The Devil- a Brief Study

Topics: God, Demon, Satan Pages: 16 (5593 words) Published: December 6, 2012
The Devil (Satan) ---A Brief Study


Satan(The Devil) "the opposer", is the supreme evil spirit and adversary to God and humanity, particularly in Abrahamic religions. It is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible. In Christianity, 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 angels ("the devil" in Christianity, "Shaitan" in Arabic, the term used by Arab Christians and Muslims). In Islam, a shayṭān is any evil creature, whether human, animal or spirit. With the definite article, the Shayṭān is Iblis, the Devil. The original Hebrew term, satan, is a noun from a verb meaning primarily to, “obstruct, oppose”. Ha-Satan is traditionally translated as “the accuser,” or “the adversary.” The definite article “ha-”, English “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”.

Religious beliefs:

In Judaism, Satan is a term used since its earliest biblical contexts, to refer to a human opponent. Occasionally, the term has been used to suggest evil influence opposing human beings. Thus, Satan is personified as a character in three different places of the Tenakh, serving as an accuser, a seducer , or as a heavenly persecutor who is "among the sons of God". In any case, Satan is always subordinate to the power of God, having a role in the divine plan. Satan is rarely mentioned in Tannaitic literature. In Enochic Judaism, the concept of Satan being an opponent of God and a chief evil figure in among demons, seems to have taken root in Jewish pseudepigrapha during the Second Temple period, particularly in the apocalypses. In Medieval Judaism, the Rabbis rejected these Enochic literary works into the Biblical canon, making every attempt to root them out. Traditionalists and philosophers in medieval Judaism, adhered to rational theology, rejecting any belief in rebel or fallen angels, and viewing evil as abstract. In Hasidic Judaism, the Kabbalah presents Satan as an agent of God whose function is to tempt one into sin, then turn around and accuse the sinner on high. The Chasidic Jews of the 18th century, associated ha-Satan with Baal Davar.

The coat of arms of Arkhangelsk (Russia) depicts archangel Michael fighting against Satan. In Christianity, terms that are synonymous with "Satan" include:

The most common English synonym for "Satan" is "Devil", which descends from Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, that in turn represents an early Germanic borrowing of Latin diabolus (also the source of "diabolical"). This in turn was borrowed from Greek diabolos "slanderer", from diaballein "to slander": dia- "across, through" + ballein "to hurl". In the New 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, meaning "Lord of Flies", is the contemptuous name given in the Hebrew Bible and New 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 that convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit; thus, Satan has often been depicted as a serpent. The Book of Revelation twice refers to "the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan". 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" "the prince of the power of the air" also called Meririm, and "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience"; and "the god of this world." Satan as depicted in the Ninth Circle of Hell in Dante Alighieri's Inferno, illustrated by...
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