“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
I first refuted the idea that holy angles are nothing more than good thoughts in people’s minds. Now, I need to refute the idea that demons (or “bad angels”) are nothing more than bad thoughts in people’s minds. Scripture clearly refutes beliefs like that. First of all, apostate angels are called “unclean spirits” who fallen from their original state (Matthew 12:43; Jude 1:6). The fact they have fallen from an original state suggest that they aren’t “bad thoughts” in people but minds and spirits given with reason and emotion. In a similar way, when the children of God are compared with the children of the devil, wouldn’t it be absurd to believe the term “devil” meant nothing more than evil inspirations (John 8:42-44). John adds emphatically that the devil sinned from the beginning (1 John 3:8).
In a similar way, when Jude introduces Michael the archangel fighting with the devil, he certainly contrasts a bad with a good angel (Jude 1:9). The book of Job shows us that Satan appeared in the presence of God with the holy angels. The clearest passages of all are those which make mention of the punishment that they already begin to feel and will feel even more so at the resurrection: “And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29). And again, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels'” (Matthew 25:41). And also in 2 Peter 2: “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).
These verses would be absurd if these angels are doomed to eternal punishment, that fire is prepared for them, that they are even nor tormented by the glory of Christ, if they weren’t truly devils at all. This is really a mostly pointless discussion, if you believe God’s Word. I just wanted to briefly touch on this issue so that God’s people would not embrace these stupid errors.