An argument that is persuading some folks is this--"Satan would not do something good, since he is pure evil". And they then give some extraordinary example of "apparitional humans" doing something that helps someone/s. The term "apparitional humans" is usually used to distinguish between deceased humans and demonic mimicry, but since I don't believe in true human apparitions, I use them as synonyms.
Examples abound of "apparitional humans" comforting or in some way helping to extend the Kingdom of God. What do we make of this?
I can see why this would cause problems for Christians, but we must not put Satan in a box as to what this perfectly evil creature is capable of. His intelligence is way above mine or yours, and intelligent deception will often include losses for the greater cause. What he considers an acceptable loss may not seem so to our inferior intellects. Yes, I have a healthy appreciation for the devil's capabilities. Below are a few examples or reasons for Satanic 'good works' .
Examples also abound of people who were wicked who appear to family to comfort them...does that mean folks on the way to hell may visit loved ones...I think not.
Some examples are more psychological in nature, w/o apparition--what if it is the Holy Spirit comforting a believer in extraordinary way? (e.g. C.S. Lewis) Comforting suffering Christians is a major role of the Holy Spirit.
What if demon did make tactical error...they HAVE to sometimes since they are not God. In other words, demons have had the "tables turned" (Romans 8:28)
Satan is in fight he knows he will lose. Hence, he is desperate, and desperate "persons" will do desperate things.
Satan's intelligence vastly exceeds ours. Like George Washington, he knows the importance of deception in warfare. Only, the devil IS deception. If he perceives that a 'defeat' will serve greater strategy of his, then he will allow defeat.It is well known that Mexican cartels send some shipments of drugs as a decoy to be caught in order for larger shipments to have greater chance of making it through customs/border patrol. How many "human apparitions" who actually help people, actually allow for larger "shipment" of occult to filter in?
A 'healing' by energy healer may bring wonderful results to impress all involved, but the 'good work' will backfire at some point. This is simply an example of bad good works(see below) that is similar to apparitional humans doing 'good'.
As John Gerstner pointed out there are bad good works, and good good works. The latter are done for God's glory, but the former can be the outwardly looking most wonderful actions, but have nefarious motives.
To say an action could NOT come from Satan because it accomplished some good, shows a naive view of warfare in general, and of Satan's massive intelligence in particular.
From my own experience, seemingly apparitional humans who appeared tender and helpful at first, eventually showed that they were really seeking to steal, kill, and destroy.
I end with this, why do you think Paul spoke of Satan's/demons ability to appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), if they did not appear to be doing the Lord's work?
That is what the next verse speaks of....
If you allow for any form of apparitional humans, then what is your OBJECTIVE criterion for distinguishing that and demonic mimicry? 1 John 4:1ff calls us to distinguish between Holy Spirit led teachers and demonic led teachers....you cannot read apparitional humans as third option without reading it into the text. We must remain faithful to SOLA SCRIPTURA.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.