Satan

Satan

Overview

Satan "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

. In Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 the title became a personal name, and "Satan" changed from an accuser appointed by God to test men's faith to the chief of the rebellious fallen angel
Fallen angel
Fallen angel is a concept developed in Jewish mythology from interpretation of the Book of Enoch. The actual term fallen angel is not found in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Christians adopted the concept of fallen angels mainly based on their interpretations of the Book of...

s ("the devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

" in Christianity, "Shaitan" in Arabic, the term used by Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Christians and Muslims).

The original Hebrew term, satan, is a noun from a verb meaning primarily to, “obstruct, oppose,” as it is found in Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 22:22, 1 Samuel 29:4, Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 109:6.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Satan'
Start a new discussion about 'Satan'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Quotations

Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

W:Book of Job|The Book of Job (KJV) These are passages that are often quoted as referring to Satan.

"The proof of this is in that first proud angelWho was the pinnacle of every creatureAnd who fell unripe, not waiting for the light:

Paradiso Canto 19, lines 46-48

"Man is made of dirt -I saw him made. I am not made of dirt. Man is a museum of diseases, a home of impurities; he comes to-day and is gone tomorrow; he begins as dirt and departs as stench; I am of the aristocracy of the Imperishables. And man has the Moral Sense. You understand? He has the Moral Sense. That would seem to be difference enough between us, all by itself."

"Men have nothing in common with me - there is no point of contact; they have foolish little feelings and foolish little vanities and impertinences and ambitions: their foolish little life is but a laugh, a sigh, and extinction; and they have no sense."

"Man's mind clumsily and tediously and laboriously patches little trivialities together and gets a result - such as it is."

Encyclopedia

Satan "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

. In Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 the title became a personal name, and "Satan" changed from an accuser appointed by God to test men's faith to the chief of the rebellious fallen angel
Fallen angel
Fallen angel is a concept developed in Jewish mythology from interpretation of the Book of Enoch. The actual term fallen angel is not found in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Christians adopted the concept of fallen angels mainly based on their interpretations of the Book of...

s ("the devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

" in Christianity, "Shaitan" in Arabic, the term used by Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Christians and Muslims).

Hebrew Bible


The original Hebrew term, satan, is a noun from a verb meaning primarily to, “obstruct, oppose,” as it is found in Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 22:22, 1 Samuel 29:4, Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 109:6. Ha-Satan is traditionally translated as “the accuser,” or “the adversary.” The definite article “ha-”, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 “the”, is used to show that this is a title bestowed on a being, versus the name of a being. Thus this being would be referred to as “the Satan.”

Ha-Satan with the definite article
Definite Article
Definite Article is the title of British comedian Eddie Izzard's 1996 performance released on VHS. It was recorded on different nights at the Shaftesbury Theatre...

 occurs 13 times in the Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

, in two books of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

:
  • Job
    Book of Job
    The Book of Job , commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book is a...

     ch.1–2 (10x),
  • Zechariah
    Book of Zechariah
    The Book of Zechariah is the penultimate book of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew and Christian Bible, attributed to the prophet Zechariah.-Historical context:...

     3:1–2 (3x).


Satan without the definite article is used in 10 instances, of which two are translated diabolos in the Septuagint and "Satan" in the King James Version:
  • 1 Chronicles 21:1, "Satan stood up against Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    " (KJV) or "And there standeth up an adversary against Israel" (Young's Literal Translation
    Young's Literal Translation
    Young's Literal Translation is a translation of the Bible into English, published in 1862. The translation was made by Robert Young, compiler of Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible and Concise Critical Comments on the New Testament. Young produced a "Revised Version" of the translation in...

    )
  • Psalm 109:6b "and let Satan stand at his right hand" (KJV) or "let an accuser stand at his right hand." (ESV
    English Standard Version
    The English Standard Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible. It is a revision of the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version...

    , etc.)


The other eight instances of satan without the definite article are traditionally translated (in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and English) as "an adversary", etc., and taken to be humans or obedient angels:
  • Numbers
    Book of Numbers
    The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

     22:22,23 "and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him."
  • 23 "behold, I went out to withstand thee,"
  • 1 Samuel
    Books of Samuel
    The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

     29:4 The Philistines say: "lest he [David] be an adversary against us"
  • 2 Samuel 19:22 David says: "[you sons of Zeruaiah] should this day be adversaries (plural) unto me?"
  • 1 Kings
    Books of Kings
    The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

     5:4 Solomon writes to Hiram
    Hiram I
    Hiram I , according to the Hebrew Bible, was the Phoenician king of Tyre. He reigned from 980 to 947 BC, succeeding his father, Abibaal. Hiram was succeeded as king of Tyre by his son Baal-Eser I...

