In Matthew 8:28-34 Jesus casts demons out of a pair of men and into a herd of pigs.
Verses 29-32 are particularly instructive regarding the character of demons:
‘”What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!”’
I must admit that I’m not sure about where to place Genesis 3 on a scale between the two extremes of ‘literal history’ and ‘pure fiction’. Here’s a summary of some the options:-
An historical account of a ‘Fall’
Traditionally, this account has been understood as a more or less literal description of an historical event in involving a ‘fall’ on the part of our first parents from a state of innocence. According to Kreeft & Tacelli, for example, ‘there are three reasons why the Fall can’t be mere moral parable or fiction:-
First, if the Fall is not historical at all, then its effects—suffering and death—also are not historical.
Preaching recently in Curaçao, Diocese of Venezuela, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori demonstrated just how far she has travelled from anything resembling a biblical and apostolic faith.
Pushing the familiar agenda of inclusion and diversity (changing attitudes and laws about same-sex relationships remind us that different is not the same as wrong), she informs her hearers of a particular blind spot that Paul had in this regard. Schori refers to the incident involving a slave girl, recorded in Acts 16. …
William Spurstowe (1605-1666), along with other Puritan writers, catalogued many of Satan’s devices, and indicated the remedies that the Christian should take:-
Device 1 – Satan leads us from lesser sins to greater.
Remedy – ‘Do not give the devil a foothold’ (Eph 4:27). If you let the serpent’s head into the house, the whole body will soon follow. Do not trivialise ‘lesser’ sins: ‘the least sin is contrary to the law of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the glory of God’ (Brooks).…
For those who accept the metaphysical reality of daimons (I’m using a straight transliteration of the Greek, in order to place at a bit of distance the baggage that tends to accompany the word ‘demons’) the conventional idea is that they belong to an order of created, malevolent, non-corporeal beings.
The popular conception a ghost is that it is the spirit of a dead human being.
Peter Bolt has provided solid documentary evidence to show that for many people living at the time of Jesus, ‘daimon’ would have been virtually synonymous with ‘ghost’.…
Since God created everything, Gen 1:1, Jn 1:3, Col 1:16, and everything he created was good, Gen 1:3, Ps 104:24, 1 Tim 4:4, it is reasonable to suppose that Satan was originally part of that good creation, but ‘fell’ into evil.
Scripture says little about this.
Isa 14:12-16 – Many interpreters have seen in this prophecy a cosmic dimension, although its primary reference is clearly to a man – the king of Babylon, Isa 14:4. The prophecy does draw on pagan mythology to depict the king’s fall from power: in one Canaanite myth a god named Athtar (meaning ‘son of Dawn’ or ‘morning star’) aspired to rule on Baal’s throne.…
It had been a mountain-top experience to top the lot. Right there, in front of three of his disciples, Jesus had experienced a brief but amazing transformation. His face shone; even his clothes became dazzling white. Two godly men from long ago, Moses and Elijah, had put in personal appearances. And God himself had spoken: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
As they come down the mountain, Jesus gave Peter, James and John a solemn instruction, v9: “Don’t tell anyone about what you have just seen until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”