Friday, March 17, 2017

One True God

There are many more questions about angels, demons, and the army of the Lord, created in the service of Him. But since the week is coming to a close, I shall choose just one more topic to discuss. And that topic is demons.

Here's what I love about demons....

(That threw you off, didn't it? How is there anything to love about demons?) Honestly, though, here is what I love about demons: they are always revealing the true nature of God. 

We see this, of course, in the Gospels. Every time Jesus encounters a demon, it calls Him by name. It identifies Him as the holy Son of God. It calls Him out, loudly enough for all to hear, even before He has revealed His own nature to the people around. Even before He is ready to declare who He is, the demons know, and they proclaim it. 

But it's not just that. There are other ways that the demons reveal the true nature of God. For example, the fact that there are demons at all reveals something fundamental about God's nature. We know that God values free will in His relationship with humans; He wants us to love Him because we choose to, not because we have to. That there are demons at all demonstrates that He values free will in general. The God of the angels is the God of man - He's the same God. He places the same value on free will. Just as those created to glorify Him can choose not to, so those created to serve Him can also choose not to. The angels become demons.

It's important not to take this too far. We don't know exactly what God's relationship with the angels is. We don't have anything to tell us that. We know what His covenant with man is, but we should not assume that this is the same covenant relationship that He shares with other beings. Just as we do not know how God relates to the flowers or the butterflies or the ants, so we do not know how God relates to the angels. But we do see clearly His value of free will in the very existence of demons, and this should bolster our confidence that God really is, through and through, who He says He is. He is not one God in this covenant and a different God in another; He is who He is. Consistently.

Another thing we can learn about God from the demons is His true omnipotence (all-power). We talk a lot about God's redemption, about how God is able to turn bad things into good things, about how God uses broken persons for His purposes. We talk about how even the ugliest evil can bring about tremendous beauty. We declare that no one is too far gone to be used by God. And in fact, this is the testimony of the demons, too. 

In 1 Samuel, Saul disobeys the Lord's direct order, and the favor of God is removed from him. Then God sends an evil spirit to torment the king. In the Scriptures, this is still referred to as a spirit of God. Of course, we should not say that God is or has an evil spirit; that would be to deny the overwhelming testimony of Scripture. But He can use an evil spirit, a being created in the service of Him that has exercised its free will and chosen to go another way, just as He can use an evil man. Nothing is too far gone for God. 

Why would an evil spirit, one who exercised its free will to escape the service of God, be willing to do the service of God when asked? Because God is inviting the spirit on its own terms - He is giving it the chance to do what it wants to do anyway; He is just planning to use it for good. It's the same thing we see in Job. The wicked one jumps at the opportunity to torment the faithful servant. Why? Not because it will glorify God, but because torment is the very thing the spirit is bent on. It's what the spirit wants to do. Given the opportunity, the spirit will do it. And then God will turn it for good. 

That's amazing! God is doing the same thing with the angels (and demons) that He's doing with men - He's working all things together for good. He's giving them over to their own evil minds, and then He's making that work out anyway. God truly is who He says He is. 

No wonder even the demons can't help but say it. 

We get hung up so easily on all of this, on angels and demons and the army of the Lord. There are so many questions and not a lot of answers. There's a lot we're not told about these beings; we have to figure most of it out for ourselves from the few clues that we're given in the Scriptures. But our questions are not really about angels and demons. Or, at least, they shouldn't be. Our questions should be about God Himself, and to this end, the angels have much to teach us. Not just about their covenant, but about ours, as well.

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