1 General Notes on the Sin of Angels [May 19, 2009: addition; when one thinks of all that needs discussion

here, such as God and the permission of evil; how he is author of all that is positive and actual in any act, but 5is not the origin of the privation in the moral act, etc., this could monopolize the discussion. I think I should confine myself to what is proper to the angelic sin discussion.] I am looking at ST 1.63. Clearly one must consider (1) the very possibility of such sin; (2) nature of the sin (pride, first of all, and envy secondly; (3) desire to be like God, 10how? – Subsequent articles make it clear that the whole discussion starts with the angel having grace, and all having merited with respect to beatitude. It is in the second moment that some choose to turn towards themselves, while others turn towards God. (63.5.ad 4) (also a. 6.ad 4). The psychology is described and should be brought out. 15 One thing I would like to get at is the sort of knowledge they had of supernatural beatitude before they made their choice to order themselves towards their own good, not considering the rule from on high. 20The psychology of the sin is brought out, too, by the consideration of the lower angels as following the higher in sin: cf. 8.ad 2. Let us look at this text. The objector is arguing against the idea that the sin of the first, i.e. highest, angel was a cause of the sin of the others. The objection runs: … the first sin of the angel can only be pride, as was said above. Pride, however, 25 seeks to excel. Now, it is more repugnant to excellence that someone be subjected to an inferior than to a superior; and thus it does not seem that the demons sinned in this way, viz. that they wished to be subject to some one of the highest angels rather than to God. But it is thus that the sin of one angel would have been the cause of sin for others, viz. if it led them to being subject to itself. Therefore, it does not seem 30 that the sin of the first angel was a cause of sinning for the others.1 And the reply: To the second it is to be said that the proud person (PP), other things being equal, does rather prefer to be subject to a superior than to an inferior. However, if one attains to some excellence when subject to the inferior that cannot be had 35 under the superior, then PP will rather choose to be subject to the inferior rather than to the superior. Thus, therefore, it was not against the pride of the demons that they willed to be subject to the inferior, consenting to his primacy: wishing to have him as prince and leader so that they might attain by natural power to their own

ST 1.63.8.obj. 2: Praeterea, primum peccatum Angeli non potest esse nisi superbia, ut supra dictum est. Sed superbia excellentiam quaerit. Magis autem excellentiae repugnat quod aliquis inferiori subdatur, 5 quam superiori, et sic non videtur quod Daemones peccaverint per hoc quod voluerunt subesse alicui superiorum Angelorum, potius quam deo. Sic autem peccatum unius Angeli fuisset aliis causa peccandi, si eos ad hoc induxisset ut sibi subiicerentur. Non ergo videtur quod peccatum primi Angeli fuerit causa peccandi aliis.


Lawrence Dewan, o.p.

