It is clear, for those who accept the clear statements that the Bible makes about the occult, that there is potential danger in going down that road. However, for those who do not see it like this or indeedforthose who see no danger whatsoever, how do we make a reasoned defence? What follows are some of the ways I have tried with varying degrees of success. However please realise we cannot make someone believe, our job is to provide well-communicated evidence and reasoned arguments.
For a start we must accept that supernatural activity is going on today, and this results in phenomena that have no human explanation. There are things that ‘work’ and things that seem to do good. Can this then be the rule for checking things out? If they feel good and appear to work then can we go for them?
To me this is a problem because not everything that feels good should be applied to our lifestyle and, certainly, the fact that something works in itself makes it neither right nor wrong. Surely, then, the question we must ask is where does the power come from?
A good Biblical illustration of this is the story of Moses before Pharaoh in Exodus chapter 7. Here God turned Aaron’s rod into a snake but Pharaoh called all his Wizards with their secret arts and they copied what God did but with an occultic power not the power of God. All the snakes looked the same and you could not tell the difference just using your natural eyes and mind. The difference was only evident when you answered the question, what power caused this to happen?
But it Works!
Many in the occult will answer the question, “where does the power come from?” with “I do not know, but it works and as we only do good that is okay.” As we shall see this is not okay but first we need to underline the fact that they are being irresponsible by unleashing a power that will affect someone’s life, perhaps profoundly, and they don’t know where that power comes from. By very definition that power is supernatural and so much greater than the natural, which means that, although it appears that the person using the power is in control they are not. Rather, they are in the control of whatever is behind the power.
It is like taking a train journey. First we decide where we are going, who is in control? We are. Then we decide which day to travel on, who is in control? We are. Next we decide which type of ticket to buy, who is in control? We are. We decide which train to go on and which seat to sit in, who is in control? We are. The doors close and the train pulls out of the station, who is in control? The driver.
This is the same with supernatural occultic power – at first we feel that we are making all the decisions but eventually the power, that is greater than us, will take control and lead us where it wants to go.
What is the Power?
When pressed and the matter investigated most in the occult realm would say that the power is a latent power within man which we learn to harness and use. However, from the Biblical point of view if it is a power within man then it is resident within fallen man and so, as such, is not from God but from the work that Satan did within man at the Fall. Such a power is not going to be very helpful, but there is also another possible explanation.
Despite the false optimism of New Age thinking so prevalent today most people would accept that everything in this world is not ‘good’. The way one human being sometimes treats another human being is seen to be evil. There would probably be some discussion as to where evil comes from but it would appear to have a different root to good. If the supernatural power that is being unleashed, even though it appears to do good, is actually ‘evil in disguise’ then whoever opens themselves up to such a power is in potential danger.
The Bible shows that Satan is a supernatural being and also shows that he can get into disguise and show himself as an ‘angel of light’ – 2 Corinthians 11:14. Evil disguised as good; darkness disguised as light. Such a power is potentially dangerous. This is the spy in the camp, that acts like a friend but all the time is passing on information to the enemy.
We have another illustration of this in the Bible, in Acts 16:16, 17. Here it is recorded that an evil spirit within the girl was actually encouraging everyone to hear and respond to the Gospel that Paul was preaching. What better disguise than to say the opposite of what you really want to happen. But how can this help the enemy? How can telling the truth, or doing good to a person, actually help him – the answer is credibility and control.
In the above incident in Philippi, unless Paul had cast out the demonic spirit before he left town, it could have said what it wanted through the girl after he left. The girl would have had credibility and been accepted as true and the spirit in her could tell lies and twist the truth to bring people under its control.
I was on a television programme with a witch (she called herself that and indicated she was of the ‘white’ variety as she did good). She explained to the presenter the difference between the powers of ‘black’ and ‘white’ witchcraft. What she said was something that many others also believe. She claimed that there was only one power in the world and that this could be manipulated by the receiver to either do good (‘white’) or evil (‘black’) witchcraft.
Off set I talked further about this with her and got her to explain it again. I then shared with her that I thought this was a very difficult position to be in and at the same time it was quite worrying because you never know which way the power is going to go if it is capable of both expressions. After discussing this for a while I introduced the fact that when I had received God’s power that I was absolutely safe and knew where I was with it (Him) because it (He) could not be manipulated. Just for a second you saw the light go in the eyes.
When the subject of power and its source has been discussed another strand in the debate is often opened with a question such as, “Why should God tell us what to do? The Bible may say that the occult is wrong but so what? We will do what we want to do and will not be dictated to.” What is important in such cases is that you make clear, by looking at the Scriptures if necessary, what God is saying, and just as importantly, how He appears to be saying it.
One of the passages often used is Deuteronomy 18:10-12 because it seems to sum up so many of the practices. First there can be no question that God says that these things do not come from Him and that He tells us not to do them. Why does He tell us that though?
The answer I believe can be seen in the illustration of one, man-made, law that is very restrictive and yet which we all accept happily. What is it? Driving on the left-hand side of the road. Just how restrictive can you get! Yet we do not see demonstrations to repeal this law and give us the right to choose? Why? Because in the end it is all about safety and security not being told what to do. It is the same with the Lord when He tells us not to get involved in these things. The reason is not just that He wants to restrict us but that he knows where the power for these things comes from and He knows where they will lead us. He wants us to be safe and secure and we should accept these restrictions in this light.
However we should also note one other thing about the context of these verses in Deuteronomy. The practices in themselves are mostly to do with getting information concerning the future or help with present situations. Note what God says in verse 15 – He compares the seeking of omens and diviners etc, with the Prophet that is yet to come. He shows that these other practices cannot be trusted and are counterfeit, but the Prophet that is coming can be totally trusted and has the original plans and will of God.
Why settle for second best that can lead us into the clutches of a supernatural evil power when we can have the best – the Lord Jesus Christ who will lead us into freedom and peace.