Origin of Demons

  This is not answered in scripture, in either the Old or the New Testament. In the LXX (Old Testament), they represented the hostile spirits of popular belief without any indication of origin and the same is true in the New Testament. But some have presumed to determine it.

  (1) It has been said that the idea prevalent in Jerusalem in the first Christian century was that demons were ghosts of dead men; and that, since Christ and his apostles gave no other significance, the word "demon," when occurring in their language, must be understood in that sense. But the major premise for that conclusion is not itself beyond question, being based principally on its use by the Jewish philosopher Philo (20 B. C. - A. D. 50), who sought to reconcile biblical religion with Greek philosophy, quoted as saying, "The souls of dead men are called demons".

  (2) In the Apocrypha (included in the LXX, about 250 B. C. , but not in the Hebrew Old Testament) and in the Pseudepigrapha (about 200 B. C. - A. D. 200), demons were fallen angels, and linkage with the souls of the dead was broken (though still popular in Hellenistic belief and among Jews influenced by it). And that linkage remained broken in later Judaism, with some Rabbinic writings said to go so far as to speculate that demons were the offspring of Adam and Eve by male and female spirits.

  (3) Also Justin Martyr (about A. D. 100-165), one of the early church "fathers," in discussing the fall of angels wrote: "The angels transgressed this appointment and were captivated by love of women begot children who are those that are called demons" Apology 2:5). This, too, was speculation of course, and surely of an unlikely sort. But it indicates that all early fathers did not understand Christ and the apostles to have meant that demons are the spirits of the wicked dead.

  (4) Yet, if demons are the progeny of Adam and Eve by wicked spirits, or of women at a later time by fallen angels, both of which concepts seem most absurd, the only alternative does seem to be that they are either (1) fallen angels, or (2) the spirits of wicked dead persons or (3) consist of both. And the scriptures do not tell us which. But in any case, they are a part of the kingdom of Satan, who has been defeated by Christ (Matthew 12:22-29), and they will share in the ultimate doom (see Matthew 25:41).

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