What Are Demons? The Christian View
Today’s idea of a demon is largely influenced by traditional Christian beliefs; however, it is important to state that demons are not an exclusive Christian concept. Many cultures prior to Christianity regarded demons and paranormal occurrences as ‘evil spirits’ who only sought to harm humans through malicious actions.
These cultures developed their own imagery of what demons, or evil spirits, were and many of these images have carried over, through Christianity, and into our modern time.
According to Christianity, demons are simply fallen angels led by Lucifer.
Lucifer, The Devil, or Satan, as these names have now been used interchangeably, and his army were cast out of heaven when they lost to Michael and his angels in their attempted to overthrow God. Banished to hell for their actions, it is said that Lucifer orchestrates his fallen servants to spread throughout the earth and attempt to convert humans against God. It is through this that many of our modern ideas of demons emerge.
Pre-Christian demonic imagery, combined with the fiery depictions of hell, have led to what many envision a demon to be; however, depictions of demons as hideous beings are most likely untrue if one is taking the biblical stance of demons being of angelic heritage.
It is also questionable, in the Christian view of demons, whether they can manifest to humans in physical form. The Catholic church does have accounts of demonic possession, so, it would seem that this may be their method of physical interaction. However, I think it’s important to point out that not all possessions may take place like those seen in the movie The Exorcist. It is possible that there are degrees of possession, ranging from mere influential thoughts to outright extreme sins which a demon may use when in control of a human.
It is estimated by Alfonso de Spina that there are 133,316,666 demons according to Christian demonology, being that Lucifer was able to convert one third of all angels to rebel against God. Whether this is a fixed number or not is still up for debate as some speculate on the ability of demons to procreate with other demons, and with humans.
Demonic abilities are said to be supernatural in their origin, which include levitation, telepathy, psychokinesis, as well as possession; however, their power is not unlimited and many are said to have knowledge in only specific areas.
More on Christian demonology can be found by clicking on the link.
On to Part 2 – The Non Christian View of What Are Demons?