Question about demons


#1

Since the fallen Angels (demons) are pure spirit, why are they always depicted as "human, dragons, or lizard type beings in pictures and art? And why are demons and Satan able to come and go from hell to earth- I thought hell was eternal?


#2

I guess its because we need to visualize evil spirits as, well, something horrific :eek:

And, the evil spirits are allowed to roam the earth ONLY because God allows it.

Conster


#3

[quote=dizzy_dave]Since the fallen Angels (demons) are pure spirit, why are they always depicted as "human, dragons, or lizard type beings in pictures and art? And why are demons and Satan able to come and go from hell to earth- I thought hell was eternal?
[/quote]

I think the reason for the depiction is that angels have always been depicted as beautiful human type beings with feathery wings, so the “lizard-like” representation with the bat -type wings is simply a corruption of their once beautiful nature. You are right, angels and demons are purely spiritual beings, but we as humans relate to things as we can sense them. Additionally, Satan and his demons are not condemned to the firey pit until the final judgement. Read the story of Job, when Satan is “patrolling the earth”. Satan is still the “god of this earth”, and while Jesushas broekn his stranglehold on it, allowing anyone and everyone to be open to the gift of grace, we are still bound by the temporal restraints of this world (i.e. disease, death, suffering).


#4

One of the really interesting oddities of the Bible is the demonology there and extent to which it conforms to modern phenomena.

(1) When God is talking to Cain before Cain murders Abel, God tells Cain, “sin is a demon lurking at the door.” Genesis 4:7. The Hebrew literally reads, “sin is croucher at the door.” A “croucher” or “rabisu” was an Akkadian demon believed by the ancients to be found near doorways. Lo and behold, there is a modern mythology about the “little guy” who bolts out of one door to a room, just beyond the range of vision, just as one enters the other door to a room.

We wonder, Are typical cathedral gargoyles on European cathedrals…
images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wiu.edu/users/mxevl/paris/gargoyle.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.wiu.edu/users/mxevl/paris/photos.htm&h=399&w=493&sz=28&tbnid=hznUdDkfJ9sJ:&tbnh=102&tbnw=126&start=12&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dgargoyle%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DG
…“crouchers”?

(2) Genesis 6:2 refers to the “sons of God” – a Biblical term for angels and demons, because they have no parents between them and God – seeing the daughters of men, having sex with them, and “Nephilim” – “aborted ones” – appearing on the Earth.

Lo and behold, in the UFO Abduction Phenomenon, mystical beings…
globalgoodys.com/catalog2/images/comm.jpg
…supposedly enter bedrooms, and among other things they kidnap girls, anally and frontally rape them, and impregnate them, and “hybrid babies” are subsequently “aborted” out of them!

(3) Isaiah twice refers to “satyrs” who dwell in the wilderness, a loose translation of saiyr, meaning “shaggy” or “hairy.” Lo and behold, today we have Bigfoot…
static.howstuffworks.com/gif/bigfoot-face.jpg
…in the wilderness.


#5

the traditional depictions of devils in art (as well as depictions of religious figures, saints etc.) relies heavily on symbolism and translating to visual symbols the language of the scripture. Since Satan is described as a serpent who approached Eve, art often uses a huge snake, dragon or other hideous reptilian creature to represent his dangerous nature and illustrate the threat he poses to humans.


#6

[quote=dizzy_dave]And why are demons and Satan able to come and go from hell to earth- I thought hell was eternal?
[/quote]

  Additional to what has been said already, demons are more zealous than angels in the interests of man. Angels do not work on initiative, whereas demons do. Angels have more of a stand offish approach to assistance to humans. This is because God loves us less than demons hate us. 

  Luke 11,24's intent is a warning to always remember to stay the course and not be distracted from good, but it also unintentionally reveals an aspect of human relations with the spiritual world in general, apologies to St. Thomas. The cleaned house is not seen as an open invitation to clean spirits as one would expect. One would assume the opportunity to respond to the situation would be proportional with the greater love for man, therefore the angels always ending up at the door step ahead of the demons, but this does not bear out.  Man after doing the cleaning, is still left with a guardian angel waiting for his seven angels. One would assume a cleaned house already justifiably filled with clean spirits would leave demons with no other option but to look elsewhere. The message from this hypothetical result being the person would find reinforcement as a base for the next round of testing.

We must remember all the context to make the point in this parable is present. Nothing here can be read as ambiguous. An act of evil causes X reaction, all things remaining equal. The reciprocal should also be true given the same context.

