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Are Demons Outside Time and Space?

Yes.
1 (7.7%)
No.
7 (53.8%)
Not sure.
5 (38.5%)
Other- please explain.
0 (0%)

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Offline Volnutt

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Are demons outside space and time?
« on: May 13, 2018, 09:23:39 PM »
It's an unsourced statement that I've seen here and there in threads and other places- the demons are outside time and space (usually used to say that they can therefore sometimes utter true prophecies as a means of deception).

From the outset, it doesn't really sound right to me. Being outside space and time is probably only an attribute of God Himself since He's uncreated, right? Yes, angels and demons are made of very subtle material compared to us (neutrinos, maybe?), but they are still finite beings.

Are there any Patristic sources saying one way or the other on this?
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 10:01:49 PM »
There is more that one kind of time attested to scripturally.   Chronos and kairos.   

The demons obviously have knowledge of kairos when they speak to Jesus in Chronos.   See Matthew 8:29.

Other than that, I’ve heard it said that it is more accurate to say God transcends time...not that He is outside of it.    He is “in time” just as He is “out of it”.  But He is in time not by virtue of natural necessity. I understand that to most being “outside time” is a colloquial way of saying He is unbound by time...and this is correct, I think.

Time is not necessarily a singular phenomenon, and can be experienced variously.   I personally think demons and angels are outside of time and space as we experience it, but are not outside of it as it can be experienced through the grace and natures given them.   

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2018, 10:22:28 PM »
I have an impression that the idea of angels and demons as atemporal beings is Latin Heterodox influence, but I'm not sure if I've read this claim explicitly.
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Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2018, 11:17:53 PM »
Impossible to say without knowing just what space and time themselves are, really.

Given the standard interpretation that plain old regular matter bends both, I'm not entirely sure we really even know what's going on there, let alone how angels and demons interact with the space-time continuum.
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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 12:02:30 AM »
According to the Enochian tradition, the demons are the spirits of the so-called "Nephilim". This tradition is true. Are they outside of time? No. Are they outside of space? What?
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 11:10:09 PM »
I don't know about space and time, but I always thought that the fact that they don't have material bodies helped them in their deception.  I've wondered about this because I've known a couple of people who I thought were deceived by false prophets.  I've found a couple of sources on it, but never know what to make of them:

From the sayings of St. Antony:

Quote
12. Some brothers came to find Abba Anthony to tell him about the visions they were having, and to find out from him if they were true or if they came from the demons.  They had a donkey, which died on the way.  When they reached the place where the old man was, he said to them before they could ask him anything, ‘How was it that the little donkey died on the way here?’ They said, ‘How do you know about that, Father?’ And he told them, ‘The demons showed me what happened.’ So they said, ‘That was what we came to question you about, for fear we were being deceived, for we have visions which often turn out to be true.’ Thus the old man convinced them, by the example of the donkey, that their visions came from the demons.

https://www.patristics.co/sayings/


From the Ladder of Divine Ascent:

Quote
I have seen the demon of vainglory suggesting thoughts to one brother, revealing them to another, and getting the second man to tell the first what he is thinking and then praising him for his ability to read minds.

https://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/vainglory_ladder_climacus.htm

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2018, 11:34:36 PM »
They appear in space-time, ergo they are spatio-temporal.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 02:59:49 AM »
I don't know about space and time, but I always thought that the fact that they don't have material bodies helped them in their deception.  I've wondered about this because I've known a couple of people who I thought were deceived by false prophets.  I've found a couple of sources on it, but never know what to make of them:

From the sayings of St. Antony:

Quote
12. Some brothers came to find Abba Anthony to tell him about the visions they were having, and to find out from him if they were true or if they came from the demons.  They had a donkey, which died on the way.  When they reached the place where the old man was, he said to them before they could ask him anything, ‘How was it that the little donkey died on the way here?’ They said, ‘How do you know about that, Father?’ And he told them, ‘The demons showed me what happened.’ So they said, ‘That was what we came to question you about, for fear we were being deceived, for we have visions which often turn out to be true.’ Thus the old man convinced them, by the example of the donkey, that their visions came from the demons.

https://www.patristics.co/sayings/


From the Ladder of Divine Ascent:

Quote
I have seen the demon of vainglory suggesting thoughts to one brother, revealing them to another, and getting the second man to tell the first what he is thinking and then praising him for his ability to read minds.

https://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/vainglory_ladder_climacus.htm

I tend to think the Abba Anthony example is more a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I suspect this happens a lot actually (and the Saint John Climacus quote seems to indicate as much). The demons told the men about the donkey dying because they were going to kill it.

