Thursday, March 12, 2015

Demon seed

i) There are three variations on the angelic interpretation of Gen 6:1-4:

a) Fallen angels morphed into human males. I've discussed that variation.

b) Fallen angels reanimated human corpses. Aside from B horror flicks about voodoo zombies, I don't know of any real-life cases. 

c) Fallen angels took possession of human males. 

Let's briefly consider (iii). Given the frequency of possession in some parts of the world, both past and present, the odds are that some children were conceived by demoniacs. Are they giants? Do they have superior athletic prowess?

I expect that many missionaries in Africa and Asia can tell stories of demoniacs and their offspring. 

ii) Offhand, I'll give one example. I should begin by explaining how I approach this material:

a) It could be that Nicky Cruz is exaggerating or confabulating. Sensational conversion stories can jumpstart a career. Moreover, that's is not uncommon in charismatic circles. So I make allowance for that possibility.

But with that caveat in mind, I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt:

b) Given the prevalence of the occult in Latin America, I think it plausible that his parents were deeply involved in the occult.

c) I could be mistaken, but from what I've read, his life and ministry has been scandal-free since he converted, over 50 years ago. Given the temptations of a celebrity convert, charismatic superstar, and televangelist, the fact that, to my knowledge, he's avoided scandal suggests to me that he's not a charlatan. He seems to have a solid Christian character. (That's not to vouch for his theology.)

iii) Even if we consider his account to be credible, there's still the question of how best to interpret the phenomenon. 

One issue is whether possession is a permanent state, or something that comes and goes. Alternately, is the alien personality always present, but only surfaces a certain times?  

With those considerations in mind:

Well I’m so happy that I know Christ as my personal savior. My life was very sad. I was born in Puerto Rico. I was born in a witchcraft home. My mother was a witch; I was planted in the womb of a witch. My father was a satanic priest. 
for many years I lived in a curse, my generation, my father and for so many generations there were involved in sacrifice of animals, the drinking’s of animals Santeria, witchcraft, black magic, that was my, I was elusive in that kind of environment.  
So then when I tried to commit suicide when I was nine years old, hanging myself from a mango tree.

Seances, satanic worship, animal sacrifices… they were all a normal part of his parent’s lives. 
“I saw my mother possessed by the devil many times,” Nicky recalls. “My mother had to eat everything when she was under the influence of Satan. So did my dad. All those animals sacrifice, all the blood, all the blood that was shared and the smell was so repulsive and the spirit used to manifest. It was scaring.”

Behind the home, about a hundred yards into the woods, still stood the large round building–the place that so frightened me as a child and now sent chills to the center of my being. As a boy I knew it only as the “Spirit House,” the place where my mother and father went regularly to summon the healing spirits. The town was convinced that they knew what went on here, and rumors ran thick throughout Puerto Rico, but few had seen it up close and personal. They suspected evil and talked of the hideous things going on inside the infamous Spirit House; I had seen it firsthand. 
As I stood staring at the large round building framed by trees, the memories began to rise to the surface. Memories of strange and unexplainable things that happened here on a regular basis–things that I still resist speaking of, all these years later. 
My father was a spiritist–some say the most powerful in all of Puerto Rico–and my mother was a medium. So many times I watched helplessly from outside the window as their bizarre séances raged out of control. People inside would wail and moan and scream, summoning the spirits of the dead to awaken in their presence. Sometimes these spirits would take over my mother’s body, turning her face white and her eyes violently yellow. Once I saw an evil spirit come upon her with such force that it catapulted her through the air. Though she was a small woman, it took four or five men to contain her.  
Another time I saw my father become possessed by a spirit he couldn’t control. He grabbed my youngest brother, put a rope around his neck, and tried to hang him from the limb of a tree. It took the combined strength of the whole family to hold him down as my brother slipped free. Later my father had no memory of the ordeal. In his right mind he would never have done such a thing to his children. 
Even at a young age I understood the dangers of dabbling in the occult. Yet I found myself living in a home that did far more than dabble. We were known throughout the island as the home of El Taumaturgo (the Wonder Worker, the Great One). The place you go to find the warlock and the witch of Las Piedras.


  1. For the record, I don't think the sons of God in Genesis 6 possessed human males. But supposing they did, this kind of account doesn't seem to prove anything:

    1. The sons of God may very well be distinct from demons. Deuteronomy 32:8 talks about God dividing the nations according to the number of the sons of God, and iirc the historical reckoning has been either 70 or 72. Yet there appear to be far more than just 70ish demons in the world. So one significant version of the broadly Enochic view would say that accounts of demoniacs giving birth are simply irrelevant, because people possessed by the sons of God were not demoniacs.

    2. Even supposing that the sons of God are mere demons, it seems illicit (given how little we know) to infer from isolated cases of normal demoniac children that demons are incapable of producing unusual children. Again, I'd reiterate that I am not actually taking the view that demons can have unusually mighty children; I'm merely pointing out what the evidence does and does not prove. Just because some demons don't have mighty children doesn't mean that any demons cannot have mighty children.

    That said, I appreciate your finding accounts like these. They are intriguing, and I think valuable to be aware of, given the very secularized state of much of the Western church.

  2. Apart from being an interesting intellectual exercise, what difference does speculation about these types of questions make? I'm not trying to be snarky here, but it seems roughly as important as speculating about whether or not Adam and Eve had navels.

    But maybe there's more than meets the eye.

    1. Because the angelic interpretation looks like a bowdlerized version of lecherous pagan gods fraternizing with human women to produce demigods. And that damages the credibility of Scripture. Moreover, it's being popularized by Michael Heiser and Brian Godawa. So I think some pushback is in order.

    2. So you have no antecedent objection to it on the basis of incredulity, but you think it damages the credibility of Scripture? Uh...huh :P

    3. I antecedently object to bowdlerized versions of lecherous pagan gods fraternizing with human women to produce demigods, masquerading as historical events.

    4. The angelic interpretation is suspiciously like taking an originally pagan type-scene about libidinous gods fathering demigods by human women, but giving that a pious makeover by reinterpreting the gods as misbehaving angels.

    5. Admittedly I'm not up to speed on this topic, but couldn't it just as easily be the case that the pagans took the original Biblical account of misbehaving angels and co-opted and perverted it into their mythology, sort of like the various pagan flood and ark accounts?

    6. I seriously doubt the prevalent type-scene of gods fraternizing with women goes back to a garbled version of a particular historical event. I expect the explanation is more mundane.

      The heathen gods and their lascivious behavior was simply a projection of ancient pagan society. Take Gilgamesh, the legendary king of Uruk. In the epic he's a demigod who deflowers the virgins in Uruk.

      But in real life, that's the sort of thing that kings and conquerors used to do. They'd help themselves to all the pretty women.

      Gilgamesh was a real person, the rule of a city-state. His sexual and military exploits was then subjected to legendary embellishment.

      And it was flattering for a king to claim divine pedigree (e.g. Alexander the Great). That pretension gave him a leg up over the commoner. A royal conceit with political value. Act like a god–be treated like a god.