CHAPTER 11 - Demons, A Greek Gift To Christianity

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DEMON/DAIMON/DAEMON

We have already spoken briefly of the use of the word “demon.” The word “demon” was at one time a word that referenced to malevolent and benevolent spirit beings. It was believed that this word referred to a supernatural variety of spirit beings that had the ability to act in kindness on the physical human world and to affect the individual human mind.  Demons were also thought to affect nature in ways such as causing rain to fall on crops that needed moisture or causing herds and flocks to thrive. The malevolence of these beings was understood as a negative force that was exerted on any or all of the areas where a “good” or benevolent demon could exercise their powers.

Most people are not aware that demons were not always thought to be only evil. In the ancient world there were two forms of demons. They were know as eudemonsand kakodemons; meaning good and evil respectively. History is well documented to show how demons were not believed to be exclusively evil, as is thought today. One writer (quoted below) describes the concept of demons as was common in the Greek period. As you read the information below take note of the second last sentence that indicates it was thought that a person was in a good state if they had a demon. This idea was prolific in the very nations that had the greatest effect on Judaism and Christianity.

The Greek translation of the Septuagint, made for the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria, and the usage of daimon in the New Testament's original Greek text, caused the Greek word to be applied to a Judeo-Christian spirit by the early 2nd century AD. Then in late antiquity, pagan conceptions and exorcisms, part of the cultural atmosphere, became Christian beliefs and exorcism rituals. The transposition has recently been documented in detail, in North Africa, by Maureen Tilley.

For Greeks and Romans, daemons ("replete with knowledge,” "divine power,” "fate" or "god") were not necessarily evil. Socrates claimed to have a daimonion, a small daemon that warned him against mistakes but never told him what to do or coerced him into following it. He claimed that his daimon exhibited greater accuracy than any of the forms of divination practised at the time. The Hellenistic Greeks divided daemons into good and evil categories: eudaemons (also called kalodaemons) and kakodaemons, respectively. Eudaemons resembled the Abrahamic idea of the guardian angel; they watched over mortals to help keep them out of trouble. (Thus eudaemonia, originally the state of having a eudaemon, came to mean "well-being" or "happiness.”) A comparable Roman genius accompanied a person or protected and haunted a place (genius loci).[67]

The daemon, which is often spelled daimon in the Septuagint, came to be the “demon” of postexilic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Demons were beings of either good or bad influence. As Platonic thought came to receive more and more acceptance, the idea of anything bad coming from God became more and more unacceptable. The demon came to be known as the harbinger of evil and eventually all attributes of good were removed from the concept of demons early in the Common Era. Seeing the mindset that came through in the inter-testamental writings makes it easy to see how the idea of demons and a “Satan” was to be passed along to Christianity and then enhanced by the Hellenized and Greek theologians of a state religion in the first century.

Was Satan Revealed By Progressive Revelation?

Some claim that the teaching and concept of demons came about in the “New Testament” because of what they call, “progressive revelation.” This claim is made in an attempt to neutralize the clear biblical and history of the meaning of the terms. Quite clearly, the history and meaning reveal demonology was a post-biblical fabrication. Progressive revelation is not a sound method to introduce brand new doctrines that are not found in or proven by the Hebrew Scriptures. Some seem to think that through progressive revelation, God reveals information that has not been available in the realm of humanity before this time. This is thought of as a dispensation for a specific time when humanity is prepared to receive it. The thinking is that Yahweh gives unique secrets to certain people and they then are to share this information with the unenlightened in order to convince them of God’s revealed plan. Overall, the predominant theory behind “progressive revelation” is one that has been found in Gnosticism for thousands of years.

When considering that concept a more balanced description of progressive revelation may be entertained. Perhaps one might see it is a valuable tool used to bring a more clear understanding of an already established or prophesied event or concept. Revealing what might have been meant by an older statement in the Scriptures that was difficult to understand when it was spoken. Perhaps progressive revelation is the correct term for the Hebrew people being told they would go into captivity by Yahweh’s prophet, then, hundreds of years later they did end up in captivity. The captivity was a fulfillment of prophecy. Perhaps that is progressive revelation. It is only at the point the people realize they are in captivity that the historical statement of their eventual captivity makes sense. Progressively revealed! This would be similar to the Hebrew people being told the Messiah will visit them, and then in the first century AD, Yeshua did appear. Now the historical promise makes sense only when the factor of progressive revelation comes into play. Nevertheless, one thing “progressive revelation” is not, is that it is not reliable to reveal a concept that does not exist in the Hebrew Scriptures. As the word “revelation” has the meaning of “unveiling” it is possible that a message of importance that has been somewhat obscured to the human intellect for a time, is “unveiled” in order to allow the human intellect to understand and apply it to life. Puzzle pieces that were previously unrecognized do not magically appear from God; they simply come into view and are considered. The doctrine of Satan cannot be found in the Hebrew Scriptures so then it cannot be unveiled in the Apostolic Writings. God does not introduce any new doctrines through the writings of the Apostles. And if it appears He has introduced something new, such as the involvement of a demonic force in humanity, then we are misunderstanding the New Testament writings.

