Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IX:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
John of Damascus: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.: That there are not two Kingdoms.
Chapter XX.—That there are not two Kingdoms.
That there are not two kingdoms 2620 , one good and one bad, we shall see from this. For good and evil are opposed to one another and mutually destructive, and cannot exist in one another or with one another. Each of them, therefore, in its own division will belong to the whole, and first 2621 they will be circumscribed, not by the whole alone but also each of them by part of the whole.
Next I ask 2622 , who it is that assigns 2623 to each its place. For they will not affirm that they have come to a friendly agreement with, or been reconciled to, one another. For evil is not evil when it is at peace with, and reconciled to, goodness, nor is goodness good when it is on amicable terms with evil. But if He Who has marked off to each of these its own sphere of action is something different from them, He must the rather be God.
One of two things indeed is necessary, either that they come in contact with and destroy one another, or that there exists some intermediate place where neither goodness nor evil exists, separating both from one another, like a partition. And so there will be no longer two but three kingdoms.
Again, one of these alternatives is necessary, either that they are at peace, which is quite incompatible with evil (for that which is at peace is not evil), or they are at strife, which p. 94b is incompatible with goodness (for that which is at strife is not perfectly good), or the evil is at strife and the good does not retaliate, but is destroyed by the evil, or they are ever in trouble and distress 2624 , which is not a mark of goodness. There is, therefore, but one kingdom, delivered from all evil.
But if this is so, they say, whence comes evil 2625 ? For it is quite impossible that evil should originate from goodness. We answer then, that evil is nothing else than absence of goodness and a lapsing 2626 from what is natural into what is unnatural: for nothing evil is natural. For all things, whatsoever God made, are very good 2627 , so far as they were made: if, therefore, they remain just as they were created, they are very good, but when they voluntarily depart from what is natural and turn to what is unnatural, they slip into evil.
By nature, therefore, all things are servants of the Creator and obey Him. Whenever, then, any of His creatures voluntarily rebels and becomes disobedient to his Maker, he introduces evil into himself. For evil is not any essence nor a property of essence, but an accident, that is, a voluntary deviation from what is natural into what is unnatural, which is sin.
Whence, then, comes sin 2628 ? It is an invention of the free-will of the devil. Is the devil, then, evil? In so far as he was brought into existence he is not evil but good. For he was created by his Maker a bright and very brilliant angel, endowed with free-will as being rational. But he voluntarily departed from the virtue that is natural and came into the darkness of evil, being far removed from God, Who alone is good and can give life and light. For from Him every good thing derives its goodness, and so far as it is separated from Him in will (for it is not in place), it falls into evil.
Athan., Cont. Gentes.93b:2621
Athan., Cont. omnes hæret.93b:2622
Damasc., Dial. Cont. Manich.93b:2623
Text, ἀποτεμνόμενος. Variants, ἀποτεμόμενος and ἀπονεμόμενος.94b:2624
Text, κακοῦσθαι. Variant, κακουχεῖσθαι.94b:2625
Basil, Hom. Deum non esse caus. mal.94b:2626
Text, παραδρομή. Variant, παρα. ροπή, cf. infra.94b:2627
Gen. i. 31.94b:2628
Basil, Hom. Deum non esse caus. mal.
Next: The purpose for which God in His foreknowledge created persons who would sin and not repent.
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