 There is one possible reason for this. The comforts of heaven could cause this reluctance justifable and in keeping with the free will of angels. An angel could leap to the opportunity, but that would appear to be an option. Jesus surprisingly does not call this into question, therefore giving this attitude and behaviour a norm and sanctioned by God.

  Our conclusion therefore is that it would appear heaven has another advantage, and that would be the option of leaving man to his own fate due to a measure of worth of an individual being somewhat less than we are led to believe.

  Andy

#7

[quote=dizzy_dave]And why are demons and Satan able to come and go from hell to earth- I thought hell was eternal?
[/quote]

this is what mephistophilis says in christopher marlowe’s play dr. faustus :

**Faustus
**Was not that Lucifer an Angel once?
Mephistophilis
Yes, Faustus, and most dearly lov’d of God.
Faustus
How comes it then that he is Prince of devils?
Mephistophilis
O, by aspiring pride and insolence,
For which God threw him from the face of heaven.
Faustus
And what are you that live with Lucifer?
Mephistophilis
Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer,
Conspired against our God with Lucifer,
And are for ever damned with Lucifer.
Faustus
Where are you damned?
Mephistophilis
In hell.
Faustus
How comes it then that thou art out of hell?
Mephistophilis
Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Thinkst thou that I who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells,
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?
O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
Which strike a terror to my fainting soul.


#8

AndyF:

This is because God loves us less than demons hate us.

Satan may be consumed by irrational hatred of God, and hence His creatures, but: John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

There is no limit to God’s love. God’s love ALWAYS overcomes Satan.

AndyF:

Our conclusion therefore is that it would appear heaven has another advantage, and that would be the option of leaving man to his own fate due to a measure of worth of an individual being somewhat less than we are led to believe.

“Our conclusion…”??

My conclusion is that God would have sent His only Son to die for AndyF, even if AndyF was the only human in the universe.

Even if AndyF had no idea of the worth he holds in the eyes of God.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#9

… you have not convincingly proved Luke 11,24 reinforces your argument. The ball is in your court.

Andy


#10

[quote=john doran]this is what mephistophilis says in christopher marlowe’s play dr. faustus :
.
[/quote]

And a story from an ancient Patericon:

I love this story about the redemption of a demon.

Don’t swoop on me…!! I know the theological pitfalls in
this story - the fate of the fallen angels was probably
eternally fixed when they followed prideful Lucifer
into his rebellion - but I still like this story!
It resonates in my old Irish heart.

…With the Sign of the Cross, the old monk Abba
Joseph trapped in his cell a dark and miserable demon
who had come to tempt him. “Release me, Father, and let
me go,” pleaded the demon, “I will not come to tempt you
again”. "I will gladly do that, but on one condition,"
replied the monk. “You must sing for me the song that
you sang before God’s Throne on high, before your fall.”

The demon responded, “You know I cannot do that; it will
cause me cruel torture and suffering. And besides, Father,
no human ear can hear its ineffable sweetness and live,
for you will surely die.” “Then you will have to remain
here in my cell,” said the monk, “and bear with me the
full struggle of repentance.” “Let me go, do not force me
to suffer,” pleaded the demon." “Ah, but then you must
sing to me the song you sang on high before your fall with Satan.”

So the dark and miserable demon, seeing that there was
no way out, began to sing, haltingly, barely audible
at first, groping for words long forgotten. As he sang,
the darkness which penetrated and surrounded him began
slowly to dissipate. The song grew ever louder and
increasingly stronger, and soon the demon was caught
up in its sweetness, his voice fully lifted up in worship
and praise. Boldly he sang of the power and the honour
and the glory of the Triune God on High, Creator of the
Universe, Master of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible
and invisible. As the song sung on high before all ages
resounded in the fullness of its might, a wondrous and
glorious light penetrated the venerable Abba’s humble cell,
and the walls which had enclosed it were no more. Ineffable
love and joy surged into the very depths of the being
of the radiant and glorious angel, as he ever so gently
stooped down and covered with his wings the lifeless body
of the old hermit who had liberated him from the abyss of hell.

Andy


#11

[quote=AndyF]… you have not convincingly proved Luke 11,24 reinforces your argument. The ball is in your court.

Andy
[/quote]

It appears that you interpret Luke 11:24 in a sense that we are vessels to be filled with “clean” spirits (angels), or “unclean” spirits (demons).

If I am mistaken in this observation, please correct me before any time is spent in disabusing you of this notion.

One way to look at the passage might be to re-examine the warning given in Luke 11:23 and apply it to those adversaries who are siding with satan against Christ in His exorcism of the mute.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#12

[quote=Salmon]It appears that you interpret Luke 11:24 in a sense that we are vessels to be filled with “clean” spirits (angels), or “unclean” spirits (demons).