If someone claims to have a doctrine that is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures, then they are fabricating a doctrine on a false basis. If the doctrine is not found when the Hebrew Scriptures are looked at critically to determine if the progressing concept actually appears, then someone has contrived a man-made doctrine. To say this more simply, one could say; the Hebrew Scriptures are good for doctrine and the New Testament, the Apocalyptic literature, the Apocrypha, the Talmud, or any historical literature, are not good for doctrine. Paul tells this to Timothy and in so doing, the maxim is implied by Paul’s statement that all Scripture, meaning the Old Testament, is good for doctrine. That maxim is; the Hebrew Scriptures are for doctrine and are the only Holy documents used by Paul for teaching and preaching. Even Paul showed the doubters that Yeshua was the Messiah from the Scriptures. This is mentioned in one of Luke’s memoirs called the book of Acts

Acts 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and he did so publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

The Scriptures must contain everything; that is every doctrine, which is spoken of in the Gospels and Letters. The implication by Paul that doctrine does not come from the Gospels and Letters is strong. Paul’s stand is simple He teaches it is every concept that can be found taught in the “Old Testament,” which fully prepares a man of God. That is why Paul was able to show from the “Scriptures” that Yeshua was the Messiah. Paul was a man who was “fully prepared,” that is thoroughly furnished, because of his intimacy with and understanding of the “Old Testament.” In 2nd Timothy Paul clearly states the Old Testament is the document to be used by a man of God.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2Timothy 3:16-17 KJV

Those who state it is possible for brand new doctrine to be revealed as a result of reading the “New Testament” have then suggested Paul is a liar. Perhaps they suggest Paul is a liar in their ignorance and are simply misunderstanding the construction of the Gospels and Letters. There are a growing number of scholars who so ashamedly misunderstand Paul because of their disconnection to Hebraic manners, customs, and thinking that they decry Paul, considering him to be one who spoke against the Messiah on certain issues. All the while, these same scholars fail to reconcile every word of the apostolic testimony with the words of the Scriptures. Or perhaps those who believe they have been given a brand new doctrine or that new doctrine was given in the New Testament are simply receiving revelation from their own mind. Undoubtedly a reservoir that is full of false ideas handed down by lying church fathers and other pseudo-messianic leaders and teachers. The prophet Jeremiah spoke about the people of God being victimized in a sense because of the lies that were handed down to their “fathers.”

O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
Jeremiah 16:19 KJV

This is often the case for the one who teaches a doctrine such as the existence of “Satan” and “demons” and then profess it as progressive revelation, revealed in the “New Testament.” After all, as was thoroughly displayed in Satan Christianity’s Other God Volume 1, a supernatural Satan cannot be found in the Old Testament. The existence of evil has been explained via numerous inventive descriptions and definitions. These definitions are far from original concepts because they have come about through an unbroken chain of mystic and pagan philosophies. Many thoughts and ideas have flowed from the tributary system of pagan nations into the collection pond of Judaism and Christianity. Although the acceptance of the cosmic dualistic theology has not been passed down with the specific intent to deceive the masses, the acceptance of a false dualistic philosophy has occurred. Regardless of the intent the deception flourishes in Christianity and in culture. It is probable that due to a lack in maintaining purity in the Faith of Israel as was asked of the Children of God by their God, the doorway to self-deception was opened. Just as Adam and Eve opened the doorway to self–deception in the beginning when they decided to alter the word and command of the Creator, so too has Christianity and Judaism been filled with deceptive teachings because they have changed the word of the Almighty. Once the doorway is open, it seems that other false thoughts and ideas are able to take on life. The life that deception takes on in man is as if spores had settled on the proverbial flower garden of the mind and grew into an unsightly fungus. The flower is still present but as the spores multiply, the “flower” becomes less and less recognizable as what it was intended to be.

In The History of Magic, Ennemoser makes note of the divergent philosophies that came to thrive in Christianity as a result of state run religions amalgamating heathen gods to unify the masses and thus giving the appearance that the pagan gods were disappearing, when they in fact were only being incorporated into fewer “gods.”

All the different descriptions of the existence and influence of evil spirits, as they have come down to us, have been modified by Christianity. The devil is altogether Jewish, Christian, heathen, idolatrous and spectral. As the heathen gods disappeared Christianity stooped to dualism, and the gnostic philosophy endeavoured to establish the universal principal of good and evil.[68]

All the influences and input from sources as far back as the Egyptian and Persian encounters had made their inroads into the Christian religion. The Christian religion, although today believed to be a religion that in some ways depicts the theology of the Messiah Yeshua, is a woeful representation of what the Biblical Faith in the God of the Bible is supposed to encompass.

