Demonology and Devil- Lore
Demonology is the study of demons or beliefs about demons, especially the methods used to summon and control them. The original sense of “demon”, from the time of Homer onward, was a benevolent being, but in English the name now holds connotations of malevolence. (In order to keep the distinction, when referring to the word in its original Greek meaning English may use the spelling “Daemon” or “Daimon”.)
Demons, when regarded as spirits, may belong to either of the classes of spirits recognized by primitive animism; that is to say, they may be human, or non-human, separable souls, or discarnate spirits which have never inhabited a body. A sharp distinction is often drawn between these two classes, notably by the Melanesians, several African groups, and others; the Arab jinn, for example, are not reducible to modified human souls; at the same time these classes are frequently conceived as producing identical results, e.g. diseases.
Prevalence of demons
According to some societies, all the affairs of life are supposed to be under the control of spirits, each ruling a certain “element” or even object, and themselves in subjection to a greater spirit. For example, the Inuit are said to believe in spirits of the sea, earth and sky, the winds, the clouds and everything in nature. Every cove of the seashore, every point, every island and prominent rock has its guardian spirit. All are potentially of the malignant type, to be propitiated by an appeal to knowledge of the supernatural. Traditional Korean belief posits countless demons inhabit the natural world; they fill household objects and are present in all locations. By the thousands they accompany travelers, seeking them out from their places in the elements.
In ancient Babylon, demonology had an influence on even the most mundane elements of life, from petty annoyances to the emotions of love and hatred. The numerous demonic spirits were given charge over various parts of the human body, one for the head, one for the neck, and so on.
Greek philosophers such as Porphyry, who claimed influence from Platonism, and the fathers of the Christian Church, held that the world was pervaded with spirits, the latter of whom advanced the belief that demons received the worship directed at pagan gods.
Many religions and cultures believe, or once believed, that what is now known as soothsaying, was, or is, a form of physical contact with demons.
Character of the spiritual world
The ascription of malevolence to the world of spirits is by no means universal. In Central Africa, the Mpongwe believe in local spirits, just as do the Inuit; but they are regarded as inoffensive in the main. Passers-by must make some trifling offering as they near the spirits’ place of abode; but it is only occasionally mischievous acts, such as the throwing down of a tree on a passer-by, are, in the view of the natives, perpetuated by the class of spirits known as Ombuiri. So too, many of the spirits especially concerned with the operations of nature are conceived as neutral or even benevolent; the European peasant fears the corn-spirit only when he irritates him by trenching on his domain and taking his property by cutting the corn; similarly, there is no reason why the more insignificant personages of the pantheon should be conceived as malevolent, and we find that the Petara of the Dyaks are far from indiscriminating and malignant, being viewed as invisible guardians of mankind.
Demons are generally classified as spirits which are believed to enter into relations with the human race. As such the term includes:
- angels in the Judeo-Christian tradition that fell from grace,
- human souls regarded as genii or familiars,
- such as receive a cult (e.g., ancestor worship),
- ghosts or other malevolent revenants.
Excluded are souls conceived as inhabiting another world. Yet just as gods are not necessarily spiritual, demons may also be regarded as corporeal; vampires for example are sometimes described as human heads with appended entrails, which issue from the tomb to attack the living during the night watches. The so-called Spectre Huntsman of the Malay Peninsula is said to be a man who scours the firmament with his dogs, vainly seeking for what he could not find on Earth -a buck mouse-deer pregnant with male offspring; but he seems to be a living man; there is no statement that he ever died, nor yet that he is a spirit. The incubi and Succubi of the Middle Ages are sometimes regarded as spiritual beings; but they were held to give proof of their bodily existence, such as offspring (though often deformed). Belief in demons goes back many millennia. The Zoroastrian faith teaches that there are 3,333 Demons, some with specific dark responsibilities such as war, starvation, sickness, etc.
– Yahweh Yaldabaotha
Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) is a recovering alcoholic who is assigned to the case of the suicide. He later explains that the reason for his alcoholism was the hit and run death of his wife and son, five years previously, in which the perpetrator was never apprehended. Meanwhile, five strangers board an elevator, which later becomes stuck between floors. When security finds them, they notice that there is CCTV and a radio with which they can call into the elevator, but they have no way of hearing the passengers in return. Bowden takes the investigation regarding the elevator as it is the same building from which the suicide victim jumped.
Ramirez is revealed to be one of the security guards and is disturbed by an image of what looks like a screaming face frozen on the video monitor. His boss Lustig (Matt Craven) dismisses the superstitious suspicions and sends repair technician Dwight (Joe Cobden) to investigate the elevators while Bowden tries to ascertain the identities of the individuals. Only four of the five are accounted for: Vince McCormick (Geoffrey Arend), a sleazy mattress salesman; Sarah Caraway (Bojana Novakovic), a pathological liar who plans to leave her rich husband and take his money with her; Ben Larson (Bokeem Woodbine), a temporary security guard with a history of violence; an unnamed older woman whom police mistakenly believe is named Jane Kowski (Jenny O’Hara) who is seen on video to be a thief, and another man who later introduces himself as Tony (Logan Marshall-Green), who does not appear to have signed in at the security desk.
The power goes on and off in the elevator, and each time the power is restored, something evil takes place. Dwight falls to his death on top of the elevator, and Lustig is electrocuted trying to restore power. Soon people in the elevator start dying, and the suspicion keeps shifting between all in the elevator. Vince is thrown into a mirror only to have his jugular vein sliced causing him to bleed to death, the old woman is hanged on a lamp cord from the elevator ceiling, Ben winds up on the floor with his neck twisted, and Sarah’s throat is slit by a broken piece of the mirror. Finally, the old woman, who is the devil and faked her death, is left with Tony, now revealed as Tony Janekowski by his fiancée, Cheryl (Zoie Palmer). Tony confesses to having been responsible for a hit-and-run five years ago in which he killed a mother and her son. Detective Bowden hears him apologize over the radio.
The Devil, powerless now that Tony has repented for his sin, curses before vanishing, and the elevator comes back online, sparing Tony’s life. As the corpses of Sarah, Ben, and Vince are wheeled away, Bowden decides to take Tony into custody, and, while en route, informs him that he is the husband and father of the mother and son Tony killed in that accident. But despite saying he’d gone over what he’d say, or what he would do if they’d ever cross paths, he forgives Tony.
Ramirez, again in a voice-over, says that his mother always reassured him at the end of her stories, “If the Devil is real, then God must be real too.”
The Origin of Satan by From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of Satan and his role on the Christian tradition. With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan’s story into an audacious exploration of Christianity’s shadow side, in which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non-Christians alike.
Satan – by This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.
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Foreword by C.I. Scofield: If any word of mine shall add to the number of the readers of this book I shall be glad to have written it; and I sincerely wish that all believers, and especially all ministers and Christian workers, might in some way be led to read it. The subject is vital to any right understanding of the age in which we live, and of the personal conflict which we wage; for the existence, personality, and power of Satan are awful facts and of immense present significance. We walk in the midst of his snares, hear on every hand his doctrines proclaimed by men of blameless lives “transformed as the ministers of righteousness,” and are allured by the pleasure, place and power of his perfectly organized world-system. I know of no other book on Satan in which the dispensational aspects of the subject are so clearly stated, nor any other so severely Biblical. C.I. Scofield