The Perspectives course I’ve been taking has done a great job of showing how different the American worldview is from many of cultures. One emphasis a spiritual blind spot in our mindset: the “excluded middle.” Most Western Christians simply ignore a whole tier of spiritual beings that other cultures — and the Bible as well — readily acknowledge. We are content to think about the natural world and about God, but we rarely consider the presence of angels and demons. In other cultures, demons are a very real foe, and demonstrations of Christ’s power over “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12) are a very effective tool for evangelism.

This provides a bit of a background for the following passage:

1 Timothy 1:18-20
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

“Handed over to Satan”! What a frightening thought! Paul is carrying out discipline against those who will not repent even when faced with the authority of the church (1 Corinthians 5:4-5). Satan is far more intelligent and far stronger than we are. “His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.” Yet Jesus Christ has defeated the power of the devil and will one day crush him underfoot. He who is Lord of the universe holds the power over all He has created. Satan’s doom is sure.

Lucifer in Starlight
by George Meredith

On a starred night Prince Lucifer arose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
Above the rolling ball in cloud part screened,
Where sinners hugged the spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he leaned,
Now his huge bulk o’er Afric’s sands careened,
Now the black planet sheltered Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars
With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
He reached a middle height, and at the stars
Which are the brain of heaven, he looked, and sank.
Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank,
The army of unalterable law.