The Roman system of governance became the Universal Church, which means Catholic. Roman and Greek philosophies of faith were almost identical and as the Romans led the world, including Jerusalem, their religion flowed into all aspects of mainstream society. Much of the syncretism of the Christian faith was further cemented by the Greek thinking Romans. Rome would never have admitted they thought like Greeks as far as religion and philosophy were concerned, but historical records clearly show although Rome was the captor of the Greeks, Rome was seduced by the ways of the captive and became very much like Greece in thought and philosophy. As the Roman writer Horace observed; “Captive Greece captivated her conqueror.”

False ideas were fed to the masses and propagation of half-truths, if there exists such an animal, and ideas adopted from pagan cultures fuelled the development of a Christianity polarized from the Hebraic origin and style it was intended to be. The evolution of Christianity included cosmic demonology, which was a tapestry of falsities that worked its way through a handful of centuries where the concept was completed by Christianity. The distinguished physician who held the chair at the University of Bonn, Germany in 1819 and was an esteemed lecturer on pathology and medico-philosophical subjects can be heard again on the subject as it pertains to the “Christian” attitude which brought a winding, unbiblical, pagan philosophy to a stage of completeness within the faith of the Christians; Joseph Ennemoser writes;

We will now see how the belief in spirits and in sorcery gradually shaped and completed itself in Christianity, till it finally issued in superstition and unbelief in the witch-period of the Middle ages.

In the early period of Christianity, men made little difference between the natural and the supernatural. Everything extraordinary was to them magical, or everything miraculous was a demoniac or theistic event. The laws of nature were not understood, and almost everything unusual, therefore, belonged to the sphere of miracle, which everyone explained according to his own ideas. The chief opposition of the heathen, however, originates in the fact that the Christians represented the heathen gods altogether as evil spirits, who occasioned trouble and crime, and indeed, asserted that the devil, enraged that his kingdom was overthrown by Christ, endeavoured to revenge himself by stirring up all the demon hosts and all the heathendom in hostility to it. See Munschers History of Dogmas; Meyer’s Historia diaboli, seu comment.  De diaboli malorumque spirituum existential,” etc. Tubingen 1780.[69]

Beliefs About Satan and What He Can Do

Some of the beliefs in the first century and beyond that were propagated about demons were beliefs such as:

  • Demons are the founders of idolatry and because of their pride allow themselves to be worshipped as gods.
  • Miracles proceed from devils for the authentication of idolatry
  • Oracles of newly styled poetic language and structure, originates from them and is done with the intention to mock men.
  • The magical arts are maintained by them.
  • They work to do harm and injury to men in every possible way.
  • They are responsible for public calamities, diseases, failure of crops, famines, poverties, and all manner of disastrous accidents.
  • They are inexorably inducing humans to sin and unbelief.
  • They are so well organized that they can act on the body and the soul
  • They hate the Christians the most because “Christians” refuse to flatter their pride.
  • A demon or legion of demons was appointed to each soul at birth.

The above brief list was gleaned from concepts that were espoused by early Christian Giants in the Universal church. These ideas became commonplace in the culture that grew up under Roman rule and embraced the Roman religion. Tatian, Tertullian, Justin, and Clement of Alexandria, all convincingly delivered their ideas, which were taken from Greek concepts and then expanded on. Shrouding their teachings in the piety, which comes with knowing much Scripture, they were able to adequately comfort themselves and the masses by propagating descriptions and mystic ideas that did not come from the earliest Apostles or from the Holy Scriptures.

Hebrew Scripture Is Interpreted By Greek Philosophers

These men, known as the Early Church Fathers, seduced multitudes by their intellect and influence. They were so revered as having authority that they decided to extract meanings from the Gospels and Letters that were not the original intent of the first Apostles. The fact that they had long since been divorced from understanding the Faith of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from an ancient Hebrew perspective is undisputable. This separation from Hebraic thought gave room for them to re-interpret most of the writings that were said to be handed down from the apostles. Not to mention the manipulation of the interpretation of much of the Hebrew Scriptures, this manipulation was done in the name of Rome by Hellenized theologians. Rome was a religious governing body, believed to have ecclesiastical authority. The belief in the authority of Rome was not because of a prophecy exalting Rome to such a lofty position with unchallenged authority. No such statement from God existed. Scripture had not been written so as to give Rome the authority of God to be able to alter Scripture or make decisions as to how Scripture should be interpreted and applied. The only authority Rome received was the authority she gave herself.

