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ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE

Christian writings of the age, such as the Books of Enoch which are particularly rich in demonology.

Demonology and Satanism

There is a sharp distinction between occultism as it is generally practiced and Satanism. Most modern occultists do not believe in Satan or hell, and completely reject Judaic/Christian/Moslem dualism. According to the former, God is engaged in warfare against opposing spiritual forces. The Hebrew word satan (זמש) neans “obstruct” or “oppose.” It is diabolos (διάβολοσ) in the LXX (Septuagint). It is interesting to note that Satan appears nowhere in the Old Testament as a distinctive demonic figure opposed to God, and the cause of all evil. The term is, however, applied to a superhuman being in three passages: Zech. 3:1-2 (519 B.C.E.), I Chron. 21.1, also a post-exilic reference, and above all, in Job 1-2. In all three, Satan is an angelic figure in what is depicted as a divine court in which God is king. His role is that of a prosecuting attorney who accuses transgressors of their sins. This is part of the prophetic vision of a divine tribunal, and, although Satan is reproved for his harshness in Zechariah, he is certainly not evil nor in opposition to God. Instead, he is the satan against human beings.

During the Hellenistic Era, Satan does appear as the Evil One, as set forth in books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrypha, which are inter-testamental books of the first three centuries B.C.E. This may be because of Zoroastrian influence, although most scholars today do not attribute the idea to this. It is rather that the idea of a devil developed about the same time in both Judaism and Zoroastrianism in the effort to explain evil. (Zoroastrianism, incidentally, is not a dualistic religion as is often said, but monotheistic. In Zoroastrian theology, Ahura Mazda is the supreme being. He manifests himself through seven Amesha Spentas, or persons of the Godhead. One of these is Ahriman, or the Devil).

During the inter-testamental era, there was much elaboration of angelology resulting in the development of two contrary hierarchies of angels. By New Testament times, and the writing of the Book of Revelations, there was a full-blown Jewish angelology. In this myth, the Arch Angel Satan was chief among the angels, and, in his pride, aspired to depose God and rule in his stead. He and a third of the angels rose up in revolt. The Arch Angel Michael led God’s loyal host against the Satanic rebels and drove them out of heaven. They fall eternally in hell. Since then, Satan and his cohorts have continued the war, and strive to overthrow God and his angels. The minds of men are the battlefield in which this struggle rages. In the end, the Book of Revelation promises that Satan will be bound, and after a second death, he and his angels cast into outer darkness (whatever that may mean). On that day, all evil will be banished, also death, and the blessed will live forever in happiness.

One can advance many convincing psychological and sociological arguments for the prevalence of demonology in the beliefs of people today. The popular film The Exorcist is an excellent example of contemporary demonology in which a demon is exorcised from a young girl by two priests performing a Roman Catholic rite. (Apparently, priests are requested to perform such exorcisms more

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