Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Profession of Faith 99 392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. 269 This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God.” 270 The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies.” 271 393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgiv- able. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.” 272 394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls “a murderer from the beginning,” who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. 273 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 274 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God. 395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Al- though Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries—of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature—to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.” 275 269 Cf. 2 Pet 2:4. 270 Gen 3:5. 271 1 Jn 3:8; Jn 8:44. 272 St. John Damascene, De Fide orth. 2, 4: PG 94, 877. 273 Jn 8:44; cf. Mt 4:1-11. 274 1 Jn 3:8. 275 Rom 8:28. 1850 2482 1033-1037 1022 538-540 550 2846-2849 309 1673 412 2850-2854