The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Demons - real or not?


These come to mind as relevant:

  • Mat. 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

  • Rev. 12:7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,


The verb in question literally means “moonstruck” and hence refers to “madness” and hence mental illness. Its noun cognate is “selene,” which means “moon.” The Latin equivalent “luna” (“moon”) is the source of the English word “lunatic.” Early Christians sometimes viewed epileptics as “madmen” and so applied the term to them, but the verb has the indicated broader meaning.


Who did Jesus call “serpents”?… Perhaps this above was a derogatory warning against the ruling high priest and his underlings, i.e., messengers aka angels.


Yes, I’m aware of the idea the devil is one among bad angels; just wasn’t sure if 1st century folk thought someone full of “demons” was the same as believing they were full of angels. Maybe I should be more dogmatic, but even my paltry experience with angels leaves me with little certitude how to even define one of those. I find they appear at the periphery of salvation history, and are not central to my faith in the One in whom we live and move.


Hmm yes, excellent point Bob… there’s a lot in that.


I cam across this interesting article today:

As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession.


But keep in mind that the Bible nowhere applies the term “angel” to Satan. Satan is depicted as in charge of “angels,” but never as an angel. That identification is an inference. I know from my family’s experience with possession and the evil paranormal that evil entities are very real. I simply keep an open mind about what these evil entities actually are.


As I said, Prof. Grubb had just published an academic article with a new argument for atheism

Lets see this article.


Some of us do not believe in ‘Satan’ as an entity. If we start to look inward to ourselves, we will maybe see a real Devil. :open_mouth:


I see no reason not to believe that scripture speaks of literal demons. I cannot say I’m too bothered about it either way, although I do think the argument that demons were essentially just a fill-gap explanation for unknown phenomena that “we modern people” can now explain is frequently a snobbish one and without real justification. Indeed while it’s not a proof or argument for the existence of demons (or angels), I can’t help wondering why there are people so willing to accept the existence of God yet so reluctant to believe that there may be angels. To me, if God exists then, in a way, all bets are off; to believe in the existence of disembodied spirits is hardly a massive leap.


If you do a extended search or view as to angels, you may well see that ‘angels’ are messengers. Pure and simple.


My perception is that there have been advances on first-century writers’ prevalent assumption that most physical and psychological maladies were just caused by non-material entities that needed to be confronted, and that there IS some real evidence that justifies modern assumptions that material diseases and deterioration explains most maladies. Indeed, when I face some of the N.T. symptoms commonly attributed to possession, I am far more likely to have a physical workup (or seek good counsel) than to find an exorcist.


(1) One cannot argue that Jesus was the product of His time in imagining He could exorcize demons. On the contrary, there are no examples of exorcisms of demons in the Ancient Near East prior to Jesus. His exorcisms are novel and that is precisely t he reason why He believes His exorcisms signify the arrival and presence of God’s kingdom.

(2) Jesus certainly believed in Satan and the reality of demons. To reject the reality of demons is to reject the heart of Jesus’ teaching because Jesus taught that His exorcisms of demons demonstrate the arrival of God’s kingdom.

(3) Christians who reject the reality of demons just need to get out more! In my family and churches, possession is sometimes verified by spectacular paranormal phenomena (e. g. psychokinesis, supernatural lights in a closet, possessed toddlers (age 3) whose eyes rolled up until only the whites were visible during possession, supernatural disclosure of the name and location of the person in need of exorcism, etc.

(4) When I was a Theology professor at a Catholic university, the professor whose office was next to mine was a professional exorcist. I had to be careful when I asked him what he had done the prior weekend because I was sometimes in store for a horror movie tale: e. g. a victim who started fires in their home purely by mental power during moodswings, a victim whose mind triggered “water bombing” from the ceiling during moodswings., etc. This professor was a personal friend of Father Bowdern, the Catholic exoricist who performed the exorcism that inspired the horror movie “The Exorcist.” Much of the paranormal activity in that movie was based on fact!


Yes exactly & John said “God is spirit” so why wouldn’t angels be spirit meaning non-physical and fallen angels are referred to in scripture which would seem to be demons. Also angels “angelos” are messengers from God traveling through time and space so they may have to be “spirit.” Obviously many maladies and natural events have been explained by science but this is neither here nor there. We understand more things but not everything.


I just roll my eyes when I read crazy old berserk’s latest ghost tale.


To quote Jason Pratt regarding the preferred tone of this forum:

Fair-togetherness does not necessarily mean agreement among us as to all beliefs. People can be opponents and still be acting in fair-togetherness toward and with one another. But only so far as people are actively being fair toward their opponents.


Hermano, I’m just talking to berserk in the tone he has talked to me and others.


By way of personal testimony, I became a Christian not too long after I concluded the devil was real.

At university, I came in contact with bright people involved in the occult, e.g., a roommate studying architecture who was into tarot and astrology; another roommate’s girlfriend with a master’s in microbiology who read auras; a girl interested in me who was finishing her doctorate in chemistry and was a practicing witch.

Then, bad things started happening to me which were extraordinary; and I, as an agnostic, finally concluded them to be demonic and devilish. I ended up dropping out of school and moving to Europe, to visit my parents. But my troubles followed me.

The only people I had ever heard discuss the devil as a real person were those exhausting, Bible-believing Christians, with their impossible standards and ideas. Nevertheless, increasing suffering, oppression, and fear overcame my intellectual rejection of Christianity, and I cried out alone in the night to God, “If you are real, save me! If you are real, I give you my life…if you will take it.”

My first months as a Christian were beautiful and horrendous. I experienced supernatural things, saw terrible things, and was delivered of very dark things. It was like an explosion. It was like a war around me. While still in Europe, I was led by my Christian friends into water baptism by immersion, Holy Spirit baptism with tongues, and intense Bible study.

Sadly, religion also began to pour in, gradually supplanting my personal relationship with the Lord. Over the years, I got weighed down with self-centered legalism and intellectualism, at the expense of Jesus-centered life through the Spirit. But by God’s grace, I am getting back on track.

I have never again seen all the supernatural craziness that I saw in those first months as a new Christian, right after Jesus came into my life. But I see my own experience as perhaps representative of the Church at large.

When Jesus, The Light, began his public ministry, there was a war, an explosion. Nevertheless, at a time when demons were being exposed and cast out (even by Judas Iscariot), the Sadducees (like some in this forum) apparently maintained that there simply were no demons.

Luke 20:27
There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,

Acts 23:8
For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.

At the risk of sounding patronizing, I encourage all of us to be hungry and childlike before God: seeking the Baptism in the Spirit with speaking in tongues, the gift of the discerning of spirits, and especially pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly, because,

2 Thes. 2:9-10
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

2 Peter 3:3-4
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”


@hermano I don’t have a superstitious faith.


Notice how glibly qaz creates a deafening silence about his rejection of Jesus’ exorcism-based justification for His claim to usher in the kingdom of God.

And Hermano, like you, my awareness of supernatural evil helped me through great times of doubt during my exposure to advanced critical biblical scholarship.