It is always difficult to know where to get on the merry-go-round. In a holistic and consistent system of thought, every idea depends on other ideas and it is difficult to know which idea to present first. The whole thing becomes much more difficult when every idea has to stand on its own, being judged and evaluated independently of its supporting hypotheses and corollaries.
This problem of presenting a large set of ideas one tiny chunk at a time is why I abandoned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook as vehicles for sharing my ideas. “Say something interesting and true in 140 characters or less” is an exercise in frustration and futility for anyone who appreciates the subtle problems of complex thought. I honestly believe that in limiting social expression to such brief staccato bursts of noise without association or context, social media is causing the collapse of the human attention span and reducing our ability to understand or appreciate complex ideas. In such an environment, every idea becomes a slogan and deeper issues and nuances are lost. I would like to take this opportunity, therefore, to thank everyone reading this for caring enough about our world and the people in it to take some time to expose yourself to complex new ideas.
All of this to say that the idea below is somewhat difficult to understand independent of some other ideas which I have not yet presented in this forum. The basic idea is that in furtherance of a purpose which I have not yet discussed and using a methodology I have not yet discussed, God uses intelligent beings greater than human beings with access to what we would call “supernatural” powers to show us our need for his guidance, love and forgiveness. I am introducing this idea now because it is a precursor for the discussion on theistic evolution which I am working on which in turn is a precursor to my discussion of the evidence for cosmic mind which in turn is a part of my case for Christianity. It is also part of my Understanding the Old Testament series of posts.
A Rational Faith Section 7.11 God Working Through the Demonic
As we saw previously, part of God’s plan to hide his nature and grace from human beings who would abuse it was to give the care of human beings over to “Powers and Principalities” that love to do harm to those made in God’s image. In this way, God’s presence in our lives protects us from harm while God’s absence causes us damage. This is why God’s presence is associated with God’s blessing and God’s absence is associated with punishment throughout the scripture:
Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee. (Jeremiah 46:28)
Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deuteronomy 31:17)
In the Old Testament, there are a number of examples that show that evil comes about when demons are allowed to injure human beings. A striking example of this occurs when God allows a lying spirit to destroy Ahab the king of Israel:
And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (1 Kings 22:20-23)
A second example occurs when the Lord destroys the first born of Egypt. God has preserved these children from the evil intentions of fallen angelic beings since they were born. In order to establish the fear of the Lord that human beings require in order to learn wisdom, God removes that protection when Pharaoh refuses to release the children of Israel:
For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Exodus 12:23)
A third example occurs when the Lord is bringing judgment on the city of Jerusalem. God orders a faithful angel to mark the faithful in the city of Jerusalem on the forehead. God then orders six demons to destroy all of the unmarked in the city “without showing pity or compassion”. The demons are ordered to destroy “without showing pity or compassion” because otherwise the demons might spare their personal favorites and make the entire judgment pointless:
And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side;
And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity. (Ezekiel 9:3-5)
Even God’s blessing is some times described as God’s protection from angelic beings who long to injure and destroy human beings:
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:11)
When one thinks of the goodness of the holy angels, it is obvious that they would never injure a human being made in the image of God. Consider what the Bible says about the Archangel Michael’s words to the most evil being ever to live. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9) If Michael will not even pronounce a railing judgment upon Satan, who could imagine that he would destroy a human being made in God’s image? Would he not refrain from lifting his hand against one made in the image of God even as David was unwilling to lift his hand against Saul?
When we consider the totality of the Biblical record, therefore, it becomes clear that demonic beings hate those made in the image of God and long to injure and humiliate them. Just as an addict has no choice but to take any drugs offered to him, demonic beings cannot help themselves when God removes his protection from a human being. God uses these evil beings to show humanity the depraved condition toward which we are headed when we reject his love and forgiveness. He shows us the terrible consequences of our choices that we might turn and accept his gracious mercy.