12. If we admit the fallibility of the angels, as well as that of humankind, we can understand their fall as being the consequence of their imperfection, and their punishment as being the just and natural consequence of their wrong-doing; and if we admit, at the same time, the possibility of their redeeming this wrong-doing by a return to rectitude, and their regaining the favor of God through repentance and expiation, there is nothing in such a supposition in any way opposed to the goodness of the Creator. In that case, God knew that they would fail, and that they would thereby incur punishment; but God also knew that the temporary chastisement they would bring upon themselves would be the means of making them understand their fault, and that it would thus turn their advantage, in accordance with the declaration of the prophet Ezekiel: – “God wills not the death of the sinner, but his salvation.” * But the inutility of repentance and the impossibility of a return to the right path would be the negation of this goodness; and, if such a hypothesis were admitted, it would be strictly true to say: – “Since God could not be ignorant of the fate awaiting them, these angels were doomed from their very creation, to do evil forever, and were predestined to become devils and to draw men into evil.”
* See above, Chap. VII, No. 20.