You do not have to be long amongst Pentecostal-Charismatic circles before you routinely hear shouts of, "Out!" "Come out of her!" "Fire!" "I command you demons to come out!" Fun times! If you are a newbie to such, you might be properly alarmed and perhaps even petrified! If not by the booming voices of microphones maxed out, then by the theatrical manifestations that customarily follow these commands.
It can get quite spooky! But, what exactly is going on here? Why would an otherwise seemingly cultured man or woman suddenly contort, twist, jerk, convulse, become aggressive, and generally act radically out of character? Are these things real or staged? Is it hypnotism? Hysteria? Mind control? Are there really some malevolent spirits out there that can take up residence in a person? How? Why? What are they?
What are demons? Where do they come from? Are there really instances when people are not responsible for their actions and the devil is the culprit? I will attempt to shed some light on this. It's a long and controversial subject, but I hope to do it justice.
Some people think that demons are fallen angels, but the Bible repeatedly demonstrates that there are clear differences between them. Fallen angels are called “sons of God, gods, powers, principalities, authorities, dominions, host of heaven”. Angels in general are repeatedly shown to cause dreams and visions by which they interact with people and deliver a message from God.
They also appear in a bodily form looking like men, and interact with people this way, being seen as having a body. Of the fallen angels, it is made clear that there is a certain way one should rebuke them, namely asking God to do so, and not doing so personally.
“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 1:8-9. “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they,self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” 2 Pet 2:10-11. And Jesus himself gave us an example of resisting Satan, a fallen angel, by using scripture in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.
On the other hand, Demons are often called “wicked, unclean, evil spirits” and are usually mentioned in relation to someone who is demonized, and the demon speaks through that person. Demons do not appear in a bodily form themselves, but interactions with them always involve a body of a person or animal they are working through. In other words, demons need a body to get inhabit.
They cannot function without a body. Their preferred body is a human body, but if they can't get access to one, any will do. Jesus made clear that believers have been given authority by Jesus to cast demons out in His name. “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1. “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name…
Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:17,20. “And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” Acts 16:18. There are essential practical differences in how we are told to spiritually battle against demons versus fallen angels, as Christians.
We are given different instructions for each. There is a practical importance involved in understanding that demons and fallen angels are not the same, and we have different instructions for how we are to practice spiritual warfare against each of them.
Between this and the different terms used to refer to each, and the different descriptions of how they each interact with or attack people, it becomes clear that demons are not the same creatures as fallen angels. We know by scriptural inference that all the angels were probably made on the first day of creation, and are called the "host of heaven," and by the end of the 6th day the Bible says God had finished creating the heaven and earth and all their hosts.
However, the demons are never called the host of heaven, a term which always refers to angels, so it cannot be assumed the demons were created along with the angels. To understand where demons came from, we have to understand a few things first about Jesus Christ, and about human reproduction. Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of God, and the Bible teaches he was both fully man and fully God.
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, who is God, and Jesus’ Father is God the Father; and Jesus Christ, while the son of God, is also Himself God. But Jesus Christ was also the son of Mary, a human woman, and Jesus Christ was also a human man. Was Jesus Christ half-man physically and half-God physically? God the Father is spirit, and the Holy Spirit is spirit.
“God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Luke 24:39. As God the Father is a Spirit, He does not have a body made of flesh and bones, by which Jesus could be half-God physically in His body. In fact Jesus Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
And so it can be argued Jesus Christ is the only person within the triune Godhead with a physical body. The Father does not have a physical body, nor does the Holy Spirit. But it is made clear that Jesus partook as much as any man in flesh and blood: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” Hebrews 2:14.
This means that Jesus had a body that was fully human, flesh and blood as much as any normal human man. And the Bible says that Jesus Christ came in the flesh (2 John 1:7) and was a man (1 Timothy 2:5). So, Jesus was not half-man, half-God.
He was fully man and fully God. Was Jesus Christ spiritually a man, or was He spiritually God? It would seem that spiritually Jesus Christ was God. Nor could Jesus be considered to be half-God spiritually and half-man spiritually, as this would make him out to be less than fully God spiritually. Jesus Christ is God, and came from above, existing eternally, creating all things (John 8:23, 8:58, John 1). And the Bible teaches that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, but bodily:
“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9. In fact believing that Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man, also called “Hypostatic Union”, is an essential Christian Doctrine, basic to the Christian Faith. But it is important to understand that Jesus Christ had a fully human body, like any other human.
