1/09/19 “Thoughts on free will, and demonic attack”
Firstly a look at the free will of mankind, and then at how this same free will is the means by which mankind’s free will is used by demons to assume their own dominion over the world. For if there is no free will, then it is impossible for satan and his demons to work as they do. Satan becomes totally irrelevant! After all, what is the point of satan tempting man if man is programmed to respond in a certain way? And Calvin said the same about satan: that satan and his demons could only do what God commanded, that they were forced to do God service!
when they call to mind that the devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay, unless in so far as he commands; that they are not only bound by his fetters, but are even forced to do him service (Calvin, Institutes Bk 1, Ch.17, Section 11)
But God gave man dominion over the earth, and that holds to this very day!
Genesis 1:26-28 – 26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill) the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
dominion = sovereignty, absolute ownership (Merriam-Webster)
Synonyms of dominion are power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion – they mean the right to govern or rule or determine.
power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence. the power to mold public opinion
authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits. granted the authority to manage her estate
jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks
control stresses the power to direct and restrain. you are responsible for the students under your control
command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience. the army officer in command
sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region
dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority. given dominion over all the animals (Merriam-Webster)
It is clearly impossible to have dominion over anything unless you are free to make decisions independently of any coercion or other pressure. Therefore, if man is to have dominion over the earth, then he must be free to make decisions concerning that dominion.
In the Bible, dominion = to rule; have dominion; dominate; tread down. Note its use in the following to describe the dominion of Christ.
Psalm 72:7-8 – 7In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. 8He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
While this is a Psalm written seemingly about King Solomon, it is clearly a Messianic Psalm emphasising the rule of Christ over all the earth, an event yet to be fulfilled. Christ will have dominion from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth.
If Adam’s sin is laid upon all mankind, then there is absolutely no reason why his dominion shouldn’t also be laid upon all mankind. In fact, Genesis 1:28 demonstrates that this dominion included man being fruitful and filling the earth, and subduing it, so the most straightforward conclusion here is that the dominion included all Adam’s descendants. If man has dominion, then he must have the freedom to make decisions concerning that dominion independently. That is, if man is not free to make independent decisions, then he does not have dominion. Dominion therefore means that man has freedom to make decisions that might not be the decisions that God would make; otherwise God would retain that dominion on behalf of man. Dominion assumes the right to make choices for yourself, good or bad.
So what does that mean in terms of how it is most used: obeying or disobeying God? Does man have the free will to choose between good and evil? The answer has to be yes; otherwise man could not make any decision concerning the earth unless it agreed with God’s directive. Man has to be free to make decisions even if they are not the best decisions that could be made. That is, man has to be free to make the wrong decisions, as long as he is aware that the consequences for all decisions lie with the one who makes the decisions. The Bible does teach this clearly in:
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
Therefore dominion has to require man to make decisions for himself regarding how he interacts with this world, and to also take responsibility for every decision he makes. (Just imagine how ridiculous it would be to punish a puppet for disobeying the puppeteer!! But the calvinist god has required that most of mankind goes to hell, yet when they go to hell because he tells them to sin, then they are punished for what? Disobedience??) The Bible therefore defines man as having the free will to make decisions independently of God. That is, he has free will!
So what does this mean for us? Firstly, it means that the calvinists are absolutely wrong, for a lack of free will to oppose God would also deny man any ability to make independent decisions for himself, and this would prevent man from any effective dominion over the earth in any way. No free will means no dominion – end of story! (I can just imagine a calvinist giving a puppet show and slapping his puppet down for disobedience!! But that’s what the calvinist god does!!)
But secondly it means that we are able to choose to sin, or not to sin. Adam made a personal choice when he sinned against God. He could have refused to sin; he knew what was right and what was wrong. According to the Bible, Adam knew quite well the difference between right and wrong, a necessary bit of knowledge in order to be able to choose between good and evil. Where does not being deceived fit into a no-free-will doctrine in the following??
1 Timothy 2:14 – And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
So note that the following is an example of free will choice which also assumes that they knew the difference.
Deuteronomy 30:15; 19 – 15See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
So we’ll make the safe assumption that free will for mankind to decide between good and evil is a doctrinal truth as taught in the Bible. This is the opposite of what calvinists such as Spurgeon teach, that It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous. (Spurgeon, “Free Will – A Slave”) Spurgeon quotes Luther and philosophy as evidence, yet gives no biblical support, a strange thing, noting that calvinists love to claim belief in sola scriptura (the Bible alone).
