8:29 The Greek work "daemon" means knowing or wise one,
much like "sapient" Homo Sapiens. In paganism, they were
an intermediate being between man and god.
The Bible tells us nothing of their origin, but quite a bit
about their nature. The following list was
cribbed from Apologetics Press.
Demon possession was a cause, not an effect.
Those possessed by demons often had physical or mental symptoms
caused by it - clearly distinguished from similar physical or mental
symptoms with more material causes.
- Demons in the Bible were respectful of Jesus, and of Paul.
(Maybe only out of fear.)
- Demons are spirits, with no material form."He cast out the spirits with
a word" Matthew 8:16 - "a spirit does not have flesh and bones"
- They have volition and locomotion. "I will return.."
"And they came out and went into the swine."
- They know information, "I know who Thou art..."
- They have religion, "You believe there is one God, the demons
also believe and tremble."
Theories of origin have no Biblical basis, but include:
- Spirits of people before Adam as in the "gap" theory. Cf Scientology
- Offspring of angels and women in Genesis 6
- Fallen angels mentioned in Jude
- Spirits of the dead, doomed to roam the earth. (I.e. Ghosts)
Modern demon possession is controversial. Some claim it
ceased sometime after the apostles (including Apologetics Press).
Clearly, much modern exorcism is theatre along the lines
of other excesses like "roaring in the Spirit". Modern
cases have not produced superhuman strength, but I haven't
checked Medieval accounts.