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Do demons know the future?

January 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Demonology, Fr. Fortea, Spiritual Warfare

Q: Dear Fr. Fortea, do demons know the future?

A: No. Demons do not have knowledge of future events. In addition, what belongs to human freedom is undetermined; they do not Gargoyl Notre Dame iStock_000003988602_Smallknow in advance our free choices. However, since their intelligence is far superior to ours, they can often predict the future simply by observation and deduction. With their superior intelligence, they can see the effects of certain causes whereas we would perceive nothing. Thus, there are times when they can accurately predict what will happen, even though the most intelligent of human beings would not even suspect such a result, no matter how many factors are analyzed in the present. On other occasions, due to the complexities and variability of human action, even the most powerful angelic intellect can be mistaken in its predictions.

To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book, Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.

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About Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea

Trained by Vatican exorcist Gabriele Amorth, Father José Antonio Fortea is not only an exorcist, but also a writer, calligrapher and parish priest. He once thought he would lead what he has termed ordinary life as an attorney in Madrid, much as his father did before him, but sensed instead a vocation to the priesthood in his adolescent years. A theology graduate of Navarre University in Spain, Father Fortea wrote a thesis there on exorcism. He has been a practicing exorcist for several decades.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/janicemary.jastrowski Janice Mary Jastrowski

    I understand your schooling,wisdom,knowledge,ect. I am a practicing Catholic too in good standing with Holymother Church but Im a bit perlexed by part of this comment as I have always been taught that as God is more powerful than anything and He bids His angels do His will and nothing is done without His knowledge. I was taught that God made humans in His image and likeness and thus too created us to be greater than the angels?  It seems you are saying demons have higher intellect or knowlege or power than Gods heavenly crew? Mankind in a state of grace, and desiring to do Gods Holy will, I can only look to the saints before us for that answer. Christs peace.

    • MarytheDefender

      I’m not entirely certain… But from what I recall from my metaphysics class in philo…. We are currently lower than the angels but when we go to heaven we will be fully in the image and likeness of God and so only then are we higher than the angels. Someone correct me if I’m wrong?

    • LizEst

      Janice – You’re right.  Nothing is done without God’s knowledge and His will, whether that will is His direct will or His permissive will.  He knows what He is about and He is in charge of all even when we think He is giving away the store.  “Consider that our Lord’s patience is directed toward salvation” (2 Peter 3:15a).

      It is true what Father Fortea writes.  Angels do have greater intellect than us.  They are made up of spirit and intellect.  The good angels have the beatific vision of God.  We will have the same vision when we are in heaven with the Lord.  Then, in Christ, we will be more than the angels, not unlike the Blessed Mother (though not to that degree of exaltation) who is right now Queen of the Angels.  “We are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).  So now, for the moment, we are little less than the angels.

      All angels have differing degrees of intellect one from the other.  Yes, there can be bad angels, the demons, that have higher intellects than some good angels in heaven and good angels that have more intelligence than the bad (I believe it is Pseudo-Dionysius who writes much about this).  But, we should never think we are smarter than bad angels because we can get into very big trouble that way.  We can wind up thinking that we can do battle with them.  We are no match for them.  We have nothing that has not been given to us.  It is Jesus who has won the victory for us.  It is in Christ that we are strong.   Thus, our strength, our courage and our salvation is the Lord.

      • Daniel Burke

        Liz is exactly right on this point

    • Becky Ward

      Another thought here……angels and demons do not have a body (with its fallen nature) to contend with.  This keeps us from realizing our full potential until we finally get home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liza.segleau S Liza Segleau

    I realize that to talk about this topic you have to stick your neck out a bit. But to say what a demon knows and thinks about is a bit on the edge there. Unless you have spoken to one personally, not sure any of us know the answers. And if you spoke to “something”, how do you prove what it was? And then…should that be the focus of our spiritual lives? Should our focus not be on the one who loves us for all eternity? Mind you, being an exorcist is very important, I won’t deny that. It takes a lot to do the job and I want to publicly thank all our exorcists for their work in keeping all of us a bit safer spiritually and physically. Let us remember or Savior’s love for us and know in our hearts that his presence in the word is much stronger and “fuller” than we will ever know.

    • LizEst

      Exorcists do speak to demons when they exorcise them.  These exorcists have ways of knowing whether or not they are dealing with demons.  Father Fortea has been an exorcist for quite a while.  He knows of what he speaks.