[/quote]

Both work on our sentient appetites and can exercise a direct influence on us. The mechanism isn’t has important. What Christ is refering to is in the natural course of temptation and influence, the choice made creates an “abode”, or metaphorical “dwelling”, or “state” we choose to be in. The state is one of cleanliness and receptive.

Angels are capable to influence us in the opposite way demons can, exactly using the same modus. On occasion angels can act on a body physically as in the case of St. Raphael.

The clean house is, after working with the grace of God, in a better state. It pleads and invites, but brings on emptiness, at least in this particular parable.

St.Thomas states good and bad angels have the same capabilities with God’s permission, as so far as it is in their nature. Demons are lacking the grace of God and will never attain the beatific vision, but their nature has not changed.

As it’s intended purpose as a warning, this parable meets it’s purpose. But it leaves the reader wanting. Like a sequel to a novel, the reader waits in anticipation and hope.

Irrelevant for this case. Jesus says the house is clean and receptive. The subject as succeeded in attaining a state worthy enough to make it unpleasant for the demon to stay (absence of evil). So much so the demon is now wandering and getting homesick.

I await your disabuse. :slight_smile:

Andy


#13

AndyF:

Angels are capable to influence us in the opposite way demons can, exactly using the same modus. On occasion angels can act on a body physically as in the case of St. Raphael.

There is nothing in scripture that would indicate that an angel takes “possession” of a human in the way that demons are shown to do so.

The angel Raphael was sent by God:

to heal them both: to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes, so that he might again see God’s sunlight

Tobit 3:17

You seem to presume that Raphael took possession of some human and denigrated that person’s free will in the same “modus” as a demon might have.

I would suggest that your conclusions are totally unsupported by any evidence in the scripture, nor supported by any recognized scriptural authority.

Please cite any supportive evidence I may have overlooked.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#14

I see, exactly what I expected. You asked for clarification before you would answer my question. I asked you to answer the question using material presented in context of L 11,24, but you prefer to lead off on a tengent. Obviously you can’t explain it.

[quote=Salmon]AndyF:
There is nothing in scripture that would indicate that an angel takes “possession” of a human in the way that demons are shown to do so.

[/quote]

All angelic/demonic actions are in approval of God. I’ll repeat. I stated in effect angels and demons possess the same nature, that demons did not lose this nature on damnation, and where they lack is in graces they will never possess, eternal loss of beatification, and loss of eternal life. Allowance for demonic influence is allowed by God for the further sanctification of the individual.

What I presented is totally in keeping with scripture, and in fact, in keeping with teachings from some of our beloved saints.

But since you insist on diverging from my point in question, demons do possess on occasion. If it were not so swine would not choose suicide in drowning and exhorsism would not be needed.

[quote=Salmon]AndyF:
Please cite any supportive evidence I may have overlooked.

[/quote]

I already answered this question. I still await the answer of my first question. You don’t need input from me to do that even though I expanded my point and offered more. You have what you wanted. Feel free to use your own data to answer the question, rather than having me justify my own point. When I get an answer I will continue our conversation.

Andy


#15

Let’s recap:
Luke 11:

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out.

25 And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26 Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself: and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.

I tried to give you a heads-up:
Originally Posted by Salmon

One way to look at the passage might be to re-examine the warning given in Luke 11:23 and apply it to those adversaries who are siding with satan against Christ in His exorcism of the mute.

AndyF replied:

Irrelevant for this case.

The Douay-Rheims (Haydock) disagrees with you.
D-R notes:

Verse 24By this one man is meant the whole Jewish people, out of whom the unclean spirit had been driven by the law. St. Ambrose - For as long as they were in Egypt, they lived after the manners of the Egyptians, and were the habitation of the unclean spirit; but it was expelled from them, when they slew the paschal lamb in figure of Christ, and escaped destruction by sprinkling themselves with its blood.

St. Cyril ex divio Thomas - But the evil spirit returned to its former habitation, the Jews, because he saw them devoid of virtue, barren, and open for his reception. And their latter state is worse than their former; for more wicked demons the breasts of the Jews than before. Then they raged against the prophets only; but now they persecute the Lord Himself of the prophets: therefore they have suffered much greater extremeties from Vespasian and Titus, than from Egypt and Babylon; for besides being deprived of the merciful protection of Providence, which before watched over them, they are destitute of all grace and delivered up to a more poignant misery and a more cruel tyranny of the devil. St. Chrysostum xiiv homily on St. Matthew.

(cont.)


