Satan Is Not Omnipotent: A Philosophical Arguments (5)
Witchcraft (Sorcery, Magic Arts):
Witchcraft refers to magic arts using evil, black magic powers, drugs, casting spells, causing sickness and death, etc. The root Greek New Testament word translated sorcery relates to drugs (“pharmakia”). It takes many different forms. Historically and traditionally, witches and wizards attribute their “powers” to Satan and often pledge their allegiance. Witchcraft involves mind and will control. Some witches are demon-possessed people or demons manifested in a human form. That they seem to exercise mysterious evil power is beyond question. Many tribal people have a witch doctor or medicine man. There is a particular fascination with witches. And it is almost ‘fashionable’ in some parts of the world to be called a witch. But the power of darkness is of the Devil!
Biblical Response: Witchcraft is Satan-inspired, demonic activity, which the Bible consistently condemns and warns, for one can quickly come under the sinister influence of Satan by playing around with witchcraft. Many Bible passages strongly condemn the practice as detestable to God – Deut. 18:9-16, and Gal. 5:19-21.
Astrology and horoscopes:
From ancient times many people have been taught that the position and movement of stars and planets either control or directly influence people’s lives. Astrology says the sign people are born predetermines a person’s destiny and life events. By consulting a horoscope, one can learn of upcoming events and make changes accordingly. In effect, the practice denies God and His Sovereignty and looks to the stars for guidance, wisdom, and advice. Astrology and horoscopes have no place in the life of a Christian.
Biblical Response: Astrology is condemned in Scripture – Deut. 4:19; Is. 47:13-15; Jer. 10:2. The wise men (Magi) who visited Jesus were likely Babylonia astrologers/kings who feared God and were given specific instructions from God to follow a particular star to locate Jesus to worship him and glorify God – Matt. 2:1-12. It cannot be taken as approval of astrology, for the star was an appointed sign from God and led to glorifying God. That is not the intended purpose of classic, traditional astrology, which predictably leads to worshiping idols and men and glorifying Satan. Instead, the Bible admonishes us to seek wisdom and guidance from God. – Dan. 1:20, 2:11-23; Ps. 32:8, 119:129-135; 1 Sam. 23:1-4; Col. 1:9-10, 2:2-8; James 1:5-8, 4:13-17.
Divination/soothsaying (fortunetelling/palm reading):
Fortune-telling refers to the practice of foretelling and predicting a person’s future. Diviners, soothsayers, and astrologers fall in this category, as sometimes prophets do. Divination uses deceptive manipulation and general predictions. Many different devices, objects, and practices are used, including:
- Palm reading
- Crystal balls
- Tarot cards
- Rock crystals and
Fortune-telling is fueled by people’s natural curiosity and the desire to know the future to alter circumstances, avoid calamity or take advantage of opportunities. Most of us shouldn’t know what tomorrow holds. Usually, the predictions are general and could apply to many different people.
Biblical Response: Deut. 18:9-16 specifically condemn and forbid these practices. People are looking at someone or something other than God for advice about the future. The fact is that only God is omniscient and knows all things about all people, past, present, and future. And God reveals to us what He knows we can handle and what is ultimately in our best interests. When Saul pressed to know the future, it wasn’t good – 1 Sam. 28:16-19. Study, Ps. 139:1-18, 23-24; Prov. 27:1; Eccl. 7:14-15; Is. 42:8-9. 46:8-10; Matt. 6:30-34; James 4:13-17
Superstition refers to beliefs and practices based on tradition, fear of the unknown, or trust in certain magic forms to bring benefits or avoid evil and disaster. Superstitions have no basis in fact and play into the hands of Satan and demonic powers.
Examples would be:
- walking under a ladder
- pregnant woman walking under a scorching sun
- seeing a black cat
- saying “God bless you” when you sneeze (hoping not to lose your spirit and have an evil one come in)
- omens and evil signs
- Ornaments and good luck charms (including crosses) worn to protect against evil.
- the number ’13.’
- breaking a mirror as bringing years of bad luck
- knocking the left toe on a stone as evidence of a bad thing happening
Each culture has its superstitions or ‘white magic.’ Using supernatural powers and abilities to bring about good results or healing is a form of superstition. It may involve going through a ritual or chanting a verse or rhyme to effect the desired result.
Biblical Response: God does not work that way! Magic (white or black) is not the same thing as a biblical miracle, which always used to
- authenticate the message/messenger of God
- glorify God
- lead people to trust God
- bring beneficial results.
The Bible condemns superstitions, myths, and legends, Isaiah. 2:6. Would you rather depend on ‘good luck charms and omens Or the provision and protection of the Holy Spirit? – Eph. 4:17-18; Col. 2:20; Gal. 5:16-21. In Acts 17:22 and Acts 25:19, the word “religious” could be translated as superstitious. And the word translated fable or myth may refer to or include superstitions as may “old wives tales.” – 1 Tim. 1:4, 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16. Indeed, most human-made religions contain an element of superstition. The Bible says they are “godless,” and we should avoid them. Christianity is not based on superstition but on the supernatural revelation of God, which allows us to be in the right relationship with God and trust Him and His providence. Ps. 55:22-23.
Ghost refers to the “visible appearance” of the disembodied soul or spirit of a dead person, which has returned to
- haunt the living
- seek revenge
- communicate with the living
Most “ghost appearances” can be explained naturally or result from illusion or trickery: those unexplainable may be demon activity or possibly the appearance of angels ministering on behalf of God.
Biblical Response: The Bible does not teach that the spirits/souls of dead people wander around in a disembodied state and return to the living to haunt them. At death, a person’s spirit/soul immediately goes to,
- heaven is saved
- hell if lost
It is a permanent assignment until the body is later resurrected and the consignment made eternal. 2 Cor. 5:1-9; Luke 23:43, 16:19-31; Heb. 9:27
Summary and Suggestions:
Occult beliefs and practices take on an almost endless number of forms. Para-psychology seeks to examine and explain the supernatural phenomenon, including:
Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) – the ability to know something in mind, mostly before it happens, without using the five natural senses.
- Mental Telepathy – knowing the thoughts of another person
- Telekinesis – the ability to move objects with the mind
- Clairvoyance – being aware of objects and events without the use of the senses
The occult is more sophisticated and accepted today, but regardless of the form it takes, it is still not of God. In dealing with the occult, keep in mind:
- that everything we see or experience cannot be explained. It may be of God, or it may not be. Ex. 8:16-19; Deu. 29:29; Matt. 7:21-23
- to ask key, probing questions, e.g., Does it glorify God?
- To always judge every belief or practice by the standard of the Word of God
- The reality of the spiritual world and evil forces. Eph. 6: 10-18
- That people involved in the occult need the Gospel for deliverance from sin and Satan
- The occult’s power is Satan, whose purpose is to discredit God and destroy His people. Matt. 12:22-27; Rev. 13:1-18
- It is dangerous to play with or participate in the occult and open oneself to demonic activity. Acts 19:13-20
- It is foolhardy to laugh off the occult as ridiculous since Satan is real.
- The Holy Spirit’s personal power in the Christian is always greater than any Satanic or occult power. 1 John 4:4. Prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit hold the key to prevailing over the occult.
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