This is the last of a three-part series concerning the Bible’s acceptance and teaching about demons, demoniacs and the devil. We have discussed some of the Bible’s ideas and other ideas about what demons are and their origin. We’ve also discussed the power and the ability of evil spiritual beings, the demons, to inhabit the human body. This is all very strange stuff! But if one supposes to be a follower of Christ, dealing with the remarkable volume of the New Testament and its recognition of demons, demoniac’s and the devil is a must.
Now, being a scientist, a molecular and cellular biologist at that, having spent a decade of my life dedicated to formal education in the field of sciences, I need to be realistic about my approach to studying the Bible and accepting those things that have been written down. This acceptance is not a blind faith. It actually comes from knowledge of how limited our sciences are in explaining many of the materialistic features of life, our planet, our solar system, our universe and the origin of all these things. In almost every instance, whatever particular science that I have studied, be it geology, oceanography, biology, astronomy and cosmology, I have found that modern science has made an unnecessary commitment to materialism. And in doing this, science has been forced to invoke mythological forces, unknown chemistry’s, created unseen and undetectable matter in order to explain phenomena in the limited commitment to materialism.
When I think of cosmology and the consensus view of the need for dark matter, dark energy and the inflaton particle, I realize that this is no stranger than the belief in unseen Angels and unknown demons. When I think of biological evolution I realize that we have completely failed to explain the origin of life and all of its diversity. What can be seen in the current world is truly of miraculous origin. Through sexual reproduction, completely intact and highly sophisticated genetic programs already exist that create variation and potentially give rise, through natural selection, to a radiation of adaptive forms within the limited parental stock of any particular type of animal, for instance the dog breed. And I do think that what we see in artificial breeding has occurred in nature. But the genetic variety within any one particular form of life we have repeatedly shown, has limits to that variation.
I am left to wonder how the blueprints for any life form have come about by materialistic means. In our biological textbooks, our scientific publications and in our science journalism we are committed to evolutionism. This is a philosophical and religious belief that life has originated from non-life. That we have the means and tools to determine the age the earth. And we have convinced ourselves that from some nonliving chemicals, found in some unknown conditions, the first living cell fell together. And from that cell all the necessary functions of life just happened to be fully intact, integrated and functional. From this beginning, millions of different life forms have arisen over hundreds of millions of years. This my friends, is only hypothetical and because we do know such how molecular collisions could have occured and how complex life is, evolution has become science mythology. My studies indicate that we are making it up as we go along solely for the purpose of denying a metaphysical reality, which time and time again is required to explain every material object in the entire universe; its existence, its structure, its function, its beauty.
So, the miracles we obviously invoke in science I find to be more difficult to believe than the existence of God. I believe in God not because I cannot explain the complexity of life and the universe but because I can understand the complexity of the universe and life. For this cause I know that intelligence is required in order to explain what can be known. Any other view is delusional.
The God who has revealed himself through the ages by a chosen people in a way that can only be described as incredibly empathetic to our spiritual and physical needs is the only God known to humanity that makes a claim on creation and demands on human responsibility. The very purpose of the Bible’s miracles, in every case, were to demonstrate that this God is the creator of all natural law, for only he has the power to violate those laws. By creating unnatural manifestations He proves his claim on us as Creator. The miracles that science invokes are deliberate attempts to exclude the possibility of the Christian metaphysical foundation. This prejudice should not exist in objective science.
And so I dare to examine the strange phenomenon of demons, demoniacs and the devil, realizing through my studies of the Bible that they played a role in a broken world that needed to be saved. Somehow Satan, the adversary of God, holds the position of prosecutor of mankind; he holds the power of death. God, by giving laws, showed Himself to be a just and righteous judge of all the earth. Violation of his laws meant judgment.
The penalty for transgression of law is death. Not just physical death but far more importantly, the extinction of the soul. God, being a just judge, never nullified his role as creator or His jurisdiction over his creatures. Judgment never overshadowed his love of the creation. Because God is just and responsible for His creation, he provided a necessary sacrifice, a death, both physical and spiritual, that satisfied once and for all time the demands of His law. The Bible shows the drama that unfolded in the days of Christ’s ministry and in the lives of the generation leading up to the destruction of the Temple of God. Today we will see that through Christ the devil was weakened, then cast out of the world and finally crushed out of existence. This is the story of redemption in the Christian saga.
With this background to my final installment concerning Satan, I want to note two New Testament Scriptures. The first is taken from the letter to the Hebrews chapter 2 verses 14 through 15 (Hebrews 2:14-15),”Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by fear of death.” The second passage is taken from 1 John chapter 3 verse 8, ”Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. ” These two scriptures along with many supporting passages coherently portray the purpose for the visitation of God in Christ to this planet. The reason Christ came was to destroy the devil and by doing so eliminate death. The Son of God was revealed to the Jew first and then, over the next 40 years, to the rest of the world to show that the devil, our prosecutor and accuser, was loosing ground. He was to be cast out of the world. But let me further show these things through an examination of New Testament Scriptures.
We have looked at Old Testament scriptures that point to the power of God to use His Messiah to “take away sin in a single day”; Zechariah 3:8-10, “8 “‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.” The Branch is a reference to the son of Jesse, son of David, King of the Jews, now known as Jesus the Christ. From him, God (the divine number seven) would absolutely (imprinted on an immovable rock), fully see to it (eyes) that sin would be removed in a single day (the day Christ died on the cross). This verse is important as it relates to the plan of God to provide an avenue of escape from the guilt of sin. Remember, sin came into the world through Satan’s temptation of the first man, and death came into the world through sin. By removing the guilt of sin, Satan’s legal accusations against sinners is dismissed. His power to accuse and his power over death are returned to Christ alone.
Zechariah is a book filled with messianic prophecy. In a later chapter the prophet sees that on the day that sin was removed, a fountain would be opened to cleanse the people of sin (Zechariah 13:1). On that day the beginning of the end for both the prophets of God and the unclean spirit had begun. (Zechariah 13: 2). It is found in the NT by the words of Jesus (Yeshua) as he prepared for his arrest and crucifixion, “27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:27-36). We find from the NT that within 40 years (one generation) of Christ’s atonement for sin that the NT had been completely written and that prophets and prophecies ended, forgiveness of sins had been preached to the whole world and Satan and demonic possession ceased their activities on earth. None of this would have been possible if not for what happened on “that day”.
During his earthly life Jesus repeatedly pointed to the effects of human activities on the spiritual world. Satan is at the center of Jesus’ earthly appearance. When he sent his early followers out to heal disease, raise the dead and cast out demons as they preached the good news of the kingdom of heaven – we read, “17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”” Luke 10:17-20. Whether Satan’s fall from heaven was metaphor or hyperbole is not so much the point. His position in the heavenly realm had come to an end.
When accused of using the power of the devil to cast out demons Jesus replied, “26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:26-30.