The Descent of Master Chief into the Bowels of Halo
Although I was old enough to play Halo: Combat Evolved when it was first released in 2001, I never found the game appealing (except for its sleepover multiplayer features that was always refreshing and fun). It is now ~20 years later, and I finally finished the first game due to the fact that it was released on Steam as Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Basically, 343 Industries began porting and enhancing the Halo series onto the PC platform, and since it was being sold for a bargain price, I finally decided to play it. It didn't take long for me to be blown away by the Christian symbolism, evidently the type of which I would not have noticed when I was 13 years old, and possibly the reason why it didn't attract me when I was a young atheist.
To be blunt, if you're a reader of Michael Heiser's work on the Unseen Realm (and any of his follow-up books, like Reversing Hermon), the symbolism in this game will immediately jump out at you, especially as I have deliberately titled this blog post as: Master Chief's Descent into the Bowels of Halo. This should cause you to think about passages like 1 Peter 3:18-22, and early Christian depictions of the descent of Jesus into Hades.
Thus, as Heiser will point out in his work (in regards to his watershed moment that began his journey), the crux biblical verse that culminates the entire Halo story is amazingly this: "God takes his stand in the divine assembly; among the divine beings he renders judgment." (Psalms 82:1)
Yes! Halo (specifically the sequel Halo 2) literally starts with a high council judgement. But, more needs to be unraveled here in regards to the synopsis of the series as a whole. Let's start with the discussion that takes place in this high council (using the transcript from the developer's diary):
Fade up, to see the broken remnants of the Alpha Halo; a Covenant assault carrier flies into view, and we track with it. A huge Covenant fleet has arrived at the wreckage of Halo, and with them a massive, incredibly complex hemisphere structure.
Text reads: "Covenant Holy City, High Charity Ninth Age of Reclamation"
Inside High Charity, Banshees swoop and join formation, and a huge crowd of Covenant soldiers gathers.
ELITE COMMANDER: "There was only one ship."
Inside the Covenant Council Chambers, a gold-armored Elite stands in front of a group of three Prophets, one of whom is present only by hologram.
PROPHET OF TRUTH: "One? Are you sure?"
ELITE COMMANDER: "Yes. They called it ... the Pillar of Autumn."
PROPHET OF MERCY: "Why was it not destroyed, with the rest of their fleet?"
ELITE COMMANDER: "It fled, as we set fire to their planet."
Reach burns under Covenant plasma bombardment; the Pillar of Autumn lifts from orbit and rockets away, attempting to escape the massive Covenant fleet.
ELITE COMMANDER: "But I followed with all the ships in my command. A Covenant cruiser arrives at Alpha Halo, slowing and joining the relatively small fleet gathered there."
PROPHET OF TRUTH: "When you first saw Halo, were you blinded by its majesty?"
ELITE COMMANDER: "Blinded?"
PROPHET OF REGRET: "Paralyzed? Dumbstruck?"
ELITE COMMANDER: "No."
PROPHET OF REGRET: "Yet the humans were able to evade your ships, land on the Sacred Ring, and desecrate it with their filthy footsteps?"
ELITE COMMANDER: "Noble Heirarchs ... surely you understand that once the parasite attacked..."
The Council members begin to shout.
PROPHET OF MERCY: "There will be order in this Council!"
PROPHET OF TRUTH: "You were right to focus your attention on the Flood, but this Demon, this 'Master Chief'..."
The far side of Alpha Halo explodes as the Pillar of Autumn's fusion drives go critical.
ELITE COMMANDER: "By the time I learned the Demon's intent, there was nothing I could do."
The Council becomes angry again, and we see the Brute Tartarus, chuckling to himself.
PROPHET OF REGRET (whispering): "Prophet of Truth, this has gone on long enough. Make an example of this bungler. The Council demands it."
PROPHET OF TRUTH: "You are one of our most cherished instruments. Long have you led your fleet with honor and distinction, but your inability to safeguard Halo ... was a colossal failure."
A Council member stands up from his seat.
COUNCIL PROPHET: "Nay, it was heresy!"
The room is filled with angry shouts.
ELITE COMMANDER: "I will continue my campaign against the humans."
PROPHET OF TRUTH: "No! You will not."
A pair of Brutes move to take the Elite Commander's arms; he stands up straight and makes to push them away. They back off.
