Division, the Spirit of Diabolos


The word diabolos, from which we derive the English word, diabolical, is associated with the devil and evil. But the word itself, although used to name the devil, doesn’t actually translate into devil, rather, it means to throw apart, to separate. The chief aim of the evil one, after all, is division. The devil seeks to divide us from one another, to separate us from the rest of creation, and therefore, to alienate us from God. The devil is the spirit of diabolos.


Our world is increasingly being infected by the spirit of diabolos. In a world that is supposed to be more connected than ever, it has never been more divided. The very same media technologies that have promised to bring us together, are increasingly being used to throw us apart. But why? Because division is the chief aim of the devil – his first act in this world was to create division.

The devil divided Adam from Eve, Eve from creation, and both of them from God. In one simple act, he got Adam to blame both God and Eve for his own actions. He also managed to get Eve to blame God and the serpent for hers own transgression. Both Adam and Eve created division in their blame of “others”. Instead, they should have taken the blame on themselves. Humility is the true antidote to the diabolos spirit.

This same diabolos spirit has continued to operate thought history. Pitting brother against brother, one family against another, tribe against tribe, race against race, gender against gender, and nation against nation. The devil has gotten really good at creating division. Not only is he working hard in our own age to divide, but he has gotten very sophisticated at it, employing nearly every human being in his business.


One way in which the diabolos does the work of dividing is to create false altruism. Playing on man’s desire for justice and for good, the devil convinces men that something is terribly wrong with society, and that a specific group of people are too blame. This group of false altruists become increasingly active in trying to correct the perceived ills of society; they see themselves as the enlightened messengers and prophets of their time.

Calling themselves tolerant, they continually cast judgment on their scapegoat group. They label themselves the compassionate ones, while increasingly spitting venom at the group they have separated out as the enemy. Given enough time, their altruism turns to hatred and oppression, often resulting in far greater horror and evil than that which they originally set out to correct. Sound familiar? This is how nearly every war and atrocity of the last thousand years began.

More and more today, one false altruistic group after another is lining up to cast away some other group. Our world isn’t merely dividing, it’s splintering. And the devil laughs.


How do we end the reign of the diabolos? How do we put a stop to his divisive terror? By adopting a spirit of humility. Not a single one of us is innocent, we are all guilty. We don’t like hearing this, let alone admitting it. But we all have fallen short. Either through willful act or neglect, we have all caused pain and harm to befall others.

Admitting that we are to blame and that our actions have perpetuated the problem is the first step towards ending division and shutting down the diabolos spirit. The second step is to embrace symbolos rather than diabolos.


Symbolos is the Greek world from which we derive our English word, symbol. A true symbol brings together that which it stands in for, and the person perceiving the symbol. One way in which we can begin to demolish the diabolos spirit is to begin to see everything and everyone around us as symbolos, a symbol of the Divine.

When we begin to see each person as a symbol of God, we can no longer divide ourselves from them, for they are one with God and one with us. When we begin to see the earth, and all of its creatures as living symbols, or sacraments, then we will no longer seek to abuse the earth for our gain; we will see the earth as a sacred gift, filled with God’s glory. We will recognize that we too are one with the earth.


As Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God, But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.” St. Gregory Palamas echoed this sentiment when he said, “the whole world is a burning bush of God’s energies.” Or as Abba Joseph teaches, “if you wish, you too may become all flame.” He said this while flames shot out of his fingertips like candles.

We too can become all flame. But first we must see everyone else as being all flame, for truly within each and every man, God has placed His Spirit – His image is stamped on every man. Believer or unbeliever, sinner or saint, everyone is made if God’s divine image. And each creature on earth, each animal, every stone, everything is the good creation of God and indwelt with God’s glory. Each moment and everything we encounter is a meeting with God … If only we have eyes to see.

The Spirit of Diabolos - Division
The Spirit of Diabolos – Division

Join us as we strive to create a more peaceful world as we seek to meet the Creator, through the creation. Strive with us to develop an authentic Trinitarian communion, as we honor our God, demonstrate love to one another, and show compassion upon all of nature.

Want to learn how to break the spirit of diabolos? Then join us in one of our holy wild gatherings.

Rewild Church meets in Pittstown, NJ and in various other locations throughout Hunterdon County New Jersey.

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Christian Ecology, Theology, and Holistic Herbalism

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Pittstown, NJ (Hunterdon County New Jersey)