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[this is so] whether one takes “sin” as in natural things or in artificial things or in morals.3 2 ST 1. hoc habet ex dono gratiae. and to the operation of the moral agent. quam sub superiori consequi non possit. can sin. the agent possessing free choice. Si enim manus artificis esset ipsa regula incisionis. and to the operation of the artist or technician as such. Page 2 4/16/2012 . if it 15 be considered merely as to its own nature. The word “peccatum” here.1: Respondeo dicendum quod tam Angelus quam quaecumque creatura rationalis. sive in moralibus. potest peccare. translated as “sin. Thus. Now. the will of the soldier in accord with the will of the leader of the army.63. ceteris paribus. Sic igitur non fuit contra superbiam Daemonum quod subesse inferiori voluerunt. Here the foundational point is that any creature is capable of an operation or 10movement that lacks its proper order. Let us look at the article on the possibility of sin in the angels. Cuius ratio est.2 ultimate beatitude.8. ut virtute naturali suam ultimam beatitudinem consequerentur. si in sua sola natura consideretur. and to whatever creature it belongs that it cannot sin. Solum autem illum actum a rectitudine declinare non contingit. 103 ST 1. the divine will alone is the rule of its own act. not from the condition of its nature.ad 2: 5 Ad secundum dicendum quod superbus. Thus. we read: I answer that it is to be said that the angel and any rational creature whatsoever. this it has from a gift of grace.] 5 [We have to be clear that the whole discussion supposes angels as having grace and as called to supernatural beatitude.1.2 [We see well that the good thing they opt for is their own natural beatitude. contingit incisionem esse rectam et non rectam. just as any will of an inferior ought to be regulated in keeping with the will of the superior: for example. 15 sive in artificialibus. Every will of any creature has rightness in its own act only inasmuch as it is regulated by the divine will. nunquam posset artifex nisi recte lignum incidere. They are created in that beatitude. but if the rightness of the incision is from another rule. in eius principatum consentientes. ad hoc eum principem et ducem habere volentes. o. praesertim quia supremo Angelo naturae ordine etiam tunc subiecti erant. because it is 25 not ordered towards a higher end. in the divine will alone there cannot be sin. cuius regula est ipsa virtus agentis. only that act 20 whose rule is the very power of the agent [itself] is altogether immune from receding from rectitude: for if the hand of the craftsman were the very rule of the cutting. Sed si aliquam excellentiam consequatur sub inferiori. magis eligit inferiori subesse quam superiori. 63. Lawrence Dewan. Divina autem voluntas sola est regula sui actus. to which the ultimate end pertains. non ex conditione naturae. sed si rectitudo incisionis sit ab alia regula.63. then it happens that the incision be right and not right. therefore. as regards the condition of its own nature. et cuicumque creaturae hoc convenit ut peccare non possit.” is so general as to apply to mere natural things that lack cognition. quia peccare nihil est aliud quam declinare a rectitudine actus quam debet habere. sive accipiatur peccatum in naturalibus. the craftsman could never cut the wood other than rightly. The reason for this is that to sin is nothing else but to recede from the rightness of the act which [the act] ought to have. magis vult subesse superiori quam inferiori.p. Now. 30 in the will of any creature there can be sin. especially since according to the order of nature they were then already subject to the supreme angel.

The third objection argues on the basis that the angels have in them a natural love for God. Sed nullus.3 The objections and replies are very important. nisi secundum quod regulatur a voluntate divina. it is by far the 4th objection and reply that fills in the picture of the angelic sinning. ad quam pertinet ultimus finis. or at any rate cannot precede the fault. a quo averti potuit peccando.6 Here the reply is actually longer than the body of the article: quia non ad superiorem finem ordinatur. ST 1. Sed in Angelis non potest esse apparens bonum. Ergo Angeli non possunt appetere nisi id quod est vere bonum. Now. the angel does not sin in its use of appetite. hoc est ex amore gratuito. 4 ST 1. 4: Praeterea. The reply here is crucial: To the third it is to be said that it is natural for the angel that it be turned towards God with a movement of love. quia in eis vel omnino error esse non potest. The first refers to Aristotle’s teaching that the bad can only exist where there is potency in a thing.63. appetendo id quod est vere bonum.p. vel saltem non 20 potest praecedere culpam. as regards its being turned towards this or towards that. appetitus non est nisi boni. 5 ST 1. 20 However. appetite is only for the good or the apparent good. whereas the angels have the action of the 10free judgment or choice. Page 3 4/16/2012 . secundum quod est principium naturalis esse. in the angels there cannot be the apparent good that is not the true good. peccat. potest in eis esse malum.obj.63. from which [the angel] can be turned away in sinning.4 A second objection notes that there can be nothing bad in the celestial bodies according to the philosophers. no one sins by having appetite for that which is truly good.ad 3: 15 6 Ad tertium dicendum quod naturale est Angelo quod convertatur motu dilectionis in deum. in qualibet autem voluntate creaturae potest esse peccatum. The reply focuses our attention on the realm of intellect: … in the angels there is no potency towards natural being. and no one sins in loving God. 15 However. Sic igitur in sola voluntate divina peccatum esse non potest. ut voluntas 5 militis secundum voluntatem ducis exercitus. And on this account the bad can be in them.63. ad hoc quod convertantur in hoc vel in illud. Est tamen in eis 10 potentia secundum intellectivam partem. o. Sed quod convertatur in ipsum secundum quod est obiectum beatitudinis supernaturalis. Nevertheless there is 5 potency in them in function of the intellective part. However. Ergo Angelus appetendo non peccat. The answer is that such bodies have only natural operation.1. and angels are more perfect still (“digniores”). that it be turned towards him inasmuch as he is the object of SUPERnatural beatitude stems from gratuitous love. because in them either error is altogether impossible. Et quantum ad hoc. vel apparentis boni. secundum conditionem suae naturae. The objection itself is as follows: Furthermore. sicut quaelibet voluntas inferioris debet regulari secundum voluntatem superioris. inasmuch as [God] is the principle of natural being. 25 Therefore. We are in the domain of revelation.5 We see how essential to the doctrine of angelic sin is the existence of the SUPERnatural order. quod non sit verum bonum. Lawrence Dewan.1. Omnis autem voluntas cuiuslibet creaturae rectitudinem in suo actu non habet. Therefore.1.ad 1: Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in Angelis non est potentia ad esse naturale. the angels cannot have appetite save for that which is truly a good.

