A perspective on angels and demons, Part 1 of 2
“Our Father, who art in Heaven… Creator of heaven and earth… Thy will be done… he descended into hell … He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father almighty.” From the Lord’s Prayer and Apostles’ Creed
Are angels and demons real? How do we interact with them consciously or unconsciously in our everyday lives? Why are they here? These questions and more are probably questions we’ve entertained before at some point but have overcome, ignored or disproven as true or false over time.
Recent events involving evil men creating havoc to the elements of God’s creation, remind of the ongoing fight between good and evil. The fact that the likes of Putin could destroy a whole community even in places of worship and kill people wantonly, tells us that evil really lurks in our midst.
We’ve seen the headlines of violence crime, corruption, dishonesty and immorality, killings blamed on human nature. We casually remark that it’s human nature to possess such a criminal mind, as if it is an inherited trait. How did we get to this point where powerful leaders can incite a cult of followers to do evil things? Charles Bronson forewarned us about “the evil that men do” many years ago.
We’ve been told about climate change and have witnessed severe outcomes from tornadoes, floods, hurricanes (typhoons), fires and others of higher magnitude. They’re natural forces but can nature be influenced by good or by evil spirits?
We accept “human nature” as a benign thing in a neutral way. The “weeping prophet” Jeremiah believes otherwise, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” So, human nature is inherently evil? Certainly, evil or wicked thoughts were not part of creation. Adam was not violent, rebellious or showed any kind of hostility with his Creator and the creation around him. His rebellious act began after the Serpent was inserted as part of God’s experiment to test Adam.
Paradise was lost, and God allowed the Serpent to roam earth freely for eternity. Evil spirits apparently predated the Serpent according to the Holy Scriptures and inhabited the planet above and below us long before Adam was created. That gave Satan plenty of opportunity to subvert the subconscious mind, people’s intellect with evil thoughts on the way to becoming a natural. The Church calls these thoughts (sins) as lust, greed, and vanity.
The movie “Exorcist” back in the 70’s seemed to suggest that evil spirits influence human behavior or the mental process and only some form of exorcism can get rid of the evil spirit. Faith healing including exorcism, medical, psychiatric and witch doctors became part of the supposed solution that imply that “demonic possession” can be freed or controlled using other’s will or controlled by certain drugs. In Adam’s case, however, it suggests that humans are given free will that neither God nor the Devil can force one to do certain things, good or evil. Free will and demonic possession seems to be a contradiction.
The line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done” is understood and accepted as fate, and everything is left to God – good or bad, as “God’s will.” We seem to believe that God is involved in retail politics attending to our daily needs. But if humans have free will, then the decision we make is ours regardless of outcome. We pray for guidance, but it is up to us to discern what God’s will is. The good and evil is always at it trying to have the inside track in influencing one’s thought.
Back in the seventies, a particular issue of the “Plain Truth” penned by Herbert W. Armstrong talked about how the devil contributed or caused human’s perversity or misery. In it, Armstrong made a strong case based on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that “the prince of the power of the air” is the devil whose spirit works on disobedient or rebellious children,” and has and is making use of the airwaves, riding on sound and images.
Armstrong believed that the faint noises, sounds and voices we may hear but could not attribute to any physical source would become discernible if humans tuned in to the right frequency or source as in radio, television, the internet (social media) or other broadcast medium. It’s the devil doing its daily, hourly, and by the minute broadcast without saying the words or showing graphics or live broadcast from a source masquerading as holy or friendly.
For humans receiving such broadcasts can result in wicked or evil thoughts. Dark impulses emanating from thoughts can titillate or torment depending on who has more sway - the little devil or angel standing on your shoulders whispering what you should do. Schizophrenia comes to mind and people afflicted by this condition relate to the influence of radios over them.
Armstrong’s concept implies that the same immortal devil that tempted Eve and eventually corrupted Adam’s attitude of rebelling against God, roams around the planet due to its immortal nature. Furthermore, it is the same devil that corrupted biblical kings that God had to send in angels and righteous personalities to kill or dethrone. It is the same devil too that corrupted the King of Judea (Herod) to kill the innocents while actually targeting Jesus.
Certainly, Hitler’s pursuit of genocide can’t be justified the way he did. But what made him do it? Pope Alexander VI gave his imprimatur for the Spanish/Portuguese invading forces to kill the pagan natives of South America, and King Philip II gave his nod to do a similar act in the Philippines in the name of God. Religious wars in earlier centuries were carried out in pursuit of holy crusades resulting in millions being killed.
Think of Afghanistan’s Taliban, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, and many others who are viewed by the world as being in the “bad” column. Their evil acts are not even overtly hidden. They revel in what we call satanic acts.
Is the conflict that originated in heaven (Lucifer’s coup) between good and evil rages in perpetuity as prophesied in Revelation 12? Revelation 12-18 talks about the growth of Satan’s kingdom in opposition to the kingdom of God that will eventually end during the Millennium but which Millennium? Because everything that happened in past and present Millenniums seemed like a repeat performance with different cast of characters.
Mussolini, Hirohito, Pol Pot, Putin, and others including Western countries who authorized or ordered entities to invade countries and kill people at the altar of justified war. But is a justified war a license to engage in unjust acts like killing, raping or torturing women and children? What drives these decisions? In the present predicament, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, guided by the Patriarch of Moscow bishop Kirill, believes he is carrying out a just war between good (them) and evil with Ukrainians being the “evil” ones. (To be continued)