Something and nothing

Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Cor. 8:4,5).

What exists? Does Satan exist? Demons? Principalities and powers? Maybe / maybe not. Let me assume for a moment that the devil is not a ‘personal’ entity. I can certainly understand the arguments for that position, yet regardless of the position taken the conflict is real; if demons do not exist as personal entities our commission is still to cast them out! I have had personal visitations from powers that have manifested in personal form and I remember one from my first visit to a particular nation. Manifesting in personal form I still remember the eyes, the stance with NO nervousness nor intimidation she informed me of where she was situated and what she controlled and nothing was going to change! The experience was real, the after-effects were real enough, certainly when I was literally evicted from the country, escorted by four armed guards back on to the airplane; I was, and remain, convinced of the reality of the conflict. But did ‘she’ exist as a personal entity? And if so from back in time as one of the devil’s fallen angels?

There are so many experiences, but theologising from experience is never wise… nor is developing a theology without reference to experience.

In writing about what I believe it becomes evident that there are many, many gaps as I do not have things tied up. It does seem certain to me that there are beliefs that ‘create’ powers. This creative power is very evident in the more extreme form of conspiracy theories that abound. In believing something I give power to the thing I believe exists, even if it does not exist. Paul seems to be wrestling with this aspect. There are no gods beside the one God… but there are gods and lords.

Earlier in 1 Corinthians Paul has said that,

God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to abolish things that are (1 Cor. 1:28).

‘To abolish’ (καταργέω) carries a wide range of meaning from literally to obliterate / annihilate through to render inoperative. That leaves us some possible options. And my non-dogmatic response is that there are spiritual entities (or at least the presence of spiritual presences that manifest as entities) that we ‘create’ through our beliefs, and beyond that there probably are ‘fallen spiritual beings’ that exist and get attached to what we create, behind which seems to be ‘the Satan’. [The story of the demons going in to the pigs seem to suggest that they were at some level ‘beings’ independent of the Gadarene gentleman.] So perhaps the wide range of meaning seems appropriate. Abolish what we create, thus giving no / less space for spiritual powers (demons) to operate thus rendering them inoperative.

Beliefs get us so far… our stance (‘stand’ being such a strong word in Ephesians 6) and our prayers are there to bring solutions that our beliefs might never be able to do.

7 thoughts on “Something and nothing

  1. Hi Martin. What are your thoughts on keys then ? Who had the keys that Jesus took back and how does that fit in ? Thanks. David

    1. Thanks David… One of our difficulties is what does ‘person’ mean when we talk of spiritual entities. Short response – the devil… the warfare has always been human v. demonic, hence the HUMAN Jesus takes back the keys. My practice remains the same… I am simply exploring is there another way to understand the demonic… without ever shrinking from ‘cast out demons’!!
      On some issues I have to admit I am agnostic… I want my practice as well as my beliefs to be shaped by Scripture.
      So a non-answer!!!! Indicating the extent of my understanding!! (Lack of understanding.)

    1. Hey Carol… thanks for dropping by. Big respect to you and Tony and your walk of integrity… you will be so aware of the BIG UNRAVELLING all around you.

  2. Extremely interesting Martin. So would you agree with the expression ‘our words create worlds’ used a lot in charismatic and word of faith type movements? I dislike it because means people can’t be authentic or honest about the way they are feeling etc and so would be harder to help them? But then if we can give power to demons by our actions, words etc then maybe it’s true? I just don’t know? I know there’s a lot more to what you said than this but occurred to me. Thank you

    1. Joanna… smart connection. I think as per many perspectives there are truths that once made an absolute, or applied in every situation, or not balanced by other truths we end up with views that are very forced. Words certainly are powerful and at the ‘God-level’ they are the connecting bridge between heaven and earth. God spoke… and there was. And Scripture is strong about what kind of words we speak. The problem with the extreme is for example in praying for someone who is sick… If we pray for them we are agreeing that they are sick, but they have to confess they are healed. The extreme means we should not pray for them!!! They don’t need prayer just a change of speech – so it falls down there.
      ‘I was blind but now I see’ indicates a real past situation, a current situation that changed because of Jesus’ intervention.
      So we watch our speech, words are powerful, and our words could have contributed to the world we inhabit, but there are so many other factors too. Also salvation is completed in the age to come… we are saved, being saved and will be saved.
      ‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living’ could well be a confession that pushed death away for the Psalmist but the one who said that, like everyone else died.
      A long response to a great question, and perhaps challenges me in my perspective and how I express it. Thanks.

  3. Lots to unpack here, I once heard a Methodist pastor at a charismatic Methodist youth camp describe the devil as “The negative side of our freedom”…at 16 years of age I challenged him by suggesting that Jesus casting out devils would mean Jesus was taking away peoples freedom…he just stared back at me like I was possessed…jk…mostly.

    I do believe that there are forms of human “energy” (for lack of a better description) that best fit into the idea of the demonic…and certain levels of this energy can become personified…I’ve also encountered what I used to refer to as “regional entities” that seemed far more than some human uncontained energy…I simply do not know.

    Yes we should cast out demons…yes we probably create them, so its fairly painless to excise them (or should be)

    There is probably a mirror side to the “negative side”…ie: a “Gods favorite family” favor dispensation that is connected to faith and grace and gratitude whereby good things like parking spots and free access happen as well…

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