Counter-Evangelism: Home > Arguments > Biblegod's finitude, henotheism, & the Devil > The Devil
Biblegod's finitude, Biblical henotheism, and the Devil:
Satan, "ha-satan," Lucifer, and the Nephilim
Should the topic of Satan happen to come up in your discussions with Christians, here are some references that may come in handy.
- The "fall of Lucifer" myth
- New Testament "Satan" vs. Old Testament "ha-satan"
- The Book of Enoch
- Satan in the New Testament and Christianity
- Absurdity of "cosmic Good" and "cosmic Evil"
- Favorable reinterpretations of Satan
- The Nephilim
- The "fall of Lucifer" myth
First, here are some articles about the traditional Christian "Lucifer" myth and its lack of foundation in the Bible:
- What About Lucifer? on Harrington Sites
- The Origin of the Lucifer Story by Elroy Willis on Religion in the News
- Heylel, Son of the Dawn
- Who is Lucifer? (or Satan Misidentified) by Ron Corson (a Christian) on Progressive Seventh-Day Adventists
- Lucifer on Pagacopaeia on Dark Rose
- Some Light on Lucifer by Ina Belderis on Theosophy NorthWest
- Lucifer on lds-mormon.com (by an ex-Mormon)
New Testament "Satan" vs. Old Testament "ha-satan"
Next, some articles about the difference between "Satan" of the New Testament and "ha-satan" of the Old Testament, especially the Book of Job:
- What about Satan? by Lee Adams Young, on Recovering Fundamentalists
- ha satan: The adversary by Tom Kerns
- A Jewish view of "satan" by Alyza
But here are some articles dealing with apocryphal and rabbinic traditions contemporary to Jesus. Apparently, at that time, quite a few Jews did believe in "Samael ha-satan," an entity more like the Christian "Satan" than like "ha-satan" of the Book of Job.
- On Satan ... one misunderstood dude by The Smurf
- Satan in Demonology -- a Gallery of Demons on Delusions of Grandeur
- Satan in The Nigromancer's Encyclopedia (TNE) by r.d. pope
- Good and Evil on Reasoned Spirituality
- Satan, Demons, and the Devil on Finding Bible Truth.
- The Devil's Biography
- See again Some Light on Lucifer by Ina Belderis on Theosophy NorthWest
Most Jews do not believe in a Devil, and many do not literally believe in "ha-satan" of the Book of Job either. But I once knew a Jewish mystic who did believe in both a Devil and "ha-satan." He regarded them as two distinct entities. To him, the Devil (a rebel against Yahweh and ruler of the evil inclination in humans) was "the Greater Satan", whereas "ha-satan" of the Book of Job (the heavenly prosecuting attorney and secret police agent) was "the lesser Satan."
The Book of Enoch
Although the Book of Enoch is not in the Bible, it is believed by scholars to have been one of the sources of the New Testament's idea of Satan. In the Book of Enoch, the leader of the fallen angels is Azazel.
- The Book of Henoch (Ethiopic) - article in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- Online copies of the Book of Enoch as translated by R.H. Charles:
- The Book of Enoch as tranlated by Richard Laurence
- The Book of Enoch, including copies of both the Charles and Laurence translations, on The Reluctant Messenger
- The Watchers
Satan in the New Testament and Christianity
First, see this article by Elaine Pagels, a leading scholar of the history of the Devil concept:
- The Origin of Satan in Christian Tradition (PDF file) by Elaine Pagels in The Tanner Lectures on Human Values
Below are some articles on the Christian view of Satan, mostly by Christians. In the New Testament, Satan is regarded as a very powerful being. He is the "God of the world" (yes! -- "God" -- see 2 Corinthians 4:4), "Prince of this world" (e.g. John 14:30), "Prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), and a being with enough power that He could, with even the slightest hope of being convincing, "tempt" Jesus by offering him power in exchange for worship (Matthew 4:9). And Christians traditionally lump together "the Devil, the world, and the flesh."
