as the angels are created by God, so are men. But some men are naturally wicked, of whom it is said (Ws. 12:10): "Their malice is natural." Therefore some angels may be naturally wicked.
3. Further, some irrational animals have wicked dispositions by nature: thus the fox is naturally sly, and the wolf naturally rapacious; yet they are God's creatures. Therefore, although the demons are God's creatures, they may be naturally wicked.
On the contrary Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "the demons are not naturally wicked."
I answer that, Everything which exists, so far as it exists and has a particular nature, tends naturally towards some good; since it comes from a good principle; because the effect always reverts to its principle. Now a particular good may happen to have some evil connected with it; thus fire has this evil connected with it that it consumes other things: but with the universal good no evil can be connected. If, then, there be anything whose nature is inclined towards some particular good, it can tend naturally to some evil; not as evil, but accidentally, as connected with some good. But if anything of its nature be inclined to good in general, then of its own nature it cannot be inclined to evil. Now it is manifest that every intellectual nature is inclined towards good in general, which it can apprehend and which is the object of the will. Hence, since the demons are intellectual substances, they can in no wise have a natural inclination towards any evil whatsoever; consequently they cannot be naturally evil.
Reply to Objection: 1. Augustine rebukes Porphyry for saying that the demons are naturally deceitful; himself maintaining that they are not naturally so, but of their own will. Now the reason why Porphyry held that they are naturally deceitful was that, as he contended, demons are animals with a sensitive nature. Now the sensitive nature is inclined towards some particular good, with which evil may be connected. In this way, then, it can have a natural inclination to evil; yet only accidentally, inasmuch as evil is connected with good.
2. The malice of some men can be called natural, either because of custom which is a second nature; or on account of the natural proclivity on the part of the sensitive nature to some inordinate passion, as some people are said to be naturally wrathful or lustful; but not on the part of the intellectual nature.
3. Brute beasts have a natural inclination in their sensitive nature towards certain particular goods, with which certain evils are connected; thus the fox in seeking its food has a natural inclination to do so with a certain skill coupled with deceit. Wherefore it is not evil in the fox to be sly, since it is natural to him; as it is not evil in the dog to be fierce, as Dionysius observes (De Div. Nom. iv).
Objection: 1. It would seem that the devil was wicked by the fault of his own will in the first instant of his creation. For it is said of the devil (Jn 8,44): "He was a murderer from the beginning."
2. Further, according to Augustine (Gn ad lit. i, 15), the lack of form in the creature did not precede its formation in order of time, but merely in order of nature. Now according to him (Gn ad lit. ii, 8), the "heaven," which is said to have been created in the beginning, signifies the angelic nature while as yet not fully formed: and when it is said that God said: "Be light made: and light was made," we are to understand the full formation of the angel by turning to the Word. Consequently, the nature of the angel was created, and light was made, in the one instant. But at the same moment that light was made, it was made distinct from "darkness," whereby the angels who sinned are denoted. Therefore in the first instant of their creation some of the angels were made blessed, and some sinned.
3. Further, sin is opposed to merit. But some intellectual nature can merit in the first instant of its creation; as the soul of Christ, or also the good angels. Therefore the demons likewise could sin in the first instant of their creation.
4. Further, the angelic nature is more powerful than the corporeal nature. But a corporeal thing begins to have its operation in the first instant of its creation; as fire begins to move upwards in the first instant it is produced. Therefore the angel could also have his operation in the first instant of his creation. Now this operation was either ordinate or inordinate. It ordinate, then, since he had grace, he thereby merited beatitude. But with the angels the reward follows immediately upon merit; as was said above (Question , Article ). Consequently they would have become blessed at once; and so would never have sinned, which is false. It remains, then, that they sinned by inordinate action in their first instant.
On the contrary It is written (Gn 1,31): "God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good." But among them were also the demons. Therefore the demons were at some time good.
