Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XI.

How the devil was forced by many reasons to the view that Christ was God.

Finally as for the devil himself, when he was tempting Him with every show of allurements, and every art of his wickedness, what was it that in his ignorance he suspected, or wanted to find out by tempting Him? Or what so greatly moved him, that he sought God under the humble form of man? Had he learned that by previous proofs? Or had he known of anyone who came as God in man’s body? Most certainly not. But it was by the mighty evidence of signs, by mighty results of actions, by the words of the Truth Himself that he was driven to suspect and examine into this matter: inasmuch as he had already once heard from John: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world.” 2620 And again from the same person: “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” 2621 The dove also which came down from heaven and stopped over the Lord’s head had made itself a clear and open proof of a God who declared Himself. The voice too which was sent from God not in riddles or figures had moved him, when it said: “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased.” 2622 And though he saw a man outwardly in Jesus, yet he was searching for the Son of God, when he said: “If Thou art the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” 2623 Did the contemplation of the man drive away the devil’s suspicions of His Divinity, so that owing to the fact that he saw a man, he did not believe that He could be God? Most certainly not. But what does he say? “If Thou art the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Certainly he had no doubt about the possibility of that, the existence of which he was examining into. His anxiety was about its truth. There was no security as to its impossibility.



S. John i. 29.


S. Matt. iii. 14.


S. Matt. iii. 17.


S. Luke iv. 3.

Next: Chapter XII. He compares this notion and reasonable suspicion of the devil with the obstinate and inflexible idea of his opponents, and shows that this last is worse and more blasphemous than the former.