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332Chapter V.—God Not Deserving of Blame in Permitting the Existence of the Devil.

And Peter said:  “It is my opinion that, even if it be evident that he was made by God, the Creator who made him should not be blamed; for it might perchance be found that the service he performs14181418    Lit., “his usefulness was most necessary of all.” was an absolute necessity.  But if, on the other hand, it should be proved that he was not created, inasmuch as he existed for ever, not even is the Creator to be blamed in this respect, since He is better than all others, even if He has not been able to put an end to a being who had no beginning, because his nature did not admit of it; or if, being able, He does not make away with him, deeming it unjust to put an end to that which did not receive a beginning, and pardoning that which was by nature wicked, because he could not have become anything else, even if he were to wish to do so.14191419    This sentence is obscure in the original.  We have, with Wieseler, read ἐπεί, omitting ἀρχῇ.  Instead of supplying μή, we have turned συγγνῶναι into the participle.  But if, wishing to do good, He is not able, even in this case He is good in that He has the will, though He has not the power; and while He has not the power, He is yet the most powerful of all, in that the power is not left to another.  But if there is some other that is able, and yet does not accomplish it, it must be allowed that, in so far as, being able, he does not accomplish it, he is wicked in not putting an end to him, as if he took pleasure in the deeds done by him.  But if not even he is able, then he is better who, though unable, is yet not unwilling to benefit us according to his ability.”


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