    : "there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.
  • 1 Kings 11:14 "And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite
    Hadad the Edomite
    Hadad the Edomite is a character mentioned in the First Book of Kings who was an adversary of King Solomon after Solomon turned to idols.According to the record in 1 Kings Hadad was the only survivor of the royal house of Edom after the slaughter at the hands of Joab, and escaped as a child to...

    "
  • 1 Kings 11:23 "And God stirred him up an adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah"
  • 25 "And he [Rezon] was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon"

Job's Satan


In the Book of Job
Book of Job
The Book of Job , commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book is a...

, ha-Satan is a member of the divine council, "the sons of God
Sons of God
Sons of God is a phrase used in Levantine Bronze and Iron Age texts to describe the "divine council" of the major gods.- The term "sons of God" :...

" who are subservient to God. Ha-Satan, in this capacity, is many times translated as "the prosecutor", and is charged by God to tempt humans and to report back to God all who go against His decrees. At the beginning of the book, Job is a good person "who feared God and turned away from evil" (Job 1:1), and has therefore been rewarded by God. When the divine council meets, God informs ha-Satan about Job's blameless, morally upright character. Between Job 1:9–10 and 2:4–5, ha-Satan merely points out that God has given Job everything that a man could want, so of course Job would be loyal to God; if all Job has been given, even his health, were to be taken away from him, however, his faith would collapse. God therefore grants ha-Satan the chance to test Job. Due to this, it has been interpreted that ha-Satan is under God's control and cannot act without God's permission. This is further shown in the epilogue of Job in which God is speaking to Job, ha-Satan is absent from these dialogues. "For Job, for [Job's] friends, and for the narrator, it is ultimately Yahweh
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

 himself who is responsible for Job's suffering; as Yahweh says to the 'satan', 'You have incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.'" (Job 2:3)

Septuagint


In the Septuagint the Hebrew ha-Satan in Job and Zechariah
Book of Zechariah
The Book of Zechariah is the penultimate book of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew and Christian Bible, attributed to the prophet Zechariah.-Historical context:...

 is translated by the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 word diabolos (slanderer), the same word in the Greek New Testament from which the English word devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

 is derived. Where satan is used of human enemies in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, such as Hadad the Edomite
Hadad the Edomite
Hadad the Edomite is a character mentioned in the First Book of Kings who was an adversary of King Solomon after Solomon turned to idols.According to the record in 1 Kings Hadad was the only survivor of the royal house of Edom after the slaughter at the hands of Joab, and escaped as a child to...

 and Rezon the Syrian
Rezon the Syrian
Rezon the Syrian was an enemy of King Solomon mentioned in 1 Kings. He was son of Eliada, and had previously deserted Hadadezer king of Zobah, presumably when the men of Damascus came to Hadadezer's aid. After Hadadezer's death Rezon became king in Damascus and, as Hadad the Edomite harried...

, the word is left untranslated but transliterated in the Greek as satan, a neologism in Greek. In Zechariah 3 this changes the vision of the conflict over Joshua the High Priest
Joshua the High Priest
Joshua the High Priest was, according to the Bible the first person chosen to be the High Priest for the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity The name is also spelled 'Jeshua' in some English versions , and, as with the earlier Joshua, is...

 in the Septuagint into a conflict between "Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and the devil", identical with the Greek text of Matthew.

Hebrew Apocrypha


The Jewish apocrypha
Jewish apocrypha
Jewish apocrypha includes texts written in the Jewish religious tradition either in the Intertestamental period or in the early Christian era, but outside the Christian tradition...

 are religious writings which are not accepted as religious texts in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and many modern-day Protestant denominations. These works usually bore the names of ancient Hebrew worthies in order to establish their validity among the true writers' contemporaries. To reconcile the late appearance of the texts with their claims to primitive antiquity, alleged authors are represented as "shutting up and sealing" (Dan. XII. 4:9) the works until the time of their fulfillment had arrived; as the texts were not meant for their own generations but for far-distant ages (also cited in Assumption of Moses
Assumption of Moses
The Assumption of Moses is a Jewish apocryphal pseudepigraphical work. It is known from a single sixth-century incomplete manuscript in Latin that was discovered by Antonio Ceriani in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan in the mid-nineteenth century and published by him in 1861.-Identification:The...