Trying to redefine free will as free agency is a favourite deceit of calvinists. Boettner (whom calvinists love to quote) describes free agents as follows: The actions of free agents do not take place because they are foreseen, but they are foreseen because they are certain to take place. (Ch.6) ………….
In the same manner and to an infinitely greater extent God controls our actions so that they are certain although we act freely. His decree does not produce the event, but only renders its occurrence certain; and the same decree which determines the certainty of the action at the same time determines the freedom of the agent in the act. (Ch.16) (Boettner, “The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination”)
That is, God’s decree doesn’t make man sin but His decree makes certain that man will indeed sin! Like Henry Ford who allegedly famously said that you could choose any colour you like as long as it was black, the calvinist God says you can choose whatever you like as long as you choose what God decrees that you should choose! Boettner’s writings are full of such illogical verbal gymnastics!
So having dealt with this illogical verbal gymnastic of calvinism, we’ll state that it is a biblical doctrine that man has free will to decide between good and evil, obeying or disobeying God, accepting or rejecting His gift of salvation. Man chooses to sin, or to repent and be forgiven, and will be judged accordingly.
But how much free will does man really have? Is it limited in any way? How far can man go with his free will before he is stopped from going any further? The answer lies in the sovereignty of God and His ultimate desire to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24) God’s will is to bring in everlasting righteousness and therefore His plan for all time from beginning to end will achieve this (because God is sovereign and will always achieve His will). The plan will not be compromised in any way by any decision man makes to disobey God. When Adam sinned, God had already compensated by providing a redemption for all mankind. God knew (via foreknowledge) what would happen before Adam sinned and had already made an adjustment to ensure that His will would be fully carried out.
In general, when man sins, God knows beforehand (via foreknowledge) and permits him to do so but also makes adjustments to ensure everlasting righteousness at the end of time. There will be times, however, when God limits man’s ability to oppose Him (such as removing Cain from the line of mankind that would lead to Noah, or confusing languages at Babel), for it would be futile to think that man could do anything to upset sovereign God’s plan according to His will. And there will be times when God simply puts a stop to man committing sin (such as with the flood, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah). Mankind does have free will but it is certainly limited or even prevented in circumstances where God’s sovereignty demands it. God has set out His plan for everlasting righteousness and man may not have the freedom to offset that in any way.
So to summarise it all: man has free will to choose between good and evil, free will to serve God or to disobey Him, but will always be limited if God in His sovereignty decides that His desire for eventual everlasting righteousness requires a limiting or removal of free will at times.
Many decisions in life are more or less harmless and cannot really be considered in terms of good or evil (such as maybe what flavour ice-cream you buy). But we are admonished to not love this world, nor the things in this world (1 John 2:15-17) where it describes those things of the world as being not of the Father, that is, they are evil. But satan and his demons (who are behind the peddling of these wares of the world) desire what man has that they don’t – man’s dominion in this world. Satan has been denied any dominion in heaven and is understandably jealous of man’s dominion on earth. It has to be understood clearly that satan and his demons are doing all that they can to obtain as much control over man in order to have some dominion (even a de facto dominion) in this world.
Thus all that satan and his demons do in this world is aimed at gaining control over those who do have dominion. If satan cannot have dominion, then he’ll have the next best thing – to be the puppet-master of those do who have dominion. Thus satan and his demons will work hard to get control of the puppet strings of as much of mankind as possible, all of mankind, in fact, if they could!
When Adam sinned, satan gained a sort of de facto ownership of mankind. This was because when man sinned, God could no longer permit man into His presence without destroying him; man had been alienated from God. And obeying satan made him man’s master. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16) This effectively permitted satan a relatively unhindered access to work on taking control of mankind. Mankind was dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past he walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
But when Jesus went to the cross, He destroyed this power of satan over mankind by removing that barrier that had previously prevented man from coming into God’s presence, so that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Ephesians 2:16)
John 12:31-32 – 31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.
And the ruler of this world (satan) is now judged (John 16:11).
