Question: “If he didn’t, then he was positively untruthful, for He purposely conveyed an impression contrary to the truth. It represents Him not as instructing but deceiving His disciples, as encouraging superstition rather than teaching truth. It presents Him in a light entirely inconsistent with His claim to be a teacher sent from God, since it represents Him as personifying diseases & actually addressing them as demons. But most incredible of all, it represents Him as making use of an unfounded superstition to substantiate His claim to divine authority, since His delegation to His disciples of power to cast out demons was regarded as a divine attestation of His mission.”

There are two aspects to the question.

  1. Belief in a personal supernatural Devil
  2. Belief that demons cause illness.

There have been a number of questions and answers on these two subjects, so I won’t attempt complete answers. This answer assumes a familiarity with the subjects that many readers may not have. If any one needs further explanation on any of the points made in this answer then feel free to ask. I know that this does not directly answer the questions asked. If the questioner is serious about having them answered in more detail, and is willing to evaluate the answers in detail then it would be worth investing the effort. A way we will know that you are serious about evaluating the answers is if you give a considered response to this posting. If you are serious then I or someone else will be able to give detailed answers.

It is not clear to me whether the intention behind the question is to criticise Christadelphians for not believing in a personal supernatural Devil, or to criticise the Bible for apparently teaching such superstitions. I’ll assume that the questioner believes in a personal supernatural Devil and that demons really do cause illness.

I’ll respond to both these topics with some questions in return.

  1. If the Devil and demons are important literal beings then why is it that they are almost never mentioned in the Old Testament? And even those very few references require very specific interpretations to understand them in that way.
  2. If the Devil is a literal personal being then why in the greatest treatise on sin and righteousness, the letter to the Romans, does Paul not mention the Devil? An exception is a single reference, Rom 16:20, that does not support the idea of a literal supernatural personal Devil. In the heavily reasoned arguments in chapters 1-9 Paul does not even mention the Devil or Satan by name, though Paul does make very strong reference to the reality that is meant by the Devil, that is fleshly thinking.
  3. Why can modern medicine provide remedies for illnesses that are attributed to demons? Have demons gone on holidays in modern times? I make no apology for accepting a theology that does not conflict with known facts.
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One Response to Did Jesus believe in the existence of a personal devil?

  1. brother yochanan says:

    John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

    we gentiles have a different perception on many aspects of the bible, so did the translators and the catholic bishops who tweaked the translations after the translators were finished their sections. The bishops tweaked to make their catholic doctrines ‘fit’ in with scripture.
    Johns gospel does not speak of casting out. driving out demons is not something we christians can formulate from the gospels, there is no pattern or teaching to us. In fact there is more teaching on the gifts of the spirit and use of church function of speaking in tongues than on rescuing people from possession (which i would think would be a salvation loop hole) There are references in the new testament (titus 1:4) that we are not to heed jewish fables.
    If we look at what jesus did in these casting outs he did whatever he had to, to increase their faith. This is obvious in the legion story and the father who had the son who occasionally got thrown (dizzy) around immaterial substances like fire and water (inner ear infection).
    The OT ascribes no demon activity except that of false idol worship and claims that all gods (demons) are false.
    The OT says that the spirits of man go to the grave and await judgment day. There are no floaty trapped between world ghosties hanging around.
    If you want to talk about the fallen angels, well, thats another topic. If you actually believe that any of Gods works are imperfect then read the bible again. You may well have to convince me that heaven is a place not worth living in and that angels have any sort of free will and that in a certain cherub, musical instruments were created inside him. That does not sound like God at all.

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