Tuesday, November 4, 2014
could satan be forgiven? (a mind experiment)
first, i count on god's omnibenevolence!
1. repentance implies change (regret of past wrongs), which is implicit in the notion of being. being is not what it is and it is what it is not (a sartrean lemma). satan hasn't changed, presumably, because he chooses not to. his "fall" rests on this premise.
2. as sartre puts it, "l'existence précède l'essence" (existence precedes essence), identity is what one finds as one lives. existence happens in time and time is change.
as we know satan is (what else?) satanic. but one cannot invoke satan's "nature" to cause satan's identity because that begs the question on satan's nature. if as it seems one's identity is what one finds as one lives, then identity cannot be transparent to itself (that why we make such poor judges of our own character), instead, identity brings forth a constant perplexity (yes, satan was as astonished at his fall as any repenting petty criminal).
let's keep in mind that satan has a prehistory: lucifer. & this prehistory would have to be rejected to rule out the above possibility (for this prehistory is what precedes his nature).
3. satan's prehistory includes lucifer's life up to the moment of the fall. what follows is satan's --still ongoing-- life. though lucifer and satan are qualitatively different, they are, numerically, one and the same.
so, if the change from lucifer to satan is possible, a change from satan into what-comes-next is possible. change is unavoidable.
4. even in the heart-of-evil there's space for guilt (implied by satan's free will). guilt is a prelinguistic fact, it lies between advisability & obligation.
5. surely, satan's willful avoidance of the good seems to perpetuate his nature. in a sense, he constantly negates his old self (lucifer). why? i venture: out of contempt (his plan was defeated) and self-destruction (the memory of that second of lucidity before the fall must weigh heavily on him).
nonetheless, satan could entertain a different future for himself.
6. a possible repentance takes a "reversal" from his primeval rebellious act. although satan cannot become lucifer, since time & history cannot be undone, one can only speculate that this repentant angel who-was-once-satan wishes no more of his past. he's content with god's forgiveness ... even in oblivion.
7. it's not god's business to meddle into one's retraction as long as it is genuine. this is principled since the beginning of time. one may dispute satan's capacity for change, but if he is free, no one can rule out the possibility of satan's repentance.
note: this mind experiment does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the author.