- Article on the Devil in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- Devil & Demons on Catholic Pages
- Satan and Magic: The Obscure Craft of the Devil on Holy Light, a Greek Orthodox site
- On the website of the evangelical Christian Biblical Studies Foundation:
- What in the World is Satan Doing? on RVC Ministries. See especially Satan is Ruling.
- Satan is the Destroyer by Paul Schuetz on Branch Christian Ministries: Miracle Faith Healing and Worship. (Note that not all Christians approve of "faith healing" ministries, and that most Christians would not blame all natural disasters on Satan.)
- Is There Really a Devil? on the website of The United Church of God. A pretty standard fundy view. See especially Satan's Work in Our World.
- Satan on the website of Grace Valley Christian Center
- What Does The Bible Teach about Angels, Demons, and Satan? on the website of Calvary Chapel Arroyo Grande
Christian belief in the power of Satan was even greater in the first ten centuries of Christianity than in most subsequent centuries. Before St. Anselm wrote his theological works in the 10th century C.E., many Christians believed in the "ransom theory of the atonement," i.e. the idea that Jesus's death on the cross was a ransom payment by God to Satan. For more about this, if you happen to be curious about the history of Christian theology, see the following articles:
- Doctrine of the Atonement in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- The Nature of the Atonement by Steve Sullivan on Ankerberg Theological Research Insititute
- Part 3, Topic 5 on The Story of the Church
- The "Ransom Theory" of Atonement in the Fathers on Biblical Evidence for Catholicism
- Cathedral studies On Atonement on Gavin's Home Page
- The Death of Christ by Charles Watts on Secular Web (Internet Infidels)
To people not from a hardcore Christian background, the above articles on the "Doctrine of the Atonement" may seem a rather arcane discussion of theological minutiae. The main point is simply that the Devil was acknowledged as having even more power during the first ten centuries C.E. than later.
Absurdity of "cosmic Good" and "cosmic Evil"
- Elliot Rose on the absurdity of "Evil" as a principle on my Theistic Satanism site.
- The Implausibility of Satan by Paul Doland on Secular Web (Internet Infidels)
- More later.
Regarding the unlikelihood of a cosmic Creator God who is both all-powerful and all-"Good" in any humanly meaningful sense, see also The problem of evil.
Favorable reinterpretations of Satan
- Satan as the Muse of our civilization on my Theistic Satanism site. See especially the Summary of my beliefs and Satan and "Evil" in Christianity.
- More later.
Lastly, some articles (mostly by Christians, but also some by non-Christians) about the angelic "Sons of God" who mated with human women, contradicting the usual Christian idea that angels are sexless. Some Christians find ways to explain this away, e.g. the idea that the "Sons of God" were actually humans of the "Line of Seth," rather than angels. Others reject this explanation.
- When 'Angels' Made Love to Women by Heidi M. Szpek, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Central Washington University
- "Reb on the Web" question on Nephilim on the website of Kolel: The Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning
- Sons of God in the The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- Reply to question about the Nephilim by Mike Scott, on What Do the Scriptures Say?
- Who are the sons of God and the Nephilim? on Rational Christianity: Christian Apologetics
- Who Are the Sons of Elohim? by Donald R. Mansager on the website of Yahweh's New Covenant Assembly
- Who Were the Nephilim on Creation Science Resources
- Know Your Enemy, by some Christians who not only accept the angelic theory but also make an unusually big deal about the Nephilim, whom most Christians prefer to ignore.
- "As The Days of Noah Were The Nephilim..." on www.feri.com/. Commentary by some Neo-Pagans.
- Nephilim in Genesis and Deuteronomy on Delusions of Grandeur
Among those fundy Christians who reject the "Line of Seth" theory and accept the angelic theory, many tend also to talk a lot about UFO's, which they believe are piloted by demons rather than by physical ET's. For example:
- Mischievous Angels or Sethites? by Chuck Missler, on Koinonia House
- Who Are the Nephilim? on UFO's and the Bible
- Aliens: ETs or demons? on The Bible Resource
- The Angelic Conspiracy Page on endnear.com.
- UFO's, Aliens, and Antichrist on Millenium and Apocalypse: Watcher Website Conspiracy & Prophecy Index