Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Why the Devil Wants to Destroy All Inequality
From the book Land Reform: A Matter of Conscience (1960), by Archbishop Geraldo de Proença Sigaud, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, and economist Luiz Mendonça de Freitas, in a topic composed and written by the author of the present work:
Why does the devil want to destroy, as much as is possible, all forms of inequality?
After having studied that which constitutes order in the universe, we will now give the theory of disorder. What does disorder consist of, and why does the devil want it?
After that we will explain the theory on the Revolution. The Revolution cannot be separated from disorder. Disorder is a state of things, and the Revolution is an ensemble of movements which lead to that state. Disorder is the end; Revolution is the means. The theory on disorder comprises a theory on the Revolution. However, the part on the Revolution will not be given here.
The next objective of our demonstration consists of knowing why the devil wants uniformity and equality. In order to understand this well, we must delve into what we would call “the devil’s state of spirit.” For this end, we must consider things from an anthropomorphic standpoint.
Example of the Bankrupt Japanese
Let us imagine, for example, an individual who is suffering.
I remember the case of a Japanese man who owned the house that I rented on Saint Efigenia Street. His finances were in a terrible state, and a fire broke out in his house. And he, who was already on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, saw that his merchandise was being burned up and that he could be accused of trying to declare a fraudulent bankruptcy. Therefore, in addition to the disgrace of bankruptcy, he would suffer that of having to go to jail. So he went into the house amid the flames, trying to put out the fire. In the midst of this disaster, the flaming ceiling fell on him and burned him quite badly, and he went to the hospital in a miserable state.
What to do During Eternity?
Now, this is precisely what happened with the devil. He revolted against God, and was cast into disgrace.
Evidently, considering things from an anthropomorphic point of view, the devil did the same as the Japanese man: “I have eternity before me; what to do during eternity?”
Naturally, finding a solution would require making a little survey of his situation.
1) “The first thing that remains to me is my being. The second thing is my angelic nature. I have become a reprobate, an evil, eternally unhappy being, but I continue to be an angel and to have all the lucidity and power of my nature. Thirdly, I have a certain freedom of movement, which I can increase by multiplying the number of sins committed.”
When the sins of men increase, God grants the devil a greater possibility of tempting them, and in this way the devil can increase his freedom of movement.
Early 18th Century Ivory carvings of the Fall of the Rebel Angels, with the mouth of hell at the very bottom.
2) “On the other hand, God’s work contains something which one could call a weak point: mankind. There is nothing I can do against the angels. They are already confirmed in grace and can no longer sin.
To do evil to inanimate creation interests me, but not as much as employing against mankind, the weak point in creation, my intelligence and capacity for domination. Mankind is the weak point precisely because it finds itself in crisis; it is a weak point because it is the part of creation on which I can work to cause its demise. I will combine all my elements and cast myself upon it.”
Why would he cast himself upon mankind?
3) The devil might think, “After all, what does it profit me to disturb the work of God?”
From a certain point of view, this is a failure for the devil because he is unable to eliminate God or hinder the intrinsic glory of God in any way whatsoever. As for His extrinsic glory, God draws it also from Hell, for the horror of Hell glorifies God in His justice. As a consequence, even while inciting man to sin, the devil ends by giving glory to God. And therefore, everything that he does against God can only revert to God’s greater glory.
Reason for the Devil’s Insults against God
So what does it avail the devil to insult God? There is a French proverb which says, “Insult the sun, and it will shine regardless.” Now, the devil knows quite well that it is the same with God. And the devil’s insults are detestable actions, a sign of the eternal and inexorable disorder in which he finds himself.
In order to better understand what the devil is doing in hell and why he tempts men, we must first eliminate a certain idea from our minds.
On the windscreen by the entrance of the Church of the Immaculate Conception were pinned some small, extremely pious pictures of popular art. The more picturesque depicted a man in the process of losing his soul, and later on, in hell. It shows a large bed covered with many blankets, and the well-off bourgeois lying down. On one side of his bed, a priest exhorts him to repentance; on the other side, a frightful demon shows him, in a mirror, the reflection of a shepherdess. The man, hesitating, has one hand extended toward the priest and the other toward the shepherdess.