non eligeretur ut bonum. quibus ratio aut intellectus 10 ligetur. sed non cum ordine debitae mensurae aut regulae. quod secundum se est 5 malum. nor again could habituation have preceded the first sin.1.ad 4: Ad quartum dicendum quod peccatum in actu liberi arbitrii contingit esse dupliciter. the adulterer errs as regards what is particular.p. even if as regards the universal he does not err. 8 I had first written “preferring”. because of the inclination of passion or of habituation.” 7 Lawrence Dewan. That is the point of 1. The very existence of such a vision. Et tale peccatum semper procedit ex aliqua ignorantia vel errore. ex hoc quod aliquod malum eligitur. otherwise that which is bad would not be chosen as a good. Et hoc modo Angelus peccavit. ut ex supra dictis patet. inclining [the angel] towards sinning. when a human being sins by choosing adultery. if someone were to choose to pray. And such a sin does not presuppose ignorance. alioquin id quod est malum. In the second way sin occurs by the free judgment choosing something that 15 is in itself a good. by the fact that one chooses something bad: as. etiam si in universali non erret. whereas what Thomas has described is something in itself good while simply “not 20considering” the right order coming from on high. sed absentiam solum considerationis eorum quae considerari debent. as is clear from things already seen.e. convertendo se per liberum arbitrium ad proprium bonum. eligens hanc delectationem inordinati actus quasi aliquod bonum ad nunc agendum. Now. without the order towards the rule of the divine will.ad 3: the very possibility of angelic sin involves the relation of the angel to God as to the object of the SUPERnatural beatific vision. but then wondered if that could be the right word. not paying attention to the order established by the Church. However. Errat quidem adulter in particulari. sicut si aliquis eligeret orare. sicut homo peccat eligendo adulterium. Et 15 huiusmodi peccatum non praeexigit ignorantiam. Uno modo. i. sed veram de hoc sententiam teneat. absque ordine ad regulam divinae voluntatis. quia nec in Angelis sunt passiones. in such a way that it does not seek the divinely appointed supernatural beatitude. but the 20 mere absence of consideration of those things which ought to be considered. 2009: there is no doubt that the entire issue of angelic sin is one that belongs to revealed theology rather than natural theology. In the first way. Page 4 4/16/2012 .63. which does not have the due order. choosing this enjoyment of the inordinate act as something good to be done now. which is in itself 5 something bad. propter inclinationem passionis aut habitus. for example. but hangs onto true 10 judgment about the matter. non attendens ad ordinem ab ecclesia institutum. Hoc autem modo in Angelo peccatum esse non potuit. eligendo aliquid quod secundum se est bonum. sin cannot have occurred in the angel in this way.7 This is to say that the angel’s sin consists in seeking8 its own already possessed natural beatitude. quae non habet debitum ordinem. Alio modo contingit peccare per liberum arbitrium. And it is in this way that the angel sinned.63. ita quod defectus inducens peccatum sit solum ex parte electionis. 25 May 19. so I just put “seeking. nec iterum primum peccatum habitus praecedere potuit ad peccatum inclinans. And such a sin always proceeds from some ignorance or error. because there are in the angels no passions by which reason or intellect could be restrained. but not with the order of the due measure or rule: in such a way that the defect constituting [inducens] the sin is solely on the side of the choice. It suggests a comparison being made. and not on the side of the thing chosen: as.1. non ex parte rei electae. o. turning himself through free choice towards his own proper good.4 To the fourth it is to be said that sin in the act of the free choice takes place in two ways. for example. such a possible ST 1.

