I realized today that when I used the word "demons" I was thinking of evil spirits of all varieties, including human beings that work evil from the spirit world. But others believe the word "demon" only applies to non-human spirits such as fallen angels or perhaps evil deities of some sort.

In the Bible, Jesus refers to the "unclean spirit" [or spirits] that possessed the man who called himself Legion because he was tormented by so many evil spirits.

[Jesus said] “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they [the spirits] begged him, “Send us to the swine, let us enter them.” So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. (Mark 5:9-13)

But elsewhere, Jesus heals various people possessed by "demons."

That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick.

I'd like to know more about how various Christian denominations and other religions view those who do evil in the spiritual realm, and especially: do they believe that the term "demons" includes evil spirits who were once human beings.

Rather than personal opinions, a good answer will provide the perspectives of several religions or experts. I would not rule out spiritualists in the latter category.

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    Mark uses 'unclean spirit' where Luke uses 'demons' (Devils in the KJV) referring to the same encounter. Matthew uses both demons and spirits in the same verse for the same entity. I suggest no real distinction in ontology. I did not offer an answer due to the stated restrictions. Sep 28, 2023 at 11:50

1 Answer 1


I don't have the information to back up my answer at the moment but, unclean spirits are basically the same as demons. The only difference in someone with a demon and someone who has an unclean spirit is, when you're possessed with a demon, that means the demon is trying to attach itself to that person for the rest of their life, it will torment the human. Where as an unclean spirit or spirits can go in and out from one to another. Somewhere in the bible it says they leap like frogs and to not accompany those who carry unclean spirits as if you are not fully committed to the Lord them spirits are able to come into you. Hope this helps

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