Admittedly, it's always been confusing to me as to how exactly Abba Anthony realized that it was demonic since God kills people's animals in the Bible all the time, but that could be because of what information hasn't been preserved.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 03:01:56 AM »
They appear in space-time, ergo they are spatio-temporal.

Except that doesn't seem to apply to God, at least not fully. So maybe there are gradations of atemporality?
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 10:40:25 AM »
You might be interested to read St John Damascene's description of them here.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 04:19:58 PM »
You might be interested to read St John Damascene's description of them here.

Ah, interesting, thanks!

I'd say the most relevant passages are:

Quote
They [angels] are circumscribed: for when they are in the Heaven they are not on the earth: and when they are sent by God down to the earth they do not remain in the Heaven. They are not hemmed in by walls and doors, and bars and seals, for they are quite unlimited. Unlimited, I repeat, for it is not as they really are that they reveal themselves to the worthy men(1) to whom God wishes them to appear, but in a changed form which the beholders are capable of seeing. For that alone is naturally and strictly unlimited which is un-created. For every created tiring is limited by God Who created it.

...

Seeing that they are minds they are in mental places(3), and are not circumscribed after the fashion of a body. For they have not a bodily form by nature, nor are they tended in three dimensions. But to whatever post they may be assigned, there they are present after the manner of a mind and energise, and cannot be present and energise in various places at the same time.

"In mental places" is a pretty intriguing phrase to me. I wonder what St. John means by that. I guess I'm used to assuming that mind is only "located" in a really general, relative sense. It's kind of "hovering" somewhere in the vicinity of the brain in our case (admittedly a bad description).

From the next section:

Quote
Of the future both the angels of God and the demons are alike ignorant: yet they make predictions. God reveals the future to the angels and commands them to prophesy, and so what they say comes to pass. But the demons also make predictions, sometimes because they see what is happening at a distance, and sometimes merely making guesses: hence much that they say is false and they should not be believed, even although they do often, in the way we have said, tell what is true. Besides they know the Scriptures.

I read that as saying that sometimes the demons make true predictions just because they're wise in the ways of men, like skilled political analysts. It might appear to us to be precognition, but it's really not.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 04:22:35 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2018, 10:50:55 PM »
So maybe there are gradations of atemporality?
Well, I wonder if God is atemporal in the modern sense at all.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2018, 10:56:21 PM »
So maybe there are gradations of atemporality?
Well, I wonder if God is atemporal in the modern sense at all.

Well, it does seem like there's a point at which talking about something being "outside time" becomes kind of meaningless, I agree. Maybe it would be better to just say that God moves freely through time.
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2018, 11:17:43 PM »
The archangel Michael and Gabriel all over the book of revelation.  He as well as the devil and demons are of the the same structure.  That would indicate they are indeed out of space and time.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 11:19:05 PM by Tzimis »

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2018, 11:23:38 PM »
The archangel Michael and Gabriel all over the book of revelation.  He as well as the devil and demons are of the the same structure.  That would indicate they are indeed out of space and time.

Mainly the fact that demons sometimes make try prophecies.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2018, 09:37:59 AM »
I think experiencing time and space differently than the standard (present) human way does not mean that someone is necessarily out of it. For example, Adam and Eve would have experienced time and space differently before the fall, as compared to after the fall (or after being expelled from Eden), but in both they were within the context of a created universe.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2018, 10:04:16 AM »
I think experiencing time and space differently than the standard (present) human way does not mean that someone is necessarily out of it. For example, Adam and Eve would have experienced time and space differently before the fall, as compared to after the fall (or after being expelled from Eden), but in both they were within the context of a created universe.
There is some truth to that, but time and space is a part of creation according to the dogma of  "Creation from nil"

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2018, 10:05:37 AM »
I think experiencing time and space differently than the standard (present) human way does not mean that someone is necessarily out of it. For example, Adam and Eve would have experienced time and space differently before the fall, as compared to after the fall (or after being expelled from Eden), but in both they were within the context of a created universe.

+1 
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Are demons outside space and time?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2018, 10:29:16 AM »
I think experiencing time and space differently than the standard (present) human way does not mean that someone is necessarily out of it. For example, Adam and Eve would have experienced time and space differently before the fall, as compared to after the fall (or after being expelled from Eden), but in both they were within the context of a created universe.

I guess I can grasp that to an extent, we experience time differently from a subjective point of few even after the Fall (time feeling like it slows or speeds up depending on one's mood, etc). I kind of lose the idea beyond if I try to think about it more complexly than that, though.
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