Part I: Do Angels and Demons Exist?
In order for us to explore the wider issue of demonic influence, let us first address the skeptics and naysayers who argue that, because there is no clear proof of spiritual life forms. Only then can we turn to the more general discussion of their influence.
Let’s start with a simple premise: The universe is likely filled with sentient life forms of mind-boggling diversity, of which we have hard scientific “proof” of very few. In fact, modern scientists estimate that there are as many as 8.7 million living species on Planet Earth. They have catalogued only 1.3 million of them, and add more than 15,000 each and every year.
We don’t need to look far to find a diverse array of life forms. A single spoonful of soil contains as many as 10,000 species of bacteria and viruses. A coral reef contains vast numbers of diverse living species.
And scientists admit that they may have barely scratched the surface by studying carbon-based organic life. Scientists have hypothesized that silicates, as well as ammonia, hydrogen, methane or even plasma exuded by the sun’s rays could create the necessary interactions sufficient to support unknown and previously-unidentified forms of life.
Therefore, if we safely assume that we have only scratched the surface of understanding the true nature and extent of life in our universe, then the notion of angels, demons and other “energy-based” life forms seems hardly outlandish to entertain.
With regard to Holy Scripture, in the Bible, human life clearly represents only one form of sentient life in God’s creation, albeit a central one. The author of the letter to the Hebrews, speaking to God the Creator says, “You made him lower than the angels for a little while.” Hebrews 2:7.
In other words, man’s current status in the material universe is temporary, and is affected by the influence of spiritual life forms. Both the Old and New Testaments are replete with instances where angels intervened in human affairs at God’s direction. Similarly, the Bible also speaks about the constant adverse presence of demons or devils, as spiritual entities that desire to tempt and harm humans.
The Bible describes the dimensions where such beings reside as their “estate:” “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 1:6.
Therefore, there is both rational and Biblical support for the premise that multiple dimensions exist that support a wide array of life forms, including both those that desire to help and those that desire to harm human life.
If we examine ourselves in regard to our relative place vis-à-vis angels and demons, a tiny creature such as a mouse might view us likewise. Despite its vastly different scale and size, a mouse still lives in relative proximity to humans. Yet, a mouse would probably find it impossible to fathom humanity’s nature or motives.
Nonetheless, a mouse might very well conclude that humans include some beings possessed of a beneficient nature, as well as malevolent ones. A mouse might find it impossible to understand why humanity would invent mouse traps (nothing more than murder machines to a mouse) that would seem to tempt him to his own death and mortal destruction. A mouse no can no more easily appreciate or comprehend human motives than we can digest angelic/demonic ones.
Further, a mouse would probably view the world through its own form of “mouse-colored” lenses, assuming that all of reality revolves entire around his own salvation/damnation. Of course, viewed in this way, mice are (perhaps like us) one sliver of God’s creation, no more, no less.
Part II: The Question of Demonic Influence
Let us know turn to the question at hand: Are demonic influences on humans increasing in our world today?
Having put aside the skeptics’ objections that “there is no proof that demons exist” which we have addressed supra, there are effectively two hypotheses here:
- No, demonic influence is no greater on human beings today that it was in centuries’ past. There are simply more people currently living on Earth. Therefore it only appears that there are a greater number of atrocities affected by demonic influences. Further, there is more widespread news gathering/reporting today than in centuries’ past. Therefore, it only appears that the number/frequency and degree of evil conduct is greater today, but in reality, demons possess limited influence over humanity’s free will and are exercising it no more today than ever before.
- Yes, both the number of instances of demonic influences and the degree to which demons are influencing human affairs is greater today.
In support of the second hypothesis, it is worth mentioning that the Roman Catholic diocese of Milan recently appointed seven new exorcists and the Catholic church in Sardinia has sent three priests to Rome for exorcism training to deal with the increasing number of people partaking in practices such as black magic, paganism and Satanic rites, The Daily Telegraph has reported. In Spain, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Madrid also selected eight priests to undertake exorcism training in May, according to the paper, to deal with an “unprecedented rise” in cases of “demonic possession”.
Father Francesco Bamonte, the president of the Italy-based International Association for Exorcists told La Repubblica in December 2013 that there were not enough exorcists to help the number of people possessed. He said: “Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people subscribing to occultism. “The few exorcists that we have in the dioceses are often not able to handle the enormous number of requests for help.”
The number of instances where demons and otherworldly influences seem to be affecting human behavior in the news today is noteworthy. Just a few recent instances include:
- The stabbing of a 12-year old girl in Wisconsin by her “friends,” who were offering her as a ritualistic sacrifice to an otherworldly being named “Slenderman”;
- Harvard University considered hosting a Satanic “Black Mass,“;
- The undeniable fact that mass murders (especially of children) are on the rise, including recent ones where the killer claimed he was going to “become a god” and punish humanity.
St. Paul has explained, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Tim. 3:1-5.