When reading the gospels (the stories about Jesus) in the Bible, it doesn’t take long to run across the phrase “evil spirit.” (Some translations use “unclean spirit” or a “corrupting spirit.”)
What is an “evil spirit” anyway?
- As a teenager, I thought that an evil spirit was merely ancient man’s way of understanding mental illness.
- As a young adult, my perspective flipped and I thought that mental illness was merely modern man’s way of explaining evil spirits.
- Later on, I began to consider that both mental illness and evil spirits existed, but as separate, disparate phenomenons.
- More recently, I’ve been thinking that they may just be two different ways of looking at the same thing, two sides of the same coin.
Although contemplating the meaning of an evil spirit may be intellectually inviting, the central point is to remember that regardless of what it was, Jesus healed people who had evil spirits — and he gave his followers the authority to do the same.
Now, that’s something to think about.
[See Matthew 10:1.]
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.