Brilliant Non-Hebraic Leaders Complicated The Common Demonology

The concept of daimons, which represented a pagan idea of good and bad spirits, was adopted by Rome. Alternatively, perhaps it is better said that it flowed into Roman thought after the Grecians were defeated and revised Greek demonology was developed by the great thinkers of early Roman-Christian rule. The fact that there is no other god beside Yahweh strongly indicates “daimons” had no actual force or physical attributes. This fact was clouded by the belief in some other force. As an idea though, the belief in “daimons” took flight and was not kept to a small esoteric idea of a few. Due to the deep desire to cast “God” as only good and to find another force that could be cast as the originator of evil, the pagan belief in “demons” continued to migrate virtually unabated, deep into the thinking of those present in the first century. The Apocalyptics and the Hellenized Jews, who carried the authority as a result of them being the intellectual segment of society, were appointed positions of influence by the Greek government.

As the Empire switched to the hands of the Roman government, the “leaders’” influence was proven. The religious leaders were so convinced themselves of the demonological origins of evil and wickedness that they continued to turn a misunderstood idea of “bad” into a cleverly written anthology of fiction. The fictitious story of who caused evil was accepted as fact in a very broad way. The idea of demons, as the unseen spirit bad guys, was all but unrecognizable as once being the pagan philosophy that touted daimons were both good and bad.

Today in the English language, we have the word “demons” from the ancient word daimon, which became daemon in Latin. The two vowels of daemon, “ae” are a diphthong. A diphthong is simply two vowels together but producing only the one vowel sound. As the diphthong “ae” was dropped, we were left with the single vowel “e” in the word and today whether one writes, daimons, daemons, or demons, the word means the same things. No matter what religion constructs demons to be, in reality, according to the early use of the concept, a daimon was simply a good or bad experience. On a website dedicated to explaining the etymology of words, we are told of the beginnings of the words demon and daemon.

Demon and daemon were once used interchangeably. The former came to English from medieval Latin, while the latter was from classical Latin. The earliest use appears to have been in the phrase daemon of Socrates, which was his "attendant, ministering, or indwelling spirit; genius.” That was in the late 14th century. It was a short time later that the term demon came to refer to "an evil spirit" by influence of its usage in various versions of the Bible. The Greek form was used to translate Hebrew words for "lords, idols" and "hairy ones (satyrs).” Wycliffe translated it from Greek to English, fiend or devil. This is how the evil connotation arose. By the late 16th century, the general supernatural meaning was being distinguished with the spelling daemon, while the evil meaning remained with demon. Today daemon can mean "a supernatural being of a nature intermediate between that of gods and men" or "a guiding spirit.”[70]

Can A Demon Give You A Blessing?

If a Greek citizen of the early BC era had something good happen, they would believe a eudaimon caused it. Perhaps it was as simple as being given a beautiful piece of fabric to make an article of clothing. In a case such as that, it was thought a good demon was responsible for it. Today we can see such an occurrence as just a pleasant blessing that came with being alive and existing in God’s world.

Conversely, if a person burned himself or herself on a hot stone stove, they would attribute the negative experience to a kakodaimon, which is a bad demon. The daimon was not so much seen as a tangible entity, but as an incident that happened to someone. As far as the Greeks considered it, it was not expressly a “being” trying to oppose “God” and trying to harm man. A demon could be an entity that brought good for a person too. Even amid the highly syncretistic religion of Judaism and the intense power of assimilation, which I suppose should itself be called a demon, many true Hebraic thinkers were able to use the terms borrowed from the Greco-Roman culture and apply the metaphorical sense to them. Understanding the term metaphorically as was taught by the many philosophers, the Hebraic thinker connected the word “demon” to a person’s behaviour or attributes, not to an autonomous creature bent on destruction. For instance; when of the Messiah it is said, “He has a devil!” the speaker, in all probability does not mean the man is inhabited by a supernatural spirit being, but is likely meaning the man is speaking lies and deceit, or is believed to be crazy. In subsequent volumes we will discuss the personification and metaphorical uses of the words devil, demons, and satan, which are found in the “New Testament.” For the moment, it is imperative that we recognize the discernable differences between those people who maintained a Greek concept of devils and daimons (demons) and those with the Hebrew understanding of devils and daimons (demons).

Although correctly perceived by many as a descriptive phrase identifying a behaviour or an attribute of a person, often when a Greek thinker spoke of someone as “having a demon or devil” they believed the person to actually have a spiritual entity within or about them. They quite possibly accepted the mystical concept of the term. When a Hebrew thinker spoke or heard of someone having a demon or a devil, he or she recognized the statement was to be heard as a metaphor. If the reference to a person having a devil were connected to a physical or mental malady, the Hebraic hearer would understand the speaker was enlisting the method of personification that was common to the day.  This next point is important for us to understand. The hearer then understood that the malady, be it physical or spiritual, was being referred to as a “devil.” The meaning contained therein was that whatever illness had befallen a subject was an unwanted illness and was that which went against soundness of mind and/or soundness of body. For the Hebrews who were attempting to stay true to the faith of Israel as was handed down to Moses, they did not reject the cultural use of terminology borrowed from a Greek system. Rather they endeavoured to understand and use it in accord with a monotheistic faith that did not teach the existence of any other “God-like” being. They therefore, managed to make use of the language of the Greco-Roman culture but limit the meaning of it in their use and thought, to mean what it truly meant based on their understanding of the spiritual world. To the Hebraic thinker the spiritual world consisted of the Creator and only His agents.

