Last Updated September 5, 2023.
Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness is a Christian thriller novel about literal spiritual warfare happening throughout a small college town. The Christian concept of spiritual warfare is that there is a real and present conflict occurring for human souls, and the fate of the world is being played out in an unseen dimension by angels and demons, all the time. This novel brings that conflict to the forefront as people start to realize that something mysterious is guiding the fortunes and fates of the town in a dangerous way and shed light on the looming spiritual conflict. Below are some of the quotes Peretti uses to illuminate those ideas.
Guilo stood still in his corner, glaring at as many demons as would look at him.
While this quote doesn't illustrate the violent conflicts that arise between the unseen masses for the town's souls, it shows the presence of angels and demons. Guilo, an angel, is standing in a church, unseen, in the midst of a great company of demons. They are waging a fight for the souls of the humans there and for the town's destiny.
"Jailed? Whatever for?" "Soliciting an undercover cop for an act of prostitution."
Bernice, a reporter for the local paper, is arrested after taking a photograph at one of the town's celebrations and is accused of prostitution, although she clearly was not involved in anything of the sort. This shows some of the manipulation at work by the demons and their envoys, the Universal Consciousness Society. They are twisting the truth and eventually will have other members of the town who go against them; the demons' plans are arrested or silenced.
The fifteen spirits in Carmen were foaming and frothing, wailing and hissing. Hank held Carmen down gently . . . Carmen moaned and twisted, her eyes glaring at Hank "Let us go, praying man!"
The conflict has escalated at this point, where people are being legitimately possessed by the demons in the town and violently lashing out at others as well as carrying out their campaign against the angels. The townsfolk pray over one another and attempt to resolve the situation, but more might is needed.
The angels gather around in this instance to protect the people who are trying to exorcise Carmen, but the demons are very powerful. The point Peretti is making is that, according to his theological views, conflicts like this are happening all the time. Sometimes they escalate to this level, but in Peretti's view, battles are frequently waged for our souls.