- The abundance of biblical and extrabiblical evidence regarding demons and demon possession should leave no doubt of their existence.
1.1. Scripture refers to demons or demon possession more than 100 times as a supernatural phenomenon existing in – and experienced by, humans all over the world since its creation (e.g. Luk 8:26-30; Job 1:6-9 = Job is considered to be one of the earliest books in the Bible, the events therein taking place shortly after the flood [Job 22:16] possibly before Abraham based on how long Job lived [Job 42:10-17]. Satan’s intel and influence is however already global [“going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it” = Satan had already travelled the entire planet and was keenly aware of who and where its humans were – including Job]. Hence the reason God can ask the question [“Have you considered my servant Job?”] and receive such a provocative answer [“Does Job fear God for no reason?”]).
1.2. The evidence supporting not only the existence of the demonic realm, but also their activity was so well-known by the time of the apostle Paul that he viewed them and their actions as no mystery (2Co 2:11).
1.3. Dr. Oesterreich’s seminal work, Possession And Exorcism Among Primitive Races, In Antiquity, The Middle Ages And Modern Times is a vast repository of such evidence. Though himself not a Christian, the late Berlin professor (early 20th century) catalogues not only the reports of demons and their possession on practically every continent, in every country and across every known human culture, but also how these cases perfectly align with the biblical accounts – most especially those in relation to Jesus and the Gospels.
Commenting on this connection, Causeway Books editor, Charles Sans states,
“For good or ill, every one of us, whether a professing Christian or not, because we live in a civilization founded on Christianity, must come to terms with the indubitable fact, which cannot be gainsaid or interpreted away, that the Jesus of the Gospels is an Exorcist.”
It is worth mentioning that Oesterreich’s book was also the basis for William Blatty’s highly provocative novel and film, The Exorcist (1973).
1.4. Former ministers and missionaries have also bore witness to personal experience w/spiritual beings from another realm of existence – one inhabited by demons. The late American pastor and writer, Arthur Pink was a spiritist (19th century cult committed to communication w/the spirit realm) before his conversion and spoke extensively of his experiences during that time,
“Many were attracted to the occult simply by curiosity and then by a desire to investigate the proof it offered of the existence of the spirit world. Nearly every spiritist I have met, began being a blank unbeliever in its phenomena. Then when they see its phenomena is real, they accept the explanation given…The whole phenomenon cannot be accounted for on natural grounds. Many of the spirit-communicated messages were real, but they came not from the dead but from demons impersonating the departed.”
The biography of the late missionary G. Whitfield Guinness, records what he and others witnessed when attending a seance as students at Cambridge,
“For about twenty minutes nothing in particular happened. The table round which they were seated gave no response to the questions put to it and they were getting distinctly tired. [Then] the table began to move a little, round and round, then rolled right over and across the room. Aroused to interest, the group began to ply it with questions – two bangs on the floor meant ‘No’, and three, ‘Yes’. One asked whether his brother had passed an examination. The table gave the right answer. Another wanted to know the number of books on a bookshelf over which a curtain was hanging. The table said forty-nine, which proved to be exactly right. For almost an hour they went on showering questions, all of which were correctly answered. [Later] as a medical missionary in China, Guinness would have more abundant evidence of the [existence] of evil spirits.”
1.5. Recent discoveries and developments within the area of quantum physics and the existence of a 4th dimension has also caused the scientific community to begin seriously questioning their Enlightenment-based religion of Materialism (i.e. There is no existence outside the material universe/3rd dimensional realm). A good example of this would be Harvard trained physicist and professor of theoretical physics at City College in New York, Dr. Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku has written extensively about the 4th dimension as the place of heaven – or what religion refers to as the spiritual realm, since: 1) this is a realm whose inhabitants wb invisible to those in the 3rd dimension (think spirits) though existing in the same space (e.g. Dr. Kaku’s book, The Future Of Humanity; Also see Edwin’s Abbott’s fictional novel Flatland or Carl Sagan’s 4th dimensional explanation inspired by it- https://youtu.be/UnURElCzGc0), 2) things in this realm have the ability to pass through solid objects in the 3rd dimension (e.g. anti-electrons passing through lead; See also Joh 20:19, 26).
