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Do God and the Devil Talk among Themselves?

October 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Demonology, Fr. Fortea

Q.  Father Fortea, do God and the devil really talk among themselves as in the book of Job?

A.  In the Scriptures, Satan speaks with God to throw in His face the sins that men commit. But this is not a real and authentic conversation. So do true conversations take place between God and the devil? The answer is no.

Even though both God and the devil are spiritual beings (and spiritual beings, due to their very nature, generally like to communicate among themselves), true conversations between them do not take place. This is because the devil has no interest in conversing with God, whom he hates with all his strength. Conversely, God has no interest in having a conversation with a being who continuously breathes hate against Him. God has His perfect dignity, and this is why He does not want to converse with one who only insults and blasphemes Him all the time. In short, God does not want to talk to the devil because, in reality, there is really nothing for them to talk about.

 

Art: Masks of Poland, 18 April 2013, Author: Silar, own work; Wikimedia Commons.

 

Editor’s Note:  To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book, Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.

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About Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea

Trained by Vatican exorcist Gabriele Amorth, Father José Antonio Fortea is not only an exorcist, but also a writer, calligrapher and parish priest. He once thought he would lead what he has termed ordinary life as an attorney in Madrid, much as his father did before him, but sensed instead a vocation to the priesthood in his adolescent years. A theology graduate of Navarre University in Spain, Father Fortea wrote a thesis there on exorcism. He has been a practicing exorcist for several decades.

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  • Michael James

    So is the conversation between Jesus and satan that Pope Leo xiii heard fake?

    • http://www.rcspiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Michael: To be fair, I think it would be a stretch to imply that Fr. Fortea’s logic or personal opinion would be compatible with your implied conclusions.

    • Mgwps63

      I would think that Jesus having a human soul can have a conversation with satan, but not God the Father. So what Father said does not negate this “conversation” that Pope Leo heard at all. My opinion.

    • Thomas -D

      There’s a few possibilities (assuming the private revelation Pope Leo XIII had actually transpired)

      1,) God allowed the perceived conversation through the work of human imagination.

      2.) Fr,Fortea’s theological extrapolation has identified a possible paradox. Where such a conversation could have transpired and we lack the fullness of divine revelation to make it conceivable.

  • Maxine Bell

    for Fr. Fortea
    i’ve been praying for my estranged daughter for conversion and for exorcism of demon/s .for many many years she has been struggling with a serious problem that Dr.s are reluctant to name yet she is out of controle at times. Can I expect my prayers to be answered reguarding an exorcism?

  • patricia

    This is good to know I know I would not want to talk with my enemies forgive them yes but I would not have a close rapport of course Gods forgiveness is immense and mine is only human forgiveness I still believe God would not engage in conversation with the devil.

  • Alexandra Campbell

    wow. so we cannot take the book of Job to be documenting something that actually occurred? I do not understand…

    • http://www.rcspiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Alexandra, I would go that far. It is important to note that much of what Fr. Fortea has to offer is his opinion based on experience and a sound theological understanding. As far as demonology goes, I trust him far above anyone else I have read. That said, I don’t entirely agree with all that he says here.

      • Alexandra Campbell

        thanks Dan!

    • Howard

      Imagine a game of chess between two players who refuse to speak to each other. They may refuse to speak, but the game itself can be viewed as a “conversation” — offers and refusals, attempts at persuasion and rebuffs. Or imagine a long campaign being fought between two generals who do not speak to each other or accept emissaries; each can still “send a message” to his opponent by what he does. The dialogue between Satan and God in the book of Job can be understood in similar terms. If that seems too symbolic for you, remember that in using corporeal terms to represent the “conversation” between two purse spirits, the author has manifestly made use of analogy and symbolism already.

      • LizEst

        And, Howard, you have another great explanation of this as well. God bless you!

      • Mgwps63

        Very awesome explanation, Howard! Perfectly sensible!

      • Alexandra Campbell

        Well, I am no expert for certain, but no, your explanation did not seem “too symbolic for” me.

        However, I worry when an explanation sounds way more complicated than just the actual, simple idea that God and the devil “spoke” to each other, just as Jesus and the devil spoke to each other in the desert.

        So when God “spoke” from heaven at Jesus baptism…”this is my Beloved Son” was that not actual words that someone (I think John the Baptist and Jesus) heard, or did someone make that up and put it in Holy Scripture? Is God the Father incapable of using whatever medium he chooses to communicate with? Even audibly as an actual voice from heaven?

        And of course there is the matter of locutions “heard” by many saints and doctors of the Church.

        So can a “pure” (I think that’s what you meant, not purse) spirit’s speech only be heard by a physical being? Two “pure” (or impure, in the case of the devil, a little joke there) spirits cannot do the same? I get that sound waves might not be generated but meaningful communication could occur and then the Holy Spirit could have inspired the writer of Job to be privy to the “conversation,” no? Because, if not, it makes the Book of Job sound like a mere fairy tale or myth.

