Night Shyamalan’s film, Devil, his latest installment in his series of mythopoeic movies, gives the viewer the opportunity to glimpse ever so briefly the reification of a theosophical speculation that may have its roots in Boehme, where evil is rendered by a very real demon grimly determined to be about the business of gathering souls.
We postmodern nihilists and technocratic types are both attracted to and repulsed by the medieval proposition of the demon. They are the echo of an ancient history, the remnant of a dark age, an age we tell ourselves we would rather forget. Yet, they linger in our psyche . . . at least if my old teacher, Sister Norbert, was right.
So if Schilling is correct that “God contains himself in an inner basis of his existence, which, to this extent, precedes him as to his existence, but similarly God is prior to the basis as this basis, as such, could not be if God did not exist in actuality,” then the portal for evil exists in the “basis of his existence” which is not God. Many important philosophers have commented on the idea of evil in existence and its relationship with God and man but few have sought to address the problem of the spirit demon which we find revealed in the Word of God. Perhaps David Walsh provides an answer in his seminal study, “The Luminosity of Existence,” when he writes, “The necessary possibility of evil remains, therefore, a necessity from the perspective of God’s self-revelation in us. What the principle of evil is in itself we do not know.”
Shyamalan’s objective is to tell the story, to present the myth in drama. He succeeds not only in the story itself but in providing the audience with the possibility of the aire being full of demons flitting about in their eternal efforts to lure man into sin . . . and to gather up the souls of recalcitrant sinners.