The Devil, the Spirit, and the In-Between

I came across a fascinating quote from Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI in an essay entitled, “Farewell to the Devil?” It also reminded me that I had intended to draw attention to Phil Ziegler’s recent Warfield Lectures at Princeton, entitled, “God’s Adversary and Ours: A Brief Theology of the Devil.” The whole series of lectures can be viewed here:
2024 Warfield Lectures: Satan—A Motivational Talk ( I share a longstanding interest in apocalyptic eschatology with Dr. Ziegler and I was fortunate to have him as a member of my dissertation examination committee back when I was a doctoral student.

Here is the Ratzinger quote:

“Here a very specific characteristic of the demonic becomes clear: its facelessness, its anonymity.  If someone asks whether the devil is a person, we would probably have to answer more accurately that he is the Un-person, the disintegration and collapse of personhood, and that is why he characteristically appears without a face and why his being unrecognizable is his real strength.  In any case, the fact remains that this “in between” is a real power, or more precisely, a collection of powers and not just the sum of human selves.  The category of the “in between”, which thus helps us to understand in a new way the nature of the devil, performs yet another, parallel service: it enables us to explain better the real contrary power that has likewise become ever more foreign to Western theology: the Holy Spirit.  From this perspective, we could say: He is that ‘In between’ in which the Father and the Son are one as the one God; in the power of this ‘In between’, the Christian confronts that demonic ‘in between’ which ‘interferes’ everywhere and obstructs unity.”1

  1. Joseph Ratzinger, Dogma and Preaching: Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life, trans. Michael J. Miller and Matthew J. O’Connell, ed. Michael J. Miller (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), 204-205.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *