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DISPUTE BETWEEN JOHN AND SATAN ABOUT GOD'S UBIQUITY AND THE ORIGIN OF EVIL. SATAN AS SUCH A TRIUMPH OF THE CREATOR'S. JOHN'S PROOF OF THE TRUE DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL.
198,1. (John replies): "Certainly! God is infinite in His divine essence and will, therefore also ubiquitous. However, as the personified God and true Father of His children, He dwells only among His children in the heaven of heavens."
198,2. (Says Satan): "All right, so you irrevocably acknowledge the ubiquity of God. Then be also good enough to tell me whether God is supremely wise and good and, consequently, all-knowing and all-seeing. And does He, thanks to His supreme wisdom and infinite goodness, always choose the best and most suitable means to achieve His purpose?"
198,3. (Says John): "Certainly! For God Whose essence is the purest love, can never be anything but supremely good and wise. I already know what you are aiming at, but go on asking. I shall answer every one of your questions."
198,4. (Satan continues): "Has God created all things in the whole of infinity, or is there any other god who has mixed what you call evil and bad in between the works created by your good God? Or is it possible that the one good God could have created both good and evil?"
198,5. (Says John): "In the beginning of all existence was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and all things were made by Him. This Word Itself became flesh and dwelt among the created flesh, but the darkness did not comprehend It.
198,6. The Lord Himself came to His own into His property, but His own did not recognize the light, the learned of the world did not recognize the Word, nor the children their eternal, holy Father. For you alone kept all minds captive so as to prevent them at all costs from knowing Him Who from eternity has been, is, and will be, all in all.
198,7. Since God is the sole Creator of all things and there is nowhere any other god besides Him, it is obvious that whatever originates from Him cannot be anything else but good and perfect.
198,8. He created all spirits as pure and good as He is Himself. However, He gave the spirits absolute freedom of the will He had instilled into them, enabling them to do whatever they chose. And, in order to teach them how to use these gifts, He gave them simultaneously with the free will laws sanctified by Him, which they were free to observe or not.
198,9. And they all observed these laws, except for one. This one, who was also the first created and endowed with the greatest light of knowledge, rejected God's laws with his free will and opposed them, disregarding the consequences.
198,10. Thus, this spirit, with his free will instilled into him by God, reversed the divine order within him; he became opposed to those spirits who had not misused their free will and in himself evil and bad. And then, compelled by his own adverse nature, he had to leave the company of the other spirits and keep at a distance until such time when he will turn back voluntarily and reenter the order the Lord has given to all spirits without exception, namely, the order of love.
198,11. To God and all of us who are now pure celestial spirits, you, the spirit who became opposed to God's order, are not evil since you cannot ever harm us. Evil and bad you are only against yourself, for while you remain in your opposition, you harm no one but yourself.
198,12. You tried to set a trap for me, assuming that I would be compelled to say that God had created also evil, considering that you, as an evil spirit, are God's creature too. But, as far as thinking is concerned, I am an eternity ahead of you, well aware of the cunning of your wisdom. Therefore, I can only advise you to save yourself the trouble of any further questions with a view to trapping me, for in rivalry with me, you will not ever have a chance to win.
198,13. I can see it in your mischievous eyes that you would have liked to prove to me at the end of your questions that we have the most impure concept of God, quite unworthy of Him, and that we ourselves would have had to admit the existence of either two Gods - one good and the other evil - or a God of hybrid character and, consequently, a bungler of His works. However, this is not so, but exactly as I have just described to you.
198,14. "God would, indeed, be imperfect if He had not endowed His created spirits with a completely free will, but instead only with a will under compulsion. However, as for that, you yourself provide the best counter-evidence. The fact that you, although under severe judgment, are in a position to oppose the Creator as long as it suits you, proves only too clearly how free and perfect God has created all spirits, including you. You, too, can with perfect freedom act in accordance with the Lord's will, like all of us.
198,15. I assure you that there is no other spirit in all the heavens who demonstrates God's infinite perfection more clearly than you! You are, so to speak, the Lord's greatest masterpiece and, therefore, cannot be bungled work where the Lord is concerned.
198,16. This makes it quite clear that you could never trap me with your absurd opposition, for whatever you know, I have known for a long time. And that is another proof of God's endless perfection, that I - a spirit freed from your substance - am capable of resisting you mightily in all your intentions.
198,17. What do you say now? Do you have any more tricky questions ready? Then out with them, and I shall answer everyone of them properly!"
198,18. This has startled and considerably embarrassed Satan, for he cannot think of what to reply to the mighty John.
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