But satan (with his demons) still walks around this world seeking people to devour with his destructive temptations (1 Peter 5:8), and will do so until he is finally restrained by God. Satan’s desire is to rule this world, yet he can only do so if he has control of all people. Even if one person remains that doesn’t support satan, then satan still doesn’t control this world. However, control of most of the world is still preferable to no control! Note that there have always been God’s people who couldn’t (wouldn’t) be controlled, such as the 7,000 who hadn’t bent the knee to satan (Baal) (1 Kings 19:18).
Control, though, requires access to the decision-making of mankind, access to their lives, and thinking also if possible. So satan needs some way of putting mankind into bondage (effectively as his slaves) if he is to control their puppet-strings. This takes place through mankind giving in to the temptation to do things which are against the law of God. Every offense against God increases satan’s hold over a person; this hold can increase to more or less total control in the case of those who have been ensnared by much temptation and sin. You are the slave of whomever you serve!
But satan’s ultimate desire is not just to have mankind under his control, but to have man commit himself to worship satan in the same way as Christians have committed themselves to worship God. Control isn’t enough; worship is better. Christians can be described as the children of God, while their evil counterparts can be described as the children of the wicked one (satan), such as in Matthew 13:38 – The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; where the wicked one may be equated to satan, the devil etc. Note also that Jesus told the pharisees that the devil was their father (John 8:44). It is clear that the tares were the evil equivalent of Christians (the wheat).
Worshipping a false god was such a big sin that it was enshrined in the Ten Commandments. They were not to have any other gods except God (part of 1st Commandment), and they were not to bow down nor to serve any other god (2nd Commandment).
Exodus 20:4-5 – 4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;
This Commandment is the only one that carries this generational judgement (to the 3rd and 4th generation). It appears in both the Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 lists of the Ten Commandments. The only other time this phrase is used is in Numbers 14:18 where it appears to be an equivalent offense by the Hebrews against God (with a similar phrase used in Exodus 34:7).
We can reasonably assume that those who worshipped false gods as per the 2nd Commandment were the equivalent of the children of satan, or the children of the wicked one (as per the tares and the wheat). Just as a person worshipping in church doesn’t necessarily make him a Christian, the false-god worshippers would have to be covenanted worshippers, having made a commitment to serve and worship the false god. Those who are labelled as worshippers of false gods wouldn’t necessarily know that they were worshipping a false god, either; many of the pharisees may have thought they were worshipping God even when Jesus said the devil was their father! Note also that most freemasons are probably not aware that they have made a covenant to worship satan, either, but this doesn’t prevent them from being labelled worshippers of a false god.
It is clear that anyone worshipping a false god was an offense to holy God; thus the commandment to not do it. But also notable is the offense that the descendants (to the 3rd and 4th generation) were also to God. The Bible does say that the sin of the father will not be laid on the son. Every person is responsible for his own sin; no-one else will be responsible for your sin.
Ezekiel 18:19-20 – 19Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, [and] hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 20The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
The word “iniquity” is the same in both Exodus 20:5 and Ezekiel 18:20, yet both must be true. How can one say that the son will not bear the iniquity of the father, yet Exodus 20:5 seems to say he will! The difference is that in Exodus God will visit that iniquity upon the children, whereas in Ezekiel the sinful children will bear that iniquity.
visit – to pay attention to; observe; visit; punish; lay upon as a charge.
bear – to lift; lift up; bear; carry; sustain; endure; take away; carry off; forgive.
Thus to visit iniquity upon a person would be more of an observation that makes that person somehow offensive, an action that God carries out upon them, while to bear iniquity is for the person to carry that responsibility upon himself. Visiting that iniquity would mean that in some way those children would be an offense to God yet not necessarily being held accountable for that iniquity in judgment. Visiting iniquity upon them would make such people an offense to God without preventing them from being forgiven if they repented of their own sin. They would not be required to repent for the sin of their fathers if they did not carry out those iniquities themselves, but would still be an offense to God.
Let’s look at this in light of the control that satan desires for mankind. If a person worships (by covenant) a false god, then satan (or a demon on his behalf) takes control in some measure. For the children to be an offense to God, they must have been made part of the contract (covenant) to serve and worship satan even if they had no say in the matter. This does happen in other cases such as child abuse victims who are often demonised as a result. And Deuteronomy 23:2 says that an illegitimate child cannot enter the congregation of God to the 10th generation, yet the Bible can never forbid a person to be saved on this basis, only that such a person is an offense to God in some way. This cannot be the fault of the illegitimate child in any way, so the offense cannot be seen as rendering that person unsaveable or else it would contradict Ezekiel 18:20.
