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THE DEVIL


 


 

THE UNSEEN WARFARE - PART III

THREE STAGES OF TEMPTATION

Using the things of the world-- this is the manner in which the devil tempts mankind, as he had done with Adam and, later on, Christ.  Firstly, the devil, Abbot Serapion says, tempts us to be a slave of our belly (i.e. gluttony).  The devil tempted Adam and Eve to prefer to eat the fruit than obey God's command. Later on, he also tempted Christ to change stone into bread.  Using food, the devil makes man ignorant, negligent and heretical.  

Secondly, the devil tempts us using vainglory, i.e. to boast about nothing.  To Adam, he says, "Your eyes shall be opened," and to Christ, "Cast thyself down. . ."  Adam was tempted with boastful knowledge and Christ, the spectacle of flying. . .both are temptations to choose the glory that comes from men rather than from God.  To choose the former will condemn one to be ignorant of the latter.  

Thirdly, the devil tempts us through pride.  Thus, he tempted Adam, "You shall be as gods,"  and Christ, "I will give you all the kingdoms of the world."  Because Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptations, they and their descendants were subsequently attacked by other countless temptations.  Because Christ triumphed over the temptations, the devil fled.  

 

THREE DEGREES OF POSSESSION

If a man succumbs to the three above temptations, the devil takes possession of his mind; this is the first degree of possession.  The second degree, Abbot Severus says, is when the devil robs man of the fear of God and the spirit of recollection.  The third degree is when the devil binds man's soul and takes up his abode in him.  

 

 

 

 

 

(06-02-05)

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