If evil spirits are like viruses, then how do we get rid of them?

Right away we hit up against an obstacle: viruses are among the most difficult organisms to kill. Any parent who has ever taken their child to the doctor, hoping to get a prescription for an antibiotic, knows this frustration.

“Just a virus,” the pediatrician might say. “Fluids, rest, and TLC until the immune system can wipe it out.”

Immunity. Human life couldn’t exist without it.

Scientists agree that “a virus’s worst enemy is the human immune system. When an unknown pathogen invades, the body naturally develops antibodies that can seek out and destroy the interloper.” The immune system uses a combination of innate and adaptive immune cells that work together to “differentiate self from non-self” in a virus-specific manner. This is important because there are hundreds of known human viruses, and more than two new species added every year.

Evil spirits are the same way. There are many, many different kinds of evil spirits. They are experts in human nature, and highly specialized in their field of study. They target specific human reservoirs, intentionally looking for the weak and vulnerable, or for those whose vices allow entry. Like viruses, evil spirits can shape-shift (mutate) and adapt to a situation, often emerging in different forms as people mature and develop new coping mechanisms.

A healthy spiritual immune system will seek and destroy the specific evil spirit, casting it out, before it gains more ground. Then it will remember that species, and keep the soul from becoming infected by that strain again.

Granted, there are ways to remove evil spirits without a healthy spiritual immune system. You can go to counseling, avoid sin, keep the physical body healthy, and practice positive thinking. It might work for a while.

We read in Matthew 12:43-45 that when an evil spirit leaves one person, it wanders through waterless places, restlessly looking for someone else to infect. In the meantime, that first person might get their life in order. You know, figure out their issues and resolve to move forward. This is a good thing. But it’s not nearly enough, because if that evil spirit doesn’t find anyone else, it will return to that same person — worse than before, with more demons by its side. Like when Influenza comes back with West Nile, SARS, HIV, Ebola, Marburg, Smallpox, and Polio.

Trick or treat.

As mere humans, we are no match for the deceptive forces of evil. Only one is strong enough to defend our souls from the legions of dark spirits swarming around us, passing from person to person like the common cold. Only one is strong enough to save us.

“And when evening had come, they brought to Jesus many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took away our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17.

(This is the last post in this series.)