Q276 : Demonic Activity in Light of God’s Sovereignty

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Q276 : Demonic Activity in Light of God’s Sovereignty

Here’s an obvious issue on Revelation (also applies to Daniel of course) that I’ve never seen addressed—thought you might be interested. Whatever the demons decide to do, it was by definition God’s plan. So demons can’t thwart God’s plan simply by being devious. But, in Revelation, God’s plan is written down. So why do the demons go along with it precisely, if they see the end result is not to their advantage?

A276 : by Tony Garland

I think the answer to your question is partly found in the "insanity" which results when genius/brilliance sets itself up in opposition to God.

Although we like to think of reasonable decision-making as a sign of intelligence, the Bible reveals that where intelligence is exercised in opposition to God, deception and confusion result. Quite apart from innate intelligence and gifting: it is God who grants soundness of mind (2Ti. 1:7).

Take Satan for example. It appears that he was the apex of God’s created order, endowed with enormous wisdom and intelligence (Eze. 28:12-15). Yet, he imagines that he can be as God (Isa. 14:13-14), even initiating a war in an attempt to overthrow God (Rev. 16:13-14). For any creature to attempt to overthrow the Creator can only be described as the height of insanity—a brilliant mind which has descended into delusion and dysfunction. It’s as if the more gifted and brilliant the mind is, the greater capacity it has for self-deception and delusion in opposition to God.

We see evidence of this among the demons as well. In an encounter with Jesus, they recognize Who He is, His ultimate power, and the certainty of their ultimate destination (Mat. 8:29-32; Mark 5:10-13; Luke 8:31-33). Yet we look in vain in Scripture for any evidence of an unclean spirit repenting or accepting God’s will out of an understanding of their inevitable doom. Instead, the darkened mind—devoid of God’s judgment, wisdom, and mental health—pits its genius into an increasingly insane program of an imagined all-or-nothing overthrow of God Himself. This is the height of folly. In their hardened rejection of God, they most likely believe that can somehow thwart what God has determined. And, even if not, they prefer to continue in opposition despite the prophesied and certain results.

It would appear that their self-deception is so complete that they cannot realize when their desperate activities actually contribute to their own downfall. Their sinful rebellion plays out within God’s permissive will for history, contributing to both their own overthrow and the exaltation of God at the ultimate overthrow of evil.

Having said this, there are many aspects of the destructive effects of opposing God which remain a deep mystery. This is one of many topics which we expect to understand more fully in glory, although God will forever remain the Creator and we but creatures: a gap which additional time and revelation will never close.

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