What do we make of Josef Fritzl (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10562205)? He's the guy who locked up his daughter downstairs for years, raping her and fathering her children while deceiving his wife and raising some of her children. His behaviour is evil. What causes such monstrous evil? It brings in the wider question of evil. What is it that makes Robert Mugabe treat his nation and citizens as pawns in his power game? What led Adolph Hitler and other meglamaniacs in their lunacy?
Such people demonstrate that there are forces at work in this world that lie behind what we see and experience. The notion of Satan and demons are out of vogue in the western world. Some Christian thinkgers have sought to explain the biblical material on such things as remnants of an ancient world view and/or imports from other religious perspectives. Others see Satan and demons not as personal beings but as human evil individual and corporate.
For me, before my conversion to Christ, having heard of the New Testament view of evil which includes personal fallen spiritual beings who invade people and structures, as real. I actually believed in Satan and his minions before acknowledging God. I saw the Josef Fritzls of this world and realised that human arrogance, sin, violence and pride, henious though it is, as insufficient an explanation for the horror of evil. This led me to despair and ultimately to redemption as I realised that the only way I could start working for good in the world was to acknowledge that evil was seared into my soul, and I needed to begin to work against it. I came to understand that only Christ had a solution to this, he the Son of God coming to earth resisting evil, refusing to yield to it or respond to it with evil, allowing evil to destroy him, and then triumphing over it. He invites us into his being, sets us free, and we have the power of God within us to energise us to join the war against these forces.
I pray for Josef Fritzl that he will come to see that even he can find this redemption. His crime is horrendous, it is demonically inspired. Yet, God yearns for him to know him, to find the redemption that will release him not only from the corruption that is fused into his being, but be set free from the demons that have taken opportunity to turn him into a monster.
I note in this nation that violence in the home, the school and in society goes on and on and seems to perpetually increase. It is not safe to be a child in many homes, go to school in some cases, and walk the streets. We need to find Jesus and pray for him to set us free from the forces of evil that hold captive the world. Thankfully he is at work and good will triumph.