Greg Boyd on the Existence of Demons

Greg Boyd combines apologetics, Anabaptism and charismatic spirituality in a very interesting way. He is both famous for advocating nonviolence as well as open theism and the reliability of the New Testament. Two years ago, he held a sermon on the demonic, acknowledging that many Westeners have trouble believing in the existence of such creatures. And yet, not only does the Bible tell Greg that they do exist, but he himself has actually encountered some!

In this video, Boyd shares how two girls once manifested demonic activity after he had rebuked satan at a church meeting. One of them grabbed him with surprising strength, rolled her left eye counter-clockwise three times and tossed him away from her. Thankfully, both of the girls were delivered and joined the church.

Why do even Christians find it easier to believe in the existence of God than in the existence of demons? Greg Boyd talks about this in his excellent book God at War, and traces this worldview back to the hellenistic influences on the church during late antiquity. Here’s an excerpt previously published on Greg’s blog:

While the supremacy of God is never qualified in the Bible, this supremacy is not strictly autocratic. Other “gods” or spiritual entities like angels and demons are not mere puppets of the God of the Bible. Rather, they appear to be personal beings who not only take orders but also are invited to give input to their Sovereign (see 1 Kings 22:20Is 6:8). They collectively constitute a type of “heavenly counsel.” These gods never rival the Creator’s authority. Thus they are never construed as major competing deities.

In sharp contrast to the Augustinian monopolizing view of divine sovereignty, the sovereign One in this concept invites and responds to input from both his divine and human subjects. The supplications and decisions of his creatures genuinely affect him, to the point where he may even altar previous plans in response to his creatures’ requests and behavior.

This notion that there exists a council, or a society, of divine beings between humans and God who, like us, have free wills and can therefore influence the flow of history for better or for worse, is obviously jarring to a number of Western worldview assumptions. Indeed, for many believers it is foreign to their Western Christian assumptions as well. For a variety of reasons, Westerners have trouble taking seriously the “world in between” us and God. Even when Westerners do theoretically acknowledge the existence of “angels,” we tend to view them as mindless, volitionless, wholly innocuous marionettes completely controlled by the will of their Creator.

If we take the biblical teaching on gods seriously, we must confess that our Western assumptions are erroneous. Indeed, the “heavenly” world largely overlaps our “earthly” world and can hardly be said to form two worlds at all. The “world in between” is, from a scriptural perspective, simply part of the cosmos.


Make sure to follow Greg Boyd at reknew.org.

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Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please join our Facebook forum, and sign up for our newsletter!

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