In the Land of Uz
There, the eternal problem of evil was settled in a poetic, memorable and masterful way. In that hidden place where a just man suffered, while the wicked enjoyed prosperity, the understanding of human suffering appeared with all its symbolic acuity. The villain of the contest is the epitome, the archetype of evil: unfaithful, masked, extremist, manipulative, mutinous, noisy, selfish, disobedient, clever, talkative and blasphemous
Nearly 2,500 years ago the faithfulness of a just man was put to the test. [Spoiler alert] The story has a happy ending (because the good always get the reward, a divine retribution, here or hereafter), but the process… Oh, the process was terrible! Human life as a narrative teaches us the poetic value of endure. Literature has a summit in this stimulating story in which a common, mild and innocent man suffers without apparent cause.
The test comes to every living being. The sufferings are inescapable. What for? To be able to love selflessly and not for the goods that are received from beyond. Generous virtue — -when it is rooted in the depths of the soul — — is invincible.
One day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan also came among them.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Whence do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming the earth and patrolling it.”
(Job 1, 6–7)
The Masked Villain
The enemy is hidden among men. It is not to fear, yes to attend. His place is here. He chose it and was well received by mortals. No human can see it. Only God notices and knows. He asks the Adversary out loud for us to hear the answer. The Adversary often lies. But in this case, he seems to be telling the truth. The prowler goes from here to there, tireless. Knowing this should arouse attention.
Amid the wheat of life are the tares of the Enemy’s death. Similar, but different. The wheat feeds, the tares do not. The devil is a son of God, but he chose to be permanently evil. He wanders human souls. People don’t notice him; they don’t distinguish his true face and his voice is already familiar.
If people saw evil for what it is, they would ignore it. Beelzebub knows this and therefore he is a genius of disguise, he is the father of lies. His words swell pride. They are whisper in the selfish ear willing to listen. Every being that receives them directs itself towards the transmutation from butterfly to caterpillar.
Extremist to the Extreme
Satan is guided by reason alone, immanent, and actual. He trusts only himself. His logics of action are always plausible, rarely true, and if they are, not necessarily good. Rationality is a false deity. He is a manipulative idol, attractive and hollow like a flowering tree without roots. Helping oneself is a good and true action, but when it removes otherness, the goodness and truthfulness of those acts are debatable.
The Devil is skilled at persuasion, expert in rhetoric, sharp-tongued, operator, defiant.
Specialized in sweetening consciences and appeasing sacrifices. Illustrious spiritual domino player. Ubiquitous as oxygen he can blow lives into existential Tartars with almost no effort.
The Leviathan arrives from his death abode. He comes from there with his armies to snatch souls from the Lord of Heaven and Earth. They seized astuteness, turning it into a tool of condemnation instead of its favored originality as an instrument of evangelization. The human kingdom lost a weapon to defeat the tempter, gave it up.
Loud, Selfish, Disobedient and Blasphemous
He presents himself with a permanent noise, shouts, with the need to fill himself with things, the persistent search for fun. Me, me, me… Everything is about me, about what I need, want and deserve. If life revolves around my own selfish being, it is because I am following in the footsteps of evilness. Independence from everything, freedom without limits, permanent revolution, madness without transcendent objectives…
Am I really saving myself today? Who am I following?