Here is today's Gospel lectionary reading....
Luke 4:31-37Some people today may have trouble believing in the reality of demons. Others may not. One thing is clear: the casting out of demons is a prominent feature in the ministry of Jesus as portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels. If we were to remove all mention of demons from the Gospels, we would lose a significant portion of the historical records of the life of Jesus that were written closest to his lifetime. So what are we to make of this aspect of the Gospel record?
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, "Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, "What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!" And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
C. S. Lewis was one twentieth century intellectual well known for his belief in demons. Here is what I wrote about Lewis' belief in the opening of my chapter on "Satan and Temptation" in my book, Mere Theology....
When C. S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters he was not simply indulging his love of fantasy. He believed in the existence of the devils. He points out that there are two errors we can fall into in regard to the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and have an unhealthy interest in them. Satan welcomes equally the materialist and the magician. Screwtape contemplates the victories that can be won by tempting
human beings to one or the other of these extremes or a delightful (from his perspective) combination of both.
In the preface to Screwtape, Lewis claimed that his belief in the devils was not a part of his creed, for belief in Satan did not appear in any of the early creeds of the church. Rather, he held his belief in the devils as a personal opinion.
Lewis had some experience with the occult. He was first introduced to it through his matron at Cherbourg School in Great Malvern, England. This is one factor that led to him becoming an atheist at the age of thirteen. The occult held great fascination for him for a time, but when he reached Oxford and met real Spiritualists, such as W. B. Yeats, the lust for it had passed.
Lewis also saw firsthand the effects of involvement in the occult on Dr. John Askins, brother of his adopted mother, Mrs. Moore. Lewis cared for Askins through fits of madness, right up to the time of Askins’s death. This made
Lewis determine never to have anything more to do with Spiritualism.
After his conversion, Lewis believed, along with the Scriptures and most of Christendom, that certain angels, by the abuse of their free will, became enemies of God and therefore enemies of humanity as well. He held that theTo read more of my chapter on "Satan and Temptation" you can obtain a copy of Mere Theology through my web site willvaus.com
devils were supernatural beings. However, he was not a dualist; he did not believe that Satan was the opposite of God but rather the opposite of the archangel Michael. Satan was created by God, and he continues to exist only
by feeding off of the good that God originally put into him, feeding off of that good and corrupting it, twisting it, into evil. Satan cannot create anything. He can only spoil what God has created.
or through Amazon: Mere Theology.