The Spirit of the World

Most are aware of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which was available to Christians in the ekklesia in the First Century.  Most are also familiar with the demon possessions that seem to have been frequent at that time.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit certainly seems, in the big picture, to have been a defense against the indwelling of evil spirits.  I am currently researching, however, whether there was a general indwelling of an evil sort at work at that time.

Hints of such may exist in the passages below.  Or perhaps a closer look will reveal that no such general (evil) indwelling of some such spirit.  I post this article, therefore, simply to pose the question for the record.  If I reach a conclusion, I will publish that, too.

Here are the passages that may be hinting of such an evil and widespread indwelling:

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  [Was there an actual being known as “the spirit of the world”?  Or was this simply a device by which Paul contrasts the Holy Spirit to a non-existent counterpart from the world?]

Ephesians 2:1  And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  [Here we seem to be seeing that spirit actually at work “in” those who were disobedient.  And interestingly, Paul may be suggesting that he and the other Christians had also partaken in this spirit-prompted disobedience at one time.  Does this mean that that actual spirit was also at work “in” them?   And if so, would it have been in some indwelling sense?]

1 John 4:1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.  You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error[Again, we have mention of a being—presumably a spirit—who was working “in” the world.  And this is explicitly mentioned in contrast to the Holy Spirit, who was “in” the Christians.  Further, we see two new titles here:  “spirit of truth” and “spirit of error”.  If the first is the actual Holy Spirit, then are we to believe that the second one did not really exist?]

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.  [The question, therefore, is just how this “sway” was actuated.  Were people influenced from without, just as the media or the example of the neighbors might influence one today?  Or were they influenced from within, as was the case with the Christians having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?]


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