obj.4D: Credo autem quod omnia quae sunt fidei. tempus accipitur pro ipsa successione 10 operationum intellectus. 3….5. there was some delay between his creation and his fall. ST 1. Article 6 asks whether there was any delay [mora] between the creation and the fall of the angels. a supernatural subjection to God.ad 4: Ad quartum dicendum quod inter quaelibet duo instantia esse tempus medium. et ideo mysteria fidei 5 dicuntur esse abscondita a saeculis in Deo. Sic igitur instans primum in Angelis intelligitur Lawrence Dewan.6. as is proved in Physics 6 [231b9]. became “night. because in the first day is commemorated the evening but not the morning. but the supernatural is to it. aliud instans fuit in quo diabolus peccavit. Ergo aliqua mora fuit inter creationem eius et lapsum. who are not subject to celestial movement.6. And so in the first instant all were good. whereas some [angels]. beyond its own actual vision of reality. But from this operation some [angels] through “morning” knowledge were turned towards the praise of the Word [of God].10 9 ST 1. as is said in Ephesians 3.1. Therefore. 4: 5 10 Praeterea. habet veritatem inquantum tempus est continuum. Thus. And this operation was good in all. 4. [I believe that all those things which belong to faith are beyond the knowledge that is natural for the angels.63. as Augustine says in Commentary on the Text of Genesis 4.1. a hidden realm. all of them. just as it is beyond the natural reason of human beings. in a first moment. so that they actually merit eternal beatitude. Page 5 4/16/2012 . the first instant for the angels is understood to correspond to the 30 operation of the angelic mind by which it turns itself towards itself through the “evening” knowledge.10. but in the second they are distinguished. qui primo per tempus continuum mensuratur. ut probatur in VI physic.1.p. also 4 [219a13]. see Sent. qui non sunt subiecti caelesti motui. 15 The angels. sunt supra naturalem cognitionem Angelorum. cf. it was a different instant in which the devil sinned from the instant in which he was created. Obviously. ab instanti in quo creatus fuit.] 10And cf. its natural knowledge of God is far beyond what can be attributed to a human being. o. vel etiam affectus.ad 4. Now. Thus.5 ultimate end for a creature is an object of supernatural faith for any created intellect (ST 1. “time” is taken as the very succession of operations of the intellect or also of the affection.63.6.” 35 swelling with pride. the picture of the angel as open to a first sin is a picture of an angel living already in supernatural faith.. and therefore the mysteries of faith are said to have been hidden through the ages in God. However. but in the second the good were distinguished from the bad. ut dicitur Eph.9 And Thomas replies: To the fourth it is to be said that [the premise] “between any two instants there is an 25 intermediate time” is true inasmuch as time is continuous.9. And thus the first operation was common to all. in the angels. 1. Cf. which is primarily measured by the continuum of time. It is in a second moment that the sinning angels are posing a block to such a move into beatitude. are seen as freely choosing. sicut supra rationem naturalem hominum. Sed in Angelis. Sed inter quaelibet duo instantia cadit tempus medium. remaining within themselves. between any two instants there occurs an intermediate time.63. The fourth objection runs: 20 Furthermore. especially ST 2-2. too. therefore.

