Understanding the Bible 23: Demons, Exorcisms and the Reality of Evil

Is there such at thing as Evil?  Not just as an adjective – describing the character of an act or even a person – but as a thing in and of itself; evil with a capital “E”?   From the biblical perspective, the answer is:  yes.  There is a force, a drive within creation that stands in direct opposition to love and thus to God.  This is more than merely the inertia each of us faces in our efforts towards the good.  Evil is not simply the resistance to love, but is rather the active work against it. And while the language of demons, satan, exorcisms…is not the most comfortable for thoughtful citizens of the 21st century, it is the language the biblical authors use to articulate the hidden power that seeks to rob humans of our humanness.  

In this episode we examine the story of Jesus casting out the “legion” of “evil spirits” driving a man to his own destruction and how his healing demonstrates yet another dimension of God’s salvation (Mark 5:1-20).  If Jesus is indeed the means by which God will set all creation right, evil itself must be faced and defeated.   

This is a sermon that was originally presented at Canvas (a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA), 23 February 2014. To learn more about Canvas, click here!


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