      I highly recommend the book “The Rite-The Making of a Modern Exorcist” by Matt Baglio.  There is some other books, which I haven’t read, by Father Gabriel Amorth, which I understand are very good:  An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories.

    • THERESA EVENBLY

      Excellent books are suggested by LizEst.     I’ve served on prison retreat ministries.  BELIEVE ME, demons are real.  Way too many stories I could share but I trust what those wiser than me have taught and shared from their own experiences.  It is a big lie to accept the idea that demons don’t know how to cause havoc to future events.  They are real, very very real.  The focus of our lives is on God – but not to be blind sheep.  We must always be vigilant about our faith.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QJPSTEVMQAO3LALLJEHDGQTXOI Teresa

    I am perplexed and are aware at the same time the presence of demons. I understand personally the existence of spiritual warfare in which often I would rationalize it. Demons use thier intellect to trick us or harass us. We have good strong angles and we have the holy sacraments in which help us in the spiritual battle we have Jesus Christ and Mary most holy and the saints. We have sacramentals in which can aid us. God does permit such demonic harassment as I believe as a way to grow in humility and in trust in The Lord. Prayers of others are a strong way to deal and cope with demonic harassment. I met an exorcist many years ago. I was a CNA working in a nursing home. There was a patient who would have blood all over her bed but no reason for it. She was mean to all the staff. The exorcist priest told me to place miraculous medals in all the rooms of the residents I did. I did take care of this patient resident until one day I approached her and I felt the demonic presence in which I understood to stay away from her and I did. The exorcist made a visit to the resident I was no longer working there so I never knew what happen. This was my first encounter to what I thought was evil or demonic. I prayed and asked for protection and kept close to the sacraments and I believe I was never harassed by the demonic presence although I have a vivid picture of it. Some could call it a psychological phenomena but I know it in my heart and soul it was a form of spiritual warfare in which is just one of many battles in my life. My focus is however on Face of Christ and his mercy and love in that I now know our Heavenly Father will protect us and give us graces to deal

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  • Grtgrandpa

    From Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica:– Question 172; Fifth Article – “Whether any prophecy comes from demons?”  On the Contrary, it is written (3 Kings xviii.19): Gather unto me all children of Israel unto Mount Carmel, and  the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the grove four hundred who eat at Jezebel’s table. Now these were worshippers of demons. Therefore it would seem there is also prophecy from the demons. 
    (Reply Obj. 3)  The prophecy of demons can be distinquished from Divine prophecy by certain and even outward signs. Wherefore it is written (Deut. xviii 21, 22): If in silent thought thou an answer; How shall I know the word that the Lord hath spoken? Thou shalt have this sign: Whatsoever that same prophet foretelleth in the name of the Lord, and it shall not come to pass, that thing the Lord hath not spoken. 
    SIXTH ARTICLE:  “Whether the Prophet of the Demons ever foretell the truth?”  On the Contrary; A gloss on Num. xxii. 14, says Balaam was a diviner, for he sometimes foreknew the future by help of the demons and the majic art. Now he foretold many true things, for instance that which is found in Num. xxiv 17: “A star shsall rise out of Jacob, and a scepter shall spring up from Israel.”  Therefore even the prophets of the demons fortell the truth.  Wherefore Chysostom says**: The devil is allowed sometimes to speak true things, in order that his unwonted truthfullness may gain credit for his lie. This was evidently  the case for Balaam, of whom we read that the Lord spoke to him (Num xxii 12) though he was a prophet for the demons, because God makes use even of the wicked for the profit of the good. 

  • bltpm

    I was 

    • LizEst

      Not sure what you were trying to say here!  God bless you!

  • Fr. Victor Feltes

    Do demons exist
    inside or outside of time? If outside of time, then they would seem to know
    future events which (from our perspective) have not yet occurred. If inside of
    time, then they would seem change over time as they gain knowledge in addition
    to that knowledge with which God infused them. So do they live inside of time, outside of time, or by some third mode of existing?

  • http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog Mary@42

    When I read this Post yesterday, I decided to wait and hear the “Family” responses first.  Mine is simply a basic theology and I was taught from childhood is the place of Satan and the Demons in the Economy of the Salvation Mystery.

    Demons are real, cunning, evil and highly intelligent like the other Angels because when they fell, their privileges as Angels were not take away.  

