C.S. Lewis explained this in The Last Battle. It is the Calormene Emeth speaking:
Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him.
But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome.
But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.
He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.
Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one?
The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child?
I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days.
Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou shouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.
— Comments –
Mercedes Duggar writes:
I keep noticing recently that people commonly refer to Satan as a supernatural creature. At the risk of seeming like a nit-picker, from what I have read of Catholic theology Satan would be more accurately described as a preternatural being. Having been created by God, it seems wrong to put Satan in the same order of being as God Himself.
I think this mischaracterization has been leaping out at me because I recently read two good books on the Rite of Exorcism, The Rite by Matt Baglio and Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin. In both books, the writers emphasize the Catholic understanding of the difference between preternatural beings, such as Satan and demons, and God, the only truly supernatural being.
By saying that there are two opposing supernatural beings in the world, we would seem to be giving Satan equal standing with God, when he is merely a created being. Satan is limited in his power by both his nature as a created being and God’s will.
Just to double check what I’ve read, I looked up the definition of preternatural in an online Catholic dictionary, and found this entry:
Preternatural: That which is beyond the natural but is not strictly supernatural. It is preternatural either because natural forces are used by God to produce effects beyond their native capacity, or because above-human forces, angelic or demonic, are active in the world of space and time. (Etym. Latin praeter, beyond + natural, nature.)
By the same token, it would seem more accurate to describe fairies as preternatural creatures, rather than supernatural creatures.
I would welcome your thoughts on this question.
Good point. Supernatural is often used to refer to any creature that is not part of nature. But I believe you are right about the distinction and that it would be better to refer to Satan as preternatural.
Peter S. writes:
In reference to the previous entry regarding Satan and Islam, it is worth noting that every formal Islamic prayer begins with the following invocation of Divine protection: “I seek refuge in God from Satan the accursed” – words a pious Muslim will say, in Arabic, five times in the course of a day. As portrayed repeatedly in the Koran, Satan is a rebel against God and an enemy of mankind. Ch. 7 of Fazlur Rahman’s Major Themes of the Qur’an provides a reasonable summary. The discussion on pp. 139-42, 152-5 of Sachiko Murata & William Chittick’s The Vision of Islam is also helpful.