But Jesus was also fully God, so it can be understood that this was in the spiritual sense, and that spiritually Jesus was fully God. Jesus was not just like any other man when it came to His spirit, or half-man/half-God spiritually, but rather His spirit was that of God. This indicates that Jesus’ spirit was solely from God the Father, in regards to reproduction and the virgin conception by the Holy Spirit.
This is interesting as the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, and was “begat” by God. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1. But the same word for “begotten” is used many times relating to men and their children. Matthew 1:2 “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren.”
In fact the Old Testament is full of examples in which fathers beget their children, but there are no cases of mothers begetting their children. The Bible therefore, taken at literal face-value, teaches that children are only begat by their fathers. In the case of Jesus, spiritually He was fully God, and begotten of God the Father by the Holy Spirit.
He did not have a half-human spirit, and so it seems his spirit was not a 50/50 mixture of God the Father and His mother Mary’s human spirit. Rather, Jesus as the son of God was God, and of the same spirit as God the Father. What does the Bible actually teach about the spiritual side of human reproduction?
Let’s go back to the beginning when God first made Adam, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) Once Adam’s body had received the “breath of life”, then he became a living soul. So apparently a body, that then has the “breath of life” added to it, results in a new living soul.
The word here for “soul” is clarified in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 15:45 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” The word here for “soul” is “psyche” and it means “life” and “soul”. It is also used in Matthew 10:28, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” But there is a different word that is used in 1 Corinthians 15 for “spirit”, and that is “pneuma”.
This is the “breath of life” in Genesis 2:7 which is the “spirit” which gives life. “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Job 33:4. “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit (ruach) of God is in my nostrils” Job 27:3.
“And the LORD said, My spirit (ruach) shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”Genesis 6:3. The spirit of life in man was given by God to Adam in Genesis 2:7, and is the spirit of man. Without God striving with the spirit of man, he no longer has life, but the man dies. But as long as God strives with the spirit of man, the man lives.
The point being that a man being alive is tied to him having the spirit, the “breath of life” giving life, as God breathed into Adam. Job says the breath of the Almighty had given him life, but yet the only time when God is recorded to have breathed life into any man is when God made Adam.
The Bible only records God having done this one time, with Adam. Yet Job indicates he also has the breath of the Almighty. As such it would make sense that somehow the “breath of life” is inherited, and passed down through reproduction, and did pass down from Adam through his children, all the way to Job. How might the “breath of life” or spirit pass down through reproduction? The Bible does say that what causes life, giving life to the body, is in the blood.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11. And we know that what causes life is the “breath of life” or “spirit”.
And so the “spirit” or “breath of life” must be in the blood. As such there is a connection that the Bible makes between the “breath of life” or “spirit” and the blood of the physical body. It is understood that a child is formed from a bodily contribution from both parents in the process of reproduction.
Perhaps the “breath of life” is tied to the father’s contribution in reproduction. God specifies that people reproduce through multiplication, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). What is multiplication? God actually demonstrated multiplication for us, by how God made Eve from a little piece, a rib, taken from Adam. (The rib itself contains blood in the marrow, and the life of the body is in the blood.)
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” Genesis 2:21-22. God is not recorded to have breathed the spirit, the breath of life, into Eve in order for her to become a living soul. Nor is God recorded to have repeated this process with Cain, Abel, Seth, or any of their children.
God breathed the spirit of life into Adam who became a living soul, and God is recorded to have done this only one time, with Adam. Then Adam had a spirit and a soul and was alive. Obviously Eve and Adam’s children were alive and had living souls also, even though no record is made of God having breathed the breath of life into them.
Yet Job states that the breath of the Almighty had given him life. All of this indicates that God put the breath of life – a spirit – into Adam, and somehow this spirit was multiplied to all other people from Adam. Whether by Adam’s rib in the case of Eve, or through reproduction with their children, which the Bible calls “multiplication”, it seems that all people were passed down the breath of life from Adam.
So it makes sense that when God made Eve, He not only multiplied her body from Adam’s body, but that also God multiplied her spirit from Adam’s spirit, like a seed that grows. And then she became an individual living soul as well, as she had a body and spirit (the breath of life) which is located in the blood.
