Opinions on faith and life

Angels, Demons, and Psychic Phenomena

2002-01-01

Scientific experiments have proven the reality of some psychic events, but they haven’t explained the mechanism by which these things happen. They are much like the force of gravity: we can observe its effects and make use of it, but we cannot really explain it. But even if science could find a mechanism, a strong word of caution is in order, especially for Christians.

The physical brain is the interface between the soul and the body, “a machine that a ghost can operate”. Death occurs when that connection is permanently broken. But it is possible for that connection to be temporarily altered, where the soul is at some “distance” from the brain but not completely removed from it. And in this state of altered consciousness, we are vulnerable to influence from any outside source. And not all outside sources are human! The Bible tells us about demon possession, known today by the term “channelling”, where a malevolent spiritual entity controls the brain. It also is the situation with out-of-body experiences and multiple personality disorder. It can be entered into in a variety of ways, such as with drugs, meditation, religious ritual, or hypnosis.

The Bible is crystal clear that any attempt to separate or put distance between the soul and the body is evil. It opens us up to the influence of other spirits, giving them control of “the machine”. Even if this loss of control sometimes brings a positive result (typical of hypnosis), it is clearly forbidden because of the great spiritual danger involved. It doesn’t make sense to go looking for trouble when so much of it already comes our way.

Demons are the most likely “mechanism” for psychic phenomina such as telekenesis and clairvoyance. They are undetectable spiritual entities whose purpose is to deceive and destroy. Although we are not told exactly how they “possess” and manipulate human brains, it is obvious that they have this ability. They also have vast knowledge of all human history and could easily impersonate anyone, explaining the ability of mediums to contact what they think are spirits of the dead. Angelic beings are sometimes called “watchers”, and there are a vast number of them so it could appear to us that they have God-like powers, but this too is deception.

Demons are possibly the hybrid offspring of humans and fallen angels (Gen. 6), who followed Satan in rebellion against God and started interbreeding with humans to pollute the race, preventing the Messiah from ever coming. Angelic beings can take on physical form, eat, possess humans or animals, wage war, guard nations or churches, convey messages (“angel” actually means “messenger”), or carry out God’s judgments. They have wills and a language of their own. They will eventually be judged by us believers, but at present they are much more powerful and intelligent than us. Clearly these entities are not to be trifled with, and the Bible warns us against foolishly trying to directly engage them in “battle” (such as is done in the “spiritual warfare” movement).