 I. 16:17). In the Book of Wisdom
Book of Wisdom
The Book of Wisdom, often referred to simply as Wisdom or the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, is one of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible. It is one of the seven Sapiential or wisdom books of the Septuagint Old Testament, which includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon ,...

, the devil is represented as the being who brought death into the world.

The Second Book of Enoch, also called the Slavonic Book of Enoch, contains references to a Watcher (Grigori) called Satanael. It is a pseudepigraphic text of an uncertain date and unknown authorship. The text describes Satanael as being the prince of the Grigori who was cast out of heaven and an evil spirit who knew the difference between what was "righteous" and "sinful". A similar story is found in the book of 1 Enoch; however, in that book, the leader of the Grigori is called Semjâzâ
Samyaza
Samyaza also Semihazah, Shemyazaz, Sêmîazâz, Semjâzâ, Samjâzâ, Shemyaza, and Shemhazai. is a fallen angel of apocryphal Jewish and Christian tradition that ranked in the heavenly hierarchy as one of the Grigori...

.

In the apocryphal literature, Satan rules over a host of angels. Mastema
Mastema
Mastema an angel who persecutes evil in Hebrew folklore. He carries out punishments for God. He tempts humans and tests their faith. He asked God to permit him to have demons as his subordinates. In the Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls, he is the angel of disaster, the father of all...

, who induced God to test Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 through the sacrifice of Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

, is identical with Satan in both name and nature.

For the Chasidic Jews
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 of the 18th century, ha-Satan was Baal Davar. The Book of Enoch
Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work, traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel...

 contains references to Satariel
Satariel
Satariel was the 17th Watcher of the 20 leaders of the 200 fallen angels that are mentioned in an ancient work called the Book of Enoch. The name is believed to be of Babylonian origin a combination of shetar and el with the name meaning "side of God"...

, thought also to be Sataniel and Satan'el (etymology dating back to Babylonian origins). The similar spellings mirror that of his angelic brethren Michael
Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

, Raphael, Uriel
Uriel
Uriel is one of the archangels of post-Exilic Rabbinic tradition, and also of certain Christian traditions...

 and Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

, previous to the fall from Heaven
Fallen angel
Fallen angel is a concept developed in Jewish mythology from interpretation of the Book of Enoch. The actual term fallen angel is not found in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Christians adopted the concept of fallen angels mainly based on their interpretations of the Book of...

.

Talmud and other rabbinic sources


The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 mentions the Satan in many places. In all of these places, the Satan is an agent of God, and has no independent existence. Sometimes the Satan is conflated with various demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s, such as Asmodai
Asmodai
Asmodeus or Asmodai is a king of demons mostly known from the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, in which he is the primary antagonist. The demon is also mentioned in some Talmudic legends, for instance, in the story of the construction of the Temple of Solomon. He was supposed by some Renaissance...

. At times there is even some sympathy for him. Commenting on the Book of Job, the rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s express sympathy that his job was to "break the barrel but not spill any wine."

In Kabbalistic
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 literature and its derivative, Hasidic
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 literature, the Satan is seen as an agent of God whose job is to tempt one into sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

, and then turn around and accuse the sinner on high. An additional understanding of Satan is from a parable to a prostitute who is hired by the King (God) to tempt his son (a Jew). The prostitute has to do the best she can to tempt the son; but deep down she hopes the son will pass the test. Similarly, Kabbalistic/Hasidic thought sees the Satan in the same situation. His job is to tempt us as best he can, and then turn around and accuse us; deep down, however, he hopes we will resist his blandishments.

