Difference Between Angels, Demons, and Ghosts

Angels, Demons, and Ghosts are the beings that have been described in every tradition of the world and various historic eras. However, most of us are unable to explain the difference between these beings.

Early Christians very well knew the difference between angels, demons, and ghosts. They had a clear distinction between the beings based on their tradition and beliefs.

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With the attack of modern rationalism and decline in the beliefs of Christianity, people started forgetting about the existence of spiritual beings beyond the material world.

With time, we all have accepted that angels, demons, and ghosts are not real and simply metaphors created by our ancestors based on a mix of ideas and theories.

What is the difference between Angels, Demons, and Ghosts?

What is the difference between Angels, Demons, and Ghosts
What is the difference between Angels, Demons, and Ghosts

The difference between Angels, Demons, and Ghosts had been known since ages but with the development of the modern pop culture, there has been complete misunderstanding and confusion among the people.

While playing fast, various Television and Movie shows, draw upon the inherent human charm with the mystical empire.

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Thereby, losing the basic understanding of the difference between Angels, Demons, and Ghosts.

The depiction of angels and demons in the literature and movies, seem too human (and, equally, humans may be depicted as angelic or demonic).

However, the ghosts are often represented as demonic with a tendency to harm others.

Let’s inspect the customary understanding of each of these divine entities with a revelation guest flung in for good measure.

1. Who are Angels?

Angel or ángelos or mal’ākh are all different names of Angel in Greek and Hebrew, meaning the “messenger of god”.

Who are Angels

The precise meaning of the word angel thus indicates toward the purpose or grade of such beings in a cosmic order rather than toward implications of core or nature, which have been noticeable in popular virtue, mainly in Western religions.

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Angels as per the Christian belief of creation are the 1st beings created by God.

Thus, father, son and the holy spirit have been existing from eternity and therefore, God himself is uncreated.

The time began after the creation of angels by God and these were the first beings created by God.

The beating of angel wings could be used to measure time, says a metaphor by Saint Augustine. This simply means that time and creation of angels by God goes hand in hand.

The creation changes with time, but God is unchanging and unending.

Are angels the God’s messengers?

The word angel in Hebrew and Greek means messenger and has purely spiritual beings that are they have no physical body of their own.

Are angels the God’s messengers
Angel: the God’s messengers

God has created these angels to deliver the messages of humanity, honesty and truthfulness to all the humans on the earth.

The good news of God choosing Angel Mary to bear him as his son was first conveyed by the angel Gabriel. 

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An angel looked to the shepherds in the hills above Bethlehem to bring the “glad tidings” that Christ was born; an angel looked to the women at Christ’s tomb to proclaim his Resurrection.

When God sends the angels to earth, they take a human form and do not possess other beings as shown in various television shows and movies.

Although they exist on earth as natural beings their existence is limited to the duration they want to appear in front of us.

Once the need for the angel’s existence is over, he/she leaves the human form and the body no longer exists in the world.

Do Guardian Angels exist on earth?

Various hints and indications in the scriptures point to the fact that the number of angels is much more than that of human beings. They might be infinite in number.

Do Guardian Angels exist on earth
Do Guardian Angels exist on earth?

It is also believed that God has assigned one unique guardian angel to every child, man and woman. This guardian angel has to guard us tangibly and sacredly.

Custom embraces that both cities and countries have angels allocated to them in much the same way as supporter saints.

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In Christianity, the term angel is often used in replacement of “good angels” i.e. those angels that are faithful to God.

Such angels have no chance to commit sins or crimes under any conditions and these are those loyal spiritual bodies that decided to obey God’s will before the human were not even created.

So are there any “Bad Angels”? What happens to those who disobey God’s order? Can angels take up their own decisions?

2. Who are Demons?

The phrase Demon or daimōn which is originally a Greek word means a “spirit” or “supernatural being”. It is often related to a malicious spirit or an evil body.

Who are Demons

However, the true spiritual meaning of a demon is a spiritual being that influences the person’s character and habits.

A good spirit is also known as agathos daimōn is a good example that explains the benevolent relationship between the humans and the demons.

The power to seek and speak the truth, as per the Greek philosopher Socrates, comes from none other than the daimōn, as a spirit that always inspires him in life.

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Who can forget the very popular folklore of Archangel Michael!

The archangel leads the complete batch of good angels in driving the bad angels from heaven and casting them to the world of hell.

Now comes the question that who are these disobedient angels?

These disobedient angels are those who choose not to follow the command of the god and choose their destiny.