1.6. Modern Psychiatry/Psychology is also (begrudgingly) beginning to admit the existence of the demonic as the source of some people’s problems. Spearheading this current change in opinion, is another Ivy-League trained doctor, psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at both New York Medical College and Columbia University, Dr. Richard Gallagher. Gallagher is considered by many in his field, its first “Demon Inquisitor”. This because of the hundreds of cases where in his professional and medical opinion, demon possession was the most accurate diagnosis. He has even written a book, Demonic Foes, A Psychiatrist Investigates Demonic Possession In The Modern United States.
CNN’s recent op-ed on Gallagher states that,
“Fighting Satan’s minions wasn’t part of Gallagher’s career plan while he was studying medicine at Yale. He knew about biblical accounts of demonic possession but thought they were an ancient culture’s attempt to grapple with mental disorders like epilepsy. He proudly calls himself a ‘man of science.’ Yet today, Gallagher has become something else: the go-to guy for a sprawling network of exorcists in the United States. He says demonic possession is real. He’s seen the evidence: victims suddenly speaking perfect Latin; sacred objects flying off shelves; people displaying ‘hidden knowledge’ or secrets about people that they could not have possibly have known. ‘There was one woman who was like 90 pounds soaking wet. She threw a Lutheran deacon who was about 200 pounds across the room,’ he says. ‘That’s not psychiatry. That’s beyond psychiatry.’ Gallagher calls himself a ‘consultant’ on demonic possessions. For the past 25 years, he has helped clergy distinguish between mental illness and what he calls ‘the real thing.’ He estimates that he’s seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.”
As a fitting capstone quote to the previous two points, the “Father Of American Psychology” and famous Harvard professor, Dr. William James prophetically stated at the end of the 19th century,
“The refusal of modern ‘enlightenment’ to treat ‘possession’ as a hypothesis to be spoken of as even possible, in spite of the massive human tradition based on concrete experience in its favor, has always seemed to me a curious example of the power of fashion in things scientific [i.e. science is often skewed in the direction of what is popular/fashionable at the time versus what is actually true – e.g. evolution, global warming, Whole Foods]. That the demon theory will have its innings again is to my mind absolutely certain.”
(Who then are these malevolent spirits?)
- The Bible seems to indicate that demons are cherubs or military-grade angels, who because of their rebellion, forfeited not only their position as guardians of God’s throne, earthly kingdom and people, but also the privilege of possessing third-dimensional, material or physical bodies.
2.1. Cherubim are the name given to those angels associated w/warfare and the protection of God’s most precious possessions: His throne in Heaven, Zion (His kingdom on earth) and those inheriting salvation (Psa 18:1-10 w/2Sa 22:11, 80:1, 90:1; Consider also Exo 25:18-19, 26:31; Cherubs are also the sword-bearing guardians of Eden after the Fall – Gen 3:24; The archangel Michael is most likely a cherub given his activity of protecting God’s people – Jud 1:9; Dan 8:16 w/9:21-23 w/10:11-13, 21, 12:1; The “watchers” of Daniel’s prophecy are likewise cherubim given what this term implies [those “watching” or protecting God’s kingdom and people] – See the context of Dan 4:17; Satan and his angels/demons are described as going to war– something once more associated w/cherubim – Rev 12:7; Satan himself is identified as the supreme “guardian cherub” – Eze 28:14; In this light consider also Mat 18:10).
