Satan Is Not Omnipotent: A Philosophical Arguments (4)
The Bible teaches a deceptive, dangerous spirit world, which distorts reality and ruins human beings’ lives. Christians need to know that the occult or paranormal is true despite outright fraud. The Bible is obvious on this, as Saul discovered upon meeting the medium of Endor (1 Samuel 28). Since God is real, the chief adversary (Satan) must also be real.
The English word “occult” comes from the Latin word “occultus,” which means hidden, esoteric, concealed, or mysterious. Occult represents an interference with physical nature by using hidden knowledge (gnosis), such as non-conventional practices, including reciting formulas, making gestures, mixing incompatible elements, performing healing spells, or performing secret ceremonies that alter physical nature. According to occultists, hidden knowledge is the force at the base of the universe and is obtained only through secret communication with that force. Indeed this ‘Force’ is not the God of creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Those dabbling in the occult consider their activities harmless and fascinating – a natural source of spiritual knowledge. For Christians (true believers and disciples of Christ), the wide range of practices making up the occult is destructive, and the spirit is threatening. Christians reject evil things like alchemy, astrology, casting runes, crystals and crystal balls, divination, dowsing, ESP, fortune–telling, horoscopes, palm reading, the I Ching, levitation, astral travel, Ouija boards, paganism, the paranormal, pendulum divination, psychic phenomena, reading Tarot Cards, ritual abuse, Satanism, séances, secret societies, sorcery, spiritualism, talking to dead spirits, Wicca (the so-called White Witchcraft, and Witchcraft (Black Magic). The extent of occult involvement is universal. Spiritual warfare is all around believers, and if Satan cannot keep us from knowing Christ, he will try to contain us by drawing us into deception. Satan is the enemy, a deceiver, liar, tempter, and devourer of human souls.
The occult is very real in this 21st century for many reasons:
First, many churches have “watered down” the Gospel of Christ, rejecting the church’s central teaching of Christ’s divinity and other essential truths to embrace false teachings. When this happens, a spiritual vacuum invites people to go to the occult to be satisfied, swinging the door to occultist practices wide open. No wonder, Prosperity, Gospel, and theology often dovetail with occult activities.
Second, there is a particular mystery about the occult, which appeals to human curiosity. Many think the occult is harmless and go deeper and deeper until they can not get out without adverse and harmful effects. Third, human beings want the ultimate answers to life’s fundamental questions, and the occult offers a sort of “reality” by providing these answers. Occultist practices are counterfeit of God’s power, and as such, they do reveal some fantastic things – but these things are not the ultimate truth. Fourth, an increase in demonic activity is expected to sign the end times (see Mark 13:22; 1 Timothy 4:1).
Since money is involved, there is often a deliberate faking in the occult’s lucrative field. There is also inaccurate reporting. Once they find a theory fascinating, some human beings often care less about the facts. Also, there is self-manipulation in the occult. When it suits their wishes, some believe anything they want. There is, however, actual demonic deception. 1 John 3:8 says, “The one who sins is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.” Involvement in the occult is involved in the Devil’s works, leading to severe spiritual and psychological outcomes. Christians must remember that the Bible denounces all occult practices (see Dt. 18:9-14; Acts 13:6-12). The road to the occult is broad and destructive.
Dealing With The Occult:
In Deut. 18:9-16, the Bible condemns as ungodly all occult phenomena and practices. The occult seems to deal with:
- mysterious/secret rituals
- powers beyond the normal human senses
- the supernatural realm of demonic forces
The typical list of occult practices would at least include:
- Spiritism (necromancy)
- Witchcraft (sorcery, drugs, magic arts, etc.)
