Friday, October 16, 2015

Do Vampires Exist?

Welcome to the third entry in our October monster-themed miniseries! Today, we are looking at the question of whether vampires exist. Actually, this question is perhaps a bit behind the times. The vampire trend, after all, seems to be mostly over. Still, you hear about it occasionally and it never completely goes away, so it is worth taking a look.


As with everything else in this series, legends of vampires go back to ancient times. They are often very similar to zombie stories, since these creatures rise out of graves and prey on human beings. However, unlike zombies, vampires are intelligent. Rather than being under another’s control, they can control others. They also have strange powers of flight, movement, and transformation, as well as strange weaknesses to light and holy things. And of course, above all, they are known for the drinking of blood.

Since at least the time of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and really before, vampire stories have been couched in erotic imagery. However, contemporary stories like Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series are more about the romantic. Either way, while vampires are something to be feared, there is also a certain and growing extent to which they are portrayed as desirable.

If you know my writing, you know how much I enjoy creating and explaining ambiguities. In this case, then, I cannot quickly dismiss the idea of whether vampires exist. There are “poseur vampires,” the people who like to dress up and pretend. There are also “emotional vampires,” which is another way to describe an emotionally controlling person who “feeds” off of manipulating the people around them. And finally, there have been and are “blood vampires,” who actually drink blood as a form of sustenance or rejuvenation. This is, of course, a psychological disorder rather than an actual physical need, but it has been done.

However, there are certainly not any undead monsters such as those around which our stories center. As with zombies and ghosts, these stories come from the human desire to live, and the human fear of what happens after death.

The Attraction

I have already discussed this here and here, so I will not repeat myself too much. Vampires represent the best of all worlds, since they have both body and mind. However, of all the creatures I am discussing this month, they are the least believed in by Millennials. It stretches belief too far for them, I suppose. A bit too supernatural, perhaps, though it seems no different to me.

Still, they seem to like the stories. Almost all of them, with the exception of a few unfortunate souls, know the idea of vampires is impossible, but they want it to be. They crave the excitement, power, and romance of it. In a way, it is little different from superhero stories.

The parents and grandparents of Millennials are not likely to see things quite that way, but because they are used to an older conception of vampires in which they were purely creatures of evil. In the newer stories, vampirism is amoral, and vampires can be good or evil based on their own behavior. This ambiguity, the possibility of goodness, makes the stories even more attractive.

Inherent Evil

While knowing this, and obviously knowing there is no such thing, I still have to argue that vampires are inherently evil. It is even more important to do so when the new stories no longer make it obvious. It is dangerous to delve too deeply into this mythos because it creates a warped perspective, one that opposes the expressed will of God. It does so in two ways.

The Dark

In the first place, vampire stories are evil because they inspire a love of the dark. Of course, all monster stories are set in the dark because the dark is something we naturally fear. The greatest threat is often in what you cannot see. But the idea of a vampire is someone who conquers not by driving the dark away, but by owning it. In that way, the dark becomes the place of adventure and control.

This dangerous attitude toward darkness is not limited to vampire stories. The Bible is consistent in its warnings against the love of the dark, because it is in the dark that the most evil deeds are done. And it is the promise of God that they will be brought to light and destroyed.

The point is that darkness is not a safe haven. Light always drives it away, and all its strength is shown to be weakness in the end. That is why Paul says to Christians in Ephesians 5:8-14,

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

We are not to love the darkness, because our Lord has already broken it. The darkness of sin and death could not contain him. As John says of Jesus in John 1:4, 5,

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

In Greek, the word for “comprehend” is καταλαμβάνω [ka-ta-lam-ba`-nō], which does not just mean “to understand.” It means to grasp in the sense of controlling or conquering, as well. The light of Christ defeats the darkness. The darkness can do nothing to stop Him. There is no hope in siding with it. Anything that loves the dark, whether vampires or anything truly threatening and powerful, is in conflict with and will be defeated by Jesus.

The Blood

The second evil of vampirism is in the idea of drinking blood. For one thing, this is an outright sin. And when I say that, I am not speaking hyperbolically. It is something directly proscribed in Scripture. Genesis 9:4 says, “You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” No blood, human or animal, is supposed to be consumed. Human blood is not even supposed to be spilled for selfish reasons. And this is a Noahic law, meaning it was something God commanded to Noah and all his descendants (in other words, all of us). It was not just limited to the ancient Israelites. No one should do it.

Seems a little arbitrary, right? But there is purpose in it. Blood, for obvious reasons, is representative of life. In both a literal and a figurative sense, it belongs to God. To eat it is to eat, and therefore seize, life itself. Not in the literal sense in that case, but that is the implication. Since all life, even human life, belongs to God, we should not try to possess our own lives, yet alone the life force of others.

Vampirism flies directly into the face of this. The key element of this myth is the actual usurpation of what ought to belong exclusively to God. The vampires in our stories defy the Lord of life by seizing the lives of others for themselves. No matter how heroic or romantic a mold they may fit, any vampire is taking what does not belong to him. Drinking blood is, by definition, evil.

The True Value of Blood

And it goes one step further. Blood is precious not just because life belongs to God, but because blood is the way mankind is made right with God. As Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” God requires life for life. To escape the judgment of death, something else must die. And for all sin to be totally blotted out, it took the blood of a perfect human sacrifice. That is why Jesus, in establishing the Communion that represents His death, said, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

This is the stark dividing line. This is the reason vampires are evil by definition, and why they should not be desired. Vampires spill the blood of others to take their life. Jesus let His blood be spilled to give life to others.

A vampire story is like others stories. I am not one to say they must be banned or avoided all together, or else we will have nothing to read. After all, everything is touched by corruption and imperfection. But we need to understand them. We need to know they do not represent anything real. And most of all, we need to see that they offer nothing truly desirable. In the end, they are make-believe stories about endlessly dying in the dark. Much better to celebrate Christ, who has truly given us unending life in the light.

Thanks for checking out the Quest Forums blog! If you enjoyed this post, please consider following me here, on Twitter (@Quest_Forums), or on Facebook (“Quest Forums”). Links are in the sidebar. I am always looking for new questions and comments, so submit yours on any of these sites or by emailing And please, spread the word! The share buttons below are a great way to do that. I want to connect with as many people as possible, so if you know anyone with questions about the Bible, send them my way.

No comments:

Post a Comment