I answer that Some have maintained that the demons were wicked straightway in the first instant of their creation; not by their nature, but by the sin of their own will; because, as soon as he was made, the devil refused righteousness. To this opinion, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 13), if anyone subscribes, he does not agree with those Manichean heretics who say that the devil's nature is evil of itself. Since this opinion, however, is in contradiction with the authority of Scripture---for it is said of the devil under the figure of the prince of Babylon (Is 14,12): "How art thou fallen . . . O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning!" and it is said to the devil in the person of the King of Tyre (Ez 28,13): "Thou wast in the pleasures of the paradise of God," ---consequently, this opinion was reasonably rejected by the masters as erroneous.
Hence others have said that the angels, in the first instant of their creation, could have sinned, but did not. Yet this view also is repudiated by some, because, when two operations follow one upon the other, it seems impossible for each operation to terminate in the one instant. Now it is clear that the angel's sin was an act subsequent to his creation. But the term of the creative act is the angel's very being, while the term of the sinful act is the being wicked. It seems, then, an impossibility for the angel to have been wicked in the first instant of his existence.
This argument, however, does not satisfy. For it holds good only in such movements as are measured by time, and take place successively; thus, if local movement follows a change, then the change and the local movement cannot be terminated in the same instant. But if the changes are instantaneous, then all at once and in the same instant there can be a term to the first and the second change; thus in the same instant in which the moon is lit up by the sun, the atmosphere is lit up by the moon. Now, it is manifest that creation is instantaneous; so also is the movement of free-will in the angels; for, as has been already stated, they have no occasion for comparison or discursive reasoning (Question , Article ). Consequently, there is nothing to hinder the term of creation and of free-will from existing in the same instant.
We must therefore reply that, on the contrary, it was impossible for the angel to sin in the first instant by an inordinate act of free-will. For although a thing can begin to act in the first instant of its existence, nevertheless, that operation which begins with the existence comes of the agent from which it drew its nature; just as upward movement in fire comes of its productive cause. Therefore, if there be anything which derives its nature from a defective cause, which can be the cause of a defective action, it can in the first instant of its existence have a defective operation; just as the leg, which is defective from birth, through a defect in the principle of generation, begins at once to limp. But the agent which brought the angels into existence, namely, God, cannot be the cause of sin. Consequently it cannot be said that the devil was wicked in the first instant of his creation.
Reply to Objection: 1. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 15), when it is stated that "the devil sins from the beginning," "he is not to be thought of as sinning from the beginning wherein he was created, but from the beginning of sin": that is to say, because he never went back from his sin.
2. That distinction of light and darkness, whereby the sins of the demons are understood by the term darkness, must be taken as according to God's foreknowledge. Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 15), that "He alone could discern light and darkness, Who also could foreknow, before they fell, those who would fall."
3. All that is in merit is from God; and consequently an angel could merit in the first instant of his creation. The same reason does not hold good of sin; as has been said.
4. God did not distinguish between the angels before the turning away of some of them, and the turning of others to Himself, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 15). Therefore, as all were created in grace, all merited in their first instant. But some of them at once placed an impediment to their beatitude, thereby destroying their preceding merit; and consequently they were deprived of the beatitude which they had merited.
Objection: 1. It would seem that there was some interval between the angel's creation and his fall. For, it is said (Ez 28,15): "Thou didst walk perfect [*Vulg.: 'Thou hast walked in the midst of the stones of fire; thou wast perfect . . .'] in thy ways from the day of thy creation until iniquity was found in thee." But since walking is continuous movement, it requires an interval. Therefore there was some interval between the devil's creation and his fall.
2. Further, Origen says (Hom. i in Ezech.) that "the serpent of old did not from the first walk upon his breast and belly"; which refers to his sin. Therefore the devil did not sin at once after the first instant of his creation.
3. Further, capability of sinning is common alike to man and angel. But there was some delay between man's formation and his sin. Therefore, for the like reason there was some interval between the devil's formation and his sin.
4. Further, the instant wherein the devil sinned was distinct from the instant wherein he was created. But there is a middle time between every two instants. Therefore there was an interval between his creation and his fall.
On the contrary It is said of the devil (Jn 8,44): "He stood not in the truth": and, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 15), "we must understand this in the sense, that he was in the truth, but did not remain in it."