The next drawing shows an intense fire with many demons immersed in it, but looking as if they wanted to get out of there. This is precisely what is wrong with this representation, for if there is one thing which the devil does not want is to leave hell. As great as his horror for hell might be, the devil does not want to leave it. He went to hell out of an act of his own free will, an act of revolt against God. And he remains in hell not only because God, who condemned him to it, does not let him leave, but also because he does not want to leave. His will is fixed in evil. He hates God and wants nothing to do with Him.
An Absurd and Contradictory Psychology
One should recognize just how stupid, absurd, and contradictory this psychology is. It is stupid because for someone to clearly recognize that he has turned against his own ultimate end and has erred, and yet to remain in this position is properly speaking what you would call a stupid attitude. It is contradictory because one cannot understand how a person could place himself in such a position of evident contradiction in relation to his own end. It is absurd because the devil remains torn asunder, placing himself between that end for which he was created, and the eternal unhappiness which he wants because he wants it.
The Devil’s Intention: to Oppose God’s Work with Men
Although he knows that he can do nothing against God, he wants to do the opposite of God’s plan in that part of creation which is still subject to transformations and changes, that is, humanity.
What is the intention of a being who puts himself in this position? His intention is to counter the work of God in men, to take the greatest possible number to hell, and to work for those who do go to heaven to be less holy than they could have been. He also desires in some way to disfigure material creation inasmuch as it gives glory to God. All these actions are in accordance with the devil’s motto: ad majorem Dei injuriam.
In order to comprehend the devil’s position, we should imagine some attitudes that men sometimes take. Here is an example:
When there were trains going to the city of Santos, some passengers got out and jostled some street urchins nearby. Those brats did not like it and began to grumble among themselves. Then the passengers boarded and the train departed. When the train started to move, the kids threw a volley of stones at it, although knowing they wouldn’t hit it. They knew that it was a futile manifestation of hatred, but their desire to manifest their rage led them to do it. It was a form of useless protest, the perfect state of mind of the devil.
Man, the Battlefield between God and the Devil
Since the devil acts like this towards God, we conclude that on this earth, which is the battlefield between God and the devil, between the good angels and the bad angels, there are two things which interest the devil: first, mankind; and second, material creation.
It is necessary to say a word about material creation.
In the Summa contra Gentiles, St. Thomas addresses the question of the end of the world. After describing what is going to happen, he asks what is going to be done with material beings after the end of the world. St. Thomas says that it is proper to the goodness of God not to destroy those beings which He created, and which should continue to exist for His glory. Thus, the stars and celestial bodies which God created will continue to exist. And this ensemble composed of pure spirits (angels), man (a combination of spirit and matter), and purely material beings will continue to exist, albeit in a special way. There will be on earth a great fire which will destroy the beings susceptible to corruption and proliferation. In the final analysis, all living things will be destroyed in that fire. And a kind of invariability will come to reign upon the earth, expelling everything that might be death or an image of death. Animals and plants will no longer exist. Only the earth will remain, along with those things which men accomplished upon it. And in its own way, the material unity will contribute to render glory to God.
Devil appears noting down man’s sins on the stone side wall of a choir stall in the Minster of St Martin, the former collegiate church of St Cassius and St Florentinus in Bonn (North Rhein-Wesphalia). The same choir stall contains an angel noting down man’s good deeds.
Considering these things, men will find yet another reason to love God, even though they are already in heaven.
Therefore, the devil plans to cause as many men as possible to go to hell; to prevent the good things God placed in creation from being noticed and thus to hinder the edification and sanctification of mankind; and to prevent man, who should complete the beauty of the earth with his own work, from doing so. If possible, the devil will also destroy anything made by God. But it is necessary to note that material things are very secondary. The essential for the devil is to obtain as many souls as possible; they are precisely the center of the battle.
Note: Translated by Nobility.org