A STUDY ON THE DEVIL
From Contemplation and Action, by Norberto R. Keppe
There is one particular theological subject that has always been treated
very superficially indeed, and that is the issue of demons. Are they real
or not? Are they just symbols of various human attitudes? The first thing
I could say here is that demons have always been interpreted
erroneously. Let me try to explain.
Primitive peoples and ancient civilizations considered the devil to be an
entity that took possession of the human being, thereby becoming
responsible for the person’s actions. Exorcism has frequently been used
as a way to rid the human of this evil.
During my clinical work in Integral Psychoanalysis, I began to realize
those people we call mentally ill display attitudes of opposition to all that
is good, beautiful and true, which are identical to the attitudes we would
attribute to evil spirits. Through his free will, man is completely free to
accept or reject what is real, meaning he is free to be similar to either
God or Satan.
It is totally wrong, therefore, to deny the existence of demons. In fact, it
is precisely this denial that allows them the opportunity to act freely in
the minds of men and women. Going further, it is exactly this ignorance
of his existence that Satan wants for this allows him to conduct his work
We could ask, “Why has the form of an animal always been used to
portray the devil?” Goats heads, for instance, with horns, a tail and
hoofs, and claws for hands – these illustrations are common in Christian,
Jewish and Oriental religions. We can see this even today, just as we saw
in ancient times or the Middle Ages. The difference is that now modern
science has the means to explain all this.
People who start down the path towards a more serious mental illness
begin adopting behaviors that are different from the conduct we
consider normal, and begin to behave strikingly similar to animals.
When someone is criticized for their strange behavior, we hear things
like, “He’s behaving like an animal.”
In more pronounced schizophrenia, what can typically be observed is
repetitive mannerisms accompanied by exaggerated gestures and
behavior that is similar to apes. Even the expressions of these
individuals are closer to howling than speaking. In their more
aggressive phases, they certainly seem like beasts that are primed to
attack. At this point, you may catch the analogy I am trying to establish
between demons and the mentally ill since they are mirror images. In
this sense, Satan could be called a schizophrenic angel.
Paranoid people or those individuals who suffer from manias of
persecution firmly believe that they are actually being persecuted by
others, especially by those who are trying their best to help them. It was
exactly this reaction that the evil spirits displayed towards Jesus when
they said, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art
thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matthew, 8:29). In
fact, they did not want to acknowledge that their suffering was caused
by their rejection of love, goodness, and life, and the presence of the Son
of God only brought their condition into consciousness.
The most important thing I am trying to convey through this study is
that Satan is a sick being, not all-powerful and semi-divine as he’s often
portrayed. In fact, he is just like a psychotic human being. Sometimes,
this psychotic does succeed in keeping their worst pathology hidden
and manages to “deceive” those around him. I put the word “deceive” in
quotes because we really do have a truth monitor inside us that
recognizes exactly what is right and wrong.
There are always questions that come to mind when we read the
Scriptures. For example, why did Jesus come across so many people
afflicted by demons when today we rarely encounter this phenomenon?
The usual explanation is that times were very different back then and
that He had a special dispensation from God. However, I have an
entirely different idea about this.
Firstly, we must consider that Jesus, being God, would have had to deal
with the heaviest attacks from evil entities. After all, Jesus was not only
a man but also one (pure) spirit facing another spiritual being (a rebel),
which would explain all the overt and obvious challenges. In fact, this
exact same phenomenon would occur again if one of the Divine Trinity
ever returned to Earth in human form.
Human problems begin in the spiritual dimension of the feelings and
thoughts, which are always under the influence of suggestions from the
angels and demons that surround us. We must see that, after the
Creator, the most perfect beings are the spiritual ones, which can be
good or evil (angels or demons) depending on their choice. We are
obliged to consider that we participate in this vast spiritual (immaterial)
When I speak about dialoguing with demons, I am referring to a real
conversation just like we have with other people, but with the
significant difference that it is driven by the spiritual sector that
concerns our eternal salvation, meaning it depends on the type of
relationship we have with God. This is, in fact, the most appropriate field
for man. Do we not, after all, feel a strong desire for happiness? We
know it exists, but we have difficulties in locating where it comes from.
At the same time, we can see that the connection we have with the so-
called the spiritual world is much more intense and definitive than any we
establish with the material world. We could say that everything that
happens on this material plane constitutes a direct reflection of what we
do in the beyond.
We are totally immersed in the infinite. If we meditate on this for a few
moments and allow our eyes to open to this a little, we will immediately
notice the existence of this completely different universe. As an
example, consider the millions of people who have already died; they
are still existent, either in dimensions of much light or darkness
depending on what they opted for. In fact, it’s like they are in adjacent
rooms. What’s more, beyond this level we can see more light and clarity,
and space filled with creatures illuminated by a most intense light that
is almost equal to the light of the most radiant and magnificent being
that exists: God. We could say that these are beings who are highly
enlightened and totally accepting of truth, goodness, and beauty while
the lights of others are almost extinguished because of their rejection of
these transcendental elements.
Just as we cannot compare the physical world (the workings of the
human organs) with the psychological (the worlds of feelings and
intellect), so we must see that the vast cosmos is but a small part of the
Creator’s spiritual totality. Long before its creation, He had already
made the angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim that exist in the
universe we participate in until today – even if we turn our backs to
In fact, it’s for this precise reason that I declare that the devil only thinks
about God, even while wanting to sabotage Him at the same time. What I
want to say is that the more the devil tries to forget the Creator the
more he remembers him, because one can only like what is good. It is
exactly the same thing with man: we have everything we need but we
complain endlessly about work, other people and even life itself, which
proves our desire to turn this paradise into a real hell of intrigue,
suspicion, and tension. Is it not for this reason that this world is often
called the Kingdom of Satan?
What we call a demonic attitude is simply a “stupid” one, representing a
the choice for the worst thing possible – rather like psychotics who destroy
their friendships and even their own capacities in this mentally ill
behavior. Any psychiatrist will have seen this. In fact, everyone has
problems, but those who call themselves ill use this as an excuse to do
A person does not need to be a saint to drive Satan out of his life.
However, we must expel him by adopting an attitude of respect for the
Creator so that the evil one can see that we want nothing to do with him.
The devil is extremely alienated and totally inappropriate. He behaves
like those aggressive individuals who, if they’re not firmly rejected,
continue making aggressive and unrelenting moves towards others. If
the person can keep his mind firmly on goodness, it’s like a punch in the
nose to the demons, who then stop trying anything further.
When the Son of God was on Earth, Satan, not knowing exactly who he
was dealing with, behaved like a complete idiot, thus explaining his
numerous stabs at tempting Jesus. I am saying that “demon-possessed”
people are possessed by an evil spirit because they adopt a similar
attitude to the evil one, thereby becoming his “little friends.”
If we could save the demons we would because it is lamentable to see a
legion of spiritual beings completely displaced from their original
position of happiness. I believe they are trying to live well but have a
totally inverted attitude just like the psychotics here on Earth. In any
case, only they themselves can leave this situation by returning to
behavior that is appropriate.
Steve Ramsey- Okotoks , Alberta