If demons existed, they would be the work of God; but would it be just on the part of God to have created beings condemned eternally to evil and to
If demons exist, it is in your low world, and in other worlds of similar degree, that they are to be found. They are the human hypocrites who
represent a just God as being cruel and vindictive, and who imagine that they make themselves agreeable to Him by the abominations they commit in His
It is only in its modern acceptation that the word demon implies the idea of evil spirits, for the Greek work daimôn from which it is derived,
signifies genius, intelligence, and is applied indiscriminately to all incorporeal beings, whether good or bad.
Demons or devils, according to the common acceptation of these words are supposed to be a class of beings essentially bad. If they exist, they must
necessarily be, like everything else, a creation of God; but God, who is sovereignly just and good, cannot have created beings predestined to evil by
their very nature, and condemned beforehand to eternal misery. If, on the contrary, they are not a creation of God, they must either have existed,
like Him, from all eternity, or there must be several creators.
The first requisite of every theory is to be consistent with itself; but that which asserts the existence of demons, in the popular acceptation of
the term, lacks this essential condition of theoretic soundness. It was natural that the religious belief of peoples, who, knowing nothing of the
attributes of God, were backward enough to admit the existence of maleficent deities, should also admit the existence of demons; but, on the part of
those who acknowledge the goodness of God to by His distinguishing quality, it is illogical and contradictory to suppose that He can have created
beings doomed to evil, and destined to do evil forever, for such a supposition is the negation of His goodness.
The partisans of the belief in devils appeal to the words of Christ in support of their doctrine and it is certainly not we who would contest the
authority of His teachings, which we would faint see established, not merely on the lips of men, but also in their hearts. But are those partisans
quite sure of the meaning attached by Him to the word "devil"? Is it not fully admitted that the allegorical form is one of the distinctive
characteristics of His utterances, and that the Gospels contain many things which are not to be taken literally?
Men have done in regard to devils what they have done in regard to angels. Just as they have imagined that there are beings who were created perfect
from all eternity, so they have imagined that spirits of the lower degrees were beings essentially and eternally bad. The words demon, devil, ought,
therefore, to be understood as indicating impure spirits who are often no better that the imaginary beings designated by those names, but with this
difference, namely, that their state of impurity and inferiority is only transitory.
They are the imperfect spirits who rebel against the discipline of trial to which they are subjected, and who, therefore, have to undergo that
discipline for a longer period, but who will, nevertheless, reach the goal in time, when they shall have made up their minds to do so. The words
demon, devil, might accordingly be employed in this sense; but as they have come to be understood exclusively as conveying the meaning now shown to be
false, their employment might lead into error by seeming to recognize the existence of beings specially created for evil.
As regards the term "Satan," it is evidently a personification of the principle of evil under
an allegorical form for it is impossible to admit the existence of a being who fights against God as an independent and rival power, and whose sole
business in life is to contravene His designs. As images and figures are necessary in order to strike the human imagination, men have pictured to
themselves the beings of the incorporeal world under a material form, with attributes indicative of their good or bad qualities. It is thus that the
ancients, wishing to personify the idea of time, represented it under the figure of an old man with a scythe and an hour-glass.
To have personified it under the figure of a youth would have been contrary to common sense. The same may be said of the allegories of Fortune,
Truth, etc. The moderns have represented the angels or pure spirits under the form of radiant beings with white Wings-emblem of purity Satan, with
horns, claws, and the attributes of bestiality-emblems of the lowest Passions; and the vulgar, prone to understand such representations literally,
have taken these allegorical embodiments of abstract ideas for real personalities, as they formerly did in regard to the allegorical personifications
of the old mythology.
edit on 27-11-2013 by Shadow Herder because: (no reason given)
edit on 27-11-2013 by Shadow Herder because: (no reason