When I Say Demon Does It Always Mean Demon?

Is it possible for two people groups to use a word in two different ways but still live in the same culture? Could the Greeks and Romans have understood the term “demon” to mean an evil spirit with a discernable personality while the Hebrews for the most part understood “demon” to refer metaphorically to a behaviour or attribute of a person? I think so. An example might be seen in using the word “God.” When a Christian sits down with a Muslim, they may begin a conversation about their respective faiths. Both are descended from Abraham, both believe they are practicing a true and correct expression of faith in God. As they dialogue, both the Christian and the Muslim are using the word “God” in their discussions. But are they both meaning the same thing? Generally speaking, the Christian is referring to the creator of the Universe who sent His son “Jesus” to die for the sins of the world. Their God is called Yahweh in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Christian believes that admission of this act of benevolence by “God” and subsequent submission to God by attending a Bible believing church on Sunday, along with keeping the Christmas and Easter festivals, is part of serving “God.”

Meanwhile in the same conversation, the Muslim uses the word God to refer to Allah. To the Muslim, this Allah was the one who sent and inspired the prophet Mohammed in the 7th Century CE. The prophet Mohammed is believed by Muslims to be the last prophet of God. As the Muslim individual uses the word “God,” he or she is recognizing it to be referring to a Creator who asks them to follow the teaching of the prophet Mohammed and to pray five times a day at the prescribed times, in the prescribed manner, with the prescribed words. The “God” which the Muslim has in mind when he speaks of his faith is one who asks that Thursday at sundown to Friday at sundown be set aside as the Muslim “Holy Day.” In our example both of the parties are using the same word and both have diametrically opposed views. The use of the word “God” by a Muslim means something different from the meaning and character of that contained in the Christian use of the word “God.”… Same word, different understanding. It is clear we can have two different cultures co-existing, using the same word, yet both meaning drastically different things. Therefore, yes, it is possible to use a word in any culture and have it hold unique connotation for separate groups or individuals

The connotation a word holds is typically based on the following factors. It is based on what the user has been taught to believe the word means; and on what the user has decided for him or her self what the word means. The factors are often amplified when a user of a term decides to investigate the original meaning and intention of the word or term, and then try to apply it more correctly in a culture that has already fixed solidly its application of the word.

To many Christians the word “God” is believed to be the name of the Creator. For many, that then means to say “God-damnit” is considered to use “the Lord’s name in vain.” If saying “God-damnit” is in fact taking the Creator’s name in vain, then it should be easy to determine that the Creator’s name is in fact “God.” Well, putting it as simply as I can, the name of the Creator is not “God.” If we believe the Scriptures, which are said to be “God’s Words,” then we are taught that the Creator gave His name to Moses at the burning bush. At that time and as it is written in the Hebrew through the entire Scripture, His name is Yahweh. I won’t try to tell you that you have to say “Yode Hay Vav Hay” every time you say the name of the Creator, you may want to try Yehovah, or Yahweh, as I spoke of in Volume One of Satan Christianity’s Other God. However, the word “God” is definitely not the name of the Creator. “God” is a title more than anything, and is a long way from being classified as the English counterpart for the Hebrew name of Yahweh. Yahweh is God. In short, “God” is not the name of the Creator Yahweh who is found in the Scriptures and “God” is not the name of the Muslim God “Allah.”

I will say though, the Christian who is engaged in dialogue with the Muslim, may be comfortable with the Muslim using the word “God” while discussing faith, but dare I say that when the word “Allah” is used, a good many Christian folk already believe that the false God of the Muslim is actually a demon who has deceived them? Still today, many adhere to the Neo-Platonic concept that teaches that a heathen nation’s Gods are the demons of their nation. It may be that Allah is nothing according to the Scriptures, and therefore, like all “demons” and “devils,” Allah is completely impotent and non-existent.

The origin of “demons” has somewhat of a mysterious trail and is difficult to concretely determine the precise etymology in every culture the term has been used in. Below I provide excerpts (rather lengthy) from an article that sheds some more light on the development of the word demon.

The New Testament's Demons/Daemones/Daimones (The Pre-Christian Origins of)

Hornblower on Daimones:

"daimon. Etymologically the term daimon means 'divider' or 'alloter'; from Homer onwards it is used mainly in the sense of operator of more or less unexpected, and intrusive, events in human life. In Homer and other early authors, gods, even Olympians, could be referred to as daimones...
… A lucky, fortunate person was eudaimon (with a good daimon), an unlucky one was kakodaimon (with a bad daimon, from the 5th century BCE).

