Can Objects Contain Spiritual Power?
Q. I know many believe demonic entities can attach to objects brought into homes (toys, games, books, crystals, healing rocks, statues, etc.). Can objects contain spiritual (or demonic) power?
I believe the Apostle Paul speaks to this issue very clearly in 1 Cor. 8:4: “Therefore, concerning the eating of food sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing at all in the world, and that there is no God but one.”
People were superstitious at that time thinking they couldn’t eat food sacrificed to idols because the food has been involved in a pagan ceremony and was offered to a “god.” Paul sought to refute that belief. Paul insists the idol itself has no power and is “nothing at all in the world” (spiritually speaking). We shouldn’t be afraid of an object. Objects do not contain spiritual power. So the food, in itself, was perfectly safe to eat for a Christian.
I grew up in an era when there was a book (in the 80s) that claimed that half of the toys sold in stores had demons attached to them. They don’t. They can’t. Demons don’t possess inanimate objects and nothing in Scripture supports that view. That’s superstition.
Objects are NOT Spiritual, but We Are
With that said, there are spiritual beings (real angels and real demons and a real devil). So there is a spiritual realm we need to be mindful of. An object itself has no spiritual power one way or the other. But, using an object as an item of worship CAN open you up to demonic influence. So, let’s say I own a little Buddha statue. No demon is going to attach itself to the object and jump out and get me. That is superstition. But suppose I believe praying to my Buddha will give me power and/or good luck. Spirits of darkness can use my belief in the object to open me up to their influence by seeming to “answer my prayers” or “keep me safe,” so I place my trust in my little god. So, no innate object has supernatural power in itself. Not even a printed Bible. It’s the words and meaning that have power, not the paper and ink. But objects can be part of our worship, which can open us up to supernatural influence.
Jeremiah 10 (ESV) probably says it even more clearly:
1Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2Thus says the Lord:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
3for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
4They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
5Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM,
FOR THEY CANNOT DO EVIL,
NEITHER IS IT IN THEM TO DO GOOD.”
6There is none like you, O Lord;
you are great, and your name is great in might.
So, crystals, Ouija boards, tarot cards, etc., are nothing but matter. Matter does NOT contain spiritual power. They are not spiritual. However, WE ARE spiritual, so when we interact with those objects in spiritual ways, we open ourselves up to demonic influence. Crass illustration, but if a dog gets an Ouija board, he will merely chew on it and defecate on it. A dog can’t become demon possessed from chewing on an object like that. But if we are practicing divination or trying to contact the dead (things forbidden by God in Scripture), we as humans can enter a demonic realm through the use of those objects and our belief in their power (though they do not materially have any power at all). I know that’s tricky, but I hope I have made the distinction clear.
Movies, music, the content of the books we read (again, not the ink and paper itself), occultic games, all of those things have immense potential to bring our souls into interaction with the demonic realm, because they influence our hearts and minds.
As Christians it is important to understand these distinctions so we don’t fall into silly superstitions. If my wife and I get into a car and our new age friend has crystals hanging from her rear view mirror, that she believes brings her “good energy,” we are not at risk of being harmed in any way by them, but she may be harmed, not by the actual crystals, but her search for power through them.
Is It Wrong to Keep Occultic / New Age Paraphernalia in our Home as Long as We Don’t Use it for Worship?
The early church not only put away the practice of paganism/occult/witchcraft, but also any appearance of it. When Paul talked about eating meat sacrificed to idols, he emphasized that while there was nothing wrong with eating the food itself, we should be careful not to give an appearance that we endorse the pagan practices associated with it. Christians should not be involved in Syncretism (the combining of paganism into our worship of Jesus).
Acts 19:13 (ESV) “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.”
God wants us to be wholehearted in our worship to Him. Wearing clothes with new age symbols, listening to rock music with occult lyrics, watching movies that celebrate demonic possession, playing games that cast spells on people, reading astrology, practicing new age meditation…none of these are practices in which Christians should be participating. Our lives should reflect complete and pure devotion to our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
Israel Wayne is an author / founder of Family Renewal, LLC and Site Editor for ChristianWorldview.net. His book, Questions Jesus Asks: Where Divinity Meets Humanity, contains an entire chapter that takes a Biblical look at Demonology.