C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings have been at the top of my list since I was a boy…
There’s such neat stuff in those books. As a boy I eagerly followed Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy… and Eustace and Jill, and Shasta and Aravis and Bree and Hwin, and Digory, and Puddleglum. In The Magician’s Nephew I was particularly drawn to the rings — the green rings and the yellow rings. One kind would take you from the earth to the Wood Between the Worlds, and the other kind would bring you from a world that you’d gone to from there, back to the Wood. Sooo cooool! Sooo wonderful! I wished and wished that God hadn’t forbidden magic so that I could use cool rings like that.
In The Lord of the Rings, the magic of Gandalf is very attractive — and he only uses it for good. In fact, he and all the other wizards have been entrusted with their magic by Ilúvatar Himself for the purpose of shepherding the peoples of Middle-Earth. In that world, magic is not associated with demons but is a natural part of the world and can simply be used for good or evil. What’s the harm in immersing ourselves in a world where the rules are different and magic isn’t necessarily evil?
As Christians, though, we live to bring honor to our Lord. We can’t be satisfied with our human reasoning — we desire to know what God says about these things.
Let’s take a look at some places the Holy Spirit speaks of magic.
In the Scriptures
First, there’s the command:
There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
– Deuteronomy 18:10-11 NASB
Saul learned that rebellion is so bad, it’s like divination, or witchcraft — and lost his kingdom:
Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”
– 1 Samuel 15:22-23
Divination and enchantments were part of what eventually provoked the LORD to cut off the ten tribes from Israel:
They forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him.
– 2 Kings 17:16-17
Sorcery was part of Manasseh king of Judah’s sins:
He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger. Then he put the carved image of the idol which he had made in the house of God…”
– 2 Chronicles 33:6-7
An Old Testament thing?
Is this just an Old Testament thing?
Yet sorcery is one of the “deeds of the flesh” listed in Galatians 5:19-21, which concludes, “…of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
And in Revelation…
He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
– Revelation 21:7-8
This is serious stuff, folks.
Now we fantasy-lovers would say, wouldn’t we, that we don’t actually practice such things, right? We just play around with a pretend version that’s not really bad.
If I told my son or daughter not to play with matches, though, and later found that their play was filled with fantasizing about playing with matches — “a pretend kind, that doesn’t really burn things” — I would not be pleased.
Brothers and sisters, in permitting and promoting fantasy about magic are we honoring our Lord and Savior? Are we not playing with fire?