Plato used all the earlier meanings of the term and introduced a new one...he describes guardian-daimones who accompany man during his life and after his death function as prosecutor or advocate...Completely new is Plato's concept of daimones as beings intermediate between god and men. This notion was adopted by all subsequent demonologies. A pupil of Plato, Xenocrates, argued for the existence of good and evil daimones…

…. They[demons] now acquired the status of (good) daimones (see angels). All three solutions were gratefully adopted by Christian theologians: the angels from their biblical heritage took over the positive functions of good and beneficent intermediaries; all daimones, now revealing the true nature of the pagan gods, were interpreted as both the embodiment and the cause of evil and sin against the will of God."[71]

Ferguson on Demons/Daimones:

"The word daimon ('demon") underwent important changes in meaning. In general, it referred to a power that accompanies persons and dispenses destiny. In Homer it is used of impersonal power or of the gods collectively and indefinitely ("the divine") as the dispenser of individual events. Hesiod classified rational beings as gods, demons, heroes, and people; by demons, he meant men of the golden age translated to blissful immortal life. His classification prepared the way for demons to be considered lesser divinities (cf. Acts 17:18) or heavenly intermediaries between the gods and human beings. Socrates referred to a demon that warned him against certain actions (Plato, Apology 31D, 40A), thus giving to the demon a function almost like the conscience...

Xenocrates, Plato's student, systemized demonology. He and later philosophers listed three classes of demons: permanently disincarnate beings, souls of the deceased, and the soul "in" or intelligence accompanying us. He ascribed human passions to them and made the distinction that some demons were good and some bad. From this came the idea that each person has two demons, one good and one bad.

By the fourth century BC, the word was deteriorating into use only for unlucky happenings. Since one avoided putting the blame for evil on the gods, they were attributed to the demons.

… Plutarch [50-120 CE] most developed the idea. He and Apuleius [born ca. 123 CE] provide us with the developed demonology of early Christian times. Demonic forces were everywhere and were constantly affecting life.…

… The admission that the gods of polytheism were "demons" played into the hands of Christian apologists. Also, to the demons could be transferred everything that philosophy regarded as unfitting in the gods. The apologists' claim that pagan religion was inspired by demons, who had a gross enjoyment of animal sacrifices, corresponded to the later Greek philosophical view that attributed the sacrifices of popular religion to the demons but reserved a rational worship for the immaterial gods (see Porphyry and Iamblichus).

Pre-Christian Judaism had already begun to take over the word demon in that sense of intermediate evil beings which is so evident in the Christian gospels. Belief in demon possession of individuals was widespread and led to the practice of exorcism to expel demons- by pagans, Jews, and Christians."[72]

Demons Weren’t Always Bad

To recap the above information, I would like to draw your attention to a few points made in the article. We are shown that from Homer the Gods could be referred to as demons. Plato used all the previous meanings of the term and introduced that these demons function as prosecutors or advocates after a person dies. Plato still maintained the concept that the demons were either good or bad. Subsequent demonologies adopted Plato’s philosophy of demons being intermediaries between god and men. Then a student of Plato’s, Xenocrates, systemized the demonology defining three classes of demons. It was believed that a person had two demon spirits to guide them, a good and a bad, but we saw that by the fourth century BC the word began to be used only in reference to unlucky happenings. After Xenocrates, Plutarch carried the idea of good and evil demons being present in the life of each person to new levels and then in the early 2nd Century, Apuleius played a major part in developing the Christian demonology that spiraled out of control. To those influential theologians, demons were literally present everywhere. Pre-Christian Judaism readily took over the word as a term to depict an evil intermediary being and then the word entered Christianity.
From what we have learned so far, we see the word “demon” came to be understood by the mystically minded “Christians” as a term for a malevolent being. A being once perfect that had fallen from Heaven in a rebellion that was led by “Satan.” As was stated above, the thoughts of Plato on demons was adopted by all subsequent demonologies, including Christianity. The “demon” was then to become a core belief in the minds and practice of the more Gnostic variety of thinkers of the first century CE and beyond. According to the evolved belief, this “Satan” or his demons were able to manifest themselves in many forms and in many behaviours. To be demonized meant to some that you were under the influence of a real spirit being who was led by the “Evil One,” Satan. The form and figure of these demons was diverse.

