Monday 15 November 2021

Why don't demons attack everybody all of the time?

It seems to be the case that demons can and do attack humans in various ways; including planting thought and desires. Once this is accepted, the question that came to my mind is: given this power - and that they are supernatural spiritual entities who are apparently immune to age and fatigue, do not need to sleep etc.; then why don't demons attack All humans All of the time? 

One answer might be - but they do! 

A fair point! However, insofar as this is the case; the attacks are often subtle and indirect: rather than full-on attempts to break the will and possess people. These do seem to be unusual, if not always exceptional... I have heard that there have been times and places when outright demonic attacks are common, other times when they are relatively rare.

Another thing: the idea that demons can 'get into the heads' of human beings would seem to be terrifying - almost paralyzingly so; given that, no matter how vigilant we try to be - surely our guard must be down from time to time.

We are bound to fail sooner or later...  

Even more fundamentally; could a loving creator God really put his children into such a world? Surely there must also be defences and deterrents against demonic attack... 

What I am working towards is that the ability of demons to attack humans by getting inside their thinking cannot be the whole story

There must be countervailing forces - to make sense of God's motivations and of our own observations and experience; there must be other factors - which work in the opposite direction. 

One such is presumably 'defences' - the most important of which seems to be that demons must be 'invited-in'. They cannot force their way into an unwilling soul. 

Of course, this is only a partial defence - given the evil in Men's hearts, and the subtlety and deviousness of demonic temptation. Yet it does perhaps explain why all-out demonic attack is as rare as it is. 

If each Man is an impregnable castle, and demons can only enter by having the gate opened; then an unambiguous and obvious attack is the least likely to succeed.    

But there is another factor which I believe is operative in protecting us against demonic invasion - and this one seems to be neglected. 

This is that when a demonic attack fails: the demons are weakened and hurt. If demons attack and their attack is repulsed; they become worse-off than if they had never attacked. 

This means that as well as defence, there is also an active deterrent against demonic attack. 

We are not only defended against them by an impregnable castle - the gate of which must voluntarily be opened; but also every time They penetrate the caste defences and are beaten-back - then the demonic powers suffer a damaging defeat; perhaps a permanently damaging defeat.

Perhaps there is a law: The stronger the demonic attack which is thwarted; the more damaging and hurtful is the defeat. Therefore, most attacks will be partial, indirect, deniable - so that failure would be less hurtful. 

In different words; if demons tempt us, and we succumb but then recognize our sin and choose to repent - then this is a severe blow against the demonic cause. 

If a demon plants a thought in our minds, but we then recognize its provenance, realize it is of evil origin and reject it for that reason... This sequence is more than just a defense - it is an active blow against the powers of evil. 

Or when someone joins their personal creative imagination or activities with divine creation; that inflicts damage on the side of Satan. 

I think this kind of inner activity is one way in which much of the spiritual war of this world is conducted. And we need to remember that the power of repentance is infinitely renewable and of total power against sin. This power of repentance came to Men by the work of Jesus Christ.   

The above scenario suggests that if extreme or overt demonic attack becomes common; this is probably due either to extreme weakness and susceptibility on the side of humans so that their victory seems almost certain. 

Or it may result from reckless desperation on the side of demons - who have been driven to risk the painful and weakening consequences of spiritual defeat.  

Such factors may explain why at some particular places and times strong demonic attacks seem to have been more common. 

Some have reported that here-and-now is one of those places and times...


Skarphedin said...

Strong and overt demonic attacks also have the effect of demonstrating the existence of God and his goodness. Counter-productive for the Devil.

I have had it explained to me that this is the reason possessions are rare and usually rogue low impulse control entities. But that's just what I have been told.

Ilo said...

Demons, however, are not supernatural, the are praeternatural, that is, psychic. They are not truly spiritual. This is an important distinction that is often forgotten in the modern world, with vast and dire consequences.

Doktor Jeep said...

Lots of people appear to be possessed.

Jeffrey Cantrell said...

Don’t forget the fact that we also have guardian angels who “protect” us and who can and do “whisper” in our ears. All we need do is listen. I have heard these voices and have no doubt as to their origins.

Epimetheus said...

Terrible emotional wounds and certain drugs probably make people more susceptible too. Anything that wears away at the epidermis of the soul.

This is a weird question, Dr. Charlton, but do you entertain any doubts about the modernist metaphysics of schizophrenia and other severe disorders?

Evan Pangburn said...

Skarphedin - "Strong and overt demonic attacks also have the effect of demonstrating the existence of God and his goodness. Counter-productive for the Devil."

Now that modern man has denied that demonic attacks occur, including the majority of self-described Christians, their attack will not be recognized as such.

If strong and overt demonic attacks or possessions are really less common today than before (which I find debatable) I would suggest it has more to do with demons finding that sort of thing less useful than it once was, rather than being less able to get away with it.

It would seem they would be much less likely to be noticed by anyone who can see it for what it is.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the strongest sinful sexual desire attacks I seem to ever get are when I'm walking men through the conquer purity class. It is almost funny how clear it is - but makes a great topic to discuss with the other men.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Epi: "Terrible emotional wounds and certain drugs probably make people more susceptible too."

I think it depends almost wholly on the motivations - being-wounded, and taking substances called drugs as such, would Not have the effect of making people more susceptible. It it (for instance) a person's response to being wounded (e.g. becoming overwhelmed by resentment), or an evil-motivated use of a drug (any substance, probably) (e.g. using it to change ourselves in order to manipulate others or pursue passive-hedonic goals), that would make someone vulnerable, I think.

"This is a weird question, Dr. Charlton, but do you entertain any doubts about the modernist metaphysics of schizophrenia and other severe disorders?"

Well yes - since the modern metaphysics denies the reality of the spiritual - so that no aspect of life can have any spiritual aspect. When we are able to understand that all individuals persons are primarily engaged in a spiritual quest through mortal life, we may be able to understand both mental health and illness: the significance of which is likely to be very personal, bespoke tailored to each soul's most significant needs; and responsive to the condition of each soul.

(And remembering that we are incarnated into this mortal life with characteristics, dispositions, abilities, besetting sins etc from pre-mortal life.)