    However, – as attested by the recent Book Dan kindly sent to me – “Spiritual Warfare”, the most important occupation of the Demons is to trip us using our fallen Nature.  They study your particular Root Sins and Black Spots – as Dan calls them  in his new Book “Navigating the Interior Life”.  The Demons will tempt us through these Root Sins and our disordered habits and when we fall into sin, they begin to torment us with the sole aim of making us despair of ever growing in our Spiritual Life, and if possible, make us completely give up on living our Faith.  ( For those who are in possession  of this splendid Book, these Root Sins are set down in Pages 70 – 73.)

    Demons can even throw one into despondency and one of their cardinal purpose is to stop one from going to Confession when one has fallen into mortal sin, whispering to one that their sins are so grave and shameful and they can never be forgiven.  Another weapon they use to harass us is to keep on reminding us of our old sins – already confessed and forgiven – in an effort to weaken our trust in God’s Forgiveness.  They also bring these sins into our minds  just when one is preparing to receive the Holy Communion by raising doubts in one’s mind whether they confessed properly and received absolution.  This is simply an attempt to stop one from receiving Jesus, since they are aware frequent reception of the Eucharist  strengthens one’s resolve into resisting sins and temptations and also one obtains forgiveness for venial sins and many Graces in this Holy Sacrament.

    However, the Demons cannot make one sin.  God has given each one of us Free Will and if we use the Graces He sends to us, we are able to resist the temptations of the Evil One, and our own fallen nature and remain faithful to Him and in His Grace.  Herein lies our victory in our Daily Spiritual Warfare.  Recourse to God’s Grace in the Sacraments, Prayers, the intercession of our Holy Mother, the Angels and the Saints and alert vigilance to recognize temptations in order to resolutely resist them.

    If is from the Evil One that sadness, fear, doubts, despondency and discouragements come from.  And that is their Chief Mission in this our wretched lives. 

    • AveMaria55

      Dear Mary,
      Superbly stated!   You clearly know your Catholicism!
      May God Bless You. Linda C.

      • http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog Mary@42

        AveMaria, this is purely an unmerited Grace from God who gave me truly Holy Catholic Parents, a Father who was a Teacher, a Catechist, a Church Lady Leader, a Counsellor and everything else in the Catholic Church.  Above all their very lives were a Testimony of their total Faith in God. And of course, the mentorship of the Consolata and Loreto Missionaries in whose Convents I was educated, an Angel of a Husband whom God chose for me and whom, again – was another Divine Gift I was thoroughly unworthy to have – and who was the centre of my life – and our beloved children –  for the 37 and a half years until he went home in January 1994.

        So you can see, AveMaria, mine is the most simple and uncomplicated Faith of my childhood which guides me to this day. I am truly humbled by your kind words. Praise be to God who picks the most lowly and unlettered little ones who believe our Holy Mother, the Catholic Church teachings and His Precepts unquestioningly, even without the advantage of deep theological and Spritual Readings.

  • JoFlemings

    I understand this. Demons are wicked smart and experienced with human nature and I believe they attach themselves to family groups, and follow descendants in a family line, if you will. And I think often there are evils entrenched in families through generations. Not all persistent sins are ancient, and yet, they are. We are all basically struggling with the same stuff we read about in Genesis, with a few new and different aspects added in through human advances in technology, science etc. After how many thousands of years of experience with human beings, we must be pretty predictable. If you feel like you can accurately guess at a storyline in a book or a tv show; you can see how a superior experienced intelligence, adept in human psychology might be pretty good at predetermining the course of human actions and activities. 

    So, I think demons have a strategic plan, and they are not bound by time the same way we are because we are material, but because all creation is predicated on love- dependent upon the love and active presence of God in all things to sustain it, they cannot grasp every aspect- they can’t really guess at or understand obedience, or self-sacrificing love, joy, or grace. I think these things confound them, create a fog, a mystery- that scrambles their wiles and cunning. So if you want to just mess with the devil and his crew, be completely devoted to doing your duty out of love and obedience to God, just because He is God- purify your intentions, center your heart in Christ’s heart, abandon yourself to His will and His love, and make those things your sole source of joy and happiness. [No problem, can do easy, right?! ;o)]

    • Becky Ward

      Great insights Jo!  I especially appreciate what you say about the generational aspect of our spiritual battles.  I am just beginning to see and understand how true this is in my own life.  The good news is that, now that it is being exposed to the light of Christ……it loses its power and He is then able to heal and transform the wounds of battle.