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Social Issues: New Age


While one segment of our culture attempts to define away the supernatural, another segment uncritically accepts nearly any source of information. The existence of the supernatural can be deduced from nature and experience. The universe does not explain itself and design requires a designer. Events which defy well-established laws of nature point to a power that comes from outside those laws. A detailed understanding of supernatural entities, however, remains obscure, partly because some of those entities are deceivers.

The Bible comes to us with supernatural credentials, both miracles in the time of the writers and prophecies that have been since fulfilled. These tie it to the One Who created and sustains natural laws and to Whom time is no barrier. In the Bible we learn things that we could not find out any other way about spiritual realities. God has revealed to those who respond to Him a glimpse into the nature of the spiritual battle going on around us. This is intended to motivate us to depend, not on ourselves, but on Him for the wisdom and power to overcome.

Dangers in approaching the topic of spiritual evil range from denial of the existence of demons to overemphasis on demons by attributing every sin to the presence of a demon which must be cast out. Also we may in our study develop a fascination that leads to entrapment. On the other hand, for the believer in the One Who has conquered the enemy, it is wrong to live in fear, although fear is the proper response for a person depending on his own resources.

The Bible teaches that Satan is a created being who chose to oppose God and was expelled from heaven along with a large number of other spiritual beings who sided with him. He has been defeated by the act of Jesus Christ shedding His blood on the cross and is sentenced to eternal torment at the end of the age. In the intervening time he continues to oppose our mutual Creator.

According to the Bible, Satan's will is anything but God's will. He and his confederates have a general influence over the world, a specific ability to influence the thoughts and perceptions of individuals and the ability to oppress certain individuals, although apparently only with God's permission. God allows him freedom to do these things, and for reasons we are not always told. Yet in some cases we see that God has turned evil into a spiritual victory. Satan and demons can tempt people to sin (oppose God's principles) and they try to produce discord. They seek to control individuals and are able to "demonize" human beings, dominating their wills. The Bible presents "demonization" (demon possession) as a real phenomenon which may simulate physical or mental illness but requires a spiritual solution. The ultimate goal of Satan and demons, however, is not merely demonization but to separate, by any possible means, people from the love of God.

According to the late Dr. Kurt Koch of Germany, there are a few pathognomonic signs of demonization but most cases are more difficult to discern. The demonized person essentially never said that he was possessed or demonized. Dr. Koch never told a person he was demonized but rather offered to pray for the individual. A disturbed person, even a non-believer, was usually receptive to prayer but a demonized person reacted very strongly and in ways that pointed to the diagnosis.

In cases of suspected demonization, Dr. Koch proposed prayer and fasting by a committed group of mature Christians, as spiritual support for a counselor who is seeking to bring the afflicted person through the stages of confession, renunciation of the devil, absolution (which could be assured when the individual was able to understand the concept of forgiveness by grace) and the development of a spiritual resistance. In some cases Koch used the laying on of hands and rarely exorcism, following Biblical guidelines and relatively unsensationally.

People may be influenced by Satan and demons in a number of ways. The influence may be brief and intermittent for almost anyone. Jesus saw it among His disciples and, in the case of Peter, continued to groom him for leadership. Yet a more powerful hold can be gotten on those who put themselves at risk by involvement in the occult and continuing in sin. Satan offers knowledge, power and pleasure. People do not think they are selling their souls, rather they think they are getting something for nothing.

The occult seems to have taken new forms in our generation. According to Clifford Wilson, close contactees of UFO's experience the same phemonena as spiritualist adherents. The New Age movement and its kin include those who think the power is within them, those who believe they have tapped into an impersonal power source and some who recognize the existence of sentient beings but feel that those beings are benevolent or controllable. Some in our culture see Eastern Religions as empirical "self help" techniques without spiritual content.

There may be other pathways to demonic influence. Hypnosis seems to be a double edged sword. Subliminal suggestion may be in a similar category. Halucinogenic drugs have been suggested by some as weakening spiritual defenses. Some Rock Music, both by its message and hero worship by its adherents steers the interest of some towards sin and even dark things. Dr. Koch saw a susceptibility to demonic influence even in the descendents of those who dabbled in the occult.

How can we resist? Only by submission to the Lord Jesus Christ Who has won the victory with His own blood and offers it to all who will come to Him. We must live in close communication with Him and carefully follow His commands. Only then can we experience safety in the midst of a battle zone and be part of His ultimate victory.

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