131. Do demons, as commonly understood, exist? “If demons existed, they would be God’s work. Would it be just, on the part of God, to create beings eternally condemned to a life of wickedness and misery? If demons exist, it is in your low world, and any others of a similar degree. People who represent a just God as being cruel and vindictive, and who believe they will receive God’s approval through the misdeeds they commit are hypocrites.”
The word demon only implies the idea of bad spirits in its modern acceptance. Its Greek root daimon signifes genius or intelligence, and is applied broadly to all immaterial beings, whether good or bad.
Demons or devils, according to the popular meaning attributed to these words, are allegedly a class of beings that are fundamentally bad. If they exist, they would be God’s creation, just like everything else. However, a supremely just and good God would not have created beings predestined to evil by their very nature and condemned to a life of eternal misery. If they are not a creation of God, they must either have existed for all eternity, like God, or there must be several supreme beings.
The frst requirement of any theory is to be logical. The idea that postulates the existence of demons, as commonly known, lacks this essential condition. It is natural that underdeveloped people, who know nothing of God’s attributes and profess the existence of malicious deities, should also acknowledge the existence of demons. For people who acknowledge God’s goodness as an attribute par excellence, it would be illogical to presume that God could have created beings destined to do bad deeds forever. This belief would confict with God’s goodness. Those who believe in devils appeal to the words of Christ to 80 support their theory. Far be it from us to challenge the authority of his teachings, which we would be delighted to see practiced in the hearts of humans, rather than solely preached from their lips. Are those advocates sure of the meaning attributed by Jesus to the word “devil”? It is common knowledge that his teachings and the Gospels contain many allegorical narratives that should not be taken literally. To prove that such is the case, we only need to cite the following passage:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass until all these things have taken place.”
Does science not contradict the Bible, particularly in reference to creation and the movement of the Earth? Could this not also be the case as with other fgurative expressions employed by Christ to adapt his teachings to the time and place of his mission?
Christ would not have knowingly made a false statement. Therefore, if his words appear to contradict reason, either we do not understand their meaning or we have interpreted them incorrectly.
Just as people have imagined angels as being created eternally perfect, they have also imagined that demons are lower spirits that are eternally bad. The word demon should be understood as indicating impure spirits who often are no better than the imaginary beings implied by those names, but with the difference that their impurity is temporary. They are imperfect spirits who defy the discipline of their trial, and who must experience that trial for a longer period of time. Nevertheless, they will ultimately reach the goal when they have decided to do so by their own free will. Demon could be used in this sense, but as it commonly conveys the meaning that has now proven to be false, its use could lead to error by appearing to acknowledge the existence of beings specifcally created for wrongdoing.
Satan is a personifcation of evil in a metaphorical form, because it is impossible to admit the existence of a malicious being fghting God, and whose sole aim is to thwart God’s designs. As images and fgures are needed to make a strong impact on the human imagination, people have adopted material forms for immaterial beings, with attributes that suggest good or bad qualities. In the past, human beings had personifed time as an old man holding a scythe and an hourglass. The image of a young man would have contradicted common sense. The same may be said of the allegories of fortune, truth, and so on. Modern individuals have depicted angels or pure spirits as radiant beings with white wings, a symbol of purity. In contrast, Satan has horns, claws, and the attributes of bestiality, symbols of the lowest passions. Human beings tend to take things literally and have mistaken these symbols for actual personalities, as they formerly regarded Saturn as the allegory of Time.