Chapter IX.—Why the Wicked One is Appointed Over the Wicked by the Righteous God.
When Peter said this, Lazarus, who also was one of his followers, said: “Explain to us the harmony, how it can be reasonable that the wicked one should be appointed by the righteous God to be the punisher of the impious, and yet should himself afterwards be sent into lower darkness along with his angels and with sinners: for I remember that the Teacher Himself said this.” 1514 And Peter said: “I indeed allow that the evil one does no evil, inasmuch as he is accomplishing the law given to him. And although he has an evil disposition, yet through fear of God he does nothing unjustly; but, accusing the teachers of truth so as to entrap the unwary, he is himself named the accuser (the devil). But the statement of our unerring Teacher, that he and his angels, along with the deluded sinners, shall go into lower darkness, admits of the following explanation. The evil one, having obtained the lot 1515 of rejoicing in darkness according to his composition, delights to go down to the darkness of Tartarus along with angels who are his fellow-slaves; for darkness is dear to fire. But the souls of men, being drops of pure light, are absorbed by the substance fire, which is of a different class; and not possessing a nature capable of dying, they are punished according to their deserts. But if he who is the leader of men 1516 into vice is not sent into darkness, as not rejoicing in it, then his composition, which rejoices in evils, cannot be changed by another combination into the disposition for good. And thus he will be adjudged to be with the good, 1517 all the more because, having obtained a composition which rejoices in evils, through fear of God he has done nothing contrary to the decrees of the law of God. And did not the Scripture by a mysterious hint 1518 point out by the statement 1519 that the rod of the high priest Aaron became a serpent, and was again converted into a rod, that a change in the composition of the wicked one would afterwards take place?”
Matt. xxv. 41.342:1515
We have adopted an emendation of Wieselers.342:1516
We have changed ἀγαθός into ἀγαθοῖς.342:1518
An emendation of Weiselers.342:1519
Ex. vii. 9.