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What are marine spirits?

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Marine spirits is a phrase used in some expressions of the Charismatic faith, and it’s associated with beliefs related to demonic oppression and possession. So-called deliverance ministries may seek to exorcise “marine spirits” and other types of evil spirits about which they speculate.

In most cases, marine spirit is meant as a generic term rather than as a reference to one, unique, named demon. In this way the term is different from other supposed oppressive spirits, which may be given individual names such as Jezebel, Leviathan, Absalom, Python, and so forth. Even so, leviathan and python spirits are sometimes grouped as “water spirits” or “marine spirits.” Other names sometimes associated with this class are Rahab and even Merman or Mermaid.

Those who teach the existence of a special class of “marine spirits” trace those demons’ origin to the great flood of Noah’s day. Supposedly, the “marine spirits” live in water and do not feel comfortable being dry—Jesus’ reference to the “dry places” in Luke 11:24 is used as a supporting proof text. Also, the Legion that Jesus exorcised from the man in the tombs were “marine spirits” because they caused the pigs to rush into the sea (Luke 8:26–33). A “marine spirit,” according to the lore, often comes as a succubus or incubus in order to make a person a “spiritual spouse”; and they are sometimes called “husband spirits” or “wife spirits.” Their effect is sexual lust and perversion.

Belief in “marine spirits” is based on extra-biblical information, so there is an extraordinary variety of teaching about what a “marine spirit” is and what it does. Any given deliverance ministry or demon chaser could hold a set of beliefs concerning “marine spirits” that differ from another. It is hard to find consistent teaching about “marine spirits” or other types of demons within the Charismatic movement.

Scripture gives no reason to believe there is a specific class of demon called a “marine spirit” or that Christians today have a specific ability to rebuke or exorcise them. Whether or not some demonic entity is directly involved in a person’s struggle with lust, the Bible never addresses the concept of a “marine spirit.” The remedy for lust and other besetting sins is not to rebuke a “marine spirit” but to pray, seek discipleship, and submit oneself in obedience to God (James 4:7). It is no use blaming mermaids, speaking to evil spirits, or inventing a new mythology.

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This page last updated: January 20, 2023