Ghosts and haunted houses

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Pergamum, Dec 18, 2018.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry, I don't have time, but the references are all over the Bible. I'm wondering how they fit into the theology compared to fallen angels.
  2. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    David, Earl has not said there is no satanic/supernatural activity. Careful reading and thinking!
  3. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    The source of these acts has not been a part of what I've been asking. My question regards whether what occurred was real.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  4. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Your original question was do angels still minister to God’s people. But a specific example would help. Are you asking if we are to expect that they might appear from time to time as Michael did to Daniel and Gabriel did to Mary? Or are you speaking of something along the line of the Frank Peretti books where they are constantly in action on behalf of Christians but we aren’t aware of it?
  5. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Unless I have really misunderstood him, his take seems to be though that there is not really anything magical or supernatural going on, as Satan and demons have no real powers now. They just are doing a mental trick and illusions to make us think that they are doing something.
  6. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I would tend to see it more along the second position on how they interact with us now.
  7. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I think Earl believes that Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). And that he has great cunning and devices against the church and believers (2 Corinthians 2:11); and that he tempts believers (1 Corinthians 7:1).
  8. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Indeed this is true. we have is a difference of opinion of satan's actual power.
  9. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    This is what @Jeri Tanner wrote:

    This is what you said:

    If you were not attempting to tie her thought in with David Hume's (and the context shows that she hardly holds to a view of the supernatural that is comparable to Hume's) then what was the point of your comment?
  10. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    What do you mean by real?
  11. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Again, more charity please.

    No one here is a deist. No one denies satanic/demonic activity. The question is the extent of that power and the way in which it is exercised.
  12. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I understood her to be saying, since we can't see the cause we can't comment on it. Hume said since we can't see the cause, we can't comment on it (that's the weaker thesis of Hume; the stronger thesis is that he denied it altogether).

    But even if that isn't what she meant, and I will grant that, my larger point stands: there is a lot of stuff I can't see (like God's essence) that I can comment on. There is a lot of stuff the Bible doesn't address (like women takin communion) that we reason inferentially from the narrative (assuming, like I do, that narratives contain teaching and imitation).
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Fair enough. So that raises the next question, which Taylor alluded to, will Antichrist do signs and wonders, or will it all be Mandela effect type mind tricks?
  14. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Were you or were you not trying to link her views to Hume's? If you were, you were being disingenuous, unfair. If you were not then the mention of Hume was entirely pointless.
  15. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I brought up Hume for clarification. that's what happens in a discussion. We find out where some of our earlier understandings were wrong. My initial reaction was that her comment seemed very similar to Hume--I then pressed that point. I admit that parts of my understanding were wrong. I'm not sure how that's disengenous.
  16. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Are there multiple meanings?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This is what I was getting at with my allusions to realism, nominalism, and metaphysics. I have a Patristic metaphysics (see my avatar, Mar Ephrem the Syrian), so I would take the "real" in the following sense. This means I can understand manifestations of phenomena (whether angelic or demonic) without worrying about what real means.

    Logoi (per Maximus the Confessor) is the presence of grace in nature. Nature contains energy as form in matter. The Form of the Good is the Form within which all others are synthesized. It is the mind of God, Logos, the Wisdom of the Old Testament.

    Nominalism, by contrast, severed earth from heaven. It sees reality as disparate objects. There is no way, then, that the Form could be manifested in space and time.
  18. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    You appear to misunderstand my question. I am simply asking for clarification.

    Speaking of the works of Pharaoh's magicians, you asked if they were real. Do you mean real as opposed to an illusion? I think the Scripture speaks plainly enough to say that the snakes, for instance, were real in that sense. Or do you mean real as in really supernatural? Or merely a real deception?
  19. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I thought I was being rather clear that I was asking Earl whether the feats were real or deception. In this context, a "real deception" is an oxymoron. I suppose one could say "real deception" to say that something "really is" a deception, but that is obviously not what I am saying.

    In other words, I am not sure what needs clarifying here. Did the magicians in actual fact conjure actual snakes with actual "dark arts," or didn't they? Of course, I guess you're going to ask me next to define "actual." In that case, I am not sure what to say. I am not trying to trick anyone here. I am just curious what people make of these happenings in Scripture. That is all.
  20. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Your question was brief, and I did not understand what you meant. I am not asking for a definition of a word so much as requesting that you clarify your question.

    What you appeared to be asking Earl earlier was whether the magicians were performing really supernatural feats or mere illusions. Earl said that while the serpents were not produced by supernatural means, they were no illusions. Then you still asked if the feats were real. It's still not obvious to me where your question was going.

