The idea of having a demon assigned to us isn’t new to anyone who is familiar with C.S. Lewis and the Screwtape letters. Since the idea (according to Catholic and Orthodox Tradition) is that God “assigns” us each a Guardian Angel is it likely we also have a demon assigned to us?

I can’t comprehend how the world of angels and demons exists but if there is an eternal struggle for our souls it would make sense.

From a biblical perspective Acts 12:15 New International Version (NIV) 15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” - Seems to support the notion of guardian angels.

King James Bible Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven - Is another example.

Through my research the term guardian angel or guardian demon is not found within scriptures.

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    @curiousdannii I think it's safe to say that the question is inherently about Christian Traditions that do believe in Guardian Angels. But I don't think we can just edit in the tags to make a question like this on topic. If the OP wants a Scripture answer to something from Sacred Tradition, he's going to have to specify which Tradition he'd be satisfied with.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 17:26

3 Answers 3


If we have guardian angels do we also have an assigned demon?

The short answer is: Possibly.

Some church denominations believe in the existence of Guardian Angels such as Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and so on.

A guardian angel is an angel that is assigned to protect and guide a particular person, group, kingdom, or country. Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity.

In the books of the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament

In Genesis 18-19, angels not only acted as the executors of God's wrath against the cities of the plain, but they delivered Lot from danger; in Exodus 32:34, God said to Moses: "my angel shall go before thee." At a much later period, we have the story of Tobias, which might serve for a commentary on the words of Psalm 91:11: "For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;" (Cf. Psalm 33:8 and 34:5)

The belief that angels can be guides and intercessors for men can be found in Job 33:23-6, and in Daniel 10:13 angels seem to be assigned to certain countries. In this latter case, the "prince of the kingdom of Persia" contends with Gabriel. The same verse mentions "Michael, one of the chief princes".

New Testament

In the New Testament the concept of guardian angel may be noted. Angels are everywhere the intermediaries between God and man; and Christ set a seal upon the Old Testament teaching: "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10).

Other examples in the New Testament are the angel who succoured Christ in the garden, and the angel who delivered St. Peter from prison. In Acts 12:12-15, after Peter had been escorted out of prison by an angel, he went to the home of "Mary the mother of John, also called Mark". The servant girl, Rhoda, recognized his voice and ran back to tell the group that Peter was there. However, the group replied: "It must be his angel"' (12:15). With this scriptural sanction, Peter's angel was the most commonly depicted guardian angel in art, and was normally shown in images of the subject, most famously Raphael's fresco of the Deliverance of Saint Peter in the Vatican.

Hebrews 1:14 says: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?" In this view, the function of the guardian angel is to lead people to the Kingdom of Heaven.

As we can see, Guardian Angels is part of the faith in some churches. However there seems little to no information as to whether or not we have a counterpart of a Guardian Angel (Assigned Personal Tempter) at our side also.

While in the seminary (Catholic) most of the professors (all priests) believed that the possibility does exist, but the Church has not pronounced on this subject. My guess is that the Catholic Church will never pronounce definitively on this issue.

Sometimes we visualize moral decision-making as a debate between a bad angel whispering in one ear and a good angel speaking wisely in the other. There is a truth to this: according to St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the roles of the guardian angels is to fight off demons (Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 113, Articles 2-6).

Guardian angels generally protect us from both spiritual and physical harm, according to Aquinas (Question 113, Article 5, Reply 3). This belief is rooted in Scripture. For example, Psalm 91:11-12 declares, “For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” - The 20 Things Guardian Angels Do for Us

The main reason why I believe the Catholic Church will not confirm the believe that we are assigned a Personal Tempter, even if true (as I believe) is a question of jurisdiction. Here is a little antidote story to show what I mean.

The Last Judgement, painted from 1535 to 1541, covers the entire altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. It depicts the second coming of Christ on Judgement Day, surrounded by apostles, disciples, saints, martyrs, angels, demons, the saved ascending to paradise and the damned being dragged to hell. It’s an extraordinarily complex and detailed scene, especially given the enormous size of the fresco. Painted twenty-five years after the completion of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, The Last Judgement is the work of the mature Michelangelo, at the peak of his artistic powers.