#16

Originally Posted by Salmon

One way to look at the passage might be to re-examine the warning given in Luke 11:23 and apply it to those adversaries who are siding with satan against Christ in His exorcism of the mute.

AndyF replied:

Irrelevant for this case.

From: A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Nelson, 1957:
Luke 11:

it seems to express by means of a parable the lesson that the Jews, in refusing to accept the Kingdom of God inaugurated in the person of Jesus and His victory over satan, have placed themselves in a worse position than that in which they were before; It reinforces the warning of (verse) 23

.

This is a classic case of an individual wanting to interpret scripture to suit his own purposes and disregarding all the early Church Fathers and their teachings.

How do you interpret:
Acts 8:
30 And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?
31 Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me?

Understand that when we seek to interpret scripture, we bring baggage that can interfere with a clear understanding. The saints have done much of this work before us, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

We may get a wheel with 4 corners on it as a result.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#17

[quote=Salmon]Originally Posted by Salmon
This is a classic case of an individual wanting to interpret scripture to suit his own purposes …
We may get a wheel with 4 corners on it as a result.
…Salmon
[/quote]

That’s untrue, my baggage is pre-selected and approved. I am open to convincing arguments. Personal jabs and indicators of frustration, I am not. I have found that in debates where people can not explain what they feel they should know, frustration results with the inevitable personal attacks ensuing. My conclusions are based on the data presented to me and ever ready to change.

For what it’s worth, your getting more interesting and on track.

If your still with me…

[quote=Salmon]Originally Posted by Salmon
The Douay-Rheims (Haydock) disagrees with you.
D-R notes:Verse 24
[/quote]

Other than the use of the word spirit, I Can’t see how this fits in with 11,23.

[quote=Salmon]Originally Posted by Salmon
St. Cyril ex divio Thomas -
[/quote]

This either, but it fits in nicely with 11,24.

11,14 In this incident with the mute, was an introduction and opportunity by Jesus to cover related factors that the flock needed to understand about the devil and his workings.

11,17 Lesson 2, Jesus works with the powers of his Father, and not the powers of satan.

11,21-23 Lesson 3, Sturn warning. Concerns itself with unity and steadfast loyalty and determination to not step back. All references I have encountered in the use of this passage are oriented to instill unity, alligiance and loyalty.

*Redemptor Hominis

Encyclical Letter on the Redeemer of Man
His Holiness Pope John Paul II
March 4, 1979

Seeking to see man as it were with “the eyes of Christ Himself,” the Church becomes more and more aware that she is the guardian of a great treasure, which she may not waste but must continually increase. Indeed, the Lord Jesus said: “He who does not gather with me scatters.”(126) This treasure of humanity enriched by the inexpressible mystery of divine filiation(127) …

New Advent

The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is … Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. If any one could escape who was outside the ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the Church. The Lord warns, saying, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who gathereth not with me scattereth.” He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathereth elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, “I and the Father are one;” and …"
*
11,24 Lesson 4, Concerns itself with the effects of sinning again.

It is notable that there are two methodologies that can be used in this passage, one is to use examples using strictly the effect of temptation and evil sensual appetites, ie: sin, or, examples using a causative factor, demons.

The following explains 11,24 using the effects(sin).

*Augustine - (De Bapt. contra Donat. i, 12): “Our Lord teaches most explicitly in the Gospel that sins which have been forgiven return, when fraternal charity ceases, in the example of the servant from whom his master exacted the payment of the debt already forgiven, because he had refused to forgive the debt of his fellow-servant.” Now fraternal charity is destroyed through each mortal sin. Therefore sins already taken away through Penance, return through each subsequent mortal sin.

Bede - “This verse should make us tremble, we should not endeavor to explain it away lest through carelessness we give place to the sin which we thought to have been taken away, and become its slave once more.” Now this would not be so unless it returned. Therefore a sin returns after once being taken away by Penance.
*
Conclusion: Jesus used the causitive explaination. His subjects were demons. However, between having sought and received absolution for the sin, and doing it again, the house** is clean**, and therefore receptive to good spirits. (because of the greater LOVE for man). With that greater something of God’s overpowering the lessor something of satan, at that opportune moment/second of absolvement, there is no room for demonic influence for the following round.

Andy


#18

AndyF, thank-you for your perspectives.

I haven’t found an appropriate place to interject this passage, but it has been impossible to ignore since we bagan this dialogue.

Keeping in mind what happens in the Lukan passage:

Hebrews 6: 4 For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5 Have moreover tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come,

6 And are fallen away: to be renewed again to penance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God and making him a mockery.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#19

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