Thoughts on spiritual beings?

Since many of us here believe in God as a actual being, but we don’t buy into everything in scripture as being literal, I was wondering everyone’s take on spiritual beings ( demons, fallen angels , and angels still aligned with God ).

Ive heard multiple thoughts on this by various people but was curious of what others in here believe and why? Any good resources on why fallen angels are literal beings, or just literary devices for evilness in humanity?

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For me it just make sense that God would begin by creating angels as the most straight-forward way of creating beings other than Himself. But it would mean these are created spirits, products of design no more than what they were made to be and thus with significant limitations to their free will and thus limited in the relationship of love of which they are capable as well. We are the much more difficult way of creating beings other than Himself, requiring the creation of the physical universe operating according to the space-time mathematical laws of nature (to enable the self-organizing process of life). So, we would not simply be what God made us to be but also a product of our own choices in the self-organizing processes of growth, evolution, and learning. The angels would be more like servants, machines, or tools by comparison to us – far more knowledgeable and powerful because they don’t have to learn and grow into things like we do.

What I don’t believe in, is any war in heaven or rebellion of the angels from some non-canonical text like the book of Enoch. I take Genesis to be the story of how sin and evil began and origin of the devil, a leader of angel called a snake or serpent in the Garden of Eden who took the blame as part of God’s plan of restoration. But power and responsibility go hand in hand, so with the blame he has power over us as well. So I am convinced that demons and the devil only have what power we give them ourselves, by abdicating our own responsibilities in life.

In infinite, eternal creation they are problematic; create more questions than answers. Dualist questions. Wanting to believe against the backdrop of that natural creation, the only way I can make angelophanies work, the key ones being around our Earth local incarnation, is as divine AI.

[PS OK, seeing as you asked. As nature is necessarily eternal and infinite, if spirit beings are real on Earth, they are everywhere forever. So, Satan the Devil cannot be eternal or infinite, that would make him a demiurge. And when did he fall? An eternity ago as when the Son was begotten? So, he’s Earth local. But that’s unfair. Every world should have one. Therefore they do. Which means that every inhabited world of the infinity from eternity has its own angels, some of which always rebel and fall. It’s beginning to look a bit L. Ron Hubbard isn’t it? Divine AI is positively reasonable by comparison.]

According to some traditions, Satan was an angel who rebelled, therefore he must have free will. If demons exist I doubt God crated them to be bad and hurt us.Hence here again they must represent other free willed beings that went astray. God created a free creation, both earthly and all the rest.

These creatures are just not of this world. Perhaps they just evolved in another place in the universe.

Correction. According to THOSE guesses/traditions angels must have free will.

The story in the Bible is that Satan was assigned by God the role of adversary.

I doubt that God is such an inept leader that a third of His servants would rebel against him.

According to SOME traditions, demons are not evil. I am particularly reminded of a B movie called “Dark Angel.” And if angels don’t have free will then they would simply follow their leader. So if Lucifer was a leader of a third of the angels then they would just have gone with him when he was cast out. And Lucifer himself could simply have been doing his job and it is Eve who simply laid the blame on him.

That is the magical answer as if free will were some ingredient in a potion. I don’t think so. There is no free will “stuff” any more than there is any “life stuff.” Free will ONLY exist because God created the universe to operate independently and automatically according to the mathematical space-time laws of nature. But then that wouldn’t apply to created spiritual being who don’t even have to grow up and learn.

Those would be aliens not angels.

I’ve no idea what free will is and these critters didn’t evolve in the natural world. They must come in to being in the transcendent local to worlds becoming inhabited. And a large minority go to the real bad. To keep it all consistent.

Divine AI’s a lot simpler.

When reading throughout the Torah we never see satan as a independency evil being. We see him as the tempter and he does just that. He tempts mankind. But he must always remain within standard God have him.

In revelation we see him going beyond this standard. It says he tried to kill the messiah, Jesus, and this was when the messiah was a infant which links it to the story of what Herod did.

In the New Testament we see a new series of events take place and those events are that fallen angels begin to possesses mankind, including innocent kids. Those it’s debated if it was fallen angels or demons. I believe there is a distinction.

We all read in the end times mythology of revelation, the symbolism of hell mentions him be cast there. But so is Babylon given personhood for narration sake and cast into the lake of fire as well.

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A tremendous resource on the nature of spiritual beings (and angels in particular) is provided by the books of Emanuel Swedenborg. He is sometimes classified as a mystic, but he was much more than that. He was an engineer, a scientist (18th century), an anatomist, a profound student of the Bible, and a servant of the Lord. He had eyewitness experience of the spiritual realm, and he writes about it in a straightforward, rational manner. In his book Heaven and Hell he goes into detail on angels. I recommend it highly.

