There is a story in the Bible of a demon directly causing a seizure in a young man. Therefore, the short answer to this question is absolutely yes.
Within a biblical worldview, demons cause seizures, as well as sicknesses, diseases, and other physiological abnormalities. Anecdotally, we also know this to be true.
However, this question requires more than a yes or no answer. For it would be as equally incorrect to assume demons cause every seizure as it would be to reject the possibility that demons cause any seizure.
Bible Example of Demon Causing Seizure
And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.
And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”
Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.Mark 9:14-27
(This story is also recorded in Matthew 17:14-18.)
The boy in the story displayed five characteristic signs of a seizure:
- He was seized.
- He was thrown down.
- He foamed at the mouth.
- He gnashed his teeth.
- He became rigid.
Johns Hopkins Medicine says the following:
A seizure is a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells (also called neurons or nerve cells) that causes temporary abnormalities in muscle tone or movements (stiffness, twitching or limpness), behaviors, sensations or states of awareness.
If you compare what Johns Hopkins says about seizures with the biblical record of the young man in the story, it’s safe to conclude he not only had a seizure, he had epilepsy, which is the condition of having more than one seizure over a period of time.
But how do we cross the wide medical chasm to get from “a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells” to a demon?
Parent and Jesus Believed the Seizure Was Caused by a Demon
Whether one believes in demons, or whether one believes they can cause seizures, one should be able to see from this example that the child’s father and Jesus believed a demon caused the epilepsy.
Let’s look at these points of the discussion between the father and Jesus.
- The father told Jesus that his son had a mute spirit. “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit.”
- Jesus commanded the demon to come out. “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”
What Does The Bible Say About Epilepsy?
It is one thing for a first-century parent to self-diagnose his child’s condition as a demon. One could understandably attribute this to cultural superstition. I mean this was two thousand years ago. Right?
Yet we run into a problem with this reasoning. Jesus behaved as though the diagnosis was correct. He even spoke to the demon.
Was Jesus also a victim of superstition? Did the God who created the heavens and the earth not know this was a medical condition and not a non-existent demon? If we believe Jesus is God, the question is silly.
Or was He simply dumbing down His behavior for the sake of an unsophisticated and superstitious audience? I have three answers to this dumbing down proposition.
First, Jesus didn’t come to earth to make us dumber. He came to bring understanding.
Second, the three Holy Spirit-inspired narratives of the life of Jesus, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are filled with other examples of Jesus casting out demons. We also see others casting out demons in the Book of Acts. Were they all pretending?
Finally, the Bible treats the condition of the child in our story as a demon. This is different from the parent and Jesus treating the condition as a demon. This is the Holy Spirit treating it as a demon.
What I mean by this is the writer of the Book of Mark is Mark. But, of course, it was the Holy Spirit Who inspired Mark to write what he wrote. Notice how the Holy Spirit describes the incident:
- “Then they brought him to Him [Jesus]. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him…”
- “When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit…”
- “Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him.“
The above three lines aren’t the record of the parent or Jesus. It’s the record of the Holy Spirit. He agreed with them both. From His perspective, it was a “spirit” that convulsed the boy. It was a “spirit” that cried out. And it was a “spirit” that came out of him.
Therefore, the Bible shows us that the illness of epilepsy or a condition that causes seizures are sometimes caused by demons. This is not always the case, but the possibility is there.
Demon Caused Seizures, Deafness, and Muteness
The entirety of the story reveal the boy was afflicted with more than seizures. He was also deaf and mute: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”
These are two other abnormalities that can be purely physical.
Nonetheless, Mark, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit attribute the deafness and muteness as coming from either that same demon that caused epilepsy, or another demon, or demons, in the boy.
This was a tragic case of complete physical bondage caused by a team of demons. Demons of epilepsy, deafness, and muteness. And although other demons aren’t named, it appears there might have been spirits such as death, self-harm, and suicide.
This is rather common. Demons travel in packs. But whether there were other demons or not is open for debate. What is not open for debate, at least from a biblical perspective, is whether a demon can cause a seizure.
It is clear from the Bible that demons can cause seizures.
Not All Seizures Are Caused By Demons
I offer the following as a Christian minister with extensive experience in casting out demons, and not as a medical professional, which I am not. So, please do not interpret anything I say as medical advice.
Seizures may be physically or spiritually induced. It is not unheard of for a person who has never had a seizure to exhibit seizure-like behavior when a demon is commanded to leave the person.
It is also not unheard of for people who have been diagnosed with epilepsy to suffer no more seizures once a demon of epilepsy has been cast out of them.
Nevertheless, I believe it is presumptuous to believe all seizures and epilepsy are directly caused by demons. Jesus didn’t treat all blindness and crippling conditions as demons. I don’t think He would treat every seizure as demonic.
Jesus freed a woman of a demon that crippled her back and literally doubled her over (Luke 13:10-17). This would probably be diagnosed today as kyphosis.
Jesus healed a man who had a crippling condition for thirty-eight years by simply telling him to stand up (John 5:1-9). Was a demon involved in the infirmity? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s no accident that there is no mention of a demon.
One person crippled by a demon; another person crippled by a physical problem. As a general rule, it is a bad idea to arbitrarily squeeze every sickness or disease into a demon narrative.
Some situations are purely physical and need healing without casting out a demon. Others are purely demonic and need only some servant of Christ to cast out the demon. Still, others need a combination of deliverance and healing.
Can demons cause seizures? Yes. Do they cause them all? No.
Some of Eric’s Spiritual Warfare Novels
Eric’s Non-Fiction Books About Demons
Other Articles Related to Demons
- If You Don’t Believe Christians Can Have Demons…
- 10 Mistakes We Make When Casting Out Demons
- How Much Should You Pay For A Demon to Be Cast Out?
- Can Demons Cause Sickness?
- Can Demons Cause Insomnia?
- The Spirit of Fear
- The Spirit of Rejection
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