Father Fortea, does God hate the demons?
No. God, being perfect, is Love itself. The created world is God’s act of love, and as part of His creation, demons remain essentially good and loved by God. It is true, though, that God hates sin because it harms the perfection of His creation. Sin ultimately leads to the condemnation of those who remain unrepentant, but this does not mean God hates sinners.
This is the terrible thing: The condemned cannot ask mercy from God because they have made a definitive choice. Infinite Love acknowledges this choice made in freedom. In The Divine Comedy, Dante places the following inscription on the entrance to hell:
“Through me is the way into the woeful city;
through me is the way into eternal woe;
through me is the way among the lost people.
Justice moved my lofty maker:
the divine Power, the supreme Wisdom and the
primal Love made me. Before me were
no things created, unless eternal, and I
eternal last. Leave every hope, ye who enter!”
This inscription, though a work of literature, captures the truth that it is Love, not hate, which allows the existence of hell. Thus, one cannot plead with Love to destroy hell. God loves the demons but condemns them nevertheless. Why? Because they have chosen hell by their rebellion against Him – God is simply ratifying their choice.
As an aside, if God does not hate the demons, an exorcist cannot hate them, either. During an exorcism, a demon may say things to try and incite hatred in the exorcist or others who are present. I recall an exorcism in which a mother lost control, becoming furious and enraged with the demon that possessed her daughter. The demon, with all the calmness in the world, smiled evilly and said, “You can’t get rid of me with hate.” In the end, only the power of love defeats evil.
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.
Art for this post “Does God Hate the Demons?”: Demon Holding a Cup, early 19th century, Hikaku, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.