I’ll read it. But I do believe that scripture clearly teaches that hell is not a real place but is symbolic for the second death, therefor hell is a experience of being destroyed by God. Edward Fudge, and Chris Date of “ Rethinking Hell” is one of the best scholarly sources on it. But it goes beyond this thread. There are other threads focused on it and I want to make a more focused one later on specifically about the second death.

And for the sake of transparency I should admit I’m extremely critical of the claims of anyone having divine experiences of the supernatural concerning seeing things similar to what paul and the apostles seen.

So I’m reading it from a paradigm of extreme doubt and even honestly thinking it’s either a outright lie or delusion. So I’ll be very critical of it.

Even if we accept the authenticity of what Swedenborg says he saw, what you see isn’t necessarily the limit of reality. In the Bible the angels are quite often described as appearing anything but human in form. This suggests that just like with the case of God, visual form is not a fixed quality of angels but that they can appear in many different ways.

Like angels, all demons (whom Swedenborg refers to as “devils,” “satans,” or “evil spirits” in his writings) were once human beings living on earth.

This is not even something Swedenborg could have even “seen.” And I certainly don’t think this popular idea refects either reality or the Bible.

I am less skeptical but I know that the spiritual is highly subjective rather than an objective existence out there and independent of our own beliefs and desires. So we are too likely to see what we want to see. Thus I can both credit them with honesty while still doubting that their claims reflect some absolute truth or reality.

Ahhh… the belief in a god who is a soul destroying monster who euthanizes anybody who refuses to choose as He dictates. This is not the God of love I believe in. I certainly do believe God is the enemy who runs a mafia-like protection racket expecting us to pay Him to save us from Himself. No. I believe we are our own worst enemy and the it is sin itself which destroys us. The evidence of this is all around us. The salvation God offers is the salvation from sin not from Himself.

No. I don’t think either of these ideas (yours or Swedenborg’s) are correct. And BTW nor do I think the universalist idea is correct either.

Well it’s Gods power that sustains the soul. If you’re not grafted into it, your destroyed. Does not matter how really but I think it’s clear from scripture that it’s God who has the ability to destroy body and soul.

I don’t think so. It is true that God is the source of life and eternal life is only found in a relationship with Him. It is not about power but about the nature of life. Life requires growth and learning and where can you expect that to last for eternity except with an infinite being, where there is no end to what He has to give and no end to what we can receive from Him if we choose.

If your sins remain they will destroy you for they eat away at everything of value within you.

Scripture says nothing of the kind. You must be using one of those altered Bibles if you think so. But the original text of Matthew 10:28 makes no mention of God.

There is a proper fear of God, but not because He is threatening us but only because we feel threatened by things we cannot manipulate and control. I think you are confusing God with devils and criminals, who get their way by threats and destruction. God only seeks to help. The one we have most to fear is ourselves.

Hell is where we shall find our heart’s desire and that is a fearful thing because the heart of man is corrupt. Heaven is where we shall find God’s desire for us, if we choose to accept it.

So how do you translate the words used.

https://biblehub.com/text/matthew/10-28.htm

Additionally we see in 1 corinthians 3:16-17 that god destroys the wicked.

We read of how it was gods judgement to send destruction upon the world many times.

Finally in revelation the tale portrays Jesus himself as the one who destroys the enemies of his father.

If youd excuse me @SkovandOfMitaze id like to ask a small question here. To the people which say that Satan was asigned as an adversary and that God didnt create the angels. If God didnt create them who did? And since Satan is the adversary then We basically have two seperated supernatural beigns?? This is dualism gnosticism for me. Its like saying the God of the new testament is not the one Of the Old. But instead of “God of the old” testament we have Satan? Can someone clear this up to me and tell me how is that not heretical? Thanks

Like I said. No mention of God is made. The one who destroys your body and soul is not God but you, yourself.

SOMETIMES. Sometimes He does indeed do that. But mostly, He simply lets them destroy themselves Romans 1.

But sometimes He does destroy the wicked and the reason is pretty clear… it is for the sake of His providence of salvation. I see Him involving Himself in evolution in the same way… where He simply says… no, that will not do… time to drop an asteroid and start again.

Who says God didn’t create the angels? Or… are you referring to Swedenborg who claims that both angels and demons are just good and evil people after they died?

So what’s the contextual evidence to suggest that the phrase is you, as opposed to he?

Matthew 10:28
New American Standard Bible
28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The entire section seems to focus on don’t be afraid of men, but be afraid of the wrath of God. We also read of parallels in him being the farmer snd we are the wheat and chaff.

After this I’m pulling out of the convo though and focusing solely on the original topic. I still plan on sometime within a week or so trying to do a post on annihilation.

