This title might appear at first to be hyperbole, but I believe the connections between the three are frightfully close. We could use the biblical text to facilitate this conversation, but I will try to offer mere philosophical-linguistic observations at the outset. What is the nature of governmental power when it is not put in check? What is the nature of demonic activity? We will concede before we enter the foray of this discussion that there might be far more horrid, scary, and overt demonic activity than what we discuss herein.

Sec. 1: Power

There are at least two connotations that stand together with the underlying denotation of ‘power.’ First, the denotation (strict definition) is “capacity” or “exertion” or “influence.” To this, connotations include (1) forcing others into conformity and (2) consuming influence with a clear tendency towards being no more (nihilism) if this power cannot feed. This is worldly power; Nietzsche’s Will to Power is abundantly accurate. We can summarize this common human experience of power this way: coercive influence enforcing conformity to some norm that can only sustain itself through finding new souls to coerce. Politicians and political scientists have a shorthand word for this reality: totalitarianism. The party or the politicians use this power with no other end in mind except extending the reality of that power through time. This lackluster end is rightly called nihilism because its ultimate fate is to be a consuming devourer until no sustenance can be found or no sustenance can be served up.

There are only two possible ways to exist in this world as a person, an agent. You will either be a life consuming spirit or a life-giving spirit. To suppose both options are on the table radically presupposes an exceptionally high view of God, one in which God has both life in Himself and is benevolent. In this theistic direction, God must be available, welcoming, and happily involved in communion with humanity. Why is this the case? Because humans and anyone or anything else that is not God are contingent. This is a fancy way of saying that we are not necessary and that not one thing has in itself any ability to sustain itself. This puts everything categorically into the “consuming spirit” box, at least de jure (in principle) without someway to connect the consuming spirits to a life-giving spirit. This complication is one reason why the claim that God is Trinity is potently more persuasive than other claims about a monotheistic God. To put it briefly, if God is Trinity, He already has the blueprint for society or family in the shear manner in which He eternally persists. It can be argued that communion with the life giving Spirit is the only way to turn away from being a devouring spirit. It is funny, isn’t it, that Scripture can capture these ideas so succinctly:

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame (Phil. 3:19) . . ..” Similarly, it states elsewhere, “The last Adam (resurrected Christ) became a life-giving spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).”

St. Paul

Therefore, there is clearly a rift: either you are a life-giving spirit or a life-consuming spirit. That’s it. I can hear an objection already: “does not your workup here require someone to be a Christian to ever be a “life-giving” person? I know many people who are not Christians who behave in up-building sorts of ways all the time.” The objection has merit, but even though I  have painted this issue as clear and neat, the de facto (on the ground) reality is a true mess. This world is the testing arena; call it what you will (prevenient grace perhaps), but all humanity have the ability to behave attuned to The Spirit or join the discord of the consuming spirits. Thus, all humans enjoy the perk of the image of God, the Imago Dei, which is a kind of imprint and remembrance of the Spirit’s original impartation of life. All humans can tap this; however, their ability to continue to tap into it wanes the nearer they come to death since the lesson of death is that time is short, and the original benefit of The Spirit’s life-giving effects moves towards despoilment or impotence. This lesson thunders the need to renew indefinitely the connection with the Life-Giver, the Spirit of God.

Sec. 2: The Nature of Demonism, a Basic Synopsis

Demonism, then, is of the spirit consumptive kind. It is the willful rejection of the Author of Life in preference to being wedded to a perishing cosmos. It has oft been wondered why the cosmos is so vicious, or why the animal kingdom is so horrific. If the “Satan usurped humanity’s kingdom interpretation” of Genesis 1 – 3 is accurate, the answer is easy. Humanity was to spread out and fill the earth — recall here that Adam and Eve or Moses later when he writes down Genesis do not have any grasp on the cosmological build-out of the universe. My point is that “earth” to an ancient mind in no way refers to the ball floating in space; to them, the earth was one continuous question mark, a vast domain to be explored whose boundaries were utterly unknown. Perhaps the cosmos would have been very different if humanity had not had the keys to its kingdom taken by Satan. The image of God’s magnification and pervasiveness was replaced with the image of Satan, an image that wanted to be like God through one’s own efforts and in one’s own manner. This upended the creational order, leading to God’s curse, subjugating everything to futility and to be “marked out” to perish. A timer or countdown clock was put on the reign of Satan, sin, and death, codified into reality itself, the vastness of death, emptiness, and the voids being a kind of object lesson humanity could observe more and more as humanity’s sophistication advanced.

With this laid out, consuming spirits feast on a creation destined for annihilation. In some sense, it is suicidal; in another sense, it perfectly illustrates the self-defeating nature of power apart from the Life-Giving Spirit. Demonism, therefore, is an exertion of power to replicate itself in more or less unwilling people to conform to its image, which image is on a quest to evade the annihilation which awaits it. Demonism in short is totalitarianism of a suicidal “same.” To restate in a less confusing way, demonism coerces persons to enact demonic or life-consuming behaviors in an effort to pull you into this quest to defeat annihilation. What are some ramifications of this on us as people? Demonism is recognized as the need to control and so the need to remove freedom. God’s granting of freedom was and is an invitation to choose, to evaluate the merits and demerits of your situation in this world as you consider your ultimate destiny. Life consuming behaviors rob oneself of the freedom its seeks to devour; those wishing to eliminate freedom of others will find themselves ever more unable to act freely to resist the impulse to devour. Another outgrowth of the demonic quest is insanity. The only resource that can defeat final death or annihilation is a store of value that is endless in its supply; as far as we know, this would be by definition God, as the only One who “has life in Himself.” The quest requires a repeated rejection of the known resource (God) which solves the final death problem. As the saying goes, repeating the same action and expecting a different result is insanity; the demonic quest not only repeats this over and over again but replicates this ongoing rejection in all others it ensnares.

There are certainly more ramifications, but I am getting long so let’s recap and point out some future lines of thought. First, demonism is far nearer than we usually think. Have you ever stalked an ex? Have you let jealousy turn you ravenous? What do these have in common with demonism? The impulse to assert your will over and often against the life of another. Power as it is usually expressed in this world, with the connotations I discussed earlier, is inherently demonic. That so many governments of the 20th century and even in the 21st century have made their chief aim the expansion of their power while replicating its own image is by no way strange if demonism truly exists. Scripture discusses demonic activity to be uniquely obsessed with the high positions of power; if my philosophical analysis here is largely accurate, the corrupting effect of power itself unified to an underlying impulse by governments to advance totalitarianism is an unsurprising outcome. In fact, the picture I have painted asserts that demonic activity and governmental activity are the same and fixated on consuming behavior to prolong its power-exertion greed.  I think we will call it quits with a reminder of the “great inversion” evinced by the Lord Jesus Christ. The willingness to die in order to persuade humanity to opt for the life-giving Spirit, for humanity to choose to be on the side of life-giving rather than life-consuming, is an inversion of the use of power. Truly, and I will do another video and writing on this at some point, we need to utterly redefine and attach totally different connotations to the word “power” when we speak of the power of the cross or the resurrection. The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit, St. Paul tells us. This power was used to illustrate God to offer an invitation. It is not totalitarianism, an enforcement of an image. It is a presentation of God, with all its life-giving intimations. The presentation is an invitation, and we will decide what to do with that invitation. The choice is to be a life-consumer or join the harmony of the Life-Giver as you become just that.

Dr. Scalise