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A while ago I was at a resort with a man who for many years worked as a church painter. He introduced me into some pieces of Christian doctrine.

He told me that the humans' souls, the angels, demons and the God himself all are the spirits. Knowing a spirit's true name gives unlimited power over it.

For example, Jesus asked for the demon's name before he expelled it from the herd.

Consequently, nobody knows the true God's name which is the highest secret, because anybody who knew it would have God's power.

I wonder to what extent this explanation reflect the mainstream Christian doctrine and also whether it is paralleled in pagan Semitic mythology (such as Arab folk tales).

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Did you meet the church priest? Did he give you any tips on painting? :) –  Benjol Dec 7 '12 at 14:12
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The power over demonic spirits does not come from knowing the names of the spirits, but in the power of the name of Jesus. Demons are subject to the name and authority of Jesus. Knowing the names of demons does not give you power over them.

17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 ESV

Indeed, it is quite dangerous to deal with the demonic world for those who are not followers of Jesus. In the book of Acts, Luke relates a story where someone attempted to use the name of Jesus and suffered greatly for it.

And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19:11-20 ESV

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