Graphic Images of Satan Tell Their Own Inconsistent Tale

Interestingly, the diverse appearance and form of the supposed prince of demons could in fact be a testimony not that he is a spirit with an identifiable form, but to the fact that he is a character born in the minds of men and not existing in reality at all. “Satan,” as portrayed in art throughout history has a common theme but is conspicuously absent of a single concrete depiction. The graphic images of said Satan or a particular demon are generally combinations of attributes and characteristics which are believed to be contained in many of the gods of the pagan or heathen nations. The god Pan for instance, seems to lend some imagery to the construction of a Satan character. Pan is the Greek god who watches over shepherds and their flocks. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat. Satan and demons are often cast in the same manner as a satyr or Pan. We see a satyr being spoken of in the book of Isaiah, this satyr would be a man-goat image constructed with the hands of the pagan worshipper. Which of us is not familiar with the common image of “Satan” as a horned creature? Many of us surely have been exposed to images of the supposed Lord of Darkness as having hoofs instead of feet. In The Epic History of Good and Evil the writer provides insight into the Pan-like fabriction of those exhorted by Isaiah in chapter 8 of Isaiah. Here are some comments from that article;

 In Isaiah, 8: 21, regarded as exilic or later, the reference is to the desolate site of Babylon; where repulsive creatures and dancing se'irim are to abide. The conception is evidently that of hairy goat-like creatures, not unlike the satyr or Pan of Greek myth. Some variations of the rabic jinn are also represented as having something along the lines of the same form (Wellhausen, Heidentum, pp. 151-152). This representation is a parallel reflected in Isaiah 34: 14, also exilic or postexilic, in which the sa'ir cries “to his fellow,” in Edom, which has become a waste inhabited by wolves and by the night monster, the literal translation amounting to a "Night-hag.” Traces of ancient demon worship are found by the passage Leviticus 17: 7, which forbids sacrifice to the se'irim, here mentioned as the objects of worship.[73]

The testimony we receive from the abundance of inconsistent images that portray a being believed to be Satan, express to us that he is not a real being. Even some of the visions of the Scriptures where “Satan” is said to be seen, provide little by way of description for this character. Does he have horns, is he red, is he a beast, or a dragon, or a sea creature like Leviathan? What about his teeth, does he have incisors that are capable of tearing flesh off of a human or does he have a nice smile so better to deceive you with my dear? How does he smell, if he smelt of sulfur then he would not be able to go undetected, if he smelt of spring flowers then he now has a good attribute. Is he shaped like a snake or a celestial body such as a star, as would be inferred by believing him to be the “bright morning star?” Just as one child’s imaginary friend is apt to “look” different from another child’s imaginary friend yet neither really exist, so too do the depictions of this imagined character vary greatly, thus maintaining the attributes of something that is not really existing.

What Does Satan Look Like?

Satan is portrayed to humanity in ever changing and numerous graphic images. The diversity of the images is notable, the varied forms “Satan” has taken on through history as is depicted by the images which have been catalogued is not coincidental. Either these varied pictures are all true to some extent and represent the “Satan” creature’s ability to morph like some kind of “shape shifter,” or there is no truth to his being a real entity. All the images of Satan are just many different depictions of many different imaginations that are based on imagery borrowed from ancient mythological creatures such as Pan. These graphic depictions can only be mental fabrications with no real model to base them on. So too is “Satan” himself a mental fabrication.

The medieval period has been the most profound period of artistic depictions of what it is believed “Satan” looked like. The graphic images played a huge part in the conciousness of the citizens throughout that period and forward to establishing a belief that “satan” was a concrete being with a concrete form. In the book The Devil, by Amelia Wilson, we are given an illuminating tour of the history of the Devil and the images that were developed to express what he looked like. As for the horned version of the “wicked one,” Wilson tells us that the horned God may well be the oldest deity reconized by humankind. Just like the fabrications of creative pagans and superstitious Christians of the past, the demons of the present day and of the New Testament period were nothing and in fact did not exist. Although every culture put images to their concepts of their evil god, the truth of the matter is that the heathen nations each had their own Gods to worship, but that doesn’t make them real. The Scripture teaches that these are non-existent, powerless fabrications of men’s minds and were often made into statues and idols by the hands of men. It is these “Gods” who were known as diamons by the Greeks.

Although not specifically good or bad, they were believed to be “spirit energies” as is told by Elaine Pagels in her book, The Origin of Satan. Pagels tells of the born again Justin having a reversal of belief as it pertains to the Gods of Greece and Rome. Justin began seeing the panopoly of Greek gods such as Appollo, Aphrodite, and Zeus, as “foul daimones.” Justin used to believe in the gods of other cultures as competing deities who were daimons that resembled the God of the Christians in many ways. But he came to renounce that any good was found in them and that all the gods of others were not in any way good but were to be seen as “demons.” Pagels accounts the tranformation of thought and writes of the Christians rejecting the concept of “good spirit energies” and concluding they were evil demons.

By the time the Christian movement had swept across the Western world, our language would reflect that reversed perception, the Greek term daimones, “spirit energies,” would become in English, demons.[74]

Many Are Trapped By Their Belief In A Lie

The lack of “demons” in the Hebrew Scriptures was changed by the Apocalyptic thinkers and the Christian theologians. Through their input Satan has become a phenomenon of Christendom. Demons were now given legs so to speak, and because of the development and dissemination of the complex demonologies that taught of “real” demons, they became real for many of the citizens of the first century and are still real for many of the citizens of the present day. If you are told demons are real long enough, then I guess they become real, that is, real to you. What is believed by the mind cannot easily be disproved by facts, truth, and logic. One who is convinced of a belief in their mind is trapped by their own will to believe the lie that they see as truth.

