A naked man in Miami was shot and killed when he refused to stop eating the face of his victim. Sources say he continued his gnawing even after being shot the first time.
We acknowledge that our society is filled with the abnormal, the aberrant, and the anomalous, but the only answers society can point to are the elusive “mental illnesses” or chemical imbalances. Of course the “professionals” have a hard enough time defining the mind let alone an illness of it, and they have no tests to prove the chemical balancing act. But since the Bible provides all we need for life and godliness, let us turn to the Scriptures for an explanation of deviant behavior. We will find there prevalent answers on the subject. Some of which are direct explanations and others are vivid illustrations.
The answer to the question, “where does aberrant behavior come from” is always sin. Scripture tells us that we are born sinners because Adam first sinned. We are informed that sin is anything that misses the mark of God’s standard. Since God’s standard is pure perfection, sin is the cause of anything that deviates from God’s holiness. This is why it’s impossible for humanity to please God with sin in our lives. This is why we need a Savior (see What You Need to Know for more information about your sin). Further we are told in God’s Word that sin is not only inherent in all of us, it is also present in the world because of us, and propagated by Satan to destroy us.
The first and second sources are easy for most believers to understand, but the third root of sin (Satan and his demonic followers) gets a few more quizzical looks. One reason satanic/demonic activity strains our head muscles is that everything they do seems to dwell in that “unknowable” spiritual realm. Another reason is the lack of “Demons for Dummies” sections in the Scriptures.
If you couldn’t already tell, I believe the type of behavior experienced recently in Miami (and on every continent, in every country, and [I would argue] in every city of this world) probably finds it roots in demonic influence. I would like to “take back” two key ideas with this article: 1. What demons are, and 2. What they do. I believe Satan succeeds the most when affluent, “intellectuals” deny his existence and work in this world. If nothing else, I hope we will be able to see through Satan’s lies concerning his henchmen . . . demons.
Side Note: This is not the only occurrence of what they are calling cannibal/zombie behavior. More and more situations like this one are popping up in the media every day, and every time it’s discovered that a new drug called “cloud nine” is the culprit. These bath salts are being blamed for the deviant behavior of the perpetrators. But here is the point I would like to make before continuing our discussion on demon activity: drugs have always been used in conjunction with demonic rituals. I believe there is more than enough evidence to prove that even though these (and other) drugs can alter the abuser’s reality, their presence does not disprove demonic activity.
What Are Demons?
We must go all the way back to Genesis via Revelation to understand what demons are. Simply put, they are the fallen angels that were swept out of heaven when Satan was cast out (Revelation 12:4). We are told that a third of the heavenly host followed the Devil to his destruction. They are the same as angels with one major difference; instead of choosing to commit themselves to God, they chose to reject Him. Therefore, everything the Bible has to say about angels, their characteristics, and abilities can be applied to demons as well. The main point I would like to confirm here is that they did and do in fact exist. Christ Himself dealt with many demons. His acknowledgment of their existence should be good enough for anyone who is trying to take back the Bible. For this reason, I do not intend to branch off into a full-out discussion on Angelology. Beyond that, many amazing men have written volumes on the subject for our personal study. Charles C. Ryrie deals with angels and demons in detail in his work Basic Theology (I will be relying on some of his thoughts for our discussion here). To the same degree, any theology book will deal with the angelology/demonology. The real hot-point of this discussion is going to revolve around the second and third questions concerning the work of demons and whether or not they are doing anything today.
Still, so that we are all on the same page, let me say that there is no biblical evidence to support that demons are deceased individuals. In like manner, the ideas that demons are the disembodied spirits of som pre-Adamic race or that they are the offspring of Angels and men, is extremely tenuous and rely heavily on the wide extrapolation of certain biblical texts. So, it is safe to say for our discussion that Genesis’ account of the fallen angels are, in fact, the demons of today’s talk.
What Did Demons Do Then?
The Bible attributes various satanic duties and responsibilities of demons:
1. They afflict man. The Bible says they are able to inflict diseases (Matthew 17:15-18), cause deviant thinking (Mark 5:5), and they can bring death (Revelation 9:14-19). I must say, though, that not all physical illness can be attributed to demons (much like what Christian Scientists believe), because Christ often distinguishes between the two.
2. They bring perversion to man. They twist God’s perfect standard. They promote idolatry and false religion (Deuteronomy 32:17, I John 4:1-4, I Timothy 4:1-3).
3. They possess people. It is easy to tell from the ministry of Christ that demons possessed unbelieving individuals. They appear to have the power to completely take over the actions and words (and presumably the minds) of human beings. Many times the possessed person acted very strangely, but it is important to note that extreme behavior was not always a consequence of demon possession.
