The Garden of God
I've been reading The Garden of God: A Theological Cosmology by Alejandro García-Rivera, a professor at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. I thought I'd post bits from it as I read along. Here's something I found interesting, from pp. 15-16 ......
The Question of Evil
But heaven and earth as components of a theological cosmology raise questions regarding the interaction between heaven and earth. This was the place where premodern theology dealt with angels and demons. If we can get past the caricatures our modern age has made of angels and demons, we can perhaps recognize the importance of revising certain doctrines concerning angels in a theological cosmology.
One of these is the doctrine of the fall of the angels. Found in Daniel and in Revelation, the fall of the angels has been used in theology to qualify and deepen the meaning of the other fall, the fall of the human. The fall of the angels brings evil into the creation right at its beginning. Somehow the mystery of evil is tied in with the very mystery of creation. If Christian belief in the fall of the angels ought to tell us anything, it is that it is insufficient to place evil entirely upon human shoulders. While humans introduced death into the world through their sin, they did not invent evil. Evil was offered to humans by the serpent and humans accepted it.
The fall of the angels, as Louis Bouyer writes, helps us see the human "by virtue of his creation and its conditions, a first potential redeemer of the world. If he had been faithful to the call of God, who intended him to fill the place left by the prevaricators, his faithfulness would have erased the initial transgression. This is the meaning of paradise, the restoration of the world around man." This view has solid basis in the patristic literature yet has been neglected in contemporary thought, either due to a lack of belief in demons or angels or aversion to the doctrine itself. Nevertheless, the doctrine still has something to teach Christians in the twenty-first century. Evil has cosmic dimensions. We misunderstand its nature if we see it simply as a result of human moral failing. There is something profoundly spiritual in human evil acts that neither law nor reason can curb. The malignant spiritual dimension of evil is ultimately to be found in the human alienation from the cosmos.
Perhaps this lack of awareness about the cosmic dimension of evil explains why theological treatment of human evil and suffering borders on the irresponsible .....