Perhaps you were scrolling through your social media timeline and saw the numerous posts, or maybe while watching your favorite show you came across the trailer, but one way or another I’m sure you’ve heard of the new HBO hit television series “Lovecraft Country.” “Lovecraft Country” is a dramatic American horror series developed by Misha Green based on and serving as a contribution to the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff.
The series starring Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, follows the life of a young Black man who travels across the segregated southern states of America during the 1950s in search of his missing father. On his journey he learns of dark secrets plaguing a town in which famous horror writer H.P. Lovecraft supposedly based the location of many of his fictional tales. The series skillfully brings attention to the issues of prejudice and racism while merging the horrors of the occult making the show both gripping and insightful. Lauren Michele Jackson explores this in greater depth in her article “The Missing Melodrama of Lovecraft Country.” Published in The New Yorker, she writes that the show “…also presents an account of segregated America tinged with strangeness: there are supernatural elements aplenty, but the mythos is subdued—terror comes from the human agents of racism and the dread of those who have something to fear.”
As the plot unfolds and the viewer is drawn into the injustices of the 1950’s, the storyline eerily begins to reflect the injustices in our current society. While sixty years have passed, the show artistically reveals that racial tension, bigotry, and hatred remains here in America. The plot is commendable and extremely enticing, especially for African Americans. Yet what are we to do with the onslaught of demonic activity that should cause for a believer in Christ Jesus to at the very least take a pause?
Spiritualism in The Bible
“Lovecraft Country” ventures to confront the demons of racism and the Master demon himself, Satan, head-on. Now, I realize that many people do not believe in the Devil and or Satan. Even if one per se does not acknowledge the existence of a real devil, if you take the “d” off of devil one is still left with evil. And we can all agree that there is certainly evil in this world. I’d like to invite you to journey with me in this monologue. Let’s begin by agreeing upon the severity and authority of the Bible and come to an understanding of the dangers of spiritualism.
In Revelation 12:7-9 the Bible says, “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” In other words, the Bible acknowledges the existence a real being called the Devil, along with accompanying angels.
Furthermore, this text also show us that this Devil or Satan was cast down to planet earth along with his angels. According to the Gospel of John, their aims are to do nothing but to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10a). So in other words, when confronted with demonic activity and representations of the occult we should take such very seriously because according to the Bible, the Devil is real.
The Dangers of Spiritualism in Lovecraft Country
In fact, we are encouraged in 1 Peter 5:8 to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Paul even admonishes us in Ephesians 6:10-13, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” In other words, as believers, we must be sober minded, vigilant, and very cautious because the Devil is roaming about the Earth seeking whom he may destroy both physically and eternally.
Perhaps, one of the controversial, confusing, and maybe even challenging questions you may be asking yourself is, well what makes “Lovecraft Country” so dangerous? Pastor, you can’t be suggesting that “Lovecraft Country” is a tool of Satan? In deed I am! It is critical that you understand just how sinister your enemy the Devil is. With this show, he is seeking to attract African Americans to spiritualism and the occult by infiltrating the experience and historical narrative of racism in this country. But not just that, by also injecting himself and his acts of spiritualism into this cinematic depiction he causes you to ask the questions, are you dead when you die?” The truth is, what you believe about death and the afterlife is one of the most important questions that you should understand in the days that we are living in.
Spiritualism and Life After Death
See, this question and shows like “Lovecraft Country”, are why we need to be aware of and spiritually equipped to combat spiritualism. A basic definition I’d like to give you is that spiritualism is a religious movement based on the belief that the spirits of the dead exist and have the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. “Lovecraft Country” is laced with spiritualism which the Bible cautions believers to be aware of.
Now, why does Satan want people to believe that the dead are alive and can be contacted? The Bible says in Revelation 16:14, “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Furthermore, the Bible declares that in the time of the end, the devil is going to work miracles.
In fact, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” In other words, Satan is seeking to deceive people into believing in his illusive powers so as to distract us from the power of God.
Satan is Deceptive
The Bible is clear that Satan himself transformed into an angel of light. Could it be that Satan is more deceptive than we really believe? Would Satan mask himself in movies and music? Absolutely. In Genesis 3, our first parents Adam and Eve were bamboozled by the devil himself in the Garden of Eden. Now listen, if Adam and Eve could be deceived and up to that point they knew no evil, how much more can you and I be deceived in a sinful world?
The truth of the matter is, the real issue is not “Lovecraft Country” the television series itself. The real issue is the lie being promulgated by Satan when it comes to death. Satan would have the world deceived on the state of the dead and this misplaced belief is what opens the door to spiritualism. So that “Lovecraft Country” is dangerous in its ability to distort the truth about the state of the date, open up viewers to spiritualism, and desensitize them to the occult.
The State of the Dead
What you should know about the state of the dead is that the Bible teaches that when a person dies they do not immediately go to heaven, hell, or purgatory. Revelation 1:18, declares that Jesus holds the keys of hell and death. Therefore, God determines what happens when we die. This is critical because God created us. In Genesis 2:7 we learn that “…the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” So, our loving Creator made us with great care and concern. Which means that our soul, our spirit, and our bodies belong to him.
So, what happens at death according to the scripture? Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” What is the “spirit” which returns to God at death? (Job 33:4, James 2:26) calls it the “breath.” The word “breath,” here is not referring to one’s common breathing, but breath as the divine spark of life.” It is this breath or “divine spark of life” that returns back to God at death. See, at creation, two things combine to make a soul: body and breath. Until these two things combine, a soul does not exist. At death, these two things (body and breath) separate. The body returns to the dust and the breath returns to God. When the breath returns to God the soul no longer exists. The soul simply ceases to be.
Can dead people think? Not according to Psalm 146:4, Job 14:12, 21, and Ecclesiastes 9:5,6, 10. And, if you read the story of Lazarus in John 11, Lazarus died and was dead 4 days until Jesus resurrected him from the grave. (Check out John 5:28-29 as well). Lazarus was not a ghost when he died, but his body remained in the grave lifeless, or without breath, until Jesus called his name and his breath returned to him.
Hope In Spite of Death
The good news about death is that according to Jesus it is only a temporary sleep. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 further substantiates this claim declaring the blessed hope that one day all who sleep in Jesus will rise again: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”
The writer goes on to declare that “by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangels, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words”
We have a hope that in Jesus Christ is the power of resurrection. See, Satan tries to entice you with speaking to a person’s spirit, their ghost, or even possessing powers of the occult. But only God Himself has the power to return the breath back to the body bring a human being back to life!
So we do not have to sorrow as though we will never see our loved ones again. Nor, do we need to be curious about life after death. Instead, we have a hope that one day we will be reunited with our loved ones, and even ourselves, in body and in spirit if we die in Christ. So when confronted with such shows as “Lovecraft Country” be sober minded, be cautious, and do not allow even contemporary art and culture to lure you into the wiles of spiritualism. I leave you with the counsel of Paul in Ephesians 5:11 where he says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Today, let’s expose darkness and spiritualism wherever we see it and encourage all to connect with the Creator God who is the only God that can bring life out of death.