PROPHET OF TRUTH: "Soon the Great Journey shall begin."
The Brutes escort the Elite Commander from the Council Chamber.
PROPHET OF TRUTH: "But when it does, the weight of your heresy will stay your feet, and you shall be left behind."
So, what's the background story of Halo, in order to make sense of this high council judgement? The year is 2552. Humanity is at war with an alliance of different alien species known as the Covenant. The different species that make up the Covenant are bound together by the belief that they have been chosen as the instrument of the gods. Under the leadership of the Hierarchs, three self-proclaimed prophets named Truth, Mercy, and Regret, these aliens are driven to cleanse the universe of humanity in pursuit of some type of salvation that involves reaching a higher state of being. For the Covenant, ascension is reserved only for those who have been chosen. Because humans have not been promised salvation, they are seen as inferior and sinful creatures that are standing in the way of the divine destiny of the aliens. The object of their worship is an ancient space-faring civilization known as the Forerunners, who have left behind a number of mysterious buildings and space stations throughout the galaxy. The Covenant sees itself as the successor to the Forerunners, and they believe these structures were made for them specifically. The most significant of these are the massive ring-shaped installations with simulated natural environments on the inside referred to as Halos. The Covenant seeks to activate these Halos because they wrongfully believe this will send them on the "Great Journey" towards salvation. In truth, the Halo installations were built by the Forerunners to get rid of a parasitic alien species called the Flood. Since the only way to achieve that goal was to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy in order to starve the Flood, the Halos were designed to do just that. The United Nations Space Command (UNSC) is mankind's last and only line of defense against the aliens.
At the start of the story, the war is not going well for humanity. The technologically superior Covenant is able to keep up a relentless onslaught, spurred on by the promise of eternal salvation and under threat of exclusion from the Great Journey, and every rare human victory is a very costly one. Thus, after suffering a crushing defeat on the planet Reach, the crew of a human ship called the UNSC Pillar of Autumn uses navigation data from the Forerunners to escape. The data turns out to be coordinates to a Halo installation. Moments later, a Covenant ship follows, and another battle ensues. In an attempt to keep the ship's artificial intelligence, Cortana, out of enemy hands, an elite soldier code-named John-117, also known as the Master Chief, is woken up from cryogenic stasis to fight off the Covenant and give the crew a chance to evacuate before boarding the last available escape pod himself. Master Chief and Cortana must then work to reunite the scattered groups of human survivors on the surface, and save the ship's captain, Jacob Keyes, who is being held by the Covenant aboard their cruiser. After saving the captain and learning the installation is called Halo by the Covenant, Cortana hacks into the alien's communications and finds out that the aliens believe the installation is sacred, and that it is an immensely powerful weapon. It falls to Master Chief and Cortana to keep the Covenant from using Halo to wipe out the human race. It does not take long for them to find the control room, but when they get there, Cortana picks up new Covenant communications that reveal something is very wrong. While exploring the Halo installation, the Covenant found something they should not have, and the captain is about to make the situation far worse. Master Chief then goes to find Keyes, while Cortana stays behind to find out what she can about Halo.
Upon arrival at the captain's last known location, Master Chief discovers that Keyes accidentally released the Flood, which was sealed away underground. This allows the parasite to consume UNSC personnel and Covenant forces alike, and turn them into mindless husks that are hostile to both sides. As he returns to the surface, Master Chief is suddenly drafted by the installation’s artificial intelligence (AI) monitor, nicknamed 343 Guilty Spark, to retrieve a key so that they can activate Halo's defenses and get rid of the parasite. After retrieving the key, Master Chief is transported back to the control room. Just as he is about to turn the key, Cortana stops him and tells him the truth. Instead of destroying the Flood, Halo will wipe out their food (all sentient life in the galaxy). Master Chief and Cortana eventually manage to destroy Halo, escape, and return to Earth to tell UNSC high command of their discovery. As Master Chief is being awarded a medal for his service, a small Covenant fleet suddenly arrives and begins to invade earth. UNSC forces are able to fend off the aliens, and when the Covenant tries to retreat, Master Chief decides to follow them. When they arrive at their destination, it turns out the aliens have found another Halo. As Master Chief and Cortana again try to stop both the Covenant and the installation's own AI from activating this Halo, they discover it is only one of seven such devices and that they can all be activated at once using another Forerunner station called the Ark. It now becomes a race against time to keep them from activating the Ark and wiping out all sentient life in the galaxy.
