The notion of the “Satan”, or “Devil” which is undoubtfully NOT an exclusive invention of the Hebrew-Christians, is encountered in various biblical and Jewish texts with many names, MASTEMA- LUCIFER – LAMASTU – KHATYU – SHEMERU – SASAM – ASMODEUS – BEELZEBUB – SATAN – DIAVOLOS – DIABOLUS – SAMMAEL – SATANIL – SAMIL – SEIR – SALMAEL – ABADDON – APOLLYON, etc.
However, in the early Jewish texts, the notion of the Devil or Satan was non-existent, since the early Israelites considered as ridiculous the idea, god to have created his adversary! He was just a “god’s collaborator, a helper to do the dirty jobs, or to tempt and accuse the humans as we read in the Book of Job and in Jubilees.
The words “Diavolos, or Diabolus in Latin, derive from Greek word (διαβάλλειν – diaballein, “to traduce”), means a slanderer, or accuser, and in this sense it is applied to him of whom it is written “the accuser [ο κατήγορος – kategoros] of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night” (Apocalypse 12:10). It thus answers to the Hebrew name Satan which signifies an adversary, or an accuser.
The Church’s official thesis on this subject is set forth in the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council or Lateran IV, which was convoked by Pope Innocent III in April 1213 and opened at the Lateran Palace in Rome on 11 November 1215, saying that God in the beginning had created two creatures, of spiritual (angelic) and corporeal matter (the man). The council further states…..
“Diabolus enim et alii dæmones a Deo quidem naturâ creati sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali.” (translation: “the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil.”)
Did the early Israelites hold a notion of Satan in their scriptures? The answer is no! There was no such notions like redemption, punishment, Hell, Paradise, Satan, angels, demons etc as proven by the pre-exilic books. This dogma was also copied from the Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians (by Ezra?), as the result of the Zoroastrian dualism apparent in all those ancient religions. Scholars today admit to that it has been borrowed by Judaism and Christianity from external systems of religion wherein it was a natural development of primitive Animism. Mainly in the paleo-Hebrew literature, this animism is more apparent, rather than in the Septuagint itself, where the natural objects are anthropomorphized as being alive, like the rocks, the sea, the wind, the stars, the trees etc that speak and converse with human voice with the gods, angels and even WITH the humans. (read “The Legends of the Jews” by Louis Ginzberg for more paradigms)
The Christian dogma professes that the Devil and the other demons are but a part of the angelic creation, and they are pure spiritual beings without any body, and in their original state they are benevolent creatures endowed with supernatural grace. However, as we read in the OT, they also become “the angels of destruction” (see the assassination of the 185.000 Sennacherib’s soldiers and the Egyptian firstborns) a controversy to their “benevolent aspect”. In other books, like that of Enoch, they do not seem to be “spiritual beings”, since they mated with the beautiful women on earth and for this, they needed to have a “body”, even if they were supposed to be “spirits” like those “female spirits” with whom Adam copulated and who gave birth to 100 children! (See “The Legends of the Jews” by Louis Ginzberg).
In Apocalypse 12:7-9, we read of another controversy! “And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him”.
Do those angels look like being endowed with supernatural grace? Don’t they rather act as “bloodthirsty soldiers”? Does Yahweh (or El) need soldiers? Doesn’t he possess the power to do everything with his “word” as he is supposed to have done with the creation of the world? if yes, then why Christians veil the fact that he was named “god of the hills, of the mountains and of the armies”? Which are these armies? The angelic ones? But the Christian sect rejects the multitude of the Jewish angels, namely the ancient Jews attributed to every object on earth a specific “patron-angel”, hence the sea, the winds, the rocks, the fish, the planets etc had a “patron-angel”!
To this may be added the words of St. Jude: “And the angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6; cf. 2 Peter 2:4).
As I have stated in my previous post, the angels were borrowed from the Persian and Babylonian demonology. In the DICTIONARY OF ANGELS INCLUDING THE FALLEN ANGELS, By Gustav Davidson (p 20) article “Angels”, we read….
”The Hebrews drew their idea of angels from the Persians and from the Babylonians during the Captivity. The 2 named angels in the Old Testament, Michael and Gabriel were in fact lifted from Babylonian mythology. The 3rd named angel, Raphael, appears in the apocryphal Book of Tobit. This whole doctrine concerning angels (says Sales in his edition of The Koran, Preliminary Discourse, p. 51) Mohammed and his disciples borrowed from the Jews, who borrowed the names and offices of these beings from the Persians. While Enoch, in his writings dating back to earliest Christian times and even before, names many angels (and demons), these were ignored in New Testament gospels, although they began to appear in contemporaneous extracanonical works. They had a vogue in Jewish gnostic, mystic, and cabalistic tracts. Angelology came into full flower in the 11th-13th centuries when the names of literally thousands upon thousands of angels appeared, many of them created through the juggling of letters of the Hebrew alphabet, or by the simple device of adding the suffix el to any word which lent itself to such manipulation. […] And there is Satan, who in the Old Testament is a great angel, one of the most glorious, certainly not evil and with no hint of his having fallen. He goes by his title of adversary (hasatan). It is only in Christian and post-Biblical Jewish writings that hasatan of the Old Testament is turned into an evil spirit.