In the New Testament writings, we will see times when demons or some derivative of the word is being used in different situations and different manners. In some of these cases the user is doing so because they believe in demons, and in other cases the user is using the term from an ancient Hebraic perspective to indicate a lie or a sickness or an adverse social or governing group. In our forthcoming survey of the Gospels and Apostolic Letters (Volumes 3 and 4) we will look at many cases of the use of the word demon or its derivative.

For the person who is caught up in battles against demons where he or she is continually casting out and cutting off the forces of the enemy, I would suggest he or she begins by dealing with their own “demons.” Those would be the “demons” a psychotherapist would label as such when referring to the inner turmoil and issues you might have that are adverse to healthy emotional and psychological growth. These demons are the only demons that you and many should consider fighting. Fighting “demons” is a battle you can’t win. Fighting an opponent that doesn’t exist is futile. You have to know your enemy to defeat him and in the case of Satan and demons; you cannot know that which does not exist. We can no more fight Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny for the nasty effect they have had on children wanting more presents at Christmas, hoping for money to arrive under their pillow, or consuming far too many chocolate bunnies during the seasonal festivities of Easter, than you can fight Satan and the demons. In the same way as it would be foolish to make fairytale characters responsible for childhood behaviours, it is foolish to make demons responsible for the evil choices of man. The meaning wrapped up in the term “demons” simply depicts the evil actions of men and is used to explain the bad that occurs in men’s lives.

Demons, as evil “spirit energies,” were never shown in Scripture to be a cosmic force able to engage in and interact in the lives of humanity or affect nature in any way. The propensity to believe “demons” are affecting the life of a person is a belief that was introduced by the ancient pagan nations of the world. This belief grew to be a lie of epic proportions because of the influence of great thinkers throughout history. The profound lack of personal study to see what the Scriptures teach and a lack of research into how history has affected theology is a negative factor that has kept people from learning the truth about Satan. The truth that Satan and demons don’t exist seems impossible to millions. Millions who accept without proof that there is another God in the universe who is able to perform supernatural acts that only Yahweh is privileged to perform.

Yet today, we can thank the Greeks for their gift of demons to Christianity. And those who cling to the idea that Satan and demons are real will continue to degrade the sovereignty of the One Creator as a being who is limited by a secondary lesser God. If removing Satan from the belief system of a culture is impossible, it is not because millions of people believe in Satan; it is because millions of people refuse to honestly assess their belief to determine if it is accurate according to Scripture and history.


 

[67] From entry titled “daemon” at the Answers.com website http://www.answers.com/topic/daemon-mythology

[68] Ennemoser, “The History of Magic,” pg132 -University Book,1970

[69] Ennemoser, The History of Magic; pg 138-139

[70] From  Take Our Word For It  

[71] (p.426, "daimon," Simon Hornblower & Antony Spawforth, Editors. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Third Edition. Oxford & New York, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-866172-X hdbk)

[72] (pp.220-221, Everett Ferguson. Backgrounds of Early Christianity. 2nd Edition, William B. Eerdmans Publishing company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, [1987], 1993, ISBN 0-8028-0669-4 pbk)

[73] The Epic History of Good and Evil

[74] The Origin of Satan, Elaine Pagels page 120, Vintage Books 1996

Now for a sneak peek at . . .

CHAPTER 12 - Is Satan Revealed In Revelation? (A Sneak Peek)

Revelation is the most provocative book in the entire collection of Apostolic writings. In it we see all the familiar demonology terms like Satan, the serpent, the dragon, the beast, the false prophet, and of course the devil. On first blush it appears these characters rise to the surface as foreboding end-time monsters trying to assert themselves one last time before the end of the world as we know it. It also seems these heinous monsters are soon going to be burned up in a sulfuric lake when the Messianic King finally gets his hands on them. Satan is not depicted in any other book as having more intensity and more power than he has in Revelation. This group of letters, called Revelation, is placed in its own literary category. The reason being is because it is so mystical. Even amid such apparent mystical tones, New Testament loyalists propound that the images of Satan in the book, such as a multi-headed beast, and many other elements, are real. To so many Christians today these elements of John’s vision are as real as when they look in a mirror. So now we must look at the book of Revelation. Can Satan be found in this book and is this book Scripture?

We will discuss the individual passages in the book of Revelation that pertain to the non-existence of “Satan” in Volume 4 of Imagine There’s No Satan. For now though, we will try to liberate ourselves from the error in thinking that Revelation is Scripture and has the authority and intent of Scripture. We must decide if these apocalyptic letters are good for doctrine, correction, instruction, and training in righteousness. If we let the book of

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