    Real deception was perhaps unclear. By that I meant a thing that is real (that is, not illusory) but a thing not really that which it is claimed to be. So, really a deception.
  21. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    A reminder not to under-estimate the powers of evil:

    In addition to the examples given by Jim:

    • "1) The supernatural fire from heaven that consumed Job's livestock after God gave Satan permission to go after him (Job 1:16)
    • 2) The second beast of Revelation that performs great signs and makes fire come down from heaven (Rev. 13:13-14)
    • 3) The warning against false prophets who do signs and wonders (Deut. 13:1-3, Mt. 24:24)"

    And in addition to the fact that:
    • ---the Egyptian magicians produced snakes (and Scriptures tell us they are snakes),
    • ---and that Scripture says that the magicians "did the same" as Aaron (Exodus 7:11), and so it was not a deception,

    ....below are some further examples of the great power of the Devil and his demons:

    • ----Satan, if allowed by God, can even influence people’s speech (Matthew 16).
    • ----Satan desired to sift Peter like wheat and this led to his falling. So..Satan did, in fact, do some sifting.
    • ----Demons caused physical pain to folks in the NT.
    • ----Satan has blinded the eyes of unbelievers.
    • ----A lying spirit was sent to punish Achab, King of Israel. God permitted this, of course, but the demon was still given great power.
    • ----The Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh was a "messenger of satan" meant to hurt him.

    Remember Ephesians 6:12:
    ---"Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places."

    It is foolish to state that we are not truly wrestling, or that the wrestling is merely pantomime. The devil is real, and is active, and the demons were fallen angels and so retain the powers of angels (though limited in their permissions to act).

    Nobody denies that God is in control. The Devil is God's Devil and can only act upon God's permission. But that is only one side of the coin that the Reformed have often stressed in an unbalanced way. They forget that the Devil and his demons are still dangerous and truly active.

    The Ancient and Medieval period stressed one aspect and the post-Reformation/Enlightenment era stressed the other, but neither is balanced without the other.

    I would again assert that much of our thinking on these matters is more influenced by the Enlightenment than by the Bible.

    Examples of powers I believe the demons have exercised:
    • ---I believe that curses sometimes work.
    • ---I believe people can be demonized or bothered.
    • ---I believe the ancient oracles had some power (Delphi, etc),
    • ---I believe regional deities had some power to entrap the masses,
    • ---I believe the Great God Pan did perhaps appear to the runner Pheidippides as it was reported, and that the new cult of Pan that was founded as a result of the Greek victory at Marathon was instigated by demons.
    • ---The gods aided their peoples in times of war in exchange for devotion.
    • ---I believe a demon appeared to Muhammad to give him his revelations. Even he suspected as much.
    • ---I believe the apparitions of the Virgin Mary are sometimes real, just as other apparitions, for Scriptures warns us against this very thing, "But even if we or an angel from heaven shoudl preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be under a divine curse!" If such a thing were an impossibility, why would the Apostle Paul write Galatian 1:8 as if it were possible.
    • ---I believe when Antichrist comes he will yield great and wondrous powers to deceive the masses. Whether this is real or not...I am not sure... but he will even be given power to give breath to the image of the beast (only God can raise the dead and so I assume that this must be illusion, in this case).
    Revelation 13:15: He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed."



    We ARE truly wrestling against the powers of evil....

    And our opponent is still very strong, even though he has already been stricken with a mortal wound.

    "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God"

    That is pretty powerful!
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  22. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior


    Your post is so long that it would take more time than I have to deal with it. Here are just a few thoughts and questions.

    I'm just curious why you think this. Are there historical examples of events that you are referencing?

    Is this the case in all wars where divine support is claimed? Wouldn't this pit demon against demon? Is any warfare still today directed by demons? I'm not trying to corner you, just trying to figure out your position.

    Paul is speaking hypothetically. Compare 1 Cor. 13:1.
  23. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    First, ABOUT ORACLES: I believe I can dig up examples of pagan prophets who have correctly predicted things. Or have had prophetic dreams. Or have had myths of the future.

    Some examples would be the many myths held by tribal peoples about the appearance of white men coming to bring the "words of life" or begin a new age. This has happened a lot here in Papua.

    Even wikipedia acknowledges this strange phenomenon under the heading "White Gods" and these cultures almost always have a prediction of a return of these white gods: This has aided missionary work in many lands (and also aided the Conquistadors as well when they thought Cortez was the return of Quetzelcoatl and the Inca treated Pizarro and his men like the Viracochas).

    Bernal, the priest who traveled with Cortez, noted that the Mexicali’s predicted that Quezacoatl would return on the very day that Cortez and his man landed. They predicted he would be white and have a beard. The locals did not grow beards and were not white.

    ABOUT THE GOD PAN: Yes, I believe the regional gods vie for territory and are jealous of one another. Do we expect demons to play well on a team? They are full of hate, greed, envy, and deceit. Do we expect them not to use this on each other?