These disobedient angels developed the habit of being evil just like being good was the habit of good angels. They cannot change their behaviours; they cannot be sorry.

Who are The Disobedient Angels?

The disobedient angels are the demons or the devils that has all the powers of a spiritual being.

Who are The Disobedient Angels
Who are The Disobedient Angels?

But instead of protecting the humans and showering god’s wisdom and blessing on us, they try to lead us away from the truth. They disobey every order of god and work against him.

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Their goal is having as many people as they can, on their side so that everyone in this world disobeys god and thus make us do as many sins as possible.

If they succeed in making us sinful and oppose God’s commands, then they will be successful in gathering as many souls as possible for Hell!

What are Liars and Tempters?

To convince us to commit sin or do evil, the demons or devils can manifest themselves in taking different physical forms.

What are Liars and Tempters
Liars and Tempters

Although, demons do not have the power to make us work against our own will they certainly have the power to confuse us and persuade us to commit desirable sins.

The serpent is often considered to be the physical manifestation of the evil as he convinced Adam and Eve, in the Garden, to sin.

He told then to eat the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil if they wanted to become real gods.

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If we are led amiss by demons, we can be sorry, and through the Sacrament of Confession, be rinsed of our sin.

Demons are often related with many demonic phenomena’s one of which is the demonic possession.

Demonic possession is a phenomenon which occurs when an individual aligns his true will with a demon himself and invites him to accept it completely.

It is critical to remember that demon cannot possess anyone against their own will.

It is therefore, demons must use their powers of persuasion and deception to convince individuals to allow then work with them.

Thus, the best practice to protect ourselves from the demonic activities is to pray on regular intervals and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession, which strengthen our resolve to align our will with God’s.

What is the true representation of the demons?

One current work of art that correctly depicts the action of demons and the method of demonic possession is The Exorcist, both the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty and the 1973 film by William Friedkin.

What is the true representation of the demons
What is the true representation of the demons?

Blatty, a true Catholic, precisely depicts the lessons of the Catholic Church by having the young girl, Regan, request the demon in through dabbling in the occult in this case, through the use of an Ouija board.

Many other films and television shows, however, depict the sufferers of demonic possession as innocents who are influenced against their will and without their gen.

Such exposes refute the spirit of human free will.

3. Who are Ghosts?

Ghosts are the disembodied souls that are the most misunderstood and misinterpreted spiritual creatures across pieces of literature and films.

Who are Ghosts

The term holy spirit means holy ghost. This also means that the simple meaning of the word ghost is spirit, but the souls being completely limited to human beings.

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The only difference between humans and the angels is that humans have both the spiritual nature i.e. a soul and a physical form i.e. a body.

However, demons have the power to present themselves as physical bodies.

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The bodies that angels and demons adapt are not part of nature or God’s creation on earth.

So, when we speak of Ghosts they have been termed as disembodied souls in the sense that they have been separated from the body after their death.

As per the teachings of the Church, the decision of whether the soul goes to hell or heaven is done, only after the death.

Some of those who will go to Heaven, however, will first spend some time in Agony, being rinsed of their sins and being made pure so that they can enter into the attendance of God.

Who are The Souls in Purgatory?

Customarily, ghosts have been seen as those souls in Purgatory. Souls in Purgatory may do so exactly so because of the reason why they are in Purgatory as they still have “unfinished business,” in the sense of punishment for sins. ​

Who are The Souls in Purgatory
The Souls in Purgatory

This is the reason that unlike demons and angels, ghosts are tied to specific places. These are the places that have some sort of relation with the sins for which they must still compensate.

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Saints in Heaven do irregularly appear to us here on earth, but when they do, we see them in their splendour.

As Jesus Christ once told us in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, souls in Hell cannot appear to the living.

Are Ghosts Good or Bad?

Opposing to many depictions in nonfiction series and film, ghosts are never spiteful creatures.

Are Ghosts Good or Bad
Are Ghosts Good or Bad?

They are souls on their way to Heaven, by way of Agony and Despair. When they have completely compensated for their sins and entered Heaven, they will be saints.

As such, they are incapable of deceptive or hurting human beings that are still here on earth.

4. Who are Poltergeists?

The Poltergeists are the troublemaking spirits that look similar to ghosts that we see in films and TV shows nowadays.

Who are Poltergeists

Such trouble making spirits are often referred to as Poltergeists and all these facts have been taken from the theories of Church and not based on some modern pop beliefs and assumptions.

Now let’s try to define what is a poltergeist?

Poltergeist is a German phrase that means a “noisy ghost” i.e. a ghost that moves around disrupting the lives of human beings.

