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Malleus Maleficarum - The Witches' Hammer, part 6

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Question 13 (Why was Satan allowed to sin? Why did Adam and Eve fall?)

It's put forth in this section that the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden is what started things in motion for witches to exist. So why did God let it happen?

This essentially boils down to free will. Angels and humans were made in a way that they were able to be tempted and to sin, and God wanted them to act according to their nature. Imperfection is a step towards obtaining perfection, I think is the idea. Plus it gives God a chance to show off how merciful He is.

(Don't strike me down, man, that's what the book says.)

Something I would not have expected comes up in this section. When discussing Lucifer's fall from Heaven, the author says the following:

But he sought for equality with God, not absolutely, but with a reservation, which was as follows. The nature of God has two qualities, that of blessedness and goodness, and the fact that all the blessedness and goodness of His creatures issues from Him. Therefore the Angel, seeing that the dignity of his own nature transcended that of the other creatures, wished and asked that the blessedness and goodness of all the inferior creatures should be derived from him. And he sought this in his own natural capacity, that just as he was the first to be endowed in nature with those qualities, so the other creatures should receive them from the nobility of his nature. And he sought this of God, in perfect willingness to remain subject to God so long as he had that power granted to him. Therefore he did not wish to be made equal with God absolutely, but only with a reservation.

Personally, I've always heard the story as Lucifer wanting to be equal to God/take God's place. This is the first time I've heard an interpretation which has Lucifer remaining a loyal subject to God. It puts a new perspective on the whole situation, doesn't it?

He says the sins of witches can be greater than the sins of Lucifer or Adam and Eve. This guy.

Question 14 (Are witches really such a big deal?)

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: yes because this dude is mad.

Witches' sins are greater than Adam and Eve's sin (actually, he only mentions Adam here; peculiar) because Adam did something that was forbidden but not in-and-of-itself "evil." Bro ate an apple - well, probably not an apple - either way, not the worst thing a person can do. Witches, on the other hand, do forbidden things that are inherently evil.

From the text:

The evils which are perpetrated by modern witches exceed all other sin which God has ever permitted to be done

In fact, witches are even evil when they're not being evil. Since they made a pact with the Devil, even their devout deeds - attending church, for example - are actually sins. This makes them more sinful than other types of infidels.

Witches Deserve the heaviest Punishment above All the Criminals of the World. Yeah, he's gonna make an argument for this. I don't know why I'm so annoyed, I knew what the book was gonna be about. Let's see what he has to say.

Heretics are punished in various ways, including: - excommunication

- deposition from a place of power

- loss of possessions - death

In some cases, even the family members of heretics are punished just for existing around a heretic. Well, since witches are worse than other types of heretics, they need a worse punishment. So what could be a suitable consequence?

They "must be made to suffer the extreme penalty," he says. We'll see what that means in a future section.

I'm gonna try some lighter posts sprinkled between these Malleus Maleficarum posts, since this book is quite long and quite dark. I also made a playlist in honor of the author for anyone who's interested.

Stay safe!

- me

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