The second Greek word that is frequently translated ‘devil’ in the King James version of the Bible, is the word ‘diamonion’ (or a close equivalent), which is more accurately translated in modern versions as ‘demon’, or as ‘evil spirits’. In every instance of its use, it can be shown to be coupled with some form of disease or malfunction of the body.
“Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.” Matthew 17: 18
“Then they brought to him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.” Matthew 12: 22
“…how God annointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil [Gk.: diamonizomai], because God was with him.” Acts 10 38
The association of ill health with some type of outside agency was a very widely held belief from ancient times, since the micro-organisms that were reponsible for illness could not be seen and recognised until the invention of the microscope and increased scientific knowledge. Even today, children are warned about ‘Bertie Germ’ and the harrm that ‘he’ can do to unbrushed teeth.
The Devil and Sin.
Recall the passage quoted earlier from the book of James:
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” James 1: 12–15
James does not blame temptation on any devil, demon, or Satan. He lays the blame on something internal.
‘…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. ‘
It is well accepted that we don’t have to train children to do what is wrong – it appears to be a natural instinct for them to do what is wrong. What we spend parenthood doing is trying to get them to do things that are good!
Human nature was degraded in the Garden of Eden, and ever since then it has been hostile to God’s will. Human nature urges us to satisfy the natural desires of the flesh. And when these have been satisfied, then the result is death, as James indicated in our text. The result of death comes about through the action of sin.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – …” Romans 5: 12
Notice how sin entered the world through one man — Adam — and not through a supernatural devil or Satan; and that this action introduced sin, and death through sin. This relation between sin and death is emphasised throughout the Bible, and it formed the basis on which both sin and death could be removed altogether through Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ and Sin.
There is a passage that relates human nature, the devil, death, and the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2: 14, 15
This passage presents a number of factors that are very relevant to the topic.
The term ‘flesh and blood’ is descriptive of the make up of everyone of us.
“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work in my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? …So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7: 21–25
Jesus Christ shared exactly the same nature as us, a body of ‘flesh and blood’.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” Hebrews 4: 15