Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Conjuring

Are exorcisms today real?

Is demon possession possible today? Whether it is probable or not, I’m not prepared to say.  Now, if human possession is possible and it does happen today the question is, "Are the exorcisms happening today real?"  I would venture a guess to say that they are not.  Why?  The reason why I say this is because the common thread in all of the numerous times that I've seen these things, whether acted or recorded (I’ve not seen them in person), is that they deny God's sovereignty.
            What do I mean by that?  Many conversations that I have end up back at Genesis 1.  That is where I feel that this one will end up at.  So, we should just start there.  Rather than looking at the whole chapter, let’s just look at a couple verses.  For starters, we have Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 
Here we have God as the creator of creation in general.  From this alone we can conclude that God is the creator of all things.  So, Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
 That is, He owns what He creates.  This makes sense; if you own the substances that you use to create your creation then all subsequent things are yours.  It could be argued that if one were required to buy the remains of substances that are necessary to operate the creation then they would possibly be able to say that they did not own the things created.  Since, we know that in the beginning there was nothing (really, “In the beginning was the Word.” John 1:1), even the things used to create were themselves created.  That is, creation was created ex nihilo –out of nothing.
            So, God created all things.  Under the heading of “all things” we find you and I.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Not only did He create things, but minds as well.  God created physical things and spiritual things, as we see in Colossians 1

            15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

           What can we conclude from all of this, at this point?  1: God has power and rights over all things created.  2: All spirits are created by God.  3: Therefore, God is in no way powerless when it comes to ghosts (this includes demons, of course).  With this in mind, looking back at all the stories and tales and movies of exorcisms, I don’t see God exercising a lot of this power and authority.  Why?  Well, I think the recent film The Conjuring gives a very good example of this.  In the final act of this movie there is a long and drawn out scene of an exorcism.  The only reason that the scene is so long (besides dramatic value) is because the man performing the exorcism is only getting a bit of the demon (or ghost) out at a time.  He is calling on, or invoking, God to do his bidding, but in his mind and in the mind of the writers the power is not in God but in the words he uses—the spell.  It is clear that God does not work through spells or incantations—He works through prayer.  In the New Testament we are instructed to pray by invoking or calling on the authority and power of God: James 5:14

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

The problem here is not with the method used, but that God is wholly absent from the scene.  In this scene, there is no sovereign God.  The only one who is sovereign is the demon, and is only driven out by mystical incantations.  Can you imagine the scene if the Sovereign Lord were actually there?  Do you think that the one who created those beings would have the slightest bit of trouble driving them out?  Surely, He would not.
            Now, as we can see, in order to believe that exorcisms are happening today we should expect to see stories of a different kind; not stories of incantations and calling God through spells; not stories of conjurings.  We should expect to see stories of sovereignty; like those recorded for us in the gospel accounts of Jesus Christ.