What Do Demons Do Now?
Here lies the crux of the issue. Do demons have the same duties and influences on the modern world that they had thousands of years ago. Some would quickly point to our nude friend in Miami and say, “If anyone was possessed, he was.” Third world tribes still dabble in demonology on a regular basis. Yet there are those who would say the whole thing is ridiculous, and yet a fourth group lives like it doesn’t matter. I believe my audience is probably in the first or last category.
The first truth we must grapple with is that nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that angels of any stripe have ceased their activities on this earth. In fact, we know that they have been working and will continue to work right up until the point where God throws the evil ones into eternal bondage in the Lake of Fire (with a brief 1,00 year hiatus right before that). Demonic influences on this earth are just as real and active as they were when one-third of the created angels fell like a lightning bolt from heaven. We cannot deny this point, and no amount of makeup will hide it.
What’s the Application?
As you can probably tell from my opening illustration, I do believe the example in Miami is indicative of demonic possession. Without being there and witnessing it first hand, I would still say it has all the earmarks: extremely deviant behavior (unnecessary nudity, beating a man, eating his face), and superhuman power (continuing his actions despite a bullet lodging in his body). But this is not the main focus of this discussion. Even though I hope your eyes might be opening to the fact that Satan uses his minions to pervert the world, extreme examples like the one above are probably in the minority. The real scary stuff hides behind the mundane.
Satan’s stupid (he dared defy God), but he’s not an idiot. He knows the best way to deceive men’s hearts. He knows that few people today actually believe in him, he knows that generally only primitive people still go for the whole possession-thing, but he also knows that he cannot stop his work of perversion and possession lest more people be won to the cause of Christ. So, he’s had to change his tactics a bit. But sin is still sin. Sin always destroys and it always produces behavior that falls short of God’s perfection. Sin always creates abnormal behavior . . . even today.
Let us see if we can think of some contemporary forms of aberrant actions. Hmmm. It doesn’t take long before we realize that our TV’s provides us with the answer. Shows like “Hoarders” and “Obsessed” show us that even unsaved people find certain behaviors awkward. Then there are the plethora of sitcoms and movies that make fun of certain “personality disorders” and “mental illnesses.” The Big Bang Theory and Monk are perfect examples. Of course, we cannot forget the media outlets that treat these disorders like something to be victimized by. Doctor shows, shrink shows, and talk shows cannot stop talking about ADHD, ADD, ODD, OCD, schizophrenia, phobias, and the eating disorders plaguing our society. But what do all of these shows have in common? Regardless of what the cure is, regardless of whether or not we think it’s funny or scary, the vast majority of people in America agree that these individuals are exhibiting aberrant, abnormal, and/or anomalous behavior.
Before I continue, let me say again that not every disease is a product of demon possession, so I must be careful being too dogmatic about every case. But being a counselor, I do know that the medical community has absolutely no empirical evidence to diagnose someone as having a “mental illness” beyond simply observing the patient’s behavior. There are no blood tests, brain scans, or urine samples that can help us detect a “mental illness.” But that is no excuse. To blithely label a behavior as the symptom of an otherwise improvable ”disease” is foolish at best. At worst, it betrays the fact that unsaved men and women deny the existence of the spiritual. Therefore, even though they don’t understand it, they reason there must be some physiological reason behind the abnormal behavior. Unfortunately for them, just because you ignore the spiritual doesn’t make it disappear. Neither does medicating the physical.
Satan does exist. His demons still work in the lives of men today. Sin and Satan always produce destructive, aberrant behavior. Ladies and gentlemen, we are left with the profound conclusion that demon possession (and at least the effects of sin in general) are at the basis of every self-destructive and deviant behavior known to man.
So what do we do? We know that Satan is trying to tear us apart like a famished lion. We know that his henchmen are actively working in the lives of people all around us. In fact, demons may well be at work within the four walls of our own homes. If doctors can’t “cure” us, what do we do?
We take back the Bible! We choose to believe every line of God’s Word! We must accept that there are answers for all of life’s questions and trials within the pages of the holy Scriptures. We must take It back from those who would have us believe it’s not applicable and outdated. We must stand firmly on It’s promises and search it diligently for It’s answers.
This post and The New Me: Part 6 are the grand introduction for this site. My ministry this fall is going to make conversations like these a daily occurrence. By God’s grace I will be helping others wrestle with life-changing truths from God’s Word, and I want this site to be an off-shoot of that. I hope you will continue with me in this endeavor. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors when those counselors take God’s truth and apply it to our lives.