The work had been commissioned by the Pope, but many Catholics felt that The Last Judgement was inappropriate for a place as sacred as the Pope’s private chapel. The Papal Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, deemed the fresco outrageous, and more suitable for public baths or taverns than a chapel. “….it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully”. Michelangelo responded by making Minos, judge of the underworld, resemble Cesena. It’s an extremely unflattering portrait; Minos/Cesena has the ears of a donkey and a snake biting his genitals. When Cesena complained to the Pope, the Pope reportedly pointed out that his authority did not extend to hell. The painting remained unchanged. - Nudity and controversy in the Sistine Chapel: the revolutionary ideas of Michelangelo

Minos, god of the underworld, with the face of Biagio!

Minos, god of the underworld, with the face of Biagio!

So if Satan assigns a Temper to each individual that is his prerogative. It may be common to believe so. But the Church does not know for sure, so she can not make any positive affirmations one way or another. Popular culture seems to believe it is so.

In the book, The Shepherd of Hermas, of around A.D. 140–150 has a reference to the idea of two angels:

The non-canonical early Christian book, The Shepherd of Hermas, of around A.D. 140–150,1 has a reference to the idea of two angels: "There are two angels with a man—one of righteousness, and the other of iniquity". These angels in turn descend into a person's heart, and attempt to guide a person's emotions. Hermas is told to understand both angels, but to only trust the Angel of Righteousness. The concept is similar to ideas of personal tutelary spirits that are very common in many ancient and traditional cultures.

In some Christian folklore, each person has a dedicated guardian angel whose task is to follow the person and try to prevent them from coming to harm, both physical and moral. At the same time each person is assailed by devils, not usually considered as single and dedicated to a single person in the same way as the guardian angel, who try to tempt the person into sin. Both angels and devils are often regarded as having the ability to access the person's thoughts, and introduce ideas. - Shoulder angel

The idea of a shoulder angel is often used in iconography:

The shoulder angel often uses the iconography of a traditional angel, with wings, a robe, a halo, and sometimes a harp. The shoulder devil likewise usually looks like a traditional devil with reddish skin, horns, barbed tail, a pitchfork or, more precisely, a trident and in some cases, cloven hooves. Often, both resemble their host, though sometimes they will resemble other characters in the story who are responsible or mischievous. In Western culture the idea develops the Christian concept of a personal guardian angel, who was sometimes considered to be matched by a personal devil who countered the angel's efforts. Especially in popular medieval dramas, like the 15th century The Castle of Perseverance. In both this and Christopher Marlowe's play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, of about 1592, the "Good Angel" and "Bad Angel" offer competing advice (Act 2, scene 1, etc.) to the hero. - Shoulder angel

In writing about Guardian Angels, St. Thomas Aquinas does have this to say:

Man while in this state of life, is, as it were, on a road by which he should journey towards heaven. On this road man is threatened by many dangers both from within and from without, according to Psalm 141:4: "In this way wherein I walked, they have hidden a snare for me." And therefore as guardians are appointed for men who have to pass by an unsafe road, so an angel guardian is assigned to each man as long as he is a wayfarer. When, however, he arrives at the end of life he no longer has a guardian angel; but in the kingdom he will have an angel to reign with him, in hell a demon to punish him. - Whether angels are appointed to the guardianship of all men?


Jesus says of the little ones who make up the kingdom of heaven :

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 18:10 KJV.

So, yes, I also believe that the children of the Father, born from above, redeemed by Christ, have angels (one at least) "assigned" to them.

From the incident regarding Peter, quoted in the question, it seems clear to me that the angel which assisted Peter to escape from prison had probably helped him previously and this was known among the church, therefore they said (on this occasion), 'It is his angel' because they were already acquainted with the angel's existence and guardianship.

The redeemed, previously, were indwelt by unclean spirits, demons, as we see in many places in the gospel accounts. Out of one man, the Gadarene, there went a whole legion of demons, enough to cause a whole herd of swine to rush off a precipice into the sea, Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8.

Out of Mary of Magdalene, there went seven demons, and she was delivered of them.

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, Luke 8:2 KJV.

Jesus warns us that, being once delivered, and the house (of our soul) being 'swept and garnished' we should not have the place just . . . vacant.

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Matthew 12:44 KJV, also Luke 11:25.

Those who believe the gospel and follow Jesus Christ are to be full of the Holy Spirit and are advised, by the apostle Paul :

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:22 - 24 KJV.