I answer that, There is a twofold opinion on this point. But the more probable one, which is also more in harmony with the teachings of the Saints, is that the devil sinned at once after the first instant of his creation. This must be maintained if it be held that he elicited an act of free-will in the first instant of his creation, and that he was created in grace; as we have said (Question , Article ). For since the angels attain beatitude by one meritorious act, as was said above (Question , Article ), if the devil, created in grace, merited in the first instant, he would at once have received beatitude after that first instant, if he had not placed an impediment by sinning.
If, however, it be contended that the angel was not created in grace, or that he could not elicit an act of free-will in the first instant, then there is nothing to prevent some interval being interposed between his creation and fall.
Reply to Objection: 1. Sometimes in Holy Scripture spiritual instantaneous movements are represented by corporeal movements which are measured by time. In this way by "walking" we are to understand the movement of free-will tending towards good.
2. Origen says, "The serpent of old did not from the first walk upon his breast and belly," because of the first instant in which he was not wicked.
3. An angel has an inflexible free-will after once choosing; consequently, if after the first instant, in which he had a natural movement to good, he had not at once placed a barrier to beatitude, he would have been confirmed in good. It is not so with man; and therefore the argument does not hold good.
4. It is true to say that there is a middle time between every two instants, so far as time is continuous, as it is proved Phys. vi, text. 2. But in the angels, who are not subject to the heavenly movement, which is primarily measured by continuous time, time is taken to mean the succession of their mental acts, or of their affections. So the first instant in the angels is understood to respond to the operation of the angelic mind, whereby it introspects itself by its evening knowledge because on the first day evening is mentioned, but not morning. This operation was good in them all. From such operation some of them were converted to the praise of the Word by their morning knowledge while others, absorbed in themselves, became night, "swelling up with pride," as Augustine says (Gn ad lit. iv, 24). Hence the first act was common to them all; but in their second they were separated. Consequently they were all of them good in the first instant; but in the second the good were set apart from the wicked.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the highest among the angels who sinned was not the highest of all. For it is stated (Ez 28,14): "Thou wast a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set thee in the holy mountain of God." Now the order of the Cherubim is under the order of the Seraphim, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vi, vii). Therefore, the highest angel among those who sinned was not the highest of all.
2. Further, God made intellectual nature in order that it might attain to beatitude. If therefore the highest of the angels sinned, it follows that the Divine ordinance was frustrated in the noblest creature which is unfitting.
3. Further, the more a subject is inclined towards anything, so much the less can it fall away from it. But the higher an angel is, so much the more is he inclined towards God. Therefore so much the less can he turn away from God by sinning. And so it seems that the angel who sinned was not the highest of all, but one of the lower angels.
On the contrary Gregory (Hom. xxxiv in ) says that the chief angel who sinned, "being set over all the hosts of angels, surpassed them in brightness, and was by comparison the most illustrious among them."
I answer that Two things have to be considered in sin, namely, the proneness to sin, and the motive for sinning. If, then, in the angels we consider the proneness to sin, it seems that the higher angels were less likely to sin than the lower. On this account Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii), that the highest of those who sinned was set over the terrestrial order. This opinion seems to agree with the view of the Platonists, which Augustine quotes (De Civ. Dei vii, 6,7; x, 9,10,11). For they said that all the gods were good; whereas some of the demons were good, and some bad; naming as 'gods' the intellectual substances which are above the lunar sphere, and calling by the name of "demons" the intellectual substances which are beneath it, yet higher than men in the order of nature. Nor is this opinion to be rejected as contrary to faith; because the whole corporeal creation is governed by God through the angels, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 4,5). Consequently there is nothing to prevent us from saying that the lower angels were divinely set aside for presiding over the lower bodies, the higher over the higher bodies; and the highest to stand before God. And in this sense Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii) that they who fell were of the lower grade of angels; yet in that order some of them remained good.
But if the motive for sinning be considered, we find that it existed in the higher angels more than in the lower. For, as has been said (Article ), the demons' sin was pride; and the motive of pride is excellence, which was greater in the higher spirits. Hence Gregory says that he who sinned was the very highest of all. This seems to be the more probable view: because the angels' sin did not come of any proneness, but of free choice alone. Consequently that argument seems to have the more weight which is drawn from the motive in sinning. Yet this must not be prejudicial to the other view; because there might be some motive for sinning in him also who was the chief of the lower angels.