Thus it is possible to be an offense to God without being able to have any say in the matter, yet still be able to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. But why would satan set up such a system? It’s clear that satan desires some sort of “ownership” of the one who covenants to worship him. It’s also clear that the “fine print” of that covenant (contract, commitment to worship) must have the children (to the 3rd and 4th generation) included in the contract somewhere. The logic is clear: if satan can have some sort of access to the children of satan-worshippers, then that gives him some measure of continuity that enables him to take control of a family, community, or society, rather than just individuals. If satan does this, it must be permitted by God to do so without compromising His righteousness. I don’t know just how this would work, but he would not be able to do this unless God permitted it. This would give satan access to those children but access doesn’t mean those children will sin as a result. The decision to sin would still be in the hands of the one being tempted. Satan cannot force people to sin! (Unless he’s a calvinist!)
Clearly if satan can gain some measure of access to children of his servants, then it allows satan an option to control generations. Because satan cannot be in more than one place at once, he must therefore use demons to follow-up these children. Such demons may be called generational demons or ancestral spirits, ones who have access to these generational children by right of the contract of the father. They would be very difficult to dislodge, if at all, except by the father who made the covenant, and they would have some measure of access to the children without having to firstly gain control through temptation and sin.
It is possible that such generational demons cannot be dislodged, even if the person becomes a Christian, because such a covenant would be imposed by the authority of the father, not the child. It is possible that the covenant with satan cannot be broken by any other than those making the covenant. However, it may be assumed that such demons would not be able to freely act within a Christian’s life (because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit), unless the Christian committed sin that would permit the demon to assume some measure of influence or control over the Christian. You can’t expect to sin and remain free from its consequences. If you play with fire you can get burnt! And Christians can and do commit significant sin – just note King David!
Thus the demon could be effectively neutralised by the Christian staying “squeaky-clean”, or, in the case of the Christian sinning, if the Christian repented of his sin and was restored to fellowship with God. Demons are not going to be able to oppose the Christian if the Christian is in close fellowship with God’s Spirit who indwells all Christians (1 Corinthians 3:16). Such demons could only act if the Christian strayed into their territory. Demons cannot ever overrule the Holy Spirit unless the Christian chooses to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit by his sin (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19), thus effectively reducing or even removing the power of the Spirit from his life. (How does this relate to Romans Ch.7?)
A contract made to worship satan that included access to the children would certainly cause God to find the Christian offensive in some way, yet still be able to accept him because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Conflict, though, is likely to exist in that person’s life throughout his life. This means that demons would have some measure of access to that person’s life from birth, like an extra advertising channel in that person’s thinking. Such thoughts would be presented as similar or the same as the thinking of that person such that it would be difficult if not impossible to discern right from wrong without applying biblical principles to every thought. However, the only way to avoid sinning would probably be to assess every thought and imagination against the truth of the Bible.
2 Corinthians 10:1-6 – 1Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence [am] base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2But I beseech [you], that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Is this a correct application of the 2nd commandment? Is it consistent with other biblical teachings? I can find nothing inconsistent with this in the Bible. Rather I find that Paul’s “messenger of satan” in the flesh actually supports this application perfectly. Paul stated that there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger (angel) of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (2 Corinthians 12:7) where the word translated “messenger” is aggelos which is almost always translated “angel” in the NT, and is used by Jesus to describe the devil’s angels in Matthew 25:41.
Paul was a pharisee (Philippians 3:5). In fact, he was a pharisee, the son of a pharisee (Acts 23:6). The pharisees served satan (for the devil was their father according to Jesus) and their children would therefore be subject to God visiting the iniquity of the pharisees upon them. So why is it non-biblical to declare this messenger of satan as a demon?
Thus because man has free will to choose between good and evil, and because satan desires that mankind be ensnared by evil, thus blinding him from the gospel, then satan is merely using what he and man have been permitted to do, in order to build satan’s empire of worshippers throughout the world. None of this could be possible if man had no free will to choose, unless God chose to make man sin against His desire that man should not sin (and it is impossible that God should oppose sin, yet decree it in His creation). And God likewise has free will to choose to find iniquity offensive, even when it is not the fault of the one who is made part of that iniquity by covenant of the father, as long as the father’s sin penalty will not be imputed to the son). In all this, God remains just and righteous in all His actions toward man who has free will according to the will of sovereign God.