It causes disturbances, noises and sounds to disrupt the lives and cause harm to us, humans, on the earth.

Are Demons in Disguise?

If all that sounds aware, it should: those are the kinds of actions that we might imagine from demons, rather than ghosts.

Are Demons in Disguise
Are Demons in Disguise?

The best clarification for poltergeist action is that demons are carrying it out (another sure sign: poltergeists are usually devoted to a person, as a demon would be, rather than a place, as a ghost would be).

An amazingly good depiction of this realism can be found in the 2016 film The Conjuring 2, an imaginary depiction of the real-life case of the Enfield Poltergeist.

While the real Enfield Poltergeist was nearly a trick, the film uses the instances of the case to present a proper understanding of poltergeist action.

What originally grants itself as a ghost devoted to a specific houses goes out, in the end, to be a demon that is trying to hurt a family.

What are the types of Angels, Demons, and Ghosts?

The Angels, Demons, and Ghosts can be categorized into the following sections;

  1. The Benevolent Beings
  2. The Malevolent Beings
  3. The Ambivalent or Natural Beings

What are the Benevolent beings?

Benevolent beings are usually angels but they can be any kind of spiritual beings like angels, demons, and ghosts.

What are the Benevolent beings
Benevolent beings

These have been conciliated by ransoms or other rituals, assist humans in attaining a proper bond with God, other divine beings, or humans’ life states.

Angels, for example, not only act as revealers of divine truths but also are believed to be effective in serving people to reach redemption or superior poise or favours.

Their main role is to serve God and follow his command with grace. This is true of angels in both Christianity and Zoroastrianism as well as in Judaism and Islam.

As useful delays of the deific will, they now and then interfere in human affairs by gratifying the close and gruelling the unfair or by saving the weak, who require help, and abolishing the bad, who unfairly hound their parallel beings.

What are Malevolent Beings?

What are Malevolent Beings
Malevolent Beings

The following spiritual bodies come under the category of malevolent beings;

  1. Fallen Angels
  2. Demons
  3. Ghosts
  4. Evil Natural Spirits
  5. Goblins
  6. The daevas of Zoroastrianism
  7. Hybrid creatures
  8. Naraka in Jainism or the creatures of hell
  9. Oni or the Attendants of the gods of the underworld in Japanese culture.
  10. Others

All these beings hinder the creation of a proper relationship between the humans and God, the spiritual monarchy, or human life circumstances.

It is believed that angels like Lucifer in Judaism, Christianity and Islam have fallen from a position of the proximity of God. The reason may be internal conflicts or hunger for more power and wealth.

In their fallen state they try to keep beings from attaining a true connection with God by infuriating them to sin.

What are Ambivalent or neutral beings?

The western religions do not have much info about the Ambivalent or neutral spiritual beings, as it believes in just 2 parts of the inhabitants of the cosmos.

What are Ambivalent or neutral beings
Ambivalent or neutral beings

1st are those who are the supporters of the creator and 2nd are those who work opposite to his command.

However, if we study Islam, we will understand that Islam has categorized the spiritual beings into;

  1. Angels (mal’ākh)
  2. Demons (shāyaṭīn)
  3. Jinn (singular jinni), or genies

The last category has those spiritual beings that could be either malevolent or benevolent.

According to myth, the jinn was shaped out of fire 2,000 years before the formation of Adam, the first human.

The Jinn can take any possible form and can become invisible to human eyes easily. They can either help or hinder the tasks of human beings depending on their basic nature and capabilities.

By crafty, higher use of intellect, or magic, persons might be able to deploy a jinni for their advantage.

Various minor nature spirits such as the spirits of water, fire, mountains, and winds and other spirits documented in nonliterate religions.

These are generally neutral, but, to keep them that way or to make them valuable to humans, proper overheads and rituals must be done.


All the spiritual beings that exist or have ever existed possess some characteristics that we have discussed above in detail.

If you understand this behaviour and trademarks then you could easily identify the difference between Angels, Demons, and Ghosts.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How many angels are there in total?

There are total 7 holy angels as per the Book of Enoch, chapter 20, which are often referred to as the God’s archangels. These are Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Saraqael, Raguel, and Remiel. The Life of Adam and Eve lists the archangels as well: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Joel.

What is Binsfeld’s classification of demons?

As per the Binsfeld’s classification of demons, there are 7 demons namely; Lucifer for Pride, Mammon for Greed, Asmodeus for Lust, Leviathan for Envy, Beelzebub for Gluttony, Satan for Wrath and Belphegor for Sloth.