In the same Dictionary in p 236, we read in the article “Demon”, how this ancient Greek word was twisted by the Christians.
“The term ‘demon’ is the rendering of the cognate Greek words Δαίμον and its substantivized neuter adjective Δαιμονικόν: post-classical Lattin borrowed the words in the forms daemon and daemonium. The original meaning of the term Daemon from the time of Homer onward was ‘divinity’, denoting either an individual god or goddess (of Aphrodite in Iliad. 3.420), or the Deity as an unspecified unity (Odyssey. 3.27 “the Deity will put it in your mind”). “Δεισιδαιμονία” means ‘reverence for the Divinity’, or simply ‘religion’ (Acts 25: 19: cf. 17:22). Plato derived the word from the near homonym δαήμων, meaning ‘knowing’ (Cratilus 398b, from the root δάω, ‘to know’); Eusebius rejected this conjecture and instead derived the term from «δειμαίνειν», ‘to fear’ (Praep. Ev’. 4.5.142). The etymology more likely stems from the root δαίω,’to divide (destinies)’. Thus the word could designate one’s ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, or the spirit controlling one’s fate, one’s ‘genius’. Commonly the word designated the class of lesser divinities arranged below the Olympian gods, the daemones. Hesiod describes them as the souls of those who lived in the Golden Age, who now invisibly watch over human affairs (Erga 122-124).[…..] As the gods of the nations were demonized, so ‘demon’ in the dualistic sense is found in the Septuagint (LXX) as a designation of pagan deities and spirits: in LXX Ps 95:5 the national deities of other peoples, said to be idols Celilim in Hebrew, become “demons” (“All the gods of the nations are demons”); in LXX Deut 32: 17, the foreign divinities whom Israel worshipped, properly described in the Hebrew text as fedim (tutelary spirits), are again called “demons” (”They sacrificed to demons and not to God”; cf. LXX Ps 105:37; Bar. 4:7; in LXX Isa 65: II daimon renders the Hebrew name of the pagan god of Fortune (Gad), where the Israelites are said to have been “preparing a table for the demon”. This conception of table fellowship with pagan gods who are in reality demons carries over into the New Testament: Paul warns the Corinthian Church that they may not eat sacrificial meals in pagan temples, for “that which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons”, meaning, for Corinth, the Greek gods Asklepios, Sarapis, and especially Demeter” [….].
In ancient times the word Demon was, perhaps, the most pious word. Although it coexisted with the word god, daemon referred to the impersonal and undefined power, while god to the anthropomorphic divine entity. The concept of demon was equivalent to Fate.
Also, in the word “Demon” the ancients attributed the meaning of the guardian angel “against the guardian demon” (see Plato’s “demonium”). Whence the word “eudaimonia”, that is, the intense happiness that defined the one who had the favor of the Demon.
However, over time and with the establishment of Christianity, the word that declared the pure god of the Ancients had to acquire a negative meaning and from being a synonym for God it became a synonym for the Devil. And it is logical since they wanted to destroy the Greek philosophy and everything, they have copied from it to veil their pagan origin.
The good angel becomes the bad demon and the demons, now, are the evil spirits, the evil angels, the fallen angels whose leader is Satan, which in Hebrew means “the adversary”. Sic!
Thus, the words were created: demon-possessed, demonist, demon worship, pandemonium, demonology, etc.
Cicero who was initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries in 79 BC, in “Tusculan Disputations 1.16.36, says….“Ignorance of philosophy has produced the belief in hell and its terrors” in 1.46.111 he says “the gullible crowd is convinced of the reality of the Underworld, whereas the learned few have no need of such a myth”. And in “Catalina” 3.8 argues that, “These beliefs are human inventions that had long since lost their currency”.
This is how Satan was created by the Christians! What do you say?
BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR FURTHER READING
Plato’s Timaeus, The Republic, Cratilus
WHO IS SATAN?
SERPENT-WORSHIP, AND OTHER ESSAYS WITH A CHAPTER ON TOTEMISM
How the Serpent Became Satan
SATAN WAS NOT THE SERPENT IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN
Israel’s Serpent-Moon God Yahweh (YHWH), the Jewish Snake God
Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself: On The Origins of the Devil
Article URL : https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/how-the-serpent-became-satan/