Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On The Origin And Identity Of Demons (Part 1)

AP: The word "demon" and the concept of all that which is classified as "demonic" does not originate with the Hebrews or the Bible. It comes from the Greeks. This term only gains traction with Jews who were influenced by the Greek mindset beginning around the 3rd century B.C. slowly but surely as the Hebrew Bible was being translated from Hebrew to Greek, the universal language of that time, in Alexandria. In this Greek version of the sacred text, known as the Septuagint, we find that the Hebrew word "satan" is sometimes translated as "demon."

Now, while there is no direct equivalent, what is there in the Hebrew Old Testament that corresponds directly to the notion that this word meant? Let's look through the evidence as we have it.

First, there is a kind of fuzzy idea of a personalized Someone or Something that stands in opposition to God and man, in a bad way. We saw this in the previous posts dealing with Satan in the Old Testament (the final installment with links to previous posts is found here).

Second, "demons" –knowN by other names– are these evil beings from Hebrew folklore that we mentioned earlier: the seirim, shedim, iyyim, Robets, Lilith.

Third, to the Israelites "demons" or supernatural beings are the spirits of the dead (Isaiah 8:19).

Fourth, demons are, disparagingly, the gods of the Gentiles. In other words, what the pagans worship are certain spirits who come to be known as gods after that somewhat silly people began worshipping them and offering sacrifices to them.

Fifth, many of the roles that the Greek referred to as "harmful and devastating demons" are carried out in the Old Testament by "angels of the Lord." They are, like Satan, subordinate to God, good or neutral, taking revenge on his behalf of some wrongdoing and men are carriers against pest and punishments.

Finally, with regard to the origin of these "demons" we have to confirm the following: Throughout the Old Testament there is not a single text that clearly speaks of the origin of angels, and we don't find any passage that directly explains from where these possibly evil geniuses have come. Not a single verse speaks directly to the origin of those beings that the Greek-speaking Jews called "demons." With that said, however, we shall turn our attention to Genesis 6.

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