Christianity



In Christianity, terms that are synonymous with "Satan" include:
  • The most common English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     synonym for "Satan" is "Devil
    Devil
    The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

    ", which descends from Middle English
    Middle English
    Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

     devel, from Old English dēofol, that in turn represents an early Germanic
    Germanic languages
    The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

     borrowing of Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     diabolus (also the source of "diabolical"). This in turn was borrowed from Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

     diabolos "slanderer", from diaballein "to slander": dia- "across, through" + ballein "to hurl". In the New Testament
    New Testament
    The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

    , "Satan" occurs more than 30 times in passages alongside Diabolos (Greek for "the devil"), referring to the same person or thing as Satan.
  • Beelzebub
    Beelzebub
    Beelzebub -Religious meaning:Ba‘al Zəbûb is variously understood to mean "lord of flies", or "lord of the dwelling". Originally the name of a Philistine god, Beelzebub is also identified in the New Testament as Satan, the "prince of the demons". In Arabic the name is retained as Ba‘al dhubaab /...

    , meaning "Lord of Flies", is the contemptuous name given in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament
    New Testament
    The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

     to a Philistine god whose original name has been reconstructed as most probably "Ba'al Zabul", meaning "Baal the Prince".
  • Satan is traditionally identified as the serpent
    Serpent (Bible)
    Serpent is the term used to translate a variety of words in the Hebrew bible, the most common being , , the generic word for "snake"....

     who convinced Eve
    Eve (Bible)
    Eve was, according to the creation of Abrahamic religions, the first woman created by God...

     to eat the forbidden fruit
    Forbidden fruit
    Forbidden fruit is any object of desire whose appeal is a direct result of knowledge that cannot or should not be obtained or something that someone may want but is forbidden to have....

    ; thus, Satan has often been depicted as a serpent.
  • The Book of Revelation
    Book of Revelation
    The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

     twice refers to "the dragon
    Dragon
    A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that feature in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern...

    , that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan," (12:9, 20:2). The Book of Revelation also refers to "the deceiver," from which is derived the common epithet "the great deceiver."
  • Other terms identified with Satan include "the prince of this world" in the Book of John 12:31, 14:30; "the prince of the power of the air" also called Meririm, and "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" in the Book of Ephesians 2:2; and "the god of this world" in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
  • From the fourth Century Lucifer
    Lucifer
    Traditionally, Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil or Satan before being cast from Heaven, although this is not the original meaning of the term. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means "light-bearer"...

     is sometimes used in Christian theology to refer to Satan, as a result of identifying the fallen "son of the dawn" of Isaiah
    Book of Isaiah
    The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

     14:12 with the "accuser" of other passages in the Old Testament.


In traditional Christian understanding of the holy Hebrew scriptures, the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, Satan is a synonym for the Devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

. For most Christians, he is believed to be an angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

 who rebelled against God — and also the one who spoke through the serpent
Serpent (Bible)
Serpent is the term used to translate a variety of words in the Hebrew bible, the most common being , , the generic word for "snake"....

 and seduced Eve into disobeying God's command. His ultimate goal is to lead people away from the love of God — to lead them to fallacies which God opposes. Satan is also identified as the accuser of Job
Book of Job
The Book of Job , commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book is a...

, the tempter in the Gospels, the secret power of lawlessness in , and the dragon in the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

. Before his insurrection, Satan was among the highest of all angels and the "brightest in the sky
Lucifer
Traditionally, Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil or Satan before being cast from Heaven, although this is not the original meaning of the term. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means "light-bearer"...

". His pride is considered a reason why he would not bow to God as all other angels did, but sought to rule heaven himself. The popularly held beliefs that Satan was once a prideful angel who eventually rebels against God, however, are not portrayed explicitly in the Bible and are mostly based on inference (e.g., Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

 28 and Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

 14:12–17). In mainstream Christianity he is called "the ruler of the demons" (Matt. 12:24), "the ruler of the world" and "the god of this world". (2 Cor. 4:4). The Book of Revelation describes how Satan will be cast out of Heaven, down to the earth, having "great anger" and waging war against "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

". Ultimately, Satan is thrown into the "Lake of fire
Lake of Fire
A lake of fire appears, in both ancient Egyptian and Christian religion, as a place of after-death punishment of the wicked. The phrase is used in four verses of the Book of Revelation. The image was also used by the Early Christian Hippolytus of Rome in about the year 200 and has continued to be...

", not as ruler, but as one among many, being tormented day and night forever and ever.

In other Christian beliefs (e.g. the beliefs of the Christadelphians) the word "satan" in the Bible is not regarded as referring to a supernatural, personal being but to any "adversary" and figuratively refers to human sin and temptation.

