Demons!– Part Twenty Two

Demons!– Part Twenty Two July 28, 2020

BEN: Things certainly get more complex when one takes into account the intertestamental Jewish literature. Just to be sure I understand the implications are you in fact saying that ‘demons’ are the evil spirits of the departed giants or Nephilim, and that not only is this what a text like 1 Enoch believes to be true (rather than just a playing with ANE mythology, grasping for an explanation of evil in the world), but also that this is what the NT writers assume to be true about the origins of demons in the world…. and so we as Bible-believing Christians should believe this, in particular the connect of evil spirits/demons with the Nephilim, which I do not really find in the Bible?

MICHAEL: I think the data points for the idea are in the Old Testament in those passages that have the Rephaim in Sheol (again, the death / realm of the dead connection). You also get them with connections between Og and the sacred marriage bed of Marduk, the cosmic geography of the Transjordan (places dis-associated with holy ground), and other threads. The Hebrew Bible is unique in treating the Rephaim this way (using the term for both giant clans and residents of the underworld – Ugarit for example does only the latter). I think the reason for that is that Genesis 6 and the subsequent giantism passages that play off Genesis 6 have clear, discernible Babylonian roots whose own backdrop combines the two elements (half-breed giants who derive from Underworld beings). The work of Annus, Stuckenbruck, Fröhlich, and others have demonstrated this. Since the biblical writers are responding to Babylonian religion and its use of these tales, it’s no surprise that we’d find both strands in the Hebrew Bible and not elsewhere where no such polemic is in play.

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