I've thought all my life that demons (and evil spirits) were fallen angels, but I recently encountered the viewpoint that these demons are actually the souls of men who have already died but wouldn't go to Heaven. Hence, what does the Bible say about this?

Specifically, what biblical references speak to whether or not demons originate as human or as another species?

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    They are programs that run in the background waiting for network requests...
    – Flimzy
    Aug 31 '11 at 3:59
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    @Flimzy: I thought those were daemons? Aug 31 '11 at 4:01
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    A lot of our ideas about heaven, hell, demons and angels actually come from fiction like dante's Inferno (the book not the video game) Sep 4 '11 at 9:43
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    @Jenny. Hence, Word of Dante.
    – TRiG
    Oct 2 '11 at 2:52
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a verse search question.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 19 '15 at 14:27

The concept of fallen angels is based on the following scriptures.

MATTHEW 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Luke 10:17-18 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Jude 1:6 (KJV) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Revelation 12:8-10 (KJV) And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Regarding the belief that you become an angel when you die, the following scriptures come to mind.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

If we are joint heirs with Christ, then one day we shall be like him.

I John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

After his resurrection He was made "better than the angels". If we are to be like Him, then we also will be "better than the angels".

HEBREWS 1:4-5 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

The idea that we would become angels (either 'good' or 'fallen') when we die originated from a misinterpretation of Matthew 22:30 and Mark 12:25.

Matthew 22:30 (KJV) For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

MARK 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

The context of these verses is the subject of marriage. Angels do not have wedding ceremonies, and neither will we in heaven. Using these verses as the basis for the belief that we will one day be angels is a bit of a stretch.


Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.'s article What are Possession and Obsession by the Devil?, implies the thesis that demons are human unbelieving souls is false in writing:

We have been reflecting mainly on the angels, as such, and have seen something of what happened at the dawn of angelic creation. Some of the angelic hosts remain faithful to God. Others rebelled against the Creator and became demons.

We have also seen that the angels are not just in a world by themselves. The faithful spirits are angels precisely because they are messengers of God to guide our minds and direct our wills towards that heavenly destiny for which we are made. The rebellious spirits have been allowed, from the dawn of human history to tempt human beings away from their loyalty to God and thus lead men into sin.

In Matt 8:28-32 (compare Mk 5:1-20), the cure of the demoniacs, there is no reason to presume the demons are human souls. This reading of the passage is not in the passage, but an errant interpretation. In v29, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary states (p694, 42:59):

before the right time: This Matthean gloss reflects the intertestamental idea that the demons were free to trouble humanity until the end time (1 Enoch 15-16; Jub. 10:8-9; T. Levi 18:12)

In Matt 12:24, the Pharisees claim Jesus drives our devils through the price of devils. Jesus links his exorcisms to those of the Jewish exorcists. Jesus is clearly claiming his (and the Jewish exorcists) power is from God. This passage once again does not address the claim that devils are the souls of human beings who do not believe in God.

In Matt 25:41. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

In the context of this passage, referring to men who are not permitted into paradise because they did not show concrete love to their fellow men, it contrasts two different beings, human and demonic & implies man as separate and distinct from the devil and his angels.


No where in in scripture does it state fallen angels are demons, evil spirits. Although the possibility of them being human souls is also rejected due to biblical clarification of the dead being held in various places, or the general reference to Sheol. There is an account where God permits the prophet Samuel to return from the dead, make what you will from that, as it seems to explain that he was "brought up" and "disturbed". We know at least with Christians it's explained explicitly that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Jesus himself stated to the insurrectionist on the cross, that today you will be with me in paradise. There is the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, which give us an insight into the afterlife, mentioning both the bosom of Abraham and hell or hades, though as a parable I'm not certain of it's accuracy based on reality.

There is a theory that unclean spirits are the remaining souls of the Nephilim that died in the flood, being hybrid creatures of human and angelic offspring their spirits are left to roam this earth until judgement day. This proposition is clarified from the Book of Enoch, though it is not canonical it is quoted twice in scripture, here and here, those passages referring to the angels, not who fell in the heavenly war, but the ones that willingly left to mate with women revealed in Genesis 6:1-4, these specific angels are chained and held till judgement day.

I think most just assume fallen angels are demons, though this is never explicitly stated. There could just as easily be both, working under satan. It may be left biblically ambiguous for the mere fact that it is not important we know the exact ontology of demons, only that we are aware of what they are capable of.


As I have answered here, I will repost it.

There were plenty of references of demons in the Bible if you look close enough. In Matt 8 verse 28 through 32, he heals two demon possessed men. In here, the demons begged Jesus and asked him if he came here to torture them before the appointed time.

What would that mean? Demons are not angels who have followed Lucifer when he turned against God. These demons are souls of people who did not believe in God. They are the reasons for all kinds of sickness and disabilities. In the appointed time, they will be condemned for their actions when they lived.

The back up of this explanation is on Matt 12 verse 24. Here, Pharisees said that Jesus drives out demons with the power of the prince of demons. Note the word, drive out. Edit: Jesus has contridicted the Pharisees when they said that he was using the power of Devil.

Some of you will say that the bible verse I have used only proves that there are demons. However, there is no reference in the bible as far as I can see that says that angels can control a person.

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