Do you believe in magic?

Does supernatural = evil? In stories these days, characters with supernatural powers tend to use their powers for good as often as not, so they can be heroes. Hermione Granger is a witch, but never casts evil spells. Edward Cullen is a blood-drinking vampire but would never feed on the innocent. They’re “good.”

Unless you happen to follow a religion that teaches that it’s evil to practice magic. The Lord told Moses point blank that His people were not permitted to use sorcery or divination (Deuteronomy 18:14). So then it sounds like there can be no “good” magic. Even if the result serves a noble purpose, the means used to achieve it would be unacceptable.William Sydney Mount's "The Witch of Endor"

Note that God never says magic isn’t real. In fact, the Bible contains several stories of supernatural happenings. In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul pays a visit to the Witch of Endor, a medium who calls up the spirit of the prophet Samuel from the dead. In the New Testament, Paul “heals” a slave with psychic abilities who made her owners rich by telling fortunes (Acts 16:16-18). The pharaoh of Egypt had magicians who could turns sticks into snakes and make frogs come up out of the ground (Exodus 7 &8). Believe what you choose, but the Bible never says magic isn’t real.

It just tells us we’re just not supposed to use it. On the judgment day, sorcerers will be equated with liars and murderers and cast into a lake of fire. (Revelation 21:8) The reason sorcery is considered so evil can be found in that verse. It is not only the liars and murderers that are headed for the eternal fire—the list includes “the cowardly,” and “the faithless.” I think that’s the key. Those practicing magic arts are putting their faith in something other than God.

That’s not to say that we can’t strive to do amazing things. It’s just that if we want to accomplish something amazing, we’re to do it by relying on the power of God, not spells or divinations. As you would expect, there are many instances in the Bible of God’s power working “magic,” achieving results that defy natural law. Moses sees a bush that burns but is not consumed (Exodus 3). Time stands still (Joshua 10:13). A donkey talks. (Numbers 22:28). Water bursts out of a rock (Exodus 17:6). And then of course Jesus instantly healed chronic illnesses, drove out demons and brought the dead back to life.

He tells us that we can do the same if we have faith (Matthew 17:20). But most of us don’t. We tend to look at following Christ as pretty boring. Go to church. Recite prayers. Give up stuff. Sing songs. Go to Sunday school. We live in an everyday world where the struggle between good and evil is every bit as real and important as it is in the climactic scenes of a movie with the armies of evil fighting hand to hand with the legions of the”good.”

But it sure doesn’t feel that dramatic or important. And that’s where the real power of evil takes root. We are lulled into complacency, thinking our everyday choices don’t matter much, drifting along in a world where our priorities swirl around ourselves like a whirlpool. And we all know what happens to things that get caught up in a whirlpool.

For years I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write a story to show how our everyday lives are really a dramatic life and death struggle. But it’s hard, and I get busy and then when I do make time to write, I write about easier subjects. It’s that whirlpool again.

So I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. I think magic is fascinating and it can be very entertaining. We just have to keep it in perspective and keep in the mind the true source of all power.

What do you think?

Tags: , , , ,

8 Responses to “Do you believe in magic?”

  1. I agree, there are so many supernatural events in the Bible, but God wants us to rely on HIM.

    Good post.

    Warmly,
    Terri

  2. You could always write about a Biblically-based supernatural event, such as somebody being touched by the Holy Spirit or somebody healing another person by laying hands on them? I’m sure there is a whole realm of subjects from which you can explore!

    • Kate says:

      Absolutely. The story I’m working on with my daughter includes these. But I still want to find a way to make the seemingly undramatic a little more dramatic. Our choices matter everyday!

  3. diane says:

    Okay, I am going to give a probably unpopular opinion on this but here goes…

    What one group of people call prayer, another group may call magic.

    We, as Christians, pray to our God for all sorts of things…personal stregth, the end of a drought, good luck on a test, help for a loved one to get over an illness. We clasp our hands, hold a cross, maybe our words rhyme…

    Another group, those who may pray to a being with another name or just throwing it out there to the universe may have a different set of words, hold a different spiritual object, or raise their hands to the heavens.

    I admit, I don’t always believe everything the bible says but I DO believe that there is something greater than us out there in the universe, no matter what name they are called.

    I think it would be interesting to see this idea discussed…

    • Kate says:

      Interesting question – the difference between prayer and magic. For me, I’d say the key is that in prayers there’s an emphasis on the entity that I’m relying on (God). Whereas I think of magic is being purely focused on the result. I usually pray with result in mind (an intercession, a request, giving a thank you) but also with the knowledge that prayer brings me closer to God.

  4. Supernatural definitely doesn’t just equal evil. The Ten Plauges of Eygpt is one example.

    Diane, I’m not sure I understand your position, but I’m glad you felt free to share. Prayer is more than just a set of words. It’s a way to praise. It’s a way to offer thanksgiving, and it’s a way to ask the Lord to intercede on your behalf. Magic seems mainly based on intercession. And, unlike prayer, you can use magic to ask for something evil to happen.

    One also needs to consider who they are “praying” to. Some people worship Satan. The Church of Satan is devoted to the acceptance of the carnal self. That doesn’t leave any room for faith in God, no matter what you call Him.

    Kate, your story idea sounds intriguing. Perhaps if you were able to come up with a plot that showed how several poor choices or good choices impacted the overall lives of your characters, or how a character who made a poor choice could be redeemed by deciding to make good choices, you could make it work.

  5. April says:

    Excellent and thought provoking post! I have always had a deep love for the paranormal and an incredible interest in magic/nature healing/spells. I find these topics incredibly interesting. On the flip side, however, I have also always fully believed in God and have never made that fact a secret. There are so many different cultures in the world that have different “Gods” and different beliefs. For some, there is one true God, for others, there is a God of Nature, God of Healing, Earth, etc. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong. Beliefs are important and as long as no harm is done, I am open to listening to other people’s thoughts and ideas. I also greatly believe, from experience, the power of the supernatural and paranormal.

  6. Karen Cioffi says:

    I agree, God never says there isn’t magic out there. I also agree that in the Bible he tells us not be a partaker of it.

    As far as the difference between prayer and magic, in my opinion, it’s faith. One prays with faith that God will hear and help – the results are dependent on God, not man. Magic on the other hand is something man does on his own, independent of God – there is no faith involved.

    Bottom line is whether you believe in God and His Word.

    Interesting topic.