Biblical Imagery in Halo
Now that you have read the synopsis of Halo's story, references to the bible (as well as other Christian symbolism) will become quite obvious.
1. The Title
2. The Music
Another clear-cut reference is its musical score. Give it a listen:
It starts with Gregorian chanting, and lasts for ~30 seconds before switching to cyberpunk techno beats and electric guitars. This juxtaposition of medieval devotional singing and digital music is a confirmation of the religion/science narrative of our day, where the two genres actually go well together, as a musical counterargument.
3. The Covenant
In the scriptures we see that there are many biblical covenants, or sacred agreements between God and his followers. Only the covenant of Noah is applied to all humans (Genesis 9:8–10, 14–16). However, the old covenant was made only for the Israelites through Moses (Genesis 15:18, 17:21; Exodus 2:24; Joshua 1:2–3, 21:43). But, for Christians, Jesus has now provided the final universal new covenant, where regardless of race, gender, and status, you can now become a "child of God" through him.
Thus, it's possible that the developers of Halo used this word not only to indicate the religious nature of the alien alliance, but also to highlight the way the aliens see themselves as superior over humans. The Covenant believes the Halo installations were built for them by the Forerunners, and only by activating the rings can they fulfill their destiny.
Furthermore, since it's a science fiction game, Halo naturally features spaceships, and those used by the Covenant are often named after Christian concepts, such as Truth and Reconciliation. The same goes for Covenant vehicles available in the game. Specifically, Seraph fighters are named after specific biblical beings (known as the seraphim) that are supposed to accompany God in heaven (Isaiah 6:2–3; Revelation 4:8).
4. The Ark
In the game, the Ark is the central control hub for the Halo installations, capable of activating all of them at once. This is a reference to Noah's Ark. In other words, the Halos were built to eradicate the Flood by wiping out all life, in order to starve the parasites to death. The result is that this will ultimately save the galaxy, because it gets a chance to start over. This mirrors the story in Genesis, where God decides to destroy all life on earth to rid it of sin and begin anew (Genesis 6:13, 17, 7:10–12, 17–24; 8:1–2). Only the chosen may survive, and the ark saves them from the flood.
Another perspective is that it's a reference to the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments. On top of that it was also a powerful weapon, since it was used by the Israelites to bring down the walls of Jericho after making seven laps around the city (Joshua 6–8, 11, 14–16, 20). Similar to the Ark of the Covenant being regarded as holy, the alien Covenant reveres all Forerunner technology as sacred.
5. The Characters
What's astonishing is that there are many direct allusions to scripture from the names of the characters! The first comes from Master Chief's codename, John-117. This is an abbreviation of John 1:17 that reads: "because while the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus the Messiah."
Thus, similar to Jesus enacting this law through grace and truth, Master Chief enforces it with guns. What's more is that he is symbolically resurrected multiple times. For example, at the beginning of the first game, he is awoken from cryostasis (he was artificially kept in a frozen state to be thawed in a time of need). This is a figurative resurrection. Another example is when Master Chief appears to drown in a lake and is transported to some sort of underworld before being revived. As he descends into the watery abyss, the Gravemind grabs him and chillingly utters: "This is not your grave ... but you are welcome in it."
This is a reminder that Jesus also went into the abyss, in order to make: "a proclamation to those imprisoned spirits who disobeyed long ago in the days of Noah, when God waited patiently while the ark was being built. In it a few, that is, eight persons, were saved by water." (1 Peter 3:19-20)
In light of this analogy between Jesus and Master Chief, Captain Keyes represents John the Baptist. This is because Keyes gives Master Chief his pistol after being woken up from cryogenic stasis (or resurrected), in the first game. In other words, he hands out the tool with which Master Chief enforces the law. This is why we read: "But John tried to stop him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?' But Jesus answered him, 'Let it be this way for now, because this is the proper way for us to fulfill all righteousness.' At this, he permitted him to be baptized." (Matthew 3:14-15)
The tool for the ministry of Jesus (as the result of this baptismal exchange), is the Holy Spirit: "When Jesus had been baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens opened up for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. Then a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with him!'" (Matthew 3:16-17)
Moreover, when the captain becomes consumed by the Flood halfway through the first game, Master Chief ends his suffering by punching through his skull to retrieve an important bionic device from his brain. This is exactly what happens to John the Baptist, for he was beheaded (Matthew 14:10; Mark 6:27), since Keyes also loses his head.