And this was all through the process of “multiplication”. As such, Eve was multiplied from Adam, in body and spirit, and then herself became a living soul. God did this with Eve Himself, but from that point on the same thing would occur with Adam and Eve multiplying to have children, through the natural process God set in place.
This means that during reproduction, the new spirit, breath of life, that each child has, is multiplied and grown from a little seed of the spirit or “breath of life” of the prior generation. This does not negate that that God forms each person in the womb (Isaiah 44:2,24) but the point is that the building materials, a seed, are already in place for God to build from, not just in regards to multiplying a new body, but to multiplying a new spirit as well.
All children are multiplied from what already exists in the father or mother. That the body and soul (mind, emotions, will) of the mother are inherited traits of a child is obvious. Children look like their mothers, have psychological traits like their mothers, the intelligence of their mother, etc.
And so we know that both the body and soul of the mother contribute to the body and soul (mind/will/emotions) of the child. Both the mother and father’s soul and body contribute in the multiplying process to form a child, and this is obvious as the child looks like both parents. Each contributes an equal number of chromosomes, to combine in conception, for the physical body, and the same sort of thing would make sense of the soul (mind/will/emotions) as well.
This is a question that should seriously exercise the mind of every Botswana citizen and every science researcher, every health worker and every political leader political.
The Covid-19 currently defines our lives and poses a direct threat to every aspect and every part of national safety, security and general well-being. This disease has become a normative part of human life throughout the world.
The first part of the struggle against the murderous depredation of this disease was to protect personal life through restrictive health injunctions and protocols; the worst possibly being human isolation and masks that hid our sorrows and lamentations through thin veils. We suffered that humiliation with grace and I believe as a nation we did a great job.
Now the vaccines are here, ushering us into the second phase of this war against the plague; and we are asking ourselves, is this science-driven fight against Covid-19 spell the end of pandemic anxiety? Is the health nightmare coming to an end? What happy lives lie ahead? Is this the time for celebration or caution? As the Non State Actors, we have being struggling with these questions for months.
We have published our thoughts and feelings, and our research reviews and thorough reading of both the local and international impacts of this rampaging viral invasion in local newspapers and social media platforms.
More significantly, we have successfully organised workshops about the impact of the pandemic on society and the economy and the last workshop invited a panel of health experts, professionals, and public administers to advance this social dialogue as part of our commitment to the tripartite engagement we enjoy working with Government of Botswana, Civil Society and Development partners. These workshops are virtual and open to all Batswana, foreign diplomatic missions based in Gaborone, UN agencies located in Gaborone and international academic researchers and professional health experts and specialists.
The mark of Covid-19 on our nation is a painful one, a tragedy shared by the entire human race, but still a contextually painful experience. Our response is fraught with grave difficulties; limited resources, limited time, and the urgency to not only save lives but also avert economic ruin and a bleak future for all who survive. Several vaccines are already in the market.
Parts of the world are already doing the best they can to trunk the pestilential march of this disease by rolling out mass-vaccinations campaigns that promise to evict this health menace and nightmare from their public lives. Botswana, like much of Africa, is still up in the disreputable, and, unenviable, preventative social melee of masked interactions, metered distances, contactless commerce.
We remain very much at the mercy of a marauding virus that daily runs amuck with earth shattering implications for the economy and human lives. And the battle against both infections and transmissions is proving to be difficult, in terms of finance, institutional capacities and resource mobilization. How are we prepared as government, and as citizens, to embrace the impending mass-vaccinations? What are the chances of us succeeding at this last-ditch effort to defeat the virus? What are the most pressing obstacles?
Does the work of vaccines spell an end to the pandemic anxieties?
Our panellists addressed the current state of mass-vaccination preparedness at the Botswana national level. What resources are available? What are the financial, institutional and administrative operational challenges (costs and supply chains, delivery, distribution, administering the vaccine on time, surveillance and security of vaccines?) What is being done to overcome them, or what can be done to overcome them? What do public assessments of preparedness tell us at the local community levels? How strong is the political will and direction? How long can we expect the whole exercise to last? At what point should we start seeing tangible results of the mass-vaccination campaign?
They also addressed the challenges of the anticipated emerging Vaccinated Society. How to fight the myths of vaccines and the superstitions about histories of human immunizations? What exactly is being done to grow robust local confidence in the science of vaccinations and the vaccines themselves? More significantly, how to square these campaigns vis-vis personal rights, moral/religious obligations?
