My interpretation, along with explanations:
I think there is one correct answer for reasons listed below.
Otherwoldly guidance. Evidence:
a. The visions that Dad and Adam get are accompanied by names of real people. This could mean that they are hallucinating names and finding them in phone books and assuming that these were the demons intended, so this is hardly conclusive.
b. The blurred videotapes that correctly, as Adam predicts, protect him. More convincing than a, but not quite conclusive.
c. An FBI agent, a man trained to notice details and remember faces, cannot describe a man he met, shook hands with, and whose face he saw up close hours before, and doesn’t recognize him the next day.
- This one is tricky, and also the key to unraveling the story. There is no way of knowing if the visions dad and Adam are sent are true or not, based solely on the visions themselves. A good entity would be sending true visions of evil people (demons) to be destroyed, while an evil entity would be sending false visions of innocent people to be killed. I believe we are dealing with the latter.
a. Let’s assume that the visions were either all true or all false. If dad has been given even a single false message from the angel, we can reasonably deduce that all were false messages. I don’t accept that the FBI agent’s reaction confirms Adam’s vision as true; it could mean any number of things. However we do know of one innocent who was identified as a demon, but who was not. The Angel visits Dad and tells him that Fenton is a demon that must be destroyed. Fenton’s “evil” deed is telling the Sheriff the truth about his father. Going to the sheriff shows courage and honesty. Thus, what dad percieves as evil (because the angel told him it is) is actually characterized by two good traits. If dad is seeing goodness as evil, this is evidence that the visions are false.
b. The angel tells dad that it will send him a list of seven names of demons in disguise. Adam’s list later on also contains seven names. Fenton isn’t on dad’s list, yet is later identified as a demon to be destroyed. Adam later tells the FBI agent that he couldn’t destroy Adam until God put him on the list. Thus, Fenton doesn’t follow the 7 demons on a list pattern that is used for all of the others. If he is a person who is getting in the way of an evil entity, it would make sense for the evil one to change its rules to destroy this obstacle. However, if he is a demon opposing god’s will, there is no reason for him not to have been on the original list.
c. If Fenton was a demon when he was 12, Adam would have no reason to wait 20 years to destroy him, but if Fenton wasn’t a demon until his thirties, then Dad’s vision about Fenton being a demon was wrong. Thus, if dad and Adam were truly destroying demons, Fenton was a person until he went to the sheriff, then a demon dad was supposed to destroy, then a person for the next twenty years, then became a demon again. If dad and Adam were killing innocents at the biddance of an evil entity, then Fenton was a person the entity tried to destroy when Fenton was a threat, then did destroy twenty years later when he again became a threat.
d. Thou shalt not bear false witness: Dad and Adam frequently and casually lie about what they’ve seen, who they are, and what they’ve done. People who They’ve been visited by an “angel” who has given them instructions and whose bidding they are doing. And we all know which angel is the prince of lies.
e. There are seven victims of the God’s Hand killer. Adam tells the FBI guy he is to be the seventh, which he does. However, when we see that final list planted in Fenton’s home, the last first five names are written in blue ballpoint pen, but the last two in black felt marker, including the FBI guy. The seven names are given to dad all at once, we can assume that this is the standard procedure. However, the God’s Hand list has the final two names altered, meaning that the FBI agent wasn’t originally on the list, but was added to complete Adam’s cover-up. If the FBI guy wasn’t on the original list, then he must have been added when he became a potential threat by being assigned and investigating the God’s hand killings.
f. Thou shalt not steal: Dad steals the axe and gloves he uses from the barn.
g. Thou shalt not kill: The angel, as dad puts it, is giving him a list of demons. But when dad puts his hands on one of his victims, what he sees isn’t a vision of a demon, he sees a vision of a person committing an evil act (In the case of the waitress, we don’t even know for sure that killing the man was an act of evil.) An evil person, no matter how evil and deserving of punishment, is still nonetheless a person. And we know from both dad and Adam that a demon is unequivically not a person, so it cannot be the case that when they say demon, what they mean is “evil person.”
I think Adam is the God’s Hand killer because, once again, someone is disposing of a list of seven people, and the seven people on this list have been identified as demons by someone who claims to be representing God. We know that Fenton was opposed to the killing up to the very end of the flashback, and have seen no evidence that he ever changed his mind. We know that Adam regularly kills people identified as demons by an Angel only he can see. Why the notes? There are a lot of graves in the rose garden. The God’s Hand killings provide a convenient explanation and scapegoat (Fenton) should they ever be discovered, which seems inevitable. In any case, we know that virtually everything Adam tells the FBI guy about Fenton’s death is a lie, so I am assuming consistency here which would mean that Adam’s lying about the identity of the God’s hand killer. Also, it makes no sense for Fenton to kill people to bring attention to Adam’s killing; he could simply have gone to the FBI himself.
I think Adam killed Fenton when he believed Fenton had become a demon again and needed to be destroyed. Everything else Adam says about the night Fenton died is a lie, so I deduce that the suicide story is also.
My interpretation of the events is that some otherwoldly evil entity claiming to be an angel and a messenger of god visited dad and gave him his “holy” mission. Dad and Adam truly believe that they are doing God’s work and are fighting in the final battle, but have been decieved by an evil influence masking itself as good. Fenton’s disbelief in the messenger protected him, so the evil force had to use first dad, then Adam to destroy him. The FBI agent investigating the case was a threat to Adam’s work, and so was added to the list at the last moment. The God’s Hand killings and notes were set up to explain the graves in the rose garden should they ever be discovered, with the Adult Fenton being set up as the killer to provide a scapegoat.