Friday, May 30, 2014

Cases of Healing of the Demon-Possessed in Gospels

       It is a paradox the fact that society today is afflicted by two opposing and contradictory tendencies.  One is the denial of the existence of the devil as an independent, self- sufficient entity, and the other is the superstition that results in people, literally, deifying and even worshipping the devil, though he is a declared enemy of God.   This second tendency views him not so much as one who makes demands on the terms of life or conformity to such terms, as much as someone who is dangerous because of his supposed power to punish. Therefore, consistent with this (latter) way of thinking, it is in a person’s best interest to serve and extol him in order to be in good standing with him!
 Thus, twenty centuries after the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, once again in the limelight is the self-same face of the devil, that central figure of human oppression, since the time of the ancestral fall and thereafter.  There is a revival of witchcraft, Satan worship in various forms and even the worship of the twelve ancient greek gods of Mount Olympus!
 In the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, several specific instances of healing the demon-possessed are described in detail, along with general references to many others.  The distinction made from the other miracles of healing of the sick is clear and unmistakable.  Harmony of content, as well as of expression, exists among the writers of the Gospels; and consequently, the problem of credibility (of text) is not aroused among the scholars.
Nevertheless, there are researchers who deny that demon-possessed individuals exist.  And the former attempt to explain the Gospel miracles as cures of psychological and neurological conditions.  Their problem, however, does not come from questioning the reliability (that is of the text or agreement of the different holy writers) of the narratives; rather, it is their a priori perception that demons do not exist.  In their opinion, wherever references are made in Scripture, it is simply a matter of symbolic manifestations and expressions of the existence of bad character/temperament and remnants of past irrational beliefs (!)  For them Christ did not drive out demons, but rather with the personality of a charismatic therapist, he cured psychological disorders by means of such phenomena as hypnotic suggestion.
 As is shown, however, through the theological, as well as narrative and medico-psychological analysis of the passages of healing of the demon-possessed, in the Gospels, there is absolutely no doubt that Christ healed the demon-possessed, all the more so emphasizing the distinction of these cases in relationship to the treatment of other illnesses.  This inferred by the clarity and harmony (inner as well as interpersonal) of the Gospel texts, wherein the descriptions are quite clear.  It is further evidenced by the harmony and parallel viewpoint and conduct of the persons who were healed.  As for the position taken by the Officials who cannot possibly dispute the fact that the casting out of demons took place, since it occurs publicly, before many witnesses, they simply interpret in their own “pharisaical” manner, declaring that everything happens with the cooperation of Satan.
 All of the cases of healing of the demon-possessed are placed among the many miracles that Christ accomplished and, on the whole, constitute a part of His salvific work.  At the same time, they reveal undeniably His Divine Nature, manifest in an authentic and philanthropic way, pointing in all directions. More specifically, through the miracles of healing the demon-possessed, the presence and catastrophic character of the murderous nature of Satan and his cunning demons is clearly beheld.  With the coming of Christ into the world, he is banished and expelled from among God’s creatures; his power is abolished by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And finally, through the miraculous expulsion of demons, the theanthropic countenance of Christ is unmistakably visible;  His Divinity, with its authentic and sweeping power and authority, is made manifest in the face of the temporal powers of the “leader of this age.” 

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