    As far as they are united and put into a hierarchy, this is out of fear. They are fearful servants, serving out of fear.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand. And their house will not stand.

    Those in hell will hate and blame one another. The gnashing of teeth will be upon one another physically as well, for we see this in the lowest degradation of mankind in cannibalism. Cannibalism is a forestaste of the sinner in hell.

    The regional demons controls their nations and peoples and try to position them for power.

    Are the miracles of demons real miracles? I am not positive, but they are close enough for us not to under-estimate their power. Both Aquinas and Augustine thought so. I agree with Aquinas by answering both YES and NO to this question.

    In 83 Quaestiones Augustine says, “It often happens that miracles worked by means of the magical arts are similar to the miracles worked through the servants of God.”

    And this is quoted by Aquinas's Summa in Part 1, Question 144, article 4: The Attacks of the Bad Angels, where he says,

    "I respond: As is clear from what was said above (q. 110, a. 4), if ‘miracle’ is taken in the proper sense, then neither demons nor any other creature can work miracles—only God can, since a miracle, properly speaking, is something done outside the entire order of created nature, and every power belonging to a creature is contained within that order.

    However, ‘miracle’ is sometimes used in a broad sense for something that exceeds human power and understanding. And given this sense, demons can perform ‘miracles’, i.e., works that astonish men insofar as they exceed their power and understanding. For even a man, to the extent that he does something that lies beyond the power and understanding of another man, inspires in that other man admiration at what he does, so that it seems that in some sense a miracle has been performed.

    Notice, however, that even though demonic works of this sort, which seem like miracles to us, do not satisfy the true notion of a miracle, they are nonetheless real entities in certain cases.

    For instance, through the power of demons the Pharaoh’s magicians made genuine snakes and frogs (Exodus 7:12 and 8:7).

    And as Augustine says in De Civitate Dei 20, “When the fire fell from heaven and consumed Job’s household at one blow along with his herds of cattle, and when because of a storm the house collapsed and killed his children, all of which were works of Satan, these things were not imaginary.”

    Linked here: 1/st1-ques114.pdf

    Finally, was the Apostle Paul speaking hypothetically?

    NO, I don't think the Apostle Paul was speaking hypothetically. I believe the devil and demons HAVE appeared as angels of light throughout history to deceive mankind.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  24. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Getting back to the OP on haunted places:

    "Biblical examples of the types of demonic attachment are reportedly seen in people (through demonization), animals (e.g., the pigs in Mark 5:11-13), and idols (1 Cor. 10:20).

    There are several passages which appear to relate demons to territories. In the OT, the concept of gods of the nations exercising power in specific geographic localities, such as the gods of thehigh places (some 63 times in the NIV, including Num. 26:30; Deut. 33:29; 1 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chron. 11:15; Ps. 78:58; Isa. 15:2; Jer. 7:31; Ezek. 6:6; Hos. 10:8; Amos 7:9); the ‘gods’ of the hills vs ‘gods’ of the plains (1 Kings 20:23); the idea that gods could be established in new locations (2 Kings 17:29-31), and the linking in Deut 32:17 of all false gods to demons. The most commonly cited example is Daniel 10-11:1, in which the princes of Persia and Greece appear to be demons in charge of the respective geopolitical units. (9)

    We see other possible examples in the LXX of Deut. 32:8, which states that the nations set according to the number of angels of God. Finally, we note that another example given is the demons begging Jesus not to send them out of an area (Mark 5:10)."

    It appears that demons often focus on particular spots or places. Thus, sacred places may be said to be the particular dwelling place of a particular demon (i.e. haunted).
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    In Book 8 of City of God Augustine says Hermes Trismegistus correctly prophecies his country's destruction. Now, the only quibble I have with that is dating and authorship, as exactly who Trismegistus was is a problem in modern scholarship
  26. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification, brother. My apologies for not understanding what was being asked.

    But, like I said earlier, at the moment I don't really have a dog in this fight, as I consider myself in general a cessationist, although the happenings surrounding the magicians, the witch of Endor, etc., do interest me in regards to their import for today. I will study more about it in the meantime.
  27. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    No problem. My question was unclear as well.

    I don't know why you are bringing Ewoks into this all of a sudden, but you'll get no complaints from this quarter.
  28. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    It’s the Lord’s day and I know we need to be circumspect in all things debatey on this day. :) I’d like to just toss in this one question for thought and perhaps discussion tomorrow: what was accomplished according to Colossians 2:15, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” This is something that happened in time and place.
  29. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Yes. But he also tells us we are still warring against them. And at least one principality is going to be fully operative when Revelation 13 gets here.
  30. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Already/Not yet.

    D-Day has happened. But we are still mopping up.
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