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Don Stewart :: How Are We to Understand Jesus' Belief in Demons?

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Don Stewart
The fact that Jesus taught that demons existed is obvious. If Jesus is the Son of God, the final authority on all matters of faith and practice, then we cannot attribute His belief in demons to superstition and ignorance. If the Bible is divinely inspired, and Jesus is the Son of God, then His Word on the matter is final.

Accommodated?

There have been a number of Christians who have been uncomfortable with Jesus' stand on the existence of demons. They argue that Jesus knew that demons really did not exist, but for the sake of the ignorant and superstitious people of His day, He spoke and acted as though they did. This was for the benefit of His contemporaries who did not know any better. Since Jesus did not come to earth to teach us about these subjects, the argument goes, He merely went along with the prevailing view of His day, even though He knew it to be false. This way we have Jesus not really accepting the fact of the existence of demons, and yet we can still believe Him to be the Son of God.

Many Problems

There are enormous problems with this view. First, Jesus would be deceiving the people into thinking demons actually existed when He knew they did not. Since He Himself taught that His Word was the final authority on every matter, He knew that His confirmation of the existence of demons would further substantiate the widely-held view of the people that demons did indeed exist. He who called Himself the truth, therefore, would be teaching His disciples untruths.

Went Along With Charade?

In addition, when He told His disciples to specifically go and drive out the demons in His name, He would have known that no such creatures existed. Yet we are expected to believe that Jesus went along with this charade to the point that His disciples were to drive out these non-existent demons in His authority.

What Can We Trust?

Finally, if we cannot trust what He said about the existence of demons, seeing that He did it only for the ignorant people of His day, how can we trust His Word on anything? How do we know that He did not accommodate Himself on other subjects? How do we know when we can trust Him? How can we take His Word for anything?

Summary

To attempt to say that Jesus really did not believe in demons but rather accommodated Himself to the superstition of His day causes more problems than it solves. Jesus accepted the existence of demons for one simple reason - demons do exist.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.