Islam



Shaitan (شيطان) is the equivalent of Satan in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. While Shaitan (شيطان, from the root ) is an adjective
Adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

 (meaning "astray" or "distant", sometimes translated as "devil") that can be applied to both man
Man
The term man is used for an adult human male . However, man is sometimes used to refer to humanity as a whole...

 ("al-ins", الإنس) and Jinn
Genie
Jinn or genies are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. Together, jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah. Religious sources say barely anything about them; however, the Qur'an mentions that...

, Iblis (ˈibliːs) is the personal name of the Devil who is mentioned in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic account of Genesis. According to the Qur'an, Iblis (the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 name used) disobeyed an order from Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 to bow to Adam and as a result was forced out of heaven and given respite until the day of judgment from further punishment.

When Allah commanded all of the angels to bow down before Adam (the first Human), Iblis, full of hubris
Hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

 and jealousy, refused to obey God's command (he could do so because he had free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

), seeing Adam as being inferior in creation due to his being created from clay as compared to him (created of fire).



It was after this that the title of "Shaitan" was given, which can be roughly translated as "Enemy," "Rebel," "Evil" or "Devil". Shaitan then claims that if the punishment for his act of disobedience is to be delayed until the Day of Judgment, that he will divert many of Adam's own descendants from the straight path during his period of respite. God accepts the claims of Iblis and guarantees recompense to Iblis and his followers in the form of Hellfire. In order to test mankind and jinn alike, Allah allowed Iblis to roam the earth to attempt to convert others away from his path. He was sent to earth along with Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

, after eventually luring them into eating the fruit from the forbidden tree.

Yazidism


An alternate name for the main deity in the tentatively Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 pantheon of the Yazidi
Yazidi
The Yazidi are members of a Kurdish religion with ancient Indo-Iranian roots. They are primarily a Kurdish-speaking people living in the Mosul region of northern Iraq, with additional communities in Transcaucasia, Armenia, Turkey, and Syria in decline since the 1990s – their members emigrating to...

, Malek Taus, is Shaitan. Rather than Satanic, however, Yazidism is better understood as a remnant of a pre-Islamic Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 religion, and/or a ghulat
Ghulat
Ghulāt , is a term used in the theology of Shia Islam to describe some minority Muslim groups who either ascribe divine characteristics to a member of Muhammad's family , or hold beliefs deemed deviant by mainstream Shi'i theology...

 Sufi movement founded by Shaykh Adi. The connection with Satan, originally made by Muslim outsiders, attracted the interest of 19th century Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an travelers and esoteric writers.

Bahá'í Faith


In the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, Satan is not regarded as an independent evil power as he is in some faiths, but signifies the lower nature of humans. `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 explains: "This lower nature in man is symbolized as Satan — the evil ego within us, not an evil personality outside." All other evil spirits described in various faith traditions such as fallen angel
Fallen angel
Fallen angel is a concept developed in Jewish mythology from interpretation of the Book of Enoch. The actual term fallen angel is not found in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Christians adopted the concept of fallen angels mainly based on their interpretations of the Book of...

s, demons and jinns are also metaphors for the base character traits a human being may acquire and manifest when he turns away from God.

Satanism


Satanic groups have various opinions about Satan, ranging from the conviction that he exists and ought to be worshipped (theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanism, sometimes referred to as Traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil Worship, is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship. Other characteristics of Theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is...

), to Anton Szandor LaVey's symbolic interpretation, which emphasizes individual will and pleasure-seeking.

Much "Satanic" lore does not originate from actual Satanists, but from Christians. Best-known is the medieval folklore and theology surrounding demons and witches. A more recent example is the so-called Satanic ritual abuse
Satanic ritual abuse
Satanic ritual abuse refers to the abuse of a person or animal in a ritual setting or manner...

 scare of the 1980s — beginning with the memoir Michelle Remembers
Michelle Remembers
Michelle Remembers is a book published in 1980 co-written by Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder and his psychiatric patient Michelle Smith. A best-seller, Michelle Remembers was the first book written on the subject of satanic ritual abuse and is an important part of the controversies beginning...

— which depicts Satanism as a vast (and unproven) conspiracy
Conspiracy theory
A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.-Usage:The term "conspiracy...

 of elites with a predilection for child abuse
Child abuse
Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Children And Families define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or...

 and human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

. This genre regularly describes Satan as actually appearing in person in order to receive worship.

External links