Satan The Devil part 2

by John Thomas Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

part 2
Main article: Devil in Christianity
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, the words Satan and diabolos are used interchangeably as synonyms. 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." The Synoptic Gospels identify Satan and Beelzebub as the same. The name Abaddon (meaning "place of destruction") is used six times in the Old Testament, mainly as a name for one of the regions of Sheol. Revelation 9:11 describes Abaddon, whose name is translated into Greek as Apollyon, meaning "the destroyer," as an angel who rules the Abyss. In modern usage, Abaddon is sometimes equated with Satan.
New Testament
Gospels, Acts, and epistles

Sixteenth-century illustration by Simon Bening shows Satan approaching Jesus with a stone

The Temptation of Christ (1854)
The three Synoptic Gospels all describe the temptation of Christ by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, and Luke 4:1–13). Satan first shows Jesus a stone and tells him to turn it into bread. He also takes him to the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem and commands Jesus to throw himself down so that the angels will catch him. Satan also takes Jesus to the top of a tall mountain; there, he shows him the kingdoms of the Earth and promises to give them all to him if he will bow down and worship him. Each time Jesus rebukes Satan, and, after the third temptation, he is administered by the angels. Satan's promise in Matthew 4:8–9 and Luke 4:6–7 to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the Earth implies that all those kingdoms belong to him. The fact that Jesus does not dispute Satan's promise indicates that the gospels' authors believed this to be true.
The Kabbalah presents Satan as an agent of God whose function is to tempt humans into sinning so that he may accuse them in the heavenly court. Satan plays a role in some of the parables of Jesus, namely the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds, the Parable of the Strong Man, and the Parable of the sheep and the goats. According to the Parable of the Sower, Satan "profoundly influences" those who fail to understand the gospel. The last two parables say that Satan's followers will be punished on Judgement Day, with the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats stating that the Devil, his angels, and the people who follow him will be consigned to "eternal fire." When the Pharisees accused Jesus of exorcising demons through the power of Beelzebub, Jesus responded by telling the Parable of the Strong Man, saying: "how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house" (Matthew 12:29). The strong man in this parable represents Satan.
The Synoptic Gospels identify Satan and his demons as the causes of illness, including fever (Luke 4:39), leprosy (Luke 5:13), and arthritis (Luke 13:11–16). At the same time, the Epistle to the Hebrews describes the Devil as "him who holds the power of death" (Hebrews 2:14). The author of Luke-Acts attributes more power to Satan than both Matthew and Mark. In Luke 22:31, Jesus grants Satan the authority to test Peter and the other apostles. Luke 22:3–6 states that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus because "Satan entered" him, and, in Acts 5:3, Peter describes Satan as "filling" Ananias's heart and causing him to sin. The Gospel of John only uses the name Satan three times. In John 8:44, Jesus says that his Jewish or Judean enemies are the children of the Devil rather than the children of Abraham. The same verse describes the Devil as "a man-killer from the beginning" and "a liar and the father of lies." John 13:2 describes the Devil as inspiring Judas to betray Jesus. John 12:31–32 identifies Satan as "the Archon of this Cosmos," destined to be overthrown through Jesus's death and resurrection. John 16:7–8 promises that the Holy Spirit will "accuse the World concerning sin, justice, and judgment," a role resembling satan in the Old Testament.
Jude 9 refers to a dispute between Michael the Archangel and the Devil over the body of Moses. Some interpreters understand this reference as an allusion to the events described in Zechariah 3:1–2. The classical theologian Origen attributes this reference to the non-canonical assumption of Moses. According to James H. Charlesworth, there is no evidence that the surviving book of this name ever contained any such content. Others believe it to be in the lost ending of the book. The second chapter of the Second Epistle of Peter, a pseudepigraphical letter that falsely claims to have been written by Peter, copies much of the content of the Epistle of Jude but omits the specifics of the example regarding Michael and Satan, with 2 Peter 2:10–11 instead mentioning only an ambiguous dispute between "Angels" and "Glories." Throughout the New Testament, Satan is referred to as a "tempter" (Matthew 4:3), "the ruler of the demons" (Matthew 12:24), "the God of this Age" (2 Corinthians 4:4), "the evil one" (1 John 5:18), and "a roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8).
Patristic era
Even though the Book of Genesis never mentions Satan, Christians have traditionally interpreted the serpent in the Garden of Eden as Satan due to Revelation 12:7, which calls Satan "that ancient serpent." This verse, however, is probably intended to identify Satan with the Leviathan, a monstrous sea-serpent whose destruction by Yahweh is prophesied in Isaiah 27:1. The first recorded individual to identify Satan with the serpent from the Garden of Eden was the second-century AD Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, in chapters 45 and 79 of his Dialogue with Trypho. Other early church fathers to mention this identification include Theophilus and Tertullian. The early Christian Church, however, encountered opposition from pagans such as Celsus, who claimed in his treatise The True Word that "it is blasphemy... to say that the greatest God... has an adversary who constrains his capacity to do good" and said that Christians "impiously divide the kingdom of God, creating a rebellion in it, as if there were opposing factions within the divine, including one that is hostile to God."