But, Master Chief isn't the only one who shows a resemblance to Jesus. After his failure to protect Halo (as evident from the high council judgement referenced above), the commander of the Covenant fleet, Thel'Vadam, is punished for his so-called "heresy" by being stripped of his rank and forced into the role of the Arbiter to atone for his "sins". The Arbiter is a special kind of warrior who is only deployed in highly dangerous situations where it is almost certain he won't survive. Dying in battle is the only way for Thel'Vadam to make amends. The ritual that marks his transition to Arbiter is visually evocative of the crucifixion of Jesus. In other words, similar to Jesus hanging on the cross, Thel'Vadam has his arms spread out as his golden armor is forcefully torn off, and the ritual culminates with him being branded with a mark to signify his shamed status. The way in which Tartarus applies this brand evokes the image of Jesus being stabbed with a lance by the Roman soldiers (John 19:34).
With his old self figuratively dead, Thel'Vadam is resurrected as the Arbiter. Moreover, his passing through the lair of the Gravemind (the brain behind the Flood), later on in the game is similar to when Jesus descended into the underworld (Ephesians 4–9; 1 Peter 3:18–19). Having learned the truth about Halo, the Arbiter returns from this journey with a new message, so that he may save his fellow Elites and stop the false Prophets. This is reminiscent of how Jesus brought a new religious truth to humanity (John 8:31–32, 14:6). The journey through the Gravemind's lair is interesting for other reasons as well. On the one hand it is a significant event because it not only happens to the Arbiter, but also to Master Chief. It is where the two first meet; this figurative underworld is where both characters with a resemblance to Jesus are together in one place. What should also be mentioned here is the fact that, similar to Master Chief and his pistol, the word "arbiter" refers to law enforcement, albeit with a stronger emphasis on the judge rather than the executioner. This in turn is another reference to Jesus, who is also sometimes described as judge (2 Corinthians 5:10; John 5:22, 27, 30, 9:39; Romans 2:16).
Thus, the parallel between the Gravemind's lair and the underworld also allows for a comparison between the Gravemind himself and Satan. In the bible, Satan is portrayed as a trickster who seduces people with false knowledge. He is the primary antagonist of Jesus (who represents the truth), and the Church represents Jesus on Earth. But, the Gravemind is the opposite (he twists the truth, and the Prophets peddle the lies). Curiously, the Gravemind (being the Flood) is also serving himself, similar to the devil (Revelation 6–20). After all, if the Halos were to be activated, he would die as well, just as Satan will cause his own undoing.
Finally, one more character that should be mentioned here is the AI monitor of the first Halo, 343 Guilty Spark. The number 343 = 7^3, and all known Halo monitors are numbered by 7 to one less the power of their installation. For example, 049, 343, and 2401 are respectively 7^2, 7^3, and 7^4, and are the monitors of installations 03, 04, and 05. Thus, the numbers 7 and 3 are significant in the biblical tradition. The number 7 appears over 400 times and symbolizes the rhythm of time, while the number 3 refers to the vertical and hierarchical structure of the cosmos. The nickname "Guilty Spark" refers to what transpired ~100,000 years before the events of the game. When the Forerunners had to use the Halos and wipe themselves out in order to keep the Flood from spreading, it just so happened that the one under 343's supervision was activated first. Thus he is fully aware of their destructive power and might feel guilty about what happened. Although he initially comes across as a benign custodian of ancient technology, it turns out that his intentions are far more sinister. The Forerunners programmed him to make sure the Flood does not leave the installation if it ever breaks out of containment, but his first response is to resort to the most drastic option: activating Halo and wiping out all nearby sentient life. Since 343 has the same goal as the Covenant, it appears that he is aligned with the false Prophets. Moreover, the fact that he tries to trick Master Chief into activating the installation can be compared to the Shining One (just as Guilty Spark also has a metallic shining appearance) who tricks Eve into eating from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 3:3–6), which adds to his seemingly villainous nature. However, the monitor consistently refers to Master Chief as the "reclaimer", which is evocative of the epithet "redeemer" that is given to Jesus (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:17–19). This makes it sound more plausible that the AI is, in fact, also misguided in believing he is carrying out the will of the Forerunners.
