posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 06:57 PM
Augustine of Hippo - a man who practiced every type of debauchery imaginable before hearing the Call and becoming one of the leading thinkers of the
Catholic church - sums it up nicely in Confessions 3.7.12
I, in my ignorance, was much troubled,
and departing from the truth, seemed to myself to be making towards
it; because as yet I knew not that evil was nothing but a privation of good
The people of Mesopotamia also included demons in their pantheon. They believed in the influence of spirits that were both good and evil in nature.
King Assurbanipal ordered his scribes to draft a great compendium on spirits, including charms and incantations to keep malicious spirits at bay. The
characteristics of these spirits? Harmful, malicious entities with malign purposes. Similiarly, there were spells to summon good spirits to protect
and defend the faithful.
Zoasterism features two powers. Ahura Mazda, the god of the Sun and Ahriman, the prince of darkness. A tenet of this faith is that these two powers
war spiritually and physically - the latter struggle fought by adherents. The eventual winner is in doubt as good and evil, light and darkness fight
for power. Again, we see the demons being a negative entity, incapable of creation, excelling only at destruction and corruption.
In Judaism, Angels and Celestial legions play a major role in Scripture. Their role sometimes may seem cruel, but the Old Testament reveals their
goals to be for a greater good. Often, those placed in such predicaments are being set as an example or being taught a lesson. The Book of Tobias
mentions Asmodeus, a demon prince. The Talmud and Midrashim contains a fair amount of an explaination on the role of demons.
The New Testament features demons extensively. Christ is recorded as casting out a number of demons who are afflicting people in dire ways - madness,
pustules, boils, and other physical and spiritual afflictions. Never do we attribute any postive, constructive elements.
Even the temptation of Christ by Satan is something that is negative in nature. Nothing that Satan 'offered' Christ was a result of Satan's ability
to create anything. It was blantantly an usurpation of God's creation.
In the Christian faith, demons are fallen angels who are driven by their desire to inflict the same torment they experience on the mortals who usurped
their place in God's eyes. They seek to pervert and subvert Man - who in Genesis is created in God's own Image. To subvert man is a - futile -
attempt to wreak harm on God himself.
Perhaps in another missal I will discuss angels in more detail.
Thanks for reading