(Latin: Diabolus, Greek diabolos) is the spirit or the principle of evil according to the religions of the Book. In the Christian tradition, it is a fallen angel. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the opposite of God, as Priscillien because qu'ange as it is and remains one of the creatures of God. He is the personification of evil, personified that appears at the sixth century BC. J.-C.. Its appearance varies between man and the real or imaginary animal (goat, dragon, raptor, etc..), Most often ugly and repulsive features.

Satan comes from the Greek diabolos (to separate diabolein =) which means slanderer which is the inverse of the Greek symbolon.

Personification of the principle of evil
It seems that the concept of division of power into a force for good and evil is relatively recent in the history of beliefs. In the most primitive religions, good and evil are both from the same deity, since it was seen as containing everything that exists. The same deity was therefore both capable of good and evil. An example is the goddess with the head of a lioness of ancient Egypt Sakhmet that destroyed humanity (on the order of Rê) but was also revered for its protection and healing, and Seth who usurped the throne in Osiris but also allows the sun to get up every morning fighting Apophis. Another is Loki, Norse god Balder that killed viciously, but saved the gods of the giant Aesirs Skadi.

In monotheisms primitive, each clan or tribe had its god with all these attributes, the cause of good and evil that happens to men. Polytheism is considered in this argument, as an approximation of the various clans, each with its own divinity. The union of the male god and a female god reflects the successful and equal union of two clans. When the reconciliation of the two clans a god replaces another peacefully, it is described as having been caused by the old god is the son or daughter of the god then stripped and whose worship becomes secondary .
Finally, and this is the origin of the principle of evil personified could reside, when a belligerent clan is conquered, the deity of the clan won is given every principle ill and was considered by the conquerors as the source of all the evil and, therefore, became a source of fear and fear. An example of this theory is given by the evolution of the cult of Seth (Setekh) in ancient Egypt to that of Horus. For the people of Upper Egypt, Seth was a benevolent god, a role occupied by Horus (and Osiris) in Lower Egypt. During the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, Seth and Horus became, as a first step, brothers, and were worshiped as a god Hapy bifid, then helping the time, Seth was seen as inferior to Horus finally personify the source of all evil, Satan of ancient Egypt. Seth was frequently portrayed as a black snake, a black pig or a man with red hair (the words red and desert - the Upper Egypt where Seth was revered is desert - are very close to each other in Egyptian hieroglyphic ).

Most religions include Christianity before one or more gods embodying evil. Unlike the Christian view, however, these deities are generally a double face and parallel to their size malicious, are the object of worship for their positive aspects. They are also frequently the case that one aspect of evil and its manifestations.

The existence of an entity representing the personification of evil in all its aspects, and combining the functions of a master of the underworld, destructive of the cosmos and head of the worst aspects of humanity seems to have appeared with Christianity. The development of this figure, however borrows original religions practiced in the Middle East and influences which the authors of the Bible were submitted.

Mesopotamian religion is one of the first to represent the universe as the battlefield of the cosmic battle between good and evil. The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest known text, already mark the first appearance of an evil character in the figure of Huwawa. This keeps the monstrous giant cedar forest where Gilgamesh wants to cut the wood that is not respecting its people. Gilgamesh occit monster but withdrew no glory and was punished by the contrary Enlil, Lord of heaven and king of the gods. Huwawa beyond its terrifying aspects ( "his roar is like a storm, his mouth is fire and his breath is death") represents a natural force to the sacred.


* Zarathoustra has caused unprecedented upheaval in the Mesopotamian mythology since all gods replace existing two entities, one beneficial, Ahura Mazda, the god of light giving the order, the other Ahriman Angra Mainyu or presiding over the destructive forces. It creates the first tier in religion between two equal powers and projecting a vision of the world in black and white. Some followers of Zoroaster reintroduce some of the old gods and suggest qu'Ahriman is subject to Ahura Mazda. This interpretation gives the benevolent god as ultimate judge leaving demons try humanity and only as a last resort to prevent the victory of evil. This notion of Doomsday (religion) is one component of Christianity.

* Ahriman is probably the person who most influenced the Christian devil. True incarnation of evil, capable of competing with the benevolent god, he is assisted by seven major demons.

The Egyptian pantheon are two gods whose contribution to what will become the devil is significant. On the one hand Anubis, who rules the kingdom of the dead and carries attributes will be reflected in the Christian devil: the half-man, half beast or tail. On the other hand, Seth, one of the forms is a snake, which could have given his red Satan.

The character of the Canaanite religion that most influence the Christian devil is undoubtedly Baal, the god of fertility and son of the god El vision pejorative and negative that the Bible offers Baal is probably a reflection of the views on Jews the god of a pagan religion but it appears that its worshipers, Baal had the size of a savior in its fight against Mot, god of death and sterility.

If ancient Greece is the cradle of reason, the Greek philosophers, however, have had an influence on the very anthropomorphic vision that their contemporaries, in all strata of society, had gods and explained by the very people through the vicissitudes their existence.

