Ask An Evangelical: Thoughts & Demons

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What do you want to know about Evangelicalism? Submit your question here.

By Scott McIntyre

Can Demons Hear Our Thoughts?

I guess the best way to know for sure would be to ask a demon, but then we’d have to trust they were telling the truth, so it looks like I’ll have to come up with a different basis for my answer…the Bible.

This response relies heavily on an article written in 2009, by Randy Alcorn, founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries

Daniel’s Example

Mr. Alcorn points to a passage in Daniel 2:27-28, where Daniel is speaking with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The king has had a troubling dream and summoned his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers, who could appeal to demonic sources, to tell him its meaning. Unable to do so, the king become angry at them and decides to wipe out all the ‘wise’ men from the land.

This would have included Daniel, so when he heard about the decree and why it was issued, he sought out the king and asked for some time to interpret his dream. He then asked friends to plead for God’s mercy and during the night God revealed the meaning of the dream to him. He subsequently approaches the king, reveals the truth behind the dream, and is granted a position of power in the land.

Mr. Alcorn concluded that “…apparently these demons could not read the king’s mind even to ascertain what he had dreamed, much less interpret it. This is probably the primary Scripture that has direct bearing on the issue.”

Jesus and God Can, not Demons

He further points out that Jesus knew people’s thoughts (Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:8; Luke 6:8) and so did God (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 139), but he was not aware of any place in Scripture where we learn that demons can do the same thing. I share his opinion on those thoughts.

Yet, there seems to be a way demons can determine what we’re thinking.  Per Mr. Alcorn, “they can see us from the outside. They know exactly what we’re reading and watching on TV. They overhear our conversations, see our physical responses…and are no doubt skilled at reading our expressions.” 

Think about it this way. You are overseen shoplifting by a man who intends to rob a store but is looking for help. He can’t know if you’d be willing to join up with him but you’re probably a better option to ask than all the people paying for their groceries.

If there are demonic forces in the world, and I believe wholeheartedly that there are, it doesn’t seem like we would want to give them any ammunition to use against us that they don’t already have. They know we’re not perfect and sometimes fail to follow God’s expectations for His creation but we can work to keep those thoughts and attitudes to ourselves and not let them become aware of them by our actions.

About Scott McIntyre

Scott McIntyre is glad his parents didn’t name him Vladimir or he’d be listed last on this page. While a long time California resident, he was the Oakland Spirituality Examiner for Examiner.com from 2011-12 and about the same time began blogging on several topics. The first, teaching Christians how to lovingly share their spiritual beliefs, emphasized skills that can benefit all forms of one-to-one interaction. He also writes on marriage, travel, downsizing, humor, and the motive behind people’s words and actions. After retiring in 2016, Scott embarked on some major ‘R & R’; Relocating and Rebranding. Following in his sister’s footsteps from the early 80’s, and later in the decade, his parent’s, Scott left the Golden State to become a Washingtonian in a small town just west of Spokane County.

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