Also wanted to note that I don’t follow the Protestant Bible. So I accept the mythological books like Enoch since there was clearly some book Jude was referring to. I don’t take them literally, just like I don’t take genesis literally. But i definitely believe there is a parallel between the sons of god uniting with the daughters of men resulting in a flood and humanity coming together concerning the Tower of Babel snd mankind being spread apart with new languages and that’s connected to the new Jerusalem coming down to earth from heaven, speaking in tongues in the first century and the sudden appearance and rise of demonic possession.

So I see demons as different from fallen angels. I see fallen angels as the byproduct of free will among angels. I think it’s connected to the stories like the hosts of heaven and how they would deceive Ahab and also the stories of michael being the prince of Israel and there also being princes of Babylon contesting him.

But I believe the battle between the two sects of angels after Satan tried to kill Jesus, and the destruction of Satan ( since I believe he’s dead ) was enough to forever more strengthen the resolve of those that remained in heaven.

I read the chapter again and I see nothing in the context pointing to God for that passage. I see no context focused on fearing God, quite the contrary. I see Jesus speaking of how much God cares for even the most insignificant creatures. Nope. I see no support in the context for your idea of god as a soul destroying monster who rules by fear and threats the way criminals, mobsters, and evil creatures do.

I think all that Enoch stuff makes great SF&F books and movies but not something that is in any way helpful for understanding reality and living our lives. I would discard Christianity as nothing but fantasy before I believed in this war in heaven sort of stuff. Atheism is and always has been an option for me.

It is not that I will not consider the possibility of the existence of such a soul destroying god, just that such a god would never have any respect from me. In that case I would choose defiance and enmity for that looks more like a Demiurge monster devil to me. I do think Christianity can be a better and more sensible option than atheism depending on how you teach it.

And same situation. I see no other good reason for them to exist. Otherwise demons representing a primitive understanding of mental illness would make more sense to me.

I don’t see God as a soul destroying monster either. I just don’t see him as someone who overlooks evil. I see him for exactly what scripture lines out, including more than just a god of grace and mercy but also a god of justice and a all consuming fire and that it’s a terrible fate to fall into the hands of the living god.

Hebrews 10:31
New American Standard Bible
31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

It’s terrible to fall into his hands because he will get vengeance.

Hebrews 10:30
New American Standard Bible
30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”

He gets his vengeance by punishing evil.

Isaiah 13:11
New American Standard Bible
11 So I will punish the world for its evil
And the wicked for their wrongdoing;
I will also put an end to the audacity of the proud
And humiliate the arrogance of the tyrants.

And he punishes evil by destroying their body and soul. Something mankind can’t do. Something in that very verse he says they can’t do. They can destroy a body, but man can’t destroy a soul. Only God can and only God will.

For atheism is never better than christianity. It’s not an option.

He looks at evil and says, “ no, that won’t do.” time to destroy their body and soul and never give them a restart.

The thing about God that he does not need our respect and the lukewarm get spit out.

I believe in an imperishable spirit as spoken of by Paul in 1 Cor 15 but not in the soul which is a notion of Greek philosophers making to much of reasoning and the mind. And don’t believe that the spirit can be destroyed by external forces because it is not part of any system by which that could happen. It is a creation of its own choices and exists by its own nature. Sin is among those choices and is a part of that nature. That is why sin can destroy us.

The word translated this way in the Bible is more often translated as life and breath, and really has nothing to do with this pagan Greek notion of a soul.

On the contrary, atheism is better than the vast majority of Xtianity which worships a god that better fits the description of the god of this world than anything else – a mafia godfather with a protection racket, ruling by fear and threats because they have nothing of real value to offer. I will stand against such an evil demon no matter what the cost to myself. I will be no simpering sniveling Pettigrew who bows down to evil out of fear and self interest.

The creator of life must wield a scalpel, of course, because there is no evolution without the selection of death. So yes God will weed the garden and cull the sheep. But for the most part people are free to make their own choices and do what evil they will. That is a fact of the world.

Annihilationism is not what Jesus and the Bible teaches. And I wouldn’t believe in the Bible if it did. I see more reason for contempt in a god who euthanizes those refusing to do things His way. Not only is this another one of those lame rule by fear and threats theologies but this is worse than most because it is an empty threat. Universalism is more believable than that and I don’t believe in universalism either. What makes the most sense is that God lets people make their own choices and suffer the consequences of those choices. Sin is bad because of what it does and not just because some pompous rule-maker says so, threating anyone who dares to gainsay him. Live an eternity with such a self-absorbed monster? NO THANK YOU! Terminating my existence is preferable, thank you very much! I choose atheism and give my middle finger to such a wacko.

And I not only don’t need or want the respect of the god of this world but I would very much prefer his enmity.

The Godfather is all about demanding respect. It is difficult to rule by threats and fear without it.

The God I believe in hopes for our respect because then we might listen to and heed His advice.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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