Most of us take it for granted that Satan hates us. But why does he hate us? That question recently came up in my Our Sunday Visitor column. It is a very different kind of writing than I do here, in that it requires me to provide very brief answers. But I’m sure you sometimes appreciate brevity on the blog! Thus consider a brief post today on a mysterious question:
Q: In the sermon the other day, the priest said Satan hates us. It occurred to me to ask, why does Satan hate me, what did I ever do to him? – John Smoot, Bayonne NJ.
A: To be sure, there are very deep mysteries involved in the motives for Satan’s hatred. We struggle to understand our own human psyches, let alone trying to understand the psyche of a fallen angelic person.
However, an important clue to Satan’s hatred is contained in the third temptation he makes to Jesus in the desert. Showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world he says, “All these I will give you, if you will but fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:10).
Here we see the curtain pulled back, and we glimpse for a moment the kind of inner torment that dominates Satan. He seems desperate to be adored. He cannot bear that he is a creature and that there is another, other than himself (God), who is ever to be adored.
Thus in his colossal pride Satan hates, first of all, God. And by extension, he hates everyone and everything that manifests the glory of God. Even more, he hates those who seek to adore God rather than him. In his venomous pride, Satan seeks to destroy the Church, which declares the glory of God and reminds us that God alone is to be adored. Surely he hates and seeks to destroy those who even try to adore God, and who do not accord him, Satan, the worship and pride of place for which he ravenously hungers.
Hence, as the text from the temptation in the desert suggests, Satan is tormented by pride, and his torment is filled with deep hatred for all who worship God and all who draw others to the worship of the one, true God.
For blog readers I might also suggest several sources on demonology that I have found helpful:
This video is criticized by some for being a bit too light-hearted, but it does a very good job of showing the subtleties of Satan’s work.