2.2. As a means to helping them accomplish their mission, it stands to reason that they may have also been furnished w/their own third-dimensional, material or physical bodies. At the very least, this seems to be the case w/Satan based on what else we are told about his time in the Garden of Eden (Eze 28:13-18) = Satan appears to possess a physical form until he is put to death/his physical form is destroyed because of his rebellion. If this is not the case, then what does God mean when He says, “I destroyed you, O guardian cherub”? or “I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you and I turned you to ashes on the earth”? Since spiritual beings are eternal, what else could it be referring to except a prior physical form he possessed – as described in verse 13. If Satan once possessed a third-dimensional/physical form as part of his guardian role/station, then it is only logical to conclude all cherubs at one time did as well. It is also logical – and biblical, to conclude that like Adam, Satan as the “anointed (or representative) guardian cherub”- and first of his kind (See Isa 14:12-14 – “O Day Star, son of Dawn” = Literally the beginning of something new – 2Pe 1:17-19; Rev 2:26-28, 22:16; Job 38:6-7), was (therefore) the federal head of his race whose fall into sin meant the death/forfeiture of physical bodies for the rest of his race (cherubim) – most especially those who followed him in his rebellion (i.e. the other angels/demons).
2.3. The record of the Fall in Genesis also presents a compelling case for cherubim at one time possessing third-dimensional, material or physical bodies (Gen 3:1-6, 13-15) = Scripture later identifies the “serpent” in this account w/Satan (Rev 12:9, 14-15, 20:2). Satan as the antagonist is also alluded to in the prophecy of verse 15 (“enmity between you and the woman” = Israel/people of God; “her offspring” = Christ/people of God; “your offspring” = The demons [Rev 12:4]; “he shall bruise the head” = Jesus’ fatal blow to Satan and his kingdom accomplished thru his earthly ministry [Luk 10:18; Heb 2:14]; “you shall bruise his heel” = Satan’s ability to hurt Christ but not defeat Him [Joh 13:27]). Notice however, that the “serpent” in Genesis 3 is a third-dimensional, material or physical creature that Adam and Eve can see (versus a 4th dimensional, spiritual creature invisible to them). He is a “beast of the field… that the Lord God had made” – v1). Notice also, that this serpent is referred to as “he” (v2) versus “it” – which implies personhood/sentience (versus being simply an animal which wb referred to as “it”). Lastly, notice that such sentience or rational capabilities are confirmed by the fact that this “serpent” is having a conversation w/the woman (even convincing her to sin!). This is further supported by the word that is used to describe the “serpent” in verse 1 (“crafty” = able to reason/discern, shrewd or wise – e.g. LXX Mat 7:24). It is only after the Fall (as punishment), that this rational creature becomes the snake we know today (“on your belly you shall go”; “livestock” driven by instinct, no longer possessing sentient/rational abilities). Such evidence makes a compelling case for the following: the “serpent” of Genesis 3 is (or was) the description of cherubim when they possessed third-dimensional, material or physical bodies. This may imply they resembled a humanoid form of a snake/dragon/lizard (Think Sleestak from Land Of The Lost, or the Gorn from Star Trek). Due however to Satan’s rebellion, such bodies were lost (i.e. the spirit of the angels in them were permanently separated from them; they “died” in re: to third dimension existence). God then took that physical form and created a “cursed” (or “crooked” – Isa 27:1) version (one crawling on its belly) as a perpetual reminder of what they had done. This seems to be the only logical conclusion given that: 1) outside of God performing a miracle (e.g. Balaam’s donkey), animals cannot be possessed for the purpose of communication, 2) the serpents created by God are (once more) sentient (something only possible if possessed by a spiritual being – i.e. it takes a spirit to have sentience. Hence the reason Scripture teaches that animals do not have spirits but simply souls/“life-force” [ruah versus nephesh]; Job 12:7-10). Finally, it sb mentioned that one of the Hebrew words for angel is the word “seraph”, which can also be translated as “serpent” (Deu 8:15 w/Isa 6:2; See also Luk 10:17-19).
CLOSING CONTEMPLATION = The loss of the cherubim’s third-dimensional, material or physical bodies is among the contributing factors to these malevolent spirits becoming “body-snatchers” (i.e. possessing the bodies of other sentient beings – humans).