6. The Galactic Apocalypse
The ultimate main motif of the whole series is the threat of total annihilation via the Halos, of which there are seven. This refers to the seven seals of Revelation, and the seven trumpets signalling the beginning of the end times. According to John, the site of the final battle against Satan and the Antichrist is a place called Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). This is a combination of two words "har" and "magedon". It symbolically translates to: "Mount Zion" (in other words, "Jerusalem"). Thus, the opening and closing cinematic of Halo: Reach feature a broken mountain range.
John also mentions that: "They marched over the broad expanse of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. Fire came from God out of heaven and burned them up, and the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tortured day and night forever and ever."(Revelation 20:9-10)
This is connected to the destruction of a different human colony on the planet Harvest. This invasion was the start of the conflict between the Covenant and humans, and ends with the Covenant unleashing the full might of their fleet to glass the planet (in other words, they burn everything with laser beams that are so hot they turn everything into glass). The glassing of Harvest is reminiscent of the fire from God mentioned here by John, because from the Covenant's perspective, they are destroying the unworthy. But, the Covenant represent the Antichrist instead, because he also has the power to call down fire (Revelation 13:13).
7. The Covenant and Manifest Destiny
The Covenant wrongfully believes that activating the Halos will send them on the "Great Journey" towards salvation, and that whoever stands in their way must be annihilated. In conjunction with the name Harvest, the Great Journey suddenly sounds a lot like the Manifest Destiny. This was the idea that the United States was destined to spread its influence across the whole continent, and that, as Christians, they had the right to take it from the native heathens by force. These so-called "civilizing missions" were justified by stating that Native Americans were savages, and thus were inferior to white colonists. Projected onto Halo, the alien Covenant's extermination of humans can be seen as a form of Manifest Destiny: the Covenant sees humans as primitive and therefore unable to go on the Great Journey, so their eradication is justified.
8. Corruption and High Charity
The High Charity is the Covenant's Holy City. In the bible, charity (meaning "love") is held to be the most important virtue. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he said: "right now three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)
The fact that the alien capital in Halo is named after the Christian notion of charity/love is quite ironic, since the Covenant is everything but charitable. What is more is that High Charity is eventually consumed by the Flood after the Gravemind manages to infect the UNSC In Amber Clad spaceship, and crash it into the mobile city. Not only is this symbolic for the ultimate corruption of the Christian virtue, but it is an inverse of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24–25; Deuteronomy 29:23; Luke 17:29). Rather than God destroying the corrupted cities of the sinful (2 Peter 2:6), the Gravemind destroys the corrupted city of the faithful.
Conclusion: The Biblical Epic and Halo
In connecting the Halo series to the bible, the conclusion we can make is that many Christians have only a superficial understanding of the powers of darkness. Part of the problem is that we lack understanding of the Old Testament context for the bible's depiction of these powers. Most believers frame the subject of supernatural evil only in light of the fall in Eden described in Genesis 3. But the fall was the first of three supernatural rebellions. Failure to grasp this point of the supernatural biblical epic leads to flawed assumptions about supernatural evil.
A brief overview of the story of evil forces in the bible will be necessary to help understand the full scope of their power and continued threat. Most people, whatever their religious affiliation, are familiar with the main supernatural adversary: the serpent, eventually referred to as the devil or Satan. But he was not the only malevolent figure in the spiritual world. In the days before the flood a second mutiny erupted in God's heavenly realm. A cadre of God's celestial children defected from their heavenly home and assigned sphere of service, violating the boundary between heaven and earth (Genesis 6:1–4; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). In biblical days, the breach spawned the Nephilim giants and their kin, who are referred to as Anakim and Rephaim (Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:32–33; Deuteronomy 1:28–33; 2:1–3:11). This crime would reverberate on earth in tragic ways. It led to bloody conflict between God's children and the clans of giants shortly following the exodus of Israel from Egypt.