- Astrology and horoscopes
- Divination/soothsaying (fortunetelling/palm reading)
There are only two possible sources of supernatural power in the world – God, and Satan; even then, God limits Satan’s power, which should not be underestimated. As ruler of this world system and evil age, Satan has been given great freedom to work his evil ways. Eph. 2:1-2, 6:10-18; 2 Cor. 10:2-5; Daniel 10:1-21; Ex. 7:8-13; 1 Sam. 16:14-15; Acts 13:4-12; 16:16-40; 19:11-20; and Rev. 9:1-6, 9:21, and 22:15. These passages confirm the absolute reality of the occult and supernatural power – both good and evil. There is also a lot of deception, trickery, and illusion around, human-made, but which looks occult. It takes a very discerning, spiritually mature person to tell the difference – 1 John 2: 20-27. For example, superstitious people may be afraid of the unknown or unexplainable or, in fact, trust in magic (sorcery-magic arts). There has been an increase in occult activities, which has given rise to pseudo (false) sciences such as para-psychology, which attempts to explain supernatural phenomena scientifically.
Why so much interest in the occult?
- Satan is more active than ever in these end-times – 1 Tim. 4:1-2
- The weak, false version of the Gospel often provides fertile ground for the occult.
- People are naturally curious about what they cannot explain. Movies have popularized the occult, and many are fascinated by the unknown “dark side of life.
- The spirit of Anti-Christ and the deception of sin in the world today leads people astray – 1 John 4:1-6
- The occult offers personal involvement in exciting, unusual things.
- The occult promises to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and the mind.
All genuine occult practices are sourced in Satan and will manifest fully in the Great Tribulation period – 2 Thess. 2:5-12; Rev. 13:1-18.
All occult beliefs and practices leave out the God of the Bible.
Description of specific occult practices:
Satanism (devil worship): Satanism refers to the worship and following of Satan. It may involve:
- secret societies
- drinking of blood from animal or human sacrifices
- sexual immorality and perversion
- denunciation of Christianity and the church
- disregard for all law, order, and authority
- “the church of Satan” promotes materialism and the pursuit of pleasures of all sorts, especially sexual ones.
Biblical Response: Only God is to be worshipped. Satan is a fallen angel loosed in the world to promote evil, destroy believers and confirm man’s sinful nature. Matt. 4:10, 16:22-23; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 22:8-9,15
Spiritism (necromancy): Spiritism (spiritualism) is the belief in the eternal life of spirits in another world with whom it is possible to communicate via a human medium or a spiritist. In the Old Testament, Spiritism is sometimes called necromancy. The hope is to learn something of value in this life from the spirit world. Spiritism uses trances and séances to call up the spirit of a dead person to materialize and talk. Some also use Ouija boards in Spiritism to spell out messages from beyond the grave.
Biblical Response: Spiritism is condemned in Scripture (Deu. 18:9-12). 1 Sam. 28:1-24 cannot support the practice, for it was God who caused Samuel’s spirit to appear to announce judgment, shocking everyone, including the medium! Saul was condemned for his action (1 Chro.10:13-14). Moses and Elijah, who appeared at the transfiguration, were also summoned by God (Matt. 16:1-13). These were not disembodied spirits but were in glorified resurrection bodies. Lk 16:19-31 firmly teaches against non-communication between the living and the dead.
Witchcraft (sorcery, magic arts)
Witchcraft refers to magic arts using evil, black magic powers, drugs, casting spells, causing sickness and death, etc. The root Greek New Testament word translated sorcery relates to drugs (“pharmakia”). It takes many different forms. Historically and traditionally, witches and wizards attribute their “powers” to Satan and often pledge their allegiance. Witchcraft involves mind and will control. Some witches are demon-possessed people or demons manifested in a human form. That they seem to exercise mysterious evil power is beyond question. Many tribal people have a witch doctor or medicine man. There is a particular fascination with witches. And it is almost ‘fashionable’ in some parts of the world to be called a witch. But the power of darkness is of the Devil!
Biblical Response: Witchcraft is Satan-inspired, demonic activity, which the Bible consistently condemns and warns, for one can quickly come under the sinister influence of Satan by playing around with witchcraft. Many Bible passages strongly condemn the practice as detestable to God – Deut. 18:9-16, and Gal. 5:19-21.