Lucifer (1890) by Franz Stuck.
Because of Patristic interpretations of Isaiah 14:12 and Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation, the name "Lucifer" is sometimes used about Satan.
The name Heylel, meaning "morning star" (or, in Latin, Lucifer), was a name for Attar, the God of the planet Venus in Canaanite mythology, who attempted to scale the walls of the heavenly city, but was vanquished by the God of the sun. The name is used in Isaiah 14:12 as a symbolic reference to the king of Babylon. Ezekiel 28:12–15 uses a description of a cherub in Eden as a polemic against Ithobaal II, the king of Tyre.
The Church Father Origen of Alexandria (c. 184 – c. 253), who was only aware of the actual text of these passages and not the original myths to which they refer, concluded in his treatise On the First Principles, which is preserved in a Latin translation by Tyrannius Rufinus, that neither of these verses could refer to a human being. He concluded that Isaiah 14:12 is an allegory for Satan and that Ezekiel 28:12–15 is an allusion to "a certain Angel who had received the office of governing the nation of the Tyrians" but was hurled down to Earth after he was found to be corrupt. In his apologetic treatise Contra Celsum, however, Origen interprets Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:12–15 as referring to Satan. According to Henry Ansgar Kelly, Origen seems to have adopted this new interpretation to refute unnamed persons who, perhaps under Zoroastrian radical dualism, believed "that Satan's original nature was Darkness." The later Church Father Jerome (c. 347 – 420), the translator of the Latin Vulgate, accepted Origen's theory of Satan as a fallen angel and wrote about it in his commentary on the Book of Isaiah. In Christian tradition, Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:12–15 have been understood as allegorically referring to Satan. For most Christians, Satan has been regarded as an angel who rebelled against God.
According to the ransom theory of atonement, popular among early Christian theologians, Satan gained power over humanity through Adam and Eve's sin. Christ's death on the cross was a ransom to Satan for humanity's liberation. This theory holds that God tricked Satan because Christ was not only free of sin but also the incarnate Deity, whom Satan could not enslave. Irenaeus of Lyons described a prototypical form of the ransom theory, but Origen was the first to propose it in its fully developed form. The theory was later expanded by theologians such as Gregory of Nyssa and Rufinus of Aquileia. In the eleventh century, Anselm of Canterbury criticized the ransom theory and the associated Christus Victor theory, resulting in the theory's decline in western Europe. The theory has retained some popularity in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Most early Christians firmly believed that Satan and his demons had the power to possess humans, and exorcisms were widely practiced by Jews, Christians, and pagans alike. Belief in demonic possession continued through the Middle Ages into the early modern period. Exorcisms were seen as a display of God's power over Satan. Most people who thought the Devil possessed them did not suffer hallucinations or other "spectacular symptoms" but "complained of anxiety, religious fears, and evil thoughts."

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