6 We should say something about the morning and evening knowledge. quidam vero.34. in seipsis remanentes. quae formaliter complet peccatum.] 10I look at 2-2. quia in primo die commemoratur vespere. sed in secundo fuerunt boni a malis distincti. Sic igitur in sola voluntate respondere operationi mentis angelicae.63. per superbiam intumescentes. what they have in common and what was special to the angel.1 on hating God: Sunt autem quidam effectus Dei qui repugnant inordinatae voluntati.63. Et sic prima operatio fuit omnibus communis. ad quam pertinet ultimus finis. and the signification of “night” here.p. quae repugnat voluntati depravatae per peccatum. per se ad superbiam pertinet. quod est quasi consequens in aliis peccatis. qua se in seipsam convertit per vespertinam cognitionem.162. because its essence involves contempt for God.2 nb as comparing man and angel as to first sin.1): Omnis autem voluntas cuiuslibet creaturae rectitudinem in suo actu non habet. Sed ab hac operatione quidam per matutinam cognitionem ad laudem verbi sunt conversi. [Notice that we can never avoid the general problem of divine operation and divine permission of sin. (Note that all these acts of the angels are acts of free choice. Note: Et ideo averti a Deo et eius praeceptis.1. 6 is n. Et quantum ad considerationem talium effectuum. IV super Gen.2 etc. inquantum scilicet apprehenditur peccatorum prohibitor et poenarum inflictor. they know God as the author of particular effects.b. facti sunt nox. We read (1. Page 6 4/16/2012 .60.) Cf. 35Reading 1. Ad litt. sicut inflictio 30 poenae.. and a. 20 I should reread 1. but block the effect of that merit in the second act.63. We should also stress that the angels who fall actually merit in the first act. ut 40 voluntas militis secundum voluntatem ducis exercitus. The answer is that he was good [Notice that the “morning” knowledge is had only by the blessed angels. semper est potius eo quod est per aliud. as finding pride the gravest sin in kind. 2-2. sed in secunda sunt discreti. Et ideo in primo instanti omnes fuerunt boni. 5 Lawrence Dewan. cuius actus est Dei contemptus.1 it is something beyond human rational knowledge). on pride. o.] 1. et etiam cohibitio peccatorum per legem divinam. it occurs to me that “the ultimate end” is what God provides as the ultimate end (as in 1.) 5 In a. consequens est quod superbia sit 15 gravissimum peccatorum secundum suum genus. sicut quaelibet voluntas inferioris debet regulari secundum voluntatem superioris.1. ab aliquibus Deus odio haberi potest.163.5. nisi secundum quod regulatur a voluntate divina. sed non mane. ut Augustinus dicit. Et quia id quod est per se. 5 the query is whether the devil was bad in the first moment of his creation.6. 2-2. quia excedit in aversione. Et haec quidem operatio in omnibus bona fuit.ad 5: on loving God as common good naturally more than oneself and yet also 25hating God as the author of particular effect that run counter to the will of the angel (this is possible because when not having the beatific vision.

the good of another cannot be adjudged to be an impediment to the good affected by the bad angel save inasmuch as he had affection for singular 45 excellence.1: The idea is that the angels before confirmation or fall did not have the beatific 5vision. 2 here is also of interest for the “good affection” of the will moving the intellectual assent to the faith. even the unformed faith of humans (as distinct from the faith 10in the demons that lacks the good affection. Look at 2-2. in qualibet autem voluntate creaturae potest esse peccatum. Lawrence Dewan.1 at the ad 4. For it pertains to the same situation 40 that the affection tend appetitively towards something and that it leans in the opposite direction. viz. Eiusdem enim rationis est quod affectus tendat in aliquid appetendum. 35 quae quidem singularitas per alterius excellentiam cessat. The angels are spiritual creatures. secundum conditionem suae naturae. Thus. the angels and man had a natural obscurity which constitutes the unseeing character of faith. There is one other sort of sin which follows upon the first: that of envy. a good thing. There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of spiritual goods. and knows the need for limit. nisi per hoc quod in tali affectu superioris regula non servatur.” It is that ontological hierarchy that must be considered. One could even see this in the person who is drinking beer. Now the envious person for this reason grieves about the good of another. of the one who acts. I think that the “non-consideration” of the rule or measure regarding a good thing is nnnbbb. et quod renitatur opposito.63.63. non subdi superiori in eo quo debet. which singularity is eliminated by the excellence of someone else. the affection. secundum quod eo deus contra voluntatem ipsius diaboli utitur in gloriam divinam.2. the first of angelic sins must be “not being subject to the superior in the way that is due. nisi inquantum affectavit excellentiam singularem. [But consequently envy can also be in them. and this is what is primary in faith.” A. Unde peccatum primum Angeli non potest esse aliud quam superbia. but fails to consider it.” And this is the definition of the sin of pride. The measure is absent in the choice. Et ideo post peccatum superbiae consecutum est in Angelo peccante malum invidiae. In comparison to the immensity of the divine light. Thus we read: 30 Sed consequenter potuit in eis esse etiam invidia. Now. Non autem bonum alterius poterat aestimari impedimentum boni affectati per Angelum malum. and the things that appeal to them must thus be spiritual goods. inquantum bonum alterius aestimat sui boni impedimentum. Rereading 1. 15[Can such non-consideration be inculpable? In humans. not an ignorance of what the measure is. inasmuch as he judges that the good of the other is an impediment to his own good. but in the angel it is perhaps one with the very act of the sin. They hear about beatitude but still “eye has not seen etc. We are speaking of sin as something involving the appetite. et etiam de excellentia divina. on the necessity that the nature of the first sin be one of superbia: In spiritualibus autem bonis non potest esse peccatum dum aliquis ad ea afficitur.5. And therefore after the sin of pride there followed in the sinning angel the evil of envy. Invidus autem ex hoc de bono alterius dolet. Et hoc est peccatum 20 superbiae. Page 7 4/16/2012 . o.p. yes.] 1. unless in the 25pursuit of such good “the rule of the superior is not maintained.7 divina peccatum esse non potest. secundum quod de bono hominis doluit.

