The Greek word Daemon isn't necessarily
negative in connotation at all.
It means a god or goddess, or
any other entity higher than man, and lower than God.
It also means THE divine power...
so technically the ancient word
Daemon isn't necessarily a negative
However in common usage it has
become so. Its origin... also has a bit of negativity in it.
It may derive from a word indicating
to divide, or to distribute.
There in may be the true problem
with demons... they divide... as opposed to unifying.
On the other hand the ancient
usage of the Greek word also indicates the higher self,
or the spirit of a person...
thus the Greek Daemon
isn't really what people mean
when they say Demon.
The ancient Hebrews believed
in pleasant and unpleasant demons.
They believed in both the se'irim
and the shedim.
The former was a sort of Satyr
type being, or faun... who had no negative connotation at all really,
just that they like many other
cultures had seen them.
Some very early Jews offered
sacrifices to them, but other than that...
there was no negative sense to
their belief in them at all.
Shedim on the other hand were
seen as more sinister,
but part of a sort of negative
aspect of Cabalistic practice... where one could make a golem.
That word was also used for idol
worship, and possessing and troubling entities...
and that is very akin to the
usage we all tend to think of.
Overall the concept that Daemons
come in two categories, harmful and benign is echoed in Hinduism, Zoroastrianism,
and many other religions and cultures.
Myth wise, Bad Daemons do things
like eat your soul,
or possess you and cause you
to kill your children.
They inhabit idols, and demand
sacrifices, where as Good Daemons help you,
or at worst ignore you and frolic
in the fields like fauns.
Much of the bad press which these
Demons/Daemons get is from the Christian Faith,
and of course the modern cinema.
It is clear that the bible complains of Bad Demons,
but doesn't mention the good
ones as any relation to the bad ones very often at all,
but there are references to Angels,
and heavenly beings called elders,
and also the creatures with four
faces, and many somewhat disguised female entities etc.
Thus the Bible makes its own
distinction between good and bad Daemons;
it is just specific in the type
of creature it means...
so that the name is specific
in the connotation.
The most common words for the
negative Demons in the bible are as follows.
Satan just means Adversary, literally
one who resists, opposes, or withstands.
It could apply to any opposition
to God, or God's people,
though generally Satan is thought
to be Lucifer,
it is more correctly assumed
that they mean Beelzebub,
and the Gnostic texts leave little
doubt that at least part of the time
when Christ says Satan he means
Beelzebub - variously translated
Lord of the Flies,
and Lord of the house... he is
known as the prince of demons.
He likely corresponds to the
whose followers sacrificed their
own children to him,
by burning them alive. Not really
a nice guy.
Devil - diabolos occurs only in
the New Testament.
IT means slanderer, or false
That reticular word isn't always
used to indicate a Daemon at all...
it can mean a human person. It
doesn't denote power or lack of it,
only the action of falsely accusing.
All of the occurrences of the
word Daemon are also translated devil also...
so that makes the KJV confusing.
In any case diabolos in the negative
sense used in the Greek means a guilt causing spirit,
or a spirit that makes you accuse
A demon that makes you do wrong
and then points the finger at you...
which is kind of a cruel trick.
Most of the time in the bible
Devil is used to denote a possessing
about to be cast out, so the
inference is that this creature makes people do wrong,
and then makes them feel even
thus they need to be gotten out
of the person.
Spirit - pneuma has both amazingly
and deeply negative connotations...
depending on the entity.
It means literally a movement