        Sorry for going on and on…I’m feeling a bit defensive right now and I guess I’m just weary trying to figure out what some folks are doing in “interpreting” Pope Francis’ speeches for us regular people. I don’t want to have to start doing this with things in the Bible that don’t really seem to involve symbols. I mean, some things in the Bible, like what Jesus said, were hopefully literal.

        Thank you, I need some sleep! God Bless…

  • Mgwps63

    And Jesus has a conversation with Satan in the desert, where he tempts Jesus, because of Jesus’ HUMANITY only is why the devil can have this conversation.

    I am not sure though that the devil has conversations with God the Father, and I hear sense in Fr. Fortea’s explanation. In some way there is an “unspoken” conversation between the devil(s) and God until the end times. Satan is allowed by God to have some power his kingdom and with his children for now, running around the earth seeking the ruin of souls. I think in Job, which is not a “historical” book , it is more of a parable and it is also written in some prose, so I think there is creative liscense describing a “conversation” between God and the devil. This is a kind of eternal conversation, an escatalogical converstion….showing how God “knows” what the devil wants to do and “allows” it. It is an understanding between the two, not a genuine coversation like Jesus in his humaness has with satan.

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  • LizEst

    This is a great explanation. God bless you, Mgwps63!

    • Mgwps63

      Thanks Liz!

  • Camila

    Hi Mgwps63,

    On Job not being a historical book, hmmm, I think we need to be little careful here. We’ll see that in the Catholic Encyclopedia it is held as having both historical as well as imaginative additions. A most authoritative sentence in there is that “All the Fathers considered Job an historical person.” The church, we know, has made clear that (Council of Trent) the unanimous consent of the fathers is pretty authoritative stuff.

    Finally, we know that God is the author of the Cannon of Scripture and He can’t contradict Himself. So whether the ‘exchange’ or ‘conversation’ actually de facto take place as a historical event – not sure we can really know this. However, He does want us to learn from the written exchange recorded in scripture, there is a valuable lesson there that is super duper important and relevant to our lives – today.

    Here’s the link to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08413a.htm

    Here’s the link to the Council of Trent on the Church Fathers:
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT4.HTM

    • LizEst

      Camila – I don’t think Mgwps63 is saying Job is not a historical person. When Mgwps63 wrote that Job is not a “historical book” he/she was correct. It’s a scholarly designation and one found in current Bibles and at the Vatican.

      The Old Testament is divided into four or five or six major divisions: The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), The Historical Books (Historical, and Chroniclers and Later Histories), The Wisdom Books, The Prophetic Books (also divided into Major and Minor Prophets). The book of Job is not classified as a “Historical Book”. It is classified as a “Wisdom Book.” This is its current classification in
      Catholic Bibles, as seen here on the Vatican website: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_INDEX.HTM If you open a current Catholic Bible you will see that. I checked my mother’s old Douay-Rheims. There, the books of the Bible were not grouped together in any way at all, from what I could see, except perhaps that they were listed in what was believed to be their historical order. Hope this helps…and God bless you, Camila.

      • Camila

        Thanks Liz. Hermeneutics is a complicated area. We really need to be careful when we start drawing conclusions, especially if we’re going to try to avoid the literal sense because of perceived difficulties in interpretation. I also wanted to highlight the authorship of Holy Scripture, Liz.

        • LizEst

          …and thanks to you, Camila.

          Now, for those who may not know what the word hermeneutics means, here is a link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07271a.htm It’s long but the first short paragraph gives a general idea.

    • Mgwps63

      Thank you Camilla. Liz explained it correctly. I was totally talking about the book itself, not Job as a person. But I understand and respect your concern. I was indeed trying to express what I personally learned from that “written exchange” in light of what Fr. Fortea said. I wasn’t denying that there was a “type” of conversation, and we surely must be careful of being too literal about the Word of God. The language of God cannot be put into human language perfectly. It is like Einstein explaining the theory of relativity to a Kindergartner. that is why Jesus often spoke in parables. Did you read Howard’s explanation? I thought it was wonderful. He said what I tried to say only lightyears better!

  • Alexandra Campbell

    hi maxine, I believe that when I tried to ask Fr. Fortea a question after one his previous posts, Dan filled me in on the fact that he isn’t available to personally respond to our questions here. perhaps Dan can advise?

    God Bless you, I will pray for you and your daughter.

  • Alexandra Campbell

    Why not? God spoke the creation into existence, He speaks all through the Bible, He speaks in locutions to saints and doctors of the Church…I guess maybe its telepathic communication without sound waves when its between two non-physical spiritual beings, but still, I think that it must be possible for God to communicate in words with meaning to whomever He wants in whatever way He wants…even using sound since He created the laws of physics…or I am just completely off base?

    I bet there is answer for us all somewhere, probably in St. Thomas or some other brilliant theologian of the past! Maybe someone has time to look it up?

  • Karl Andrew Cruz

    In the book of Job, God spoke with the enemy and filtered up to what extent the enemy can harm Job