On the way to their landed inheritance, God forewarned Moses and Joshua about what awaited them. He told them that, while Esau's relatives had eradicated the bloodlines of the Nephilim in places like Moab and Ammon (Deuteronomy 2:8–22), they could still be found in Bashan (Deuteronomy 2:23–3:11) and Canaan (Numbers 13:22, 28, 32–33; Deuteronomy 9:1–2; Joshua 11:21–22). God intentionally steered Israel into their strongholds. The giants had to be eliminated. Joshua was eventually able to destroy most of these foes, though some escaped to places later known as the Philistine cities (Joshua 14:12–15). It was from one of those cities, Gath, that Goliath would come. Only when David (a messianic archetype) and his men later killed Goliath did this particular shock-wave from the supernatural rebellion of the sons of God run its course (1 Samuel 17:23–49; 1 Chronicles 20:4–8).
Because of their deaths, the disembodied Anakim and Rephaim were thought to inhabit the realm of the dead. In other words, the Hebrew word rephaim has the meaning "shades" (Isaiah 14:9), while in Proverbs 9:18 and Job 26:5 it refers to "the dead." On the basis of these and other biblical texts, Jews of the later Old Testament period through to the ministry of Jesus, taught that demons were the disembodied spirits of the dead giants. These were the demons we know from the New Testament. The reason the demons were labeled "unclean spirits" was their mixed origin (mixtures in Old Testament law were deemed abhorrent and unclean). But a second, residual side effect of the supernatural breach lingered (like the breach of the Flood in Halo). The otherworldly contagion festering in the humans (and other sentient life) that the Flood infected, is akin to the biblical context of something unseen that had happened to humanity as a result of the supernatural violation of the human dimension. Humanity had been corrupted because the fallen sons of God had transmitted forbidden knowledge that led to bloodshed, immorality, and idolatry, resulting in the proliferation of human depravity. This in turn is why the Old Testament forbade contact with the dead and attributed the dark arts to the disembodied spirits of the underworld (Deuteronomy 18:9–14; Leviticus 19:26–31; 20:6, 27). This is why Paul and Jude see false teaching as the legacy of "deceitful spirits" and refer to what their opponents taught as the "teachings of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1) leading to blasphemy and idolatry (Jude 6–10).
Following the supernatural rebellion of Genesis 6:1–4, it would be understandable if the main character of the biblical story (God) had decided to scrap the plan (like the Forerunners with their Halo Array, the Ark, and the Shield Worlds, in order to eradicate life if necessary and start over). The creation of humanity (not to mention his earlier supernatural children) looked like a terrible idea. But omniscient beings don't have bad ideas any more than an all-loving Father could totally destroy creatures he had made in his own image. After the first rebellion, God had expelled the rebels from his presence. After the second rebellion God sent the flood to wipe the slate clean, promising to never do so again (Genesis 9:12–17). God did not forsake humanity, and while that was good news, it didn't prevent God's children from turning their backs on him again. One more catastrophic celestial insurrection would play out early in the biblical story. After the flood God had reiterated to Noah and his family what he had told Adam and Eve: to have children and spread out over the earth (Genesis 9:1). The goal had been to spread the goodness of Eden. Repeating the command telegraphed that God wanted to try again. But instead, God's earthly family congregated in one place, which would become known as Babel (Genesis 11:1–9).
They decided to build a ziggurat tower, historically part of a temple complex. They wanted God to come to them in the place of their choosing. That wasn't God's plan. In response, God divided humanity by languages and geographical destiny. By doing so, God abandoned his earthly children, allotting them "according to the number of the gods" (Deuteronomy 32:8; see also Deuteronomy 4:19–20; 17:1–3; 29:23–26). God assigned the rule of his human children to other members of his heavenly family. Humanity didn't want him as their king, so he obliged. Over the course of time, the biblical epic tells us that these gods became corrupt, enslaving and abusing their populations (Psalm 82). These were the gods worshiped by the peoples of the earth. They would be the entities referred to in the bible as the supernatural "princes" over nations (Daniel 10:13, 20) and, later, as the principalities, powers, rulers, thrones, and authorities that opposed the spread of the gospel (Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:15). These cosmic adversaries are not the demons of the gospels. Their power is far greater than harming people or turning them into puppets made of flesh. Their goals are far more ambitious. They sought, and still seek, world control. They are cast as having geopolitical dominion.
This overview of the evil forces in the bible shows that the world contains an army of unseen sinister intelligences, guided by a super-intelligent malevolence, collectively watching humanity through a thin preternatural veil, waiting for opportunities to dominate and decimate human lives. If you have played Halo, that should sound familiar.