Reply to Objection: 1. Cherubim is interpreted "fulness of knowledge," while "Seraphim" means "those who are on fire," or "who set on fire." Consequently Cherubim is derived from knowledge; which is compatible with mortal sin; but Seraphim is derived from the heat of charity, which is incompatible with mortal sin. Therefore the first angel who sinned is called, not a Seraph, but a Cherub.
2. The Divine intention is not frustrated either in those who sin, or in those who are saved; for God knows beforehand the end of both; and He procures glory from both, saving these of His goodness, and punishing those of His justice. But the intellectual creature, when it sins, falls away from its due end. Nor is this unfitting in any exalted creature; because the intellectual creature was so made by God, that it lies within its own will to act for its end.
3. However great was the inclination towards good in the highest angel, there was no necessity imposed upon him: consequently it was in his power not to follow it.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the sin of the highest angel was not the cause of the others sinning. For the cause precedes the effect. But, as Damascene observes (De Fide Orth. ii), they all sinned at one time. Therefore the sin of one was not the cause of the others' sinning.
2. Further, an angel's first sin can only be pride, as was shown above (Article ). But pride seeks excellence. Now it is more contrary to excellence for anyone to be subject to an inferior than to a superior; and so it does not appear that the angels sinned by desiring to be subject to a higher angel rather than to God. Yet the sin of one angel would have been the cause of the others sinning, if he had induced them to be his subjects. Therefore it does not appear that the sin of the highest angel was the cause of the others sinning.
3. Further, it is a greater sin to wish to be subject to another against God, than to wish to be over another against God; because there is less motive for sinning. If, therefore, the sin of the foremost angel was the cause of the others sinning, in that he induced them to subject themselves to him, then the lower angels would have sinned more deeply than the highest one; which is contrary to a gloss on Ps 103,26: "This dragon which Thou hast formed---He who was the more excellent than the rest in nature, became the greater in malice." Therefore the sin of the highest angel was not the cause of the others sinning.
On the contrary It is said (Ap 12,4) that the dragon "drew" with him "the third part of the stars of heaven."
I answer that The sin of the highest angel was the cause of the others sinning; not as compelling them, but as inducing them by a kind of exhortation. A token thereof appears in this, that all the demons are subjects of that highest one; as is evident from our Lord's words: "Go [Vulg. 'Depart from Me'], you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt 25,41). For the order of Divine justice exacts that whosoever consents to another's evil suggestion, shall be subjected to him in his punishment; according to (2P 2,19): "By whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave."
Reply to Objection: 1. Although the demons all sinned in the one instant, yet the sin of one could be the cause of the rest sinning. For the angel needs no delay of time for choice, exhortation, or consent, as man, who requires deliberation in order to choose and consent, and vocal speech in order to exhort; both of which are the work of time. And it is evident that even man begins to speak in the very instant when he takes thought; and in the last instant of speech, another who catches his meaning can assent to what is said; as is especially evident with regard to primary concepts, "which everyone accepts directly they are heard" [*Boethius, De Hebdom.].
Taking away, then, the time for speech and deliberation which is required in us; in the same instant in which the highest angel expressed his affection by intelligible speech, it was possible for the others to consent thereto.
2. Other things being equal, the proud would rather be subject to a superior than to an inferior. Yet he chooses rather to be subject to an inferior than to a superior, if he can procure an advantage under an inferior which he cannot under a superior. Consequently it was not against the demons' pride for them to wish to serve an inferior by yielding to his rule; for they wanted to have him as their prince and leader, so that they might attain their ultimate beatitude of their own natural powers; especially because in the order of nature they were even then subject to the highest angel.
3. As was observed above (Question , Article ), an angel has nothing in him to retard his action, and with his whole might he is moved to whatsoever he is moved, be it good or bad. Consequently since the highest angel had greater natural energy than the lower angels, he fell into sin with intenser energy, and therefore he became the greater in malice.
