What is a succubus? What is an incubus?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
According to medieval folklore, a succubus is a demon that takes the form of a woman in order to have intercourse with a man in his dreams. The name comes from Old Latin, and means "to lie under." ...

July 01 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jose de Carvalho Seminary Theology Graduate
Although both Succubi and Incubi are mostly dismissed as products of medieval superstitions and mythology it is not uncommon in today’s age (predominantly in African Churches) to claim that spirit beings are having sexual intercourse and procreating with humans.

Jabini (2008) offers the following historical discourse; it appears that church fathers did not just dismiss these spirit beings as legends: 
The Church Father Augustine wrote: ‘“Incubi” had often made wicked assaults upon women, and satisfied their lust upon them’ (City of God, 15.23.1). More than a millennium later, Martin Luther also wrote about this issue: ‘I do not deny, but believe, that the devil may happen to be either a Succubus or an Incubus’ (Luther 1960:11). 

It seems that claims of spirits having intercourse with people was a familiar phenomenon to Christians, both past and present. Is there biblical evidence for the idea that spirits (angelic or demonic) can have sexual relationships with human beings? If we confine our search to biblical writing, the answer becomes more difficult. 

However if the biblical exegete believes that Genesis 6 refers to angels who left their place, came to the earth, and married women then this phenomena becomes possible. In his book, A Way to Escape, Neil Anderson made the point that a unique situation appears in Genesis 6. According to him, the ‘sons of God’, who were apparently fallen angels, ‘cohabited with human women to produce human offspring’ (1997:70). The second-century church leader, Justin Martyr (AD 100–160), was of a similar opinion. According to him, the offspring of the angels and the women ‘are those who are called demons’ (Second Apology, 5).

Is Genesis 6 then speaking about spiritual beings having sexual relationship with human beings? Well it depends on the meaning assigned to ‘sons of God’. Some orthodox theologians believe that it refers to fallen angels (referencing Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7), which is correct given the context of the phrase in Job (See my post ‘Who are the "sons of God" in Job 38:7? http://ebible.com/questions/3741-who-are-the-sons-of-god-in-job-38-7#answer-11040).

However it is this writer’s humble opinion that Genesis 6 does not demand that ‘sons of God’ should be interpreted as angels, unlike Job1-2 where it fits within the context of the chapter, but it is more likely to mean the same as in Deuteronomy 14:1 written by the same author (Moses) as referring to ‘children of the Lord God’. Genesis 6 in the context of Deuteronomy 14:1, as well as that ‘men began to call upon the name of the Lord’ in Genesis 4:26, marking the beginning of Seth’s line, is the larger purpose of the narrative seeming to trace the parallel development of the Godly line ‘sons of God’ with Cain’s godless descendants ‘daughters of men’ intermarrying. 


February 21 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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