Pope Francis has said that the Devil “hates” us. Blunt words. Francis is not talking about some inert “lack.” He is talking about a positive hating of the good because it is good. Only persons can hate. Lucifer is an angelic being who rejects God by calling good evil, by convincing other rational beings to change good into evil. Classical ethics and moral philosophy gave us accounts of virtues and vices. Usually two vices existed for every virtue, a too much and a too little. We find in the writings of Plato a sense that our vices are not just foibles or mistakes but objects of judgment. Plato rightly worried that the world was created in injustice if the vices were not ultimately punished. This consideration led him to propose the immortality of the soul to guarantee that no one could get away with doing evil, even if he died in human glory but covered with sins.
Christianity provided a more profound explanation of evil, though one not necessarily disagreeing with Plato. Christ affirmed that the Devil’s kingdom could not stand if it had dissention within its rank. This information means, as I understand it, that we find both a logical sequence of disorders, or deviations from the good, as Aristotle understood, and an active presence. This logic works through willing human beings who find themselves assenting to a step-by-step deviation from the good, each worse than the one before.Those familiar with spiritual literature recall that the Church Fathers warned monks that sin begins with things only slightly off-center. Yet things do not stand still. Either the evil is recognized and corrected or the next logical step away from the good is taken. Eventually this leads to calling of evil good, all in the name of pursuing some good but in a manner contrary to reason or the commandments.