Objection: 1. It would seem that more angels sinned than stood firm. For, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 6): "Evil is in many, but good is in few."
2. Further, justice and sin are to be found in the same way in men and in angels. But there are more wicked men to be found than good; according to Qo 1,15: "The number of fools is infinite." Therefore for the same reason it is so with the angels.
3. Further, the angels are distinguished according to persons and orders. Therefore if more angelic persons stood firm, it would appear that those who sinned were not from all the orders.
On the contrary It is said (2R 6,16): "There are more with us than with them": which is expounded of the good angels who are with us to aid us, and the wicked spirits who are our foes.
I answer that More angels stood firm than sinned. Because sin is contrary to the natural inclination; while that which is against the natural order happens with less frequency; for nature procures its effects either always, or more often than not.
Reply to Objection: 1. The Philosopher is speaking with regard to men, in whom evil comes to pass from seeking after sensible pleasures, which are known to most men, and from forsaking the good dictated by reason, which good is known to the few. In the angels there is only an intellectual nature; hence the argument does not hold.
And from this we have the answer to the second difficulty.
3. According to those who hold that the chief devil belonged to the lower order of the angels, who are set over earthly affairs, it is evident that some of every order did not fall, but only those of the lowest order. According to those who maintain that the chief devil was of the highest order, it is probable that some fell of every order; just as men are taken up into every order to supply for the angelic ruin. In this view the liberty of free-will is more established; which in every degree of creature can be turned to evil. In the Sacred Scripture, however, the names of some orders, as of Seraphim and Thrones, are not attributed to demons; since they are derived from the ardor of love and from God's indwelling, which are not consistent with mortal sin. Yet the names of Cherubim, Powers, and Principalities are attributed to them; because these names are derived from knowledge and from power, which can be common to both good and bad.
It now remains as a sequel to deal with the punishment of the demons; under which heading there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Of their darkness of intellect;
(2) Of their obstinacy of will;
(3) Of their grief;
(4) Of their place of punishment.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the demons' intellect is darkened by being deprived of the knowledge of all truth. For it they knew any truth at all, they would most of all know themselves; which is to know separated substances. But this is not in keeping with their unhappiness: for this seems to belong to great happiness, insomuch as that some writers have assigned as man's last happiness the knowledge of the separated substances. Therefore the demons are deprived of all knowledge of truth.
2. Further, what is most manifest in its nature, seems to be specially manifest to the angels, whether good or bad. That the same is not manifest with regard to ourselves, comes from the weakness of our intellect which draws its knowledge from phantasms; as it comes from the weakness of its eye that the owl cannot behold the light of the sun. But the demons cannot know God, Who is most manifest of Himself, because He is the sovereign truth; and this is because they are not clean of heart, whereby alone can God be seen. Therefore neither can they know other things.
3. Further, according to Augustine (Gn ad lit. iv, 22), the proper knowledge of the angels is twofold; namely, morning and evening. But the demons have no morning knowledge, because they do not see things in the Word; nor have they the evening knowledge, because this evening knowledge refers the things known to the Creator's praise (hence, after "evening" comes "morning" [Gn 1]). Therefore the demons can have no knowledge of things.
4. Further, the angels at their creation knew the mystery of the kingdom of God, as Augustine says (Gn ad lit. v, 19; De Civ. Dei xi). But the demons are deprived of such knowledge: "for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory," as is said 1Co 2,8. Therefore, for the same reason, they are deprived of all other knowledge of truth.
5. Further, whatever truth anyone knows is known either naturally, as we know first principles; or by deriving it from someone else, as we know by learning; or by long experience, as the things we learn by discovery. Now, the demons cannot know the truth by their own nature, because, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 33), the good angels are separated from them as light is from darkness; and every manifestation is made through light, as is said Ep 5,13. In like manner they cannot learn by revelation, nor by learning from the good angels: because "there is no fellowship of light with darkness [*Vulg.: 'What fellowship hath . . . ?']" (2Co 6,14). Nor can they learn by long experience: because experience comes of the senses. Consequently there is no knowledge of truth in them.
