The Devil in the Bible
Although the Devil is present in one form or another in many religions and can be compared to certain mythological gods, he is arguably best known for his role in Christianity. In modern Bible translations, the Devil is the adversary of God and God’s people.
It is generally believed that the Devil first appeared in the Bible in the book of Genesis as snake that convinced Eve– who then convinced Adam – to eat the forbidden fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge” in the Garden of Eden. As the story goes, after Eve fell into the Devil’s trap, she and Adam were banished from the Garden of Eden and condemned to mortality.
Many Christians believe that the Devil was once a beautiful angel named Lucifer who defied God and fell from grace. This assumption that he is a fallen angel is often based on the book of Isaiah in the Bible, which says: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How have you been cast down, you who have weakened the nations.
Names for the Devil
Some biblical scholars, however, assert that Lucifer is not a proper name but a descriptive expression meaning “morning star.” However, the name stuck and the Devil is often called Lucifer.
The Devil’s names are numerous: besides Lucifer, he can be called the Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, Baphomet, the Lord of the Flies, the Antichrist, the Father of Lies, Moloch or simply Satan.
The book of Ezekiel includes another biblical passage that Christians refer to as proof of the existence of the Devil. He rebukes the greedy king of Tyre, but also refers to the king as a cherub who once stood in the Garden of Eden. As a result, some Bible translators believe that the king of Tire was a personification of the Devil.
The Devil appears more in the Bible, especially in the New Testament. Jesus and many of his apostles warned people to be alert to the Devil’s crafty enticements that would lead them to ruin. And it was the Devil who tempted Jesus in the desert to “bow down and worship him” in exchange for riches and glory.
REJECTED BOOKS OF THE BIBLE AND WHAT HAPPENED
The devil in other religions
Most other religions and cultures speak of an evil being who roams the earth, wreaking havoc and fighting against the forces of good. In Islam, the devil is known as Shaytan and, like the devil in Christianity, he is also believed to have rebelled against God. In Judaism“Satan” is a verb and usually refers to a difficulty or temptation to overcome instead of a literal being.
In Buddhism, Maara is the demon who diverted Buddha from his path to enlightenment. Just as Jesus of Christianity resisted the devil, Buddha also resisted temptation and defeated Maara.
Among people of almost all religions or even those who follow no religion, the Devil is almost always synonymous with fear, punishment, negativity and immorality.
The devil and hell
Perhaps the most enduring images of the Devil are associated with hell, which the Bible describes as a place of eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. However, the Bible does not say that the Devil will reign over hell, but simply that he will ultimately be banished there.
The idea that the Devil rules hell may come from a poem by Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, published at the beginning of the 14th century. In it, God created hell by throwing the devil and his demons out of heaven with such power that they created a huge hole in the center of the earth.
What does the devil look like?
In his poem, Dante depicted the Devil as a grotesque winged creature with three faces, each one chewing a devious sinner, whose wings blew icy winds throughout the realm of Hell.
The Bible does not describe the Devil in detail. The first artistic interpretations of The Divine Comedyfeaturing shocking images of the Devil and his demons inflicting almost unimaginable human suffering, only emboldened people’s thoughts about Hell and the Devil.
And at the end of Middle Agesthe Devil had taken the appearance of a horned figure, brandishing a trident, with hooves for feet and a long tail, an image that has persisted until modern times.
The devil and the witches
Fear of the devil is at least partially responsible for the witchcraft the hysteria of Europe and New England in the 16th and 17th centuries. Protestants and Catholics accused many people of practicing witchcraft and making deals with the devil.
THE Puritans living in the early New England colonies were petrified by the Devil. They believed he gave powers to witches who were loyal to him. This fear gave rise to the famous Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts.
The Puritans’ strict lifestyle, fear of strangers, and terror of so-called “devil magic” led them to accuse at least 200 people of witchcraft between 1692 and 1693; twenty of them were executed.
The Devil in modern times
Religious translations are often controversial. There is usually some degree of discord over how to interpret early texts, and texts about the Devil are no exception.
However, throughout history, the Devil’s reputation as an evildoer has not changed much. Most Christians still believe that he literally transformed the world and is responsible for much of the world’s corruption and chaos.
However, not all religions avoid the Devil. The people of Church of Satan, known as Satanists, do not worship the devil, but consider him a symbol of atheism, pride and freedom, among other things. Another type of Satanist, theistic Satanists, worship the Devil as a deity. They may perform satanic rituals or even make satanic pacts.
There is no shortage of Hollywood films featuring the Devil. He has been played by some of Hollywood’s elite such as Jack Nicholson, Vincent Price and Al Pacino. And after Mia Farrow’s character gave birth to Satan’s offspring in the horror film Rosemary‘s babyfuture mothers who saw the film would have preferred not to have seen it.
Given the immense appeal of the classic battle between good and evil, it’s likely that the Devil’s influence is here to stay, and he will continue to influence religion, literature, and pop culture around the world .
A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials. Smithsonian.com.
Devil worship in the Middle Ages. Loyola University New Orleans.
Jewish concepts: demons and demonology. Jewish Virtual Library.
Puritan beliefs about Satan and witchcraft. Gettysburg College.
The meeting of the Buddha with Mara the tempter: their representation in literature and art. Access to Insight.
Is “Lucifer” the devil in Isaiah 14:12? – The KJV argument against modern translations. Bible.org.
A Satanist explains why everything you think you know about his religion is wrong. The independent.
Theistic Satanism: The New Satanisms of the Internet Age. TheisticSatanism.com.