What messages are being sent out in these regards and how are Batswana responding? What about issues of justice and equality? Will we get the necessary vaccines to everyone who wants them? What is being done to ensure no deserving person is left behind?
They also addressed issues of health data. To accomplish this mass-vaccination campaign and do everything right we need accurate and complete data. Poor data already makes it very hard to just cope with the disease. What is being done to improve data for the mass-vaccination campaign? How is this data being collected, aggregated and prepared for real life situation/applications throughout Botswana in the coming campaign?
We know in America, for example, general reporting and treatment of health data at the beginning of vaccinations was so poor, so chaotic and so scattered mainstream newspapers like The Atlantic, Washington Post and the New York Times had to step in, working very closely with civil society organizations, to rescue the situation. What data-related issues are still problematic in Botswana?
To be specific, what kind of Covid-19 data is being taken now to ready the whole country for an effective and efficient mass-vaccination program?
Batswana must be made aware that the end part of vaccination will just mark the beginning of a long journey to health recovery and national redemption; that in many ways Covid-19 vaccination is just another step toward the many efforts in abeyance to fight this health pandemic, the road ahead is still long and painful.
For this purpose, and to highlight the significance of this observation we tasked our panellists with the arduous imperative of analysing the impact of mass-vaccination on society and the economy alongside the pressing issues of post-Covid-19 national health surveillance and rehabilitation programs.
Research suggests the aftermath of Covid-19 vaccination is going to be just as difficult and uncertain world as the present reality in many ways, and that caution should prevail over celebration, at least for a long time. The disease itself is projected to linger around for some time after all these mass-vaccination campaigns unless an effort is made to vaccinate everyone to the last reported case, every nation succeeds beyond herd immunity, and cure is found for Covid-19 disease. Many people are going to continue in need of medications, psychological and psychiatric services and therapy.
Is Botswana ready for this long holdout? If not, what path should we take going into the future? The Second concern is , are we going to have a single, trusted national agency charged with the mandate to set standards for our national health data system, now that we know how real bad pandemics can be, and the value of data in quickly responding to them and mitigating impact? Finally, what is being done to curate a short history of this pandemic? A national museum of health and medicine or a Public Health Institute in Botswana is overdue.
If we are to create strong sets of data policies and data quality standards for fighting future health pandemics it is critical that they find ideological and moral foundations in the artistic imagery and photography of the present human experience…context is essential to fighting such diseases, and to be prepared we must learn from every tragic health incident.
Our panellists answered most of these questions with distinguished intellectual clarity. We wish Batswana to join us in our second Mass-vaccination workshop.
Today is International Women’s Day – it’s a moment to think about how much better our news diet could be if inequities were eliminated. In 1995, when the curtains fell in one of the largest meetings that have ever brought women together to discuss women in development, it was noted that women and media remain key to development.
Twenty-six years later, the relevant “Article J” of the Beijing Platform for Action, remains unfulfilled. Its two strategic objectives with regard to Women and Media have not been met. They are Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication
Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media.
Today, as we mark International Women’s Day, it’s an indictment on both media owners and civil society that women remain on the periphery of news-making. They cannot claim equal space in either the structures of newsrooms or in the content produced, be that as sources of news or as the subjects of reports. Indeed, the latest figures from WAN-IFRA’s Women in News Programme show just one in five voices in news belong to women*, be they as sources, as the author or as the main character of the news report.
Some progress was evident several years back, with stand-out women being named as chief executive officers, editors in chief, managing editors and executive editors. But these gains appear short lived in most media organisations. Excitement has turned to frustration as one-step forward has been replaced with three steps backwards. In Africa, the problem is acute. The decision-making tables of media organisations remain deprived of women and where there are women, they are surrounded by men.
Few women have followed in the footsteps of Esther Kamweru, the first woman managing editor in Kenya, and indeed sub-Saharan Africa. Today’s standout women editors include Pamela Makotsi-Sittoni (Nation Media Group, Kenya), Barbara Kaija (New Vision, Uganda), Mary Mbewe (Daily Nation, Zambia), Margaret Vuchiri (The Monitor, Uganda), Joyce Shebe (Clouds, Tanzania), Tryphinah Dongwana (Weekend Post, Botswana), Joyce Mhaville (Independent Television -ITV, Tanzania) and Tuma Abdallah (Standard Newspapers,Tanzania). But they remain an exception.