Greek mythology has profoundly affected the representation of the demon of the New Testament, especially through Hermes (messenger of the gods is in fact also the god of thieves and one that leads the dead in the underworld) but his son, Pan. It will send to the devil in fact five of his character traits the most recognizable: hooves, horns, the goat, hairy legs and smell pestilentielle. Satan also inherit its size personification of eroticism. In particular, under the influence of Augustine of Hippo who sees the unbridled eroticism of an obstacle in the life of the soul, artists will turn to Pan as a source of inspiration for the representation of a daemon that by issuing land seductions as absolute away from the spiritual life.

If the distinction between good and evil is sometimes diffuse, many deities with two faces, one benign and the other attacker, Hesiod says, however, that the bad deeds are punished by the gods who Erinyes to entrust the task of torment those who go against the laws of the cosmos. With Plato qu'apparaît a clearer distinction between the aspiration to the world of ideas and the temptation to sell the material needs (including an opposition inspired by the battle of Zeus and Dionysus against the Titans).


* Christians have also been inspired by the images of Etruscan tombs that depicting scenes of horror, demons, and flames ... Etruscan mythology has been inspired by Greek mythology, and during the first centuries of the Christian hegemony in Rome, she had to survive in parallel polytheistic religions. It seems only natural that Christians were inspired, consciously or not, what they had under the eyes, especially those representing gods Etruscan paganism for them, so the embodiment of evil.

* The Charun Etruscan demon of death, is often depicted in frescoes, sarcophagi, urns and Etruscan vases from the fourth century BC. AD, as a monster Rican, hirsute, hooked nose, the teeth of wild boar, with a huge mallet.

Appearance in the Torah
The god of the Jews is essentially monist both loved for his kindness as feared for his anger, he is omnipotent and seems to leave no room for competition. In contrast to the beliefs of their neighbors, the people of Israel does not seek to attribute to deities external events that may not understand but think it is responsible for its own destiny. Everything that happens is the evil consequence of his journeys, and failure to comply with its alliance with the Lord who punished accordingly. I form light and create darkness, I am happy and I create evil: it's me, the Lord, who does all this: Es 45.7 This vision, if it appears to correspond to the mentality of a tribal people perpetual war to conquer territory seemed less relevant after the Jews defeated their opponents and began to settle. The questions of social organization and morality then emerge and books of the prophets, written at the time, show a concern for the privileged questions of good and evil. On the sidelines of the official theology, beliefs remain popular and are referred to numerous times in Deuteronomy. Reproducing patterns already existing in other religions, a heavenly court begins to emerge, populated messenger / servant that responsibility for the disasters that would otherwise have accrued to Yahweh. Monism of principle is respected but it is increasingly moving towards a de facto dualism. If these angels (malak Yahweh) was originally a neutral role and may even appear as a manifestation of the god in a form visible to humans, they take up their independence.

Psalm 82, foreshadowing the descent into hell Satan, said: "God stood in the Assembly of God, in the middle of the gods, he found: [...] I said, you are gods, you are all son of the Most High, yet you will die like men, you will like the princes.

The book of Job
The concept of divine assembly is growing especially after the exile and enslavement in Babylon in the sixth century BC. J.-C.. This event brings Jews to question their status as the chosen people. Some improvements seem necessary to ensure that the doctrine to respond to the lack of Jews who are struggling to accept their own sins as the only justification of the scourges that affect them. The biblical authors are required to develop a theodicy whose trace can be found mainly in the Book of Job. This passage mark the first explicit appearance of Satan.

Literally, "adversary" or someone who opposes the character appears multiple times in the Old Testament and can be translated in different ways depending on the context, the Book of Job, though, is the first personal appearance, explicit (on no longer refers to "snake" for example) it. It is seen as a tormentor of humanity, personified for the occasion by Job, a tormentor that God does act within the limits of what humanity can support and to make voluntary choice of God. Indeed, Satan Yavhé maintains that the loyalty of Job is the result of kindness that have been granted and that if his faith was tested, loyalty would not last. Satan is therefore given by God the freedom to do evil in order to test the sincerity of the faith of Job.

Then the LORD said to his opponent: "Either! It is within your power, only respects his life ": Jb2.6 The main text of the Book of Job is the dialogue with his four friends in which Job expresses the plight of humanity facing an adversity that it fails to explain. However, despite all the hardships, Job does not deny his god Sorti bare my mother's womb, naked I shall return. The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away: That the name of the Lord be blessed: Jb 1.21

It is fundamental to understanding the character of Satan in the Judeo-Christian tradition. If it does not have the status equal to God, there is nominally under the direction with an autonomy that would subsequently be taken up and developed by the apocryphal literature. The book describes Henoch especially corruption guardian angels, attracted by the "daughters of the earth". This literature establishes a link between the devil and sexuality, and women who will be widely repeated and amplified in the Middle Ages, although these passages are not included in the canon of the Old Testament.(Sony)

Read also Andromeda (mythology)


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