Next we must move on to discerning evil spiritual levels in Christian fiction. Even in redemptive and spirit-filled fiction, the author usually ignores the enemy and his minions. I must confess that I have not done this as well as I should.
Believe it or not, most redemptive and spirit-filled fiction ignores evil. We need to face the fact that the enemy will strongly resist any attempt to show the truth about spiritual warfare. This is why our system for rating books includes ratings for evil.
Discerning evil spiritual levels in fiction
This effort brings up similar problems like we found in trying to rate the Christian level of a book. Worldly entertainment focuses on non-truthful evil, and much of so called Christian fiction does also.
Level One—the clean read:
This is just as vapid as the Christian level. There are good guys and bad guys, but there is no spiritual level at all. The entire spectrum of living may seem to be in full display, but spirituality is simply not mentioned.
Level Two—false gods:
it may be Greek, Roman, or invented gods. There are temples and priests of these gods. They are capricious, fickle beings who may or may not interact with humans. There is a god for every purpose.
These gods also manifest as idols like materialism, progressivism, patriotism, and almost all the other “ism”s. At best, these are works of the flesh. But a strong case can be made that capitalism and materialism are the modern variant of Mammon, for example.
The true problem is that these ”gods” in reality are demons masquerading as “gods”. The Level Two books gloss right over that.
This level also shows a lot of magic, fairies, elves, trolls, ogres, and the whole host of magical fantasy. Though there is nothing wrong with using these types of critters in your stories, care needs to be taken. Don’t let the genre dictate Truth. A possessed troll is much more fearsome than a nasty, nauseating, and/or disgusting monster.
Most of these beings show nastiness [instead of evil] and are non-spiritual—at best. However, I’ve read excellent stories where elves [for example] are godly and know God. Sometimes, these magical creatures truly are spiritual beings on the side of the Lord, serving the Messiah. But that moves them into level three, at least. Level two shows mere religiosity, at best.
These false gods are horror fodder, but with no spiritual content they are not very powerful or scary. If they can‘t destroy you by tricking you into Hell, all they can offer is transient, brutal pain. And that gets old very quickly.
Level Three—the presence of evil:
At this level, evil reveals itself, but it’s not explained. There is really no way to deal with it, and there is often no moral code.
People accept that some are evil. There is a lot of fear. There may well be religious attempts at controlling such evil. But it is just an accepted thing in society.
Some evil comes from outside of human society and seems to prey on humans. If this is coupled with a Level Three Christian book, there may well be exorcisms, the use of crosses, and so on. But there will be no real spiritual truth about spiritual enemies seeking to destroy and kill characters spiritually.
Spiritual warfare: Here we find battles of superheroes and super-villains. This warfare normally arrives in a Hollywood, comic book, over-the-top style. OOF! BAM!
A lot of horror is found here. Without true spiritual power to combat evil, it really is terrifying. This is evil run amok with no way to stop it, except good thoughts. CLUE: good thoughts are meaningless and useless without a redemptive or spirit-filled spiritual level in a character.
Here we begin to actually see true spiritual evil. Understand, please, discerning evil spiritual levels requires redemptive fiction with re-created characters. This level of discernment is one of the major evidences of a believer who is born of God.
But even here, demons are not often explained as fallen angels. Satan is not necessarily mentioned. They’re usually just Hollywood-nasty—which has little to do with reality.
They are presented as brutal, ugly, smelly, nauseating beings. They seem to be a real threat. Heathens are terrified. As believers, not so much. A reborn believer controls demons in the name of Jesus. And demons masquerading as beings of light appear very rarely.
Spiritual warfare: Occasionally, books on this level have some realistic spiritual warfare with characters in a Level Four Christian book. But that’s very rare. Normally, it is angels fighting demons with humans filling in the gaps supernaturally—often with weapons or objects of spiritual power. But such angel/demon warfare shows only Level Three reality, in most cases.
Some horror is found here. But the warfare and the reactions of soldiers in this war react in a very different manner than is seen in the civilian/secular horror found in level-three writing or less.
Level Five—the battle of the mind and spirit:
At this point, the spiritual battles are often internal to the characters. The enemy plays the kind of mind games many of us fight all the time. Doubt, fear, indifference, lethargy, depression can assail the heroes and heroines. Demonic possession and oppression are used to attack heathens and the believers. The Holy Spirit is deeply active in these battles.
The reality of the spiritual war in which we battle: This level of book is extremely rare and takes a Level Five Christian character to pull it off. There is no horror here, for the foe is already defeated. All the believer has to do is tell the demons what to do in the name of Jesus—once their presence is recognized. Often the Holy Spirit has to reveal what is really going on so the believer will know what to fight. The Liar tricks and misleads believers, and befuddles the heathen.
This is the daily walk of the ones John calls “young men” in I John 2: 13 & 14.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one…
I have written to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one. MEV
Once you mature into eldership, this warfare becomes reflexive—and no big deal. The mature help train the young ones and protect the children.
These books are powerful witnesses to the true walk of the Holy Spirit, and the reality of the Kingdom of God.
Again, the variations are endless
Humans are in the image of God in their creativity. But the ones who use this ability to help build up the Kingdom of God are very rare. We can see that the call to write for the Lord is a high calling.
Those who write books discerning evil spiritual levels are attacked mercilessly by the enemy who will do anything to stop the spread of Truth. I encourage you to consider what you could do for the Kingdom with excellent redemptive and spirit-filled fiction. It would be wonderful to have books at this level become popular in youth groups, for example.
The key is being led by the Holy Spirit into these books. Discerning evil spiritual levels takes constant prayer and vigilance to express these truths in the daily lives of your characters. Ask for intercession from your spouse and friends.
We will be happy to pray for you amongst ourselves at Reality Calling.