Myths of Angel-Demon Warfare

 According to priest-written texts, a state of war exists between “the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness.”  It is an alleged constant confrontation between light, said to represent God, and darkness, which therefore represents the imagined “Devil.”  Envisioning the interacting principles of polar activity which are necessary for generating energy-matter manifestations as constituting “kingdoms” once served as explanation to ease the uncertainties that confronted our primitive ancestors.  The notion of “spiritual warfare,” however, provides nothing coherent to open any real understanding of our personal connection with universal power that is refered to as each person’s “spirit.”

There is, of course, scriptural foundation for the notion that apparent conflicts of interest are messing around with God’s loving intentions for man.  In the opening book of Genesis, for example, that conflict of interest is presented in chapter three where Nachash (from Hebrew, translated as “serpent”) supposedly relayed to the naked man and woman who had already received domination over the earth (Genesis 1:26)  a different motive for God’s earlier instructions.

With this motivational theme set in place, spiritual warfare pops up a number of times in scripture, such as in the book of Psalms, the alleged poetic compositions of David.  Psalms 17:5, 140:4, and 149:6-9 touch upon the spiritual battle theme, but it is Psalms 18 that presents graphic references to battle equipment used in defeating the strategies that opposed God’s divine intent for man.  In this version, the spiritual realm is not much different from the physical realm as far as warfare is concerned.

The priest-authors of 2 Kings 6:15-18, writing in the 7th century BCE Jerusalem, fanned the scary concept of the “prophet” Elisha (story-setting 849-785 BCE) in confrontation with invisible dark forces; it was a feature calculated to inspire the “sheep” to knuckle-under to priestly authority.  And in the book of Isaiah 59:17 spiritual warfare is alluded to in the reference to the “breastplate of righteousness” and the “helmet of salvation.”

One of the more detailed biblical examples of imagined spiritual warfare is given in chapter 10 of the book of Daniel—a revised work which happens to be an elaboration borrowed from an older Babylonian poem.  The “prophet” Daniel, after three weeks of fasting and praying for understanding, was finally visited by an angel sent to deliver a message from the Lord.  The angel was too unfashionably late and explains that he had been sent out  immediately after Daniel had begun to pray, but “…the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days” (Daniel 10:13).  Apparently the omniscient Lord had not foreseen such a possibility, and the archangel Michael finally had to go forth and put down the prince from Persia so the angel could make contact with the “prophet.”

The Christian interpretation of demons who are led by the devil attempting to challenge the will of God has drawn their illusions from various older “faith” sources such as Babylonian, Assyrian lore and others as well as from Hebrew.  As a consequence, the major denominations of Christianity actually believe in the literal reality of—or at least a philosophical existence of—a “fallen angel” who is referred to as the Devil and/or Satan.  The principal features on the subject of demons are presented in the early book of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—which then get reworked in the Acts of the Apostles.  The epistles attributed to Paul labor to declare that it is only through Christ that mankind will attain victory over principalities and material powers.  Alas, those of other faiths are doomed forever.

The New Testament proves to be no better at enlightening seekers on how infinite creative power generates energy manifestations through a process of polar activity.  Instead, the superstition that light (good) and dark (evil) are engaged in battle is played upon in Acts of the Apostles 19:15-17 and is also implied in Corinthians 11:23 and 12:9.  Both of these books are also attributed to the self-proclaimed apostle Paul who alleges that the forces of darkness knew that Paul was God’s servant and attacked him.  How, exactly, he was attacked is vague.  In the timeframe of these New Testament writings (Acts c. 84-90 CE, and 1 Corinthians c.94-100 CE), the attempt to draw converts to the new faith was shifting from promotional focus on hoped for Jewish converts to concentration on the broader mass of lesser educated people that were being incorporated into the Roman Empire. 

Demonology interweaves throughout holy word from Genesis to Revelation, with “saints” such as John referring to Satan as “…the father of lies (John 8:44).  It is in the New Testament book of Revelations, however, where Satan and his demons really rip up the scenery before meeting their just deserts.  Up to this point the Bible paints numerous references to spiritual warfare that is being waged, but the details of those ceaseless battles are scarcer than hen’s teeth.  The general sidestepping, as in Revelations 12:7-9, tells only that Michael and his angels fought against Satan and his angels.  It is oddly similar in tone to that in Daniel 10:10-13.

The contention that angels and demons are engaged in an ongoing battle pretty much punctures the theological assertion that the Creator is omniscient (all-knowing), or that his manner of creating is through peace and love was foolproof.  No power could wage a continuous “war” upon an omniscient Source-power.

For thinking persons, not believing in priest fabricated stories of a petulant, pouty, and prejudiced God does not mean that recognition of a creative Source-power is denied.  Neither is that skepticism a sign that a rationalizing mind is under the influence of some “Devil.”

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