Job 1:6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.
Shandon L. Guthrie writes on 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
Traditionalists use this passage to counter argue that demons cannot inhabit the same area(s) as God (see 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 where Paul tells the Corinthians that God does not have fellowship with wickedness and darkness). Since God is present in the believer and the demonic and the divine “can never exist in the same place . . . [and] cannot exist in the same heart,” then the demonization of Christians is impossible. These counterarguments used against deliverance proponents seem to center around this anthropomorphic idea that God’s Spirit literally permeates the physical body. It’s as if every Christian has God living ubiquitously inside them much like blood. But God is neither a physical mass nor a spatial being. His presence in every believer is best understood in the traditional way: that God is immediately present and experienced within every believer. It no more signifies the literal spatial inhabiting of a physical presence than the references to the kingdom of God dwelling inside us (cf. Luke 17:21). The primal significance is that God’s Spirit has a unique relationship with each Christian believer.
Traditionalists typically assert that because God literally and physically permeates the physical bodies of Christians, then there is essentially no room for a demonic presence. I think this is naïve. Now, I’m not insinuating that there is permission for demonic cohabitation. What I am suggesting is that this passage may not be the evidence the traditionalist can appropriate. Put simply: the conclusion does not follow from the premises.
The significance of being God’s temple is that God “indwells” and subsequently “fills” believers in the sense that He communes with each of us and grants us direct spiritual awakening, encouragement, and power. Clearly the usages of “dwelling” and “filling” are meant to signify a metaphor with a literal truth at heart.
So, the problem must be addressed in terms of the following question, Can a demon conceivably exist in the proximity of God? I think we have some precedent for thinking so. In the book of Job, we are told quite vividly of Satan “[coming] before the LORD” when he accompanies the angels (1:6). The first dialogue that ensues concerns one of the greatest tests of faith a man of God could possibly receive (the conversation continues in Chapter 2). And then we are told that he “went out from the presence of the LORD” (v. 12). If God’s presence were of a literal attendance or inhabitance of every literal square inch of heaven, then I find it quite difficult to imagine how Satan could inhabit the literal presence of God. However, if God’s presence is His propinquity or proximity, as traditionally understood, then the self-contradiction does not occur.
Regarding the analogy to our bodies being the “temple” of the Spirit, even the physical temples of Jewish antiquity from which 1 Cor. 3:16 is the antitype could also be in the “presence” of a non-elect. Since the Ark of the Covenant was said to house the “presence” of God, then it should have been impossible for the non-believing Philistines to steal the ark and place it into Dagon’s temple (not to mention that it raises another problem with anthropomorphism: How does one actually steal the presence of God?). The solution must be that the “presence” of God in the temple (whether the temple refers to a physical structure or the Christian body) is a reflection of God’s proximity, not His inhabitance.
Now, if being demonized entails having a demon take ownership over the Christian believer, then this passage and others like it would be relevant and would preclude the idea that Christians can be demonized. However, the slight-of-hand revisionist wants daimonizomai to mean merely “to have a demon.” And neither 1 Corinthians 3 nor 2 Corinthians 6 will settle the demonization of Christians purely on that assumption.
Therefore, I find that the traditionalist who utilizes 1 Corinthians 3:16 to establish that demons cannot be in the presence of God are relying upon an unfortunate anthropomorphizing of God’s indwelling of believers. If the traditionalist first accomplishes a univocal definition of daimonizomai that entails the actual possession of a person by a demon, then 1 Corinthians 3:16 poses some relevance.
Pentecostal Theology [02/25/2015 4:19 PM]
Charles Page Bill Coble Alan N Carla Smith Chad S. Fickett Steve Webb what do you think about this very controversial issue ?
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:21 PM]
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:24 PM]
not since 70 AD! Christ brought a finality to the demonic hindrances.
Alan N Carla Smith [02/25/2015 4:25 PM]
Pentecostal Theology [02/25/2015 4:25 PM]
Job 1:6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them – OT hey scholars, were they all in the presence of the Lord? Rick Wadholm Jr
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:28 PM]
What accord has Christ with demons? The born again is a regenerated child of God and demons have no place in the regenerated born again child of God.
Pentecostal Theology [02/25/2015 4:28 PM]
Matthew 4:3 And the tempter (Satan) came and said to Him (Jesus)
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:32 PM]
A messenger of Satan was sent to buffet Paul. Paul dwelt with the hinder-er! Paul said the hinder-er would be taken out of the way.