On the contrary Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that, "certain gifts were bestowed upon the demons which, we say, have not been changed at all, but remain entire and most brilliant." Now, the knowledge of truth stands among those natural gifts. Consequently there is some knowledge of truth in them.
I answer that The knowledge of truth is twofold: one which comes of nature, and one which comes of grace. The knowledge which comes of grace is likewise twofold: the first is purely speculative, as when Divine secrets are imparted to an individual; the other is effective, and produces love for God; which knowledge properly belongs to the gift of wisdom.
Of these three kinds of knowledge the first was neither taken away nor lessened in the demons. For it follows from the very nature of the angel, who, according to his nature, is an intellect or mind: since on account of the simplicity of his substance, nothing can be withdrawn from his nature, so as to punish him by subtracting from his natural powers, as a man is punished by being deprived of a hand or a foot or of something else. Therefore Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that the natural gifts remain entire in them. Consequently their natural knowledge was not diminished. The second kind of knowledge, however, which comes of grace, and consists in speculation, has not been utterly taken away from them, but lessened; because, of these Divine secrets only so much is revealed to them as is necessary; and that is done either by means of the angels, or "through some temporal workings of Divine power," as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 21); but not in the same degree as to the holy angels, to whom many more things are revealed, and more fully, in the Word Himself. But of the third knowledge, as likewise of charity, they are utterly deprived.
Reply to Objection: 1. Happiness consists in self-application to something higher. The separated substances are above us in the order of nature; hence man can have happiness of a kind by knowing the separated substances, although his perfect happiness consists in knowing the first substance, namely, God. But it is quite natural for one separate substance to know another; as it is natural for us to know sensible natures. Hence, as man's happiness does not consist in knowing sensible natures; so neither does the angel's happiness consist in knowing separated substances.
2. What is most manifest in its nature is hidden from us by its surpassing the bounds of our intellect; and not merely because our intellect draws knowledge from phantasms. Now the Divine substance surpasses the proportion not only of the human intellect, but even of the angelic. Consequently, not even an angel can of his own nature know God's substance. Yet on account of the perfection of his intellect he can of his nature have a higher knowledge of God than man can have. Such knowledge of God remains also in the demons. Although they do not possess the purity which comes with grace, nevertheless they have purity of nature; and this suffices for the knowledge of God which belongs to them from their nature.
3. The creature is darkness in comparison with the excellence of the Divine light; and therefore the creature's knowledge in its own nature is called "evening" knowledge. For the evening is akin to darkness, yet it possesses some light: but when the light fails utterly, then it is night. So then the knowledge of things in their own nature, when referred to the praise of the Creator, as it is in the good angels, has something of the Divine light, and can be called evening knowledge; but if it be not referred to God, as is the case with the demons, it is not called evening, but "nocturnal" knowledge. Accordingly we read in Gn 1,5 that the darkness, which God separated from the light, "He called night."
4. All the angels had some knowledge from the very beginning respecting the mystery of God's kingdom, which found its completion in Christ; and most of all from the moment when they were beatified by the vision of the Word, which vision the demons never had. Yet all the angels did not fully and equally apprehend it; hence the demons much less fully understood the mystery of the Incarnation, when Christ was in the world. For, as Augustine observes (De Civ. Dei ix, 21), "It was not manifested to them as it was to the holy angels, who enjoy a participated eternity of the Word; but it was made known by some temporal effects, so as to strike terror into them." For had they fully and certainly known that He was the Son of God and the effect of His passion, they would never have procured the crucifixion of the Lord of glory.
5. The demons know a truth in three ways: first of all by the subtlety of their nature; for although they are darkened by privation of the light of grace, yet they are enlightened by the light of their intellectual nature: secondly, by revelation from the holy angels; for while not agreeing with them in conformity of will, they do agree, nevertheless, by their likeness of intellectual nature, according to which they can accept what is manifested by others: thirdly, they know by long experience; not as deriving it from the senses; but when the similitude of their innate intelligible species is completed in individual things, they know some things as present, which they previously did not know would come to pass, as we said when dealing with the knowledge of the angels (Question , Article , ad 3).
Summa Th. I EN Qu.63 a.3