Although the expression “guardian angels” nowhere appears in the Bible that does not mean the concept is without foundation. The Bible has much to say about angels, and there are plenty examples of how angels have ministered to individuals. Here are just a few verses that indicate the power of angels who protect God’s people:

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).

If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the LORD, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent” (Psalm 91:9-13).

Jesus also spoke about angels that appear to be assigned to children:

Matthew 18 10 See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.

As for demons, Origen and Athanasius had quite a lot to say about them and their influence. Here are a few brief extracts from Catholic scholar Boniface Ramsey:

Chapter IV, The Human Condition – re. “the influence attributed to demons in human life. This too was a result of the fall. So great was the demonic influence felt to be that Origen devotes a chapter of his work ‘On First Principles’ to “how the devil and the opposing powers are, according to the Scriptures, at war with the human race.”

Ramsey points out that Origen “expends much of his effort, however, on putting the demons’ role into perspective. Some simple Christians think, Origen says, that the demons’ powers are so overwhelming that they drive people into sin, and that if there were no demons there would be no sin. But this is not the case; sin arises from within, and the demons take advantage of our sinfulness and aggravate it, although they do in fact introduce some evil thoughts into our hearts as well. In any event, we are not alone in the fight against the evil powers, since there are good spirits too who come to our aid. Here Origen recalls a passage from the second-century Shepherd of Hermas, which speaks of two angels in the human person, one of righteousness and one of wickedness, each competing for his soul.

It is in monastic and more especially in desert literature that we find the consciousness of the demonic influence raised to its highest pitch. Athanasius’ Life of Anthony is virtually a treatise on demonology, and in it we are struck constantly by the conviction that the demons are ubiquitous and inescapable: “There is a great multitude in the air around us, and they are not far from us.” For chapter on chapter Anthony speaks of their powers of transformation, deception, vision, and their ability to confuse and terrify the souls of the unwary.

The fact that the most important theologians, men of the calibre of Origen and Athanasius and Augustine, spend pages on the demons indicates that belief in their power was not restricted to the superstitious or to unschooled monks; it was simply a datum of early Christianity that was accepted by all.” Source: Boniface Ramsey, O.P., ‘Beginning to Read The Fathers’ p65-66 (Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 1985)

The Catholic Catechism has this to say about angels who guard, protect and shepherd:

335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli... ["May the angels lead you into Paradise. . ."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).

336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. 202 "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." 203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God. Source: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p5.htm

Judaism also believes in ministering angels, both good and evil:

The Talmud records a teaching that two ministering angels — one good and one evil — accompany a person home from synagogue on Shabbat evening. If they find the person’s home prepared for Shabbat, the good angel declares: “May it be Your will that it shall be like this for another Shabbat.” And the evil angel answers against his will: “Amen.” If the home is not prepared, the reverse happens: The evil angel voices a wish for it to be this way for another week and the good angel responds “Amen.” Shalom Aleichem, a liturgical song welcoming angels into the home before the Sabbath meal, is inspired by this teaching.

Angels are singular and unchanging in their essences, Steinsaltz writes, and can be either good or evil (demons), the latter the product of human beings doing the opposite of a mitzvah — harboring evil thoughts or committing acts of wickedness. Like good angels, evil angels also act in a dual fashion — bringing evil from the spiritual to the material world by inspiring sin or causing suffering and punishment, while also receiving energy from the misdeeds of human beings. “To be sure, were the world to root out all evil completely, then as a matter of course the subversive angels would disappear, since they exist as permanent parasites living on man,” Steinsaltz writes. “But as long as man chooses evil, he supports and nurtures whole worlds and mansions of evil, all of them drawing upon the same human sickness of soul.” Source: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/angels/

There is no doubt that angels and demons exist, but nowhere in the Bible does it say a specific angel is assigned to guard individuals. Nor is there any suggestion that God appoints a demon to vie for the soul of a person. Indeed, why would God do such a thing after a person has come to saving faith in Christ Jesus? Key to this question is the understanding that all who have been redeemed, all who belong to Christ Jesus, are protected from evil. Does not Jesus promise all who belong to Him that they will be recipients of the Holy Spirit? “What fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

A “guardian demon” is a contradiction in terms. Demons have no interest in ministering to the elect, to those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Their sole purpose is to prevent people from being saved. God’s purpose is to draw people so they can be saved. Why, even from before the creation of the world “he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will... Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession- to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:4-14).

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