Pentecostal Theology [02/25/2015 4:32 PM]
Traditionalists use this passage to counter argue that demons cannot inhabit the same area(s) as God. I think we have some precedent for thinking so. In the book of Job, we are told quite vividly of Satan “[coming] before the LORD” when he accompanies the angels (1:6)
Alan N Carla Smith [02/25/2015 4:34 PM]
Are we talking about abiding within the same human body (temple)? or just the same area… more vaguely speaking??
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:34 PM]
traditions, traditions, traditions!!!
Alan N Carla Smith [02/25/2015 4:37 PM]
are you advocating along with the “Can a Christian really have a demon?” post..??
Steve Webb [02/25/2015 4:40 PM]
Demons cannot possess a blood bought believer. They can oppress, hinder, trouble, or otherwise bother. It is biblically impossible for one to both be possessed by Christ and an agent of the devil at the same time.
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:41 PM]
if the devil and his angels are cast into the bottomless pit who is left to oppress, hinder and trouble?
Alan N Carla Smith [02/25/2015 4:42 PM]
I agree with Steve Webb.
May I ask can a demon work through a blood-bought believer??
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:43 PM]
Demons cannot possess a regenerated born again believer however they can be oppressed, hindered and troubled.
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:45 PM]
No, a demon can’t work through a blood bought believer however a BBB can oppose and hinder himself by unfaithfulness and disobedience.
Charles Page [02/25/2015 4:48 PM]
A BBB can be greatly hindered and opposed by another BBB who thinks that he is possessed by a demon/demons. I have seen tooooooo much evidence of this garbage to know the end result of demon deliverance ministries! Their fadish ministries are growing abundantly!
Byron Benefield [02/25/2015 5:10 PM]
Most Christians do not understand the tripartite nature of their own being. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer within the human spirit [conscience, intuition, fellowship (communication with God)], working outward (sanctification) toward the soul (mind, will, and emotions) of the believer, bringing the flesh into subjection. This is a process to “take the land” overcoming the powers of darkness that dwell there little by little. (They are NOT just sitting on your shoulders) A demon possessed person is possessed in the spirit (hardened conscience, dulled intuition, communication/connection with evil spirits) and controls the soul (mind, will, and emotions) and the flesh. The spirit, soul, and body houses the evil spirits. A born – again believer can have “strongholds” of demons within their soul (mind, will, and emotions) and flesh. They work inwardly from the flesh towards the spirit to possess the “land” of the heart. God works from the inside toward the outside. Satan works from the outside toward the inside. A born again Christian can’t be possessed but can surely and most likely have demon problems within their flesh causing sickness and/or sinful habits, bad attitudes or unchristlike characteristics. Repentance paves the way for deliverance.
Charles Page [02/25/2015 5:24 PM]
most Christian’s view of man is Greek gnostic viewing man as a vessel containing invisible spiritual elements. Hebrew views are holistic viewing the nature of man as being a living soul (trichotimous)
Christian exorcist see man in a Greek gnostic view and a demon can be spit out as from a vessel. Usually a box of Kleenexes accompanies a deliverance ministry!
Ron Hamm [02/25/2015 5:25 PM]
Pentecostal Theology [02/25/2015 5:30 PM]
Charles Page When you say ” BBB can oppose and hinder himself by unfaithfulness and disobedience” do you mean they can backslide? Not very reformed of you 🙂
Charles Page [02/25/2015 5:32 PM]
Years ago in a Tennessee camp-meeting I heard TL Lowery frighten a whole tabernacle full of people frightening them to cry out in fear of the cast-out demon wandering around seeking someone to possess. You would have thought by the emotion there was a revival taking place (if revivals can be measured by frantic screaming)
All this was preceded by the profits words: “folks, I have seen this many times in my ministry”. It was the words of a huckster!
Charles Page [02/25/2015 5:33 PM]
Steve Webb [02/25/2015 5:34 PM]
Charles Page Demonic forces are not bound and chained until the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, and then after that, at the final battle, they are cast, along with hell, into the lake of fire for a permanent home. Any theology or ideology must be put into proper biblical context. The idea that some mysterious event happened in 70 AD that seen demons and/or satan bound and no longer a force is a grievous error that should not be passed along.
Pentecostal Theology [02/25/2015 5:34 PM]
Alan N Carla Smith There are Christians living in holiness, and then there are Christians living like the devil. They may not be technically possessed but sure go alongside the demonic…