Would you sell your soul? Well, you probably wouldn’t put it in such Faustian terms. Selling our souls – like we see in the Mercedes-Benz Superbowl commercial, or like the old Ralph Macchio film, Crossroads, is not the typical approach of the devil. We won’t even see him coming.
In a great Tim Keller series on the Gospel of Mark, he notes that the Devil doesn’t make deals. The devil doesn’t come out and say I’ll make you a partner if you grind the face of the poor and invest in products and companies that exploit vulnerable families. He doesn’t ask us to sign on the dotted line. Rather, he subtly, slowly, and persistently will push us over the line.
It’s hard for us “modern” people to believe in evil – demons – the demonic. It’s seems irrational to us. It’s even harder to think we might be demon-possessed. However, Keller notes, if we believe in God, but not demons, that’s not rational. If there is super natural good then there is super natural evil. “Yeah,” we say, “but the people of old were naive – they didn’t know what we now know.” Not true. They did know.
Keller goes on to show how the Biblical view of evil is one of the most multidimensional and nuanced views of evil out there. They didn’t just chalk everything up to evil. They knew the difference between illness, disease, insanity, and demon-possession. One can argue we don’t know this in our day. Even if we do, we just medicate everyone so they’ll fit into a box – including our kids.
Can we be possessed? Have you ever seen someone so driven by money that they’ll sacrifice family, ethics, and legal boundaries? Of course you have. We all have. How about someone so filled with hatred and malice that they commit murder? Check the news if you haven’t. How about someone filled with desire and lust to the point of crossing the lines of marriage fidelity? How about corrupt systems, or corrupt governments? Is all this demon-possession?
The realm of the demonic is extremely complex. It’s larger than the individual. It can take over entire families, systems, and countries. To ignore it, or think it plays no role in our lives is dangerous. Jesus talked about evil all the time. He encountered evil all the time. Jesus wasn’t stupid or naive. He is the power that can conquer it.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson
For a great Faustian Legend – Check out Steve Vai – Guitar Dual to Save A Soul – Crossroads