The lack of balance between women and men at the table of decision making has a rollback effect on the content that is produced. A table dominated by men typically makes decisions that benefit men.
So today, International Women’s Day is a grim reminder that things are not rosy in the news business. Achieving gender balance in news and in the structure of media organisations remains a challenge. Unmet, it sees more than half of the population in our countries suffer the consequences of bias, discrimination and sexism.
The business of ignoring the other half of the population can no longer be treated as normal. It’s time that media leaders grasp the challenge, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it also makes a whole lot of business sense: start covering women, give them space and a voice in news-making and propel them to all levels of decision making within your organisation.
We can no longer afford to imagine that it’s only men who make and sell the news and bring in the shillings to fund the media business. Women too are worthy newsmakers. In all of our societies, there are women holding decision making positions and who are now experts in once male-only domains such as engineers, doctors, scientists and researchers.
They can be deliberately picked out to share their perspectives and expertise and bring balance to the profile of experts quoted on our news pages. Media is the prism through which society sees itself and women are an untapped audience. So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us embrace diversity, which yields better news content and business products, and in so doing eliminate sexism. We know that actions and attitudes that discriminate against people based on their gender is bad for business.
As media, the challenge is ours. We need to consciously embrace and reach the commitments made 26 years ago when the Beijing Platform for Action was signed globally. As the news consuming public, you have a role to play too. Hold your news organization to account and make sure they deliver balanced news that reflects the voices of all of society.
Jane Godia is a gender development and media expert who serves as the Africa Director of Women in News programme. WOMEN IN NEWS is WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org
The eve of International Women’s Day presents an opportunity for us to think about gender equality and the long and often frustrating march toward societies that are truly equal.
As media, we are uniquely placed to drive forward this reflection and discussion. But while focusing on the challenges of gender in society, we owe it to our staff and the communities we serve to also take a hard look at the obstacles within our own organisations.
I’m talking specifically about the scourge of sexual harassment. It’s likely to have happened in your newsroom. It has likely happened to a member of your team. It happens to all genders but is disproportionately directed at women. It happens in every industry, regardless of country, culture or context. This is because sexual harassment is driven by power, not sex. Wherever you have imbalances in power, you have individuals who are at risk of sexual harassment, and those who abuse this power.
I’ve been sexually harassed. The many journalists and editors, friends and family members who I have spoken to over the years on this subject have also been harassed. Yet it is still hard for leaders to recognize that this could be happening within their newsrooms and boardrooms. Why does it continue to be such a taboo?
Counting the cost of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is, simply put, bad for business. It can harm your corporate reputation. It is a drain on the productivity of staff and managers. Maintaining and building trust in your brand is an absolute imperative for media organisations globally. If and when a case gets out of control or is badly handled – this can directly impact your bottom line.
It is for this reason that WAN-IFRA Women in News has put eliminating sexual harassment as a top priority in our work around gender equality in the media sector. This might seem at odds with the current climate where social interactions are fewer and remote work scenarios are in place in many newsrooms and businesses. But one only needs to tune into the news to know that the abuse of power, manifested as verbal, physical or online harassment, is alive and well.
Preliminary results from an ongoing Women in News research study into the issue of sexual harassment polling hundreds of journalists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia indicate that more than 1 in 3 women media professionals have been physically harassed, and just under 50% have been verbally harassed. Just over 15% of men in African newsrooms reported being physically harassed, and slightly less than 1 in 4 reports being verbally harassed. The numbers for male media professionals in Southeast Asia are slightly higher than a quarter on both forms of harassment.
The first step in confronting sexual harassment is to talk about it. We need to strip away the stigma and discomfort around having open conversations about what sexual harassment is and isn’t. Media managers, it is entirely in your power to create dynamics in your own teams that are free from sexual harassment.
Publishers and CEOs, you set the organisational culture in your media company.
By being vocal in recognising that it happens everywhere, and communicating to your employees that you will not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind, you send a powerful message to your teams, and publicly. With these actions, you will help us overcome the legacy of silence around this topic, and in doing so take an important first step to create media environments that truly embrace equality.
Melanie Walker is Executive Director of Media Development of the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). She is a creator of Women in News, WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org