For the most part, normal, everyday souls, the souls of good, God-fearing people are pretty much alike. There are some variations, to be sure, but for these variations, it’s like comparing a duck with a swan. Different, but essentially the same. You get the idea.
But the meat, I have found, in the study of soul structure lies with the souls of evil people. I’m not sure it is accurate to call a soul, itself, evil, and not keep that label for the person, himself. But I do have a tendency to look for shortcuts in referring to all this, and so I confess here and now that I do use the term, evil soul.
So be it.
We all know what I am referring to. Right?
For my study of soul structures, I differentiate between the antiChrist, Satan, and the devil. In the end, it’s all about their differing intents, their varying sources, and, well, their soul structures.
The Satanic soul is a collective soul, that is, all the souls that belong to Satan form one, humongous soul. The souls are all connected with each other, like a giant mushroom: one plant, infinite expressions popping up through the soil.
And so it is with the Satanic soul. One soul. Infinite hearts and minds in unspeakable pain.
Possession, that extraordinarily accurate term to describe the takeover of a soul by Satan, can happen to a very wide range of people. One on extreme, you can find the innocents. The arrogant innocents: those people who insist that all men are good and all things are divine.
God may have created the universe, but the universe, in turn, seems to be infinitely creative in morphing its own essential nature into forms that can cause harm. And that’s what evil is (at least one thing that it is): causing harm for the sake or pleasure of causing harm.
This is why, from as soon as it is possible, children and people need to be taught discernment. Our culture very much needs permission to separate the good from the bad, the gentle from the inappropriate rough, the divinity from, well, Christopher Hitchens. We have been drenched over and over again by current trends and convinced that we should take onto our shoulders the weight of evil in the world — things that we know are wrong aren’t really wrong, we are taught. Everything in the world is a part of God and therefore is blessed by God.
This assertion spits right in the face of Christianity. Because Christianity is the only place in the whole wide world where we can find the concept of innocence celebrated and adored. In the innocence that is Jesus we can find our own innocence. When bad things happen to us we can, through Jesus, say, yes this happened, and God loves me. We can declare our own innocence in the face of evil, itself.
Well, now. Back to the Satanic soul.
The appeal of being possessed by Satan to many, many people is that it offers a sense of community. Like members of gangs who see their association as a kind of family, Satan can appear to be that which understands the troubled child, the lonely and angry man, the bitter, forgotten woman. Satan can appear to give them warmth to their souls, the warmth that is missing because of their perceived distance from God.
But, in the end, as with all things evil, the promises are never real. It is all just illusion.
In its evil, Satan never gives anything to the soul it captures. In its evil, Satan just takes more and more from the possessed soul until there is almost nothing left. One interesting thing that I have noticed in my study of the Satanic soul is that something of the person is always left there. Perhaps the soul of the possessed needs to always have something in it in order to hang on to the collective soul. Who knows? Who wants to know really?
Because of this quality of never being completely emptied out, the possessed soul can recover in part or even fully. What I have been taught about this is that the possessed soul needs to have the access and the freedom to be in the presence of God and to find its own way of reconnection.
The most common vision I have on this subject is a suffering person gazing on a crucifix. The sight of a suffering Jesus can be very healing for such a person because each and everyone of us can relate to suffering and pain, to humiliation and degradation, to critical loss.
A possessed soul is not a person to be jostled and welcomed enthusiastically. He is to be left alone to release his pain until he can reach out his own hand and raise his own voice in order to connect with others.
I realized that the Roman Catholic church is not a place for this. To be Roman Catholic, one needs to have a retina scan to be given a sacrament (sacrament: a rite believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality). Only those “in” the club have access to the rights (yes, a pun) of membership. This is not a place for someone desperate to connect in a quiet, invisible way.
Which is not to say that some Roman Catholic outreach programs don’t accomplish this.
Instead, I have studied evangelical churches. And I have watched as unchurched people, some clearly in overwhelming spiritual pain, learn to grasp God and bring him into their hearts and lives. I’ve watched their faces literally glowing as their feeding tube of faith is filled and refilled. And I’ve seen the relief on their faces as they recognize their fellow travelers.
I listened to a bishop one Sunday describe his mission to plant churches. He related how in these spanking new churches, sometimes over half of the new congregation are people who have never been to church in their lives. It’s as though these people were coming in from an eternity in the desert to find a place that they hoped would not judge them, and they could become clean once again in the clean, fresh air of the planted church.
And I was exposed to the Bible-like book entitled, The Message. I was struck immediately by the lack of stridency in the wording, and I thought of the ease with which a soul in absolute thirst could begin to sip from the living water that is the Bible. A person with a sure faith might opt for a full-bodied wine to have with his dinner. But a person so long under the illusion that they no longer loved God and God no longer loved him, may need just a drop or two of water to being the process of soothing the pain.
If our culture could come to terms with concepts like Satan and spiritual warfare, I imagine that many people would take enthusiastically to the ministry of making room in their places of worship for the possibly damned.
It would make all the difference in this world, I think.