the knowledge of satan \ demons

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rm1980, May 16, 2008.

  1. rm1980

    rm1980
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    Stanley Grenz:

    "we should not think that demons can know the future or that they can read our minds or know our thoughts"

    Do you agree with all of this?

    The only struggle I have with it is this- Satan is 'the accuser' does he not often accuse us on the basis of our thoughts as well as our actions?

    So here are the questions for discussion:

    Can Satan or demons- a) know anything of the future b) know our thoughts ?...
     
  2. Baptist Believer

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    I agree that they do not know the future (other than their eternal destiny), but it seems likely that they know our thoughts.

    You'll often hear this claim, but I haven't found any solid evidence to support it. Usually when someone tells me that "the devil can't read our minds", I ask them to support the idea biblically. I haven't had anyone do it. Usually I have to give them their best evidence evidence: The magicians in the court of Pharaoh couldn't read his mind so they could interpret his dream, leading to Joseph being called out of prison to tell Pharaoh his dream and interpret it... And that's flimsy evidence at best because there could be all kinds of reasons why they couldn't read his mind, not the least of which is that the magicians were not demons or the devil, and may not have been receiving supernatural information. And even if the magicians in Pharaoh's court had been hardcore occultists getting information from the demonic realm, God may have merely prevented it in this case in order to get Joseph out of prison in order to elevate him.

    I think the real reason Christians worry that the demonic realm may be able to read our minds is that they really don't believe that Jesus (and by extension, they) have authority over demonic forces. Intuitively, they know that they have no strength or power over the demonic in themselves, so they go into denial instead of placing faith in Jesus for protection, power and authority in spiritual battles.
     
  3. donnA

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    I agree, they do not read our minds and know our thoughts. They sometimes seem to know simply because we are creatures of habit, and they know our actions so well they know when we're only thought of a certain action, but read our minds, no.
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    Is there a specific biblical basis for your opinion?

    In your opinion, why would it be a problem if the demonic realm could read our minds? What damage would it cause?

    FWIW, I really want to know what you think, this is not an exercise in rhetoric.
     
  5. rm1980

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    thanks very much for the comments so far guys, still not sure myself will be interested to see how the discussion develops...

    Just wanted to note that the quote I gave originally was Wayne Grudem not Stanley Grenz as I stated- my apologies!
     
    #5 rm1980, May 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2008
  6. donnA

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    And you have scripture that says he can read our minds?
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    I'm leaving the possibility open because I can't find anything in scripture to say they he can't.

    Furthermore, logical analysis (we are often tempted in our thought life), theology (it wouldn't be a problem if the evil one knew our thoughts), and personal experience (I have encountered those who were demonized who apparently could read my thoughts) point in the direction of that possibility.

    Those who say "the devil can't read your mind" have made an assertion that needs to be supported in some way.

    Do you have biblical evidence? If so, that trumps personal experience and logical analysis based on broad experience, and would change our theology.

    Seriously, I'm not trying to have an argument here. I leave the question open, although I have an opinion. I've stated the reasons for my opinion. Do you want to state yours? I'm really interested to know if there is definitive biblical support for that opinion.
     
  8. donnA

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    http://www.carm.org/questions/satan_read_minds.htm

    In scripture whenever it talks about anyone knowing whats in your mind, your thoughts, it's talking about God. No where does it even hint that satan can read our thoughts. This is giving power to satan he does not have, but God does.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    The absence of evidence does not establish a doctrine.


    This is a good point, although it does not conclusively answer the question.

    This is only referring to “the Lord.” Furthermore, the question is not whether the adversary searches “all hearts” or understands “every intent” of the thoughts, but whether he could know the transient thoughts of a single person in a single moment.

    The context of this verse is to contrast the majesty of God and what we consider to be “deep thoughts”. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with our question.

    Matt. 12:25, "And knowing their thoughts He [Jesus] said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand."[/quote]
    Jesus is exercising the “word of knowledge” in the power of the Holy Spirit in these two passages. The evil one counterfeits this kind of gift, so these verses may very well be relevant and definitely need to be reconsidered, but they are not necessarily conclusive.

    Why would this be a concern, or even important?


    Good point.


    I’m not sure about that. I’ll need to meditate on this and see if the Lord brings any scripture to mind.


    The adversary has power only where God has given Him power. I have no concern over his ability to read my mind. My standing or victory in Christ is not based upon my thoughts being hidden from the evil ones.

    The ability not to be seen by humans is an ability that both God and the adversary possess, but there is no moral weight associated with that ability/nature and the scripture is rather unconcerned with it. In the same way, the ability to know the thoughts of individual human beings is morally neutral.

    Frankly, I am less interested in whether or not the adversary can read our minds than I am the great concern over the subject that inspires sentences such as, “So, when you are praying, do not worry if the enemy can ready your mind” from the article.

    Why do people obsess about this, and why do people get so vexed about the question.

    By the way Donna, you have made some very good points and I will consider them carefully. Thanks! :thumbs:
     
  10. just-want-peace

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    Off the top of my head, I'd say that satan CAN know your thoughts IF you aren't a child of God, but no, if you have the HS living in you!

    Also, can you not occasionally tell what your spouse/children are thinking just by the surrounding events, their expressions and body language? Not verbatim of course, but the general topic etc.?

    So might satan be able to do so with us since he is so far above us in his powers.

    Dunno, just some random thoughts.
     
  11. donnA

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    The absence of evidence does not leave us free to make it up.
     
  12. rm1980

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    I dont think anyone's suggesting that we just make stuff up DonnA.. Lets try and keep this discussion friendly and good natured.

    :1_grouphug:

    I agree with BB that you have made some good points, particularly in pointing out the fact that when the Bible speaks of people knowing our thoughts- it is speaking of the Lord. I am leaning towards your position, however:

    If one of the names for the Devil is 'The Accuser' does he not have to be involved in some way in our thought process to be able to accuse us?..

    :confused:
     
  13. Thinkingstuff

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    I'm not saying there aren't demons or even attacks by demons. However, I how much stuff gets put on the Devil (Ha Satan the Accuser) when it really is our sin nature with which we struggle? "but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." - James 1:14

    This is why Satan is seemingly so strong. If you look at Job it seems the Devil must ask permission of God. But then he only send circumstances (outside sources) ie war, plague, ect... What Job really struggles with is himself in his own mind. I believe that Satan seeks to destroy mankind and is limited by God he then throws things at us (not necissarily personally though he did in Jobs case). Our sin nature is seeking Satan's side and we know our own thoughts it is here that our battles are fought. When we win here it doesn't matter that the devil has thrown plagues and violence at us. The screwtape letters were a fun book but I don't think demons take that much a personal interest in us individually. Our sinful nature does that for him. When we take responsibility for ourselves we find the Devil isn't so active in our lives as we thought. That doesn't mean he will not throw something at us but it will be external not in our thoughts.
     
  14. Jon-Marc

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    Yes, I agree with that statement. Our thoughts usually become actions, and satan learns our weaknesses that way. He cannot read our thoughts since only God has that attribute. Only God is all-knowing.
     

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