In the book of Genesis we perceive the presence of cosmic evil symbolized by the Serpent who tempted Adam and Eve. This indicates that something happened in the cosmic order before the creation of man. St. Peter in the New Testament makes us aware of the fall of the angels, "God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but condemned them to the chains of Tartarus and handed them over to be kept for judgment ...." (2Pt 2:4) We read in Revelation 12:7-9 that war broke out in the kingdom of personal spiritual powers. Michael the archangel fought the Dragon, the ancient Serpent or Devil who usurped the power of God. And so the Devil and his angels were cast out from God's presence to abide on earth. This is not a reference to the fall of the angels but to this eventual loss of position due to the advent of Christ who is their Lord.


Gustave Doré, Satan Approaching the Earth

Where do the principalities and powers reside and have their being?

St. Paul tells us that they reside "in the heavens." (Eph 6:2) The heavens is not where God is because by their sin of pride they lost the Vision of God. The "heavens" here signify that which surrounds and touches upon the material world and provide the dimensions in which everything material is contained." (Heinrich Schlier, Principalities and Powers in the New Testament, Herder and herder, NY, 1961, p. 17) We may tend to imagine the spiritual world surrounding the universe spatially but this would be pure imagination. It is much better to think of them as the fourth dimension of the universe which is a integral reality of matter, space, time and personal spiritual beings.

Origin of Evil

God created everything good bringing about order and harmony in the creation. Evil appeared first as a disorientation of the angelic will away from absolute good (God). Their will to power became their absolute good and in so doing perverted their nature. Since the material world depends for its order upon the angelic realm, the disharmony in their nature appeared in the cosmic universe. Evil angels are beings of power with their keen intelligence and freedom of movement not limited by a material body. They have an intelligent will which has power and aim at gaining power in opposition to God. "They present and interpret everything in the universe which they dominate in their own light and in their own way." ... In their nature the principalities present the universe and human life as a world of death." (Ibid., pp. 32-33) It is by their subjection that death resulted in the universe. While the good angels work toward the order and harmony of creation, the evil spirit are principles of disorder leading to physical and spiritual death of creation.

What aspects of the subhuman creation could be seen as proceeding from evil influences?

St. Paul in the following passage suggests that there is pain in the lower creation and that it is waiting to be set free from death.

"For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope
that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pain even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies."
(Rm 8:20-23)

I realize that within this context "the one who subjected it, in hope" is either God or man, or better, God through man's fall and Redemption in Christ. But the passage has such a cosmic tonality that it seems to transcend the purely contextual interpretation.

Lambert Dulphi has suggested that prior to the fall of the angels the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics was not in effect. This Law states any unified system tends to lose energy and fall into disintegration. Obviously, without death by disintegration, the world would have long ago become overcrowded by living forms. So the transition from the visible to the invisible would have been achieved by God differently.

C. S. Lewis in the chapter on "Animal Pain" indicates that the web of life may also have been distorted by the fall of the angels. In nature we observe the predatory instinct, that is, one species living off another bringing about sickness and death. He also notes that increased numerical reproduction became necessary due to the great number who would die by predators. This does not appear to have been a part of the goodness of creation in the beginning. He further states: "It may have been one of man's functions to restore peace to the animal world, and if he had not joined the enemy he might have succeeded in doing so to an extent now hardly imaginable." (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, HarperSanFrancisco, 1940, p. 141) This is reasonable if we consider what man has done with a wolf turning it into a dog by interbreeding. But man would also have been able to bring peace into the animal kingdom by his loving presence in power. An example of this can be seen in the life of St. Frances who was able to subdue the ferocity of the wolf in Gubbio, Italy, by his holiness in Christ. He said to the wolf, “Come to me, Brother Wolf. In the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt anyone.” At that moment the wolf lowered its head and lay down at St. Francis’ feet, meek as a lamb. St. Francis explained to the wolf that he had been terrorizing the people, killing not only animals, but humans who are made in the image of God. “Brother Wolf,” said Francis, “I want to make peace between you and the people of Gubbio. They will harm you no more and you must no longer harm them. All past crimes are to be forgiven.” From that day the people of Gubbio fed the wolf and peace was achieved.

Unfortunately man's fall from grace and his predatory inclination has made the animal kingdom afraid of his presence. Worse still, man's inhumanity to man has brought about the death of many by killing of the unborn or infants and the constant wars leading to hatred and mass murders.

Cosmic Revelation