I came across a neat passage while reading Saint Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book V, Chap 26, Par 2:
Truly has Justin remarked: That before the Lord’s appearance Satan never dared to blaspheme God, inasmuch as he did not yet know his own sentence, because it was contained in parables and allegories; but that after the Lord’s appearance, when he had clearly ascertained from the words of Christ and His apostles that eternal fire has been prepared for him as he apostatized from God of his own free-will, and likewise for all who unrepentant continue in the apostasy, he now blasphemes, by means of such men, the Lord who brings judgment [upon him] as being already condemned, and imputes the guilt of his apostasy to his Maker, not to his own voluntary disposition. Just as it is with those who break the laws, when punishment overtakes them: they throw the blame upon those who frame the laws, but not upon themselves. In like manner do those men, filled with a satanic spirit, bring innumerable accusations against our Creator, who has both given to us the spirit of life, and established a law adapted for all; and they will not admit that the judgment of God is just. Wherefore also they set about imagining some other Father who neither cares about nor exercises a providence over our affairs, nay, one who even approves of all sins.
From this passage, we can see a few interesting things.
- Justin Maryr, though of recent memory, is already quoted as an authority on religious matters.
- Satan allegedly did not “blaspheme” God, or in other words, create diverse heresies. This on one hand looks compelling, for the Jews of his time nor the time of Jesus were really that far off from one another as orthodox Christians were from Gnostics. Nevertheless, if we look at Judaism before the destruction of the first temple, it appears thoroughly syncretistic among many to the point that Elijah thinks he was the only one (as opposed to a few thousand) that has not bent the knee to Baal. So, whatever the merits of Justin’s speculation (or relating of an earlier tradition) it is good to keep this all in mind.
- Damnation is eternal for all who are “unrepentant and continue in the apostasy.”
- All false doctrines of punishment (that God is responsible, unjust, or disinterested) are the result of not taking ownership of sins we committed by our own free will.