At times it can be difficult to determine whether an event or tragedy has a demonic origin or is just a result of life in this broken world. To help make this determination, the Christian has been given the gift of discernment through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12: 10). We are also exhorted to “test the spirits” (1 John 4: 1-4) to determine whether a person is speaking the truth according to God’s Word, or speaking from another source. Christians need to be aware of Satan’s workings (2 Cor 2: 11) in order to oppose them in both private prayer and direct confrontation through spiritual warfare.
Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and He will eventually destroy the devil himself (Heb 2: 14). Satan does not have final power over humanity, because the condemnation of sin was broken at the Cross (Col 2:14, 15).
The children of God – those who have faith in Christ for salvation – are called to join with Christ under His leadership to combat the forces of darkness. We have been given powerful, anointed, spiritual equipment to do just that (2 Cor 10:3-5; Eph 6:11-18).
Rebellion Is As The Sin Of Witchcraft
To effectively combat the deception of animism, we must understand that magic, divination, witchcraft, sorcery, etc., ALL have their source in demon spirits working through man’s rebellion against God.
This rebellion began with Adam and Eve. God gave them much freedom and authority in the Garden of Eden (Gen 1:28). They were to use these God-given gifts for good, while submitting to God and following His will and desire.
Satan tempted and deceived Adam and Eve by appealing to their pride. He falsely claimed that they would “be like God” if they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:5) – and they succumbed to his temptation.
Satan, the father of lies, pretended to offer Adam and Eve “godlike” knowledge and power; but the cost was disobedience to and rebellion against God, which brought them out from under God’s loving care and righteous Lordship. Their selfish desire for their own knowledge and power led them right into Satan’s wicked trap (Gen 3:5). This same prideful desire for independence from God is repeated many times in the Bible’s account of mankind’s history.
People today have inherited Adam and Eve’s sinful nature. The use of “magical powers” appeals to mankind’s wish to bring about some desired result that is beyond human ability. Man turns to demonic spiritual sources to get his way apart from God.
The use of demonic powers is in direct rebellion against submission to the will of God and against trust in the Lord to establish His will for a person or their situation. Thus, the use of magic (“white” or “black”), witchcraft, sorcery, wizardry, etc., is rebellion against God.
This is why the Bible equates rebellion with witchcraft: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam 15:23a). Those who practice animism deny God’s righteous authority and sovereign Lordship over His creation; they seek knowledge, power and material possessions from demonic sources rather than trusting in God’s gracious provision.
Another example of rejecting God’s Lordship is divination: the occult practice of seeking to obtain knowledge of future events, attempting to determine a right course of action, or trying to find the cause for misfortune. Divination combines human effort and demonic powers in order to try and gain knowledge or power. This practice is an act of rebellion against God; it is a direct defiance of the biblical injunction to submit to and seek God in obedience and trust.