is its own excellence. such as contempt for God. a 15goal known only through faith (not vision yet): this is needed to explain rejection. as the change from the first. based on lack of knowledge.8 inasmuch as he grieved concerning the good of the human being.63. whose act is contempt for God. per se ad superbiam pertinet. hatred of God. One might ask whether I am not offering a sort of excuse for sin. sive propter desiderium cuiuscumque alterius boni. is a genuine good. It is 25part of this that the thing they seek. 2-2. because it is essentially an aversion from God? Cf. This is needed as a sort of ingredient. We should try to envisage the greatness of the angel. cuius actus est dei contemptus. which is in the role of consequence in other sins. 5 Notice that the angel’s focus on its own goodness involves here the disrespect for the divine. It should be kept in mind how great a sin the sin of the angels is. quod est quasi consequens in aliis peccatis. It is the second act that we must try to envisage. 40Pride has aversion to God by the very fact that it does not want to be subject to God and his rule. This is hatred of God. We should also bring in the other dimensions of the act of pride. and also concerning the divine excellence. How does this tie in with the description of the act of pride as worst. namely the rule to accept it as a divine gift (I would say). It gets a full description. where we see the preference for the natural order over the supernatural order (re the lower opting in a way for the supreme angel as leader). 45Turning away from God and his precepts. as such. there is nothing wrong with the act. the divine will. Still.162. pertains essentially to pride. namely an appreciation of their own excellence.p. Don’t forget that the first act is good (and this would be like the “first act of freedom” doctrine. everything turns on the doctrine of pride.162. Thomas speaks of it as a choice of a good. Lawrence Dewan. quia in aliis peccatis homo a deo avertitur vel propter ignorantiam. It is the aversion from the incommutabile bonum (present in every mortal sin) that we must focus on. This in terms of God as author of beatific vision goal for angels.6 the “commutabile bonum” that is involved. if we think of the angel’s sin. What is the nature of this “leaving the rule out of consideration?” It is certainly a matter of free choice. We 35read: Sed ex parte aversionis. We should also point out how far from our knowledge the angel is. superbia habet maximam gravitatem. as impressing as it must be. And again we read: Et ideo averti a deo et eius praeceptis.162. Page 8 4/16/2012 . What we should ask ourselves is what the idea of the angelic act of sin is. vel propter infirmitatem. but a choice undertaken without consideration of the 20right rule. In 2-2. and it is their choosing it not according to the divine order.6 I have been tending to stress that the angel is in a realm of faith in respect to the beatific vision.8. sed superbia habet aversionem a deo ex hoc ipso quod non vult deo et eius regulae subiici. that they go wrong. in terms of 2-2. o. inasmuch as God uses human good against the will of the devil himself for the divine glory.6 and 30perhaps 1. I would say. 10blocking the merit of the first.

9 [Notice that the reasons why. – Better to stick with just what Thomas gives us. This relates to my point about being careful re angels and their faith.p. o. 10 Reading on pride in humans makes me think that we should treat the case of the angels as very special. once rationally faced. pride is easy to avoid. Page 9 4/16/2012 . [Notice also this: 5 Nam per hoc ipsum infidelitatis peccatum gravius redditur. are reasons given primarily for the human being. si ex superbiae contemptu procedat. quam si ex ignorantia vel infirmitate proveniat. Lawrence Dewan. Ignorance and infirmity are not grounds for their infidelity. However the reason taken from God’s greatness would apply to the angelic case as well.

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