- Pronunciation: SAY-ton
- Origin: Bible
- Role: Ruler of evil, hell
- Symbols: Pentagram, 666
- Other Names: Devil, Lucifer, Beelzebub
Who Is Satan?
Satan is the name found in the Bible referring to the ruler of hell and all evil. He is referred to as Lucifer in the Old Testament in the King James Version when speaking of his fall from heaven. Most religious beliefs depict Satan as the epitome of evil, temptation and sin.
There are some controversies regarding the origins of Satan. Many Christians and those who practice similar religions believe that Satan was the name given to Lucifer after he was exiled from heaven and condemned to hell. But some historians, based on passages from the Bible, speculate that Satan and Lucifer are two different beings.
Legends and Stories
A quick Internet search will yield dozens of stories from people claiming to have met Satan. While he is referenced several times in the Bible, there are a couple of main stories of him that speak to his true character.
Satan Tempts Adam and Eve
When the heavens and earth were first created, there were two humans that roamed the earth. Their names were Adam and Eve and they lived in the Garden of Eden, a utopia of nature. They needed or wanted nothing. Everything was provided for them and they knew nothing of evil nature. God had provided them with this garden and told them that they would be able to remain there forever as long as they followed one rule. They were not to eat from the Forbidden Tree. They were allowed to eat from any other tree or bush. It is unclear how long they remained in the Garden of Eden until the fateful day that Eve was approached by a snake. The snake spoke to her and tried to convince her to try the fruit from the Forbidden Tree. Eve tried to be strong but eventually gave in. As she bit into the fruit, she saw Adam nearby and called him over. She then told him how delicious the fruit was and begged him to try it. Seeing that Eve hadn’t been harmed and being egged on by the snake, Adam too bit into the fruit.
God immediately saw what they had done and took action. Since they had disobeyed him, they were cast out of the garden forever. They became aware and embarrassed of their nakedness and could feel hunger, thirst, fear and pain for the first time. God told them that women would be punished for Eve’s actions with painful childbirth and all of mankind would face certain death. The serpent who convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was Satan in disguise.
Satan Tempts Jesus
Jesus, the Son of God, had been baptized by John the Baptist. He was then led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, knowing that he would be tempted at some time by Satan. While wandering through the wilderness, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Finally, Satan approached Jesus and told him that if he truly were the Son of God, he would turn a stone into a loaf of bread to end his fast and hunger. Jesus quoted scripture to Satan, telling him that man does not live by bread alone.
Next, Satan took Jesus up to the top of the mountain and showed him all the surrounding kingdoms. Satan told Jesus that all of the people in the kingdoms worshiped him but he would give the kingdoms to Jesus if he would only bow down and worship him. Again, Jesus replied with scripture and told Satan that the only one he was to worship was the Lord your God.
Satan attempted to lure Jesus into sinning one last time. He took him to the temple in Jerusalem and led him to the highest point. He then told Jesus that since he was the Son of God, he could certainly throw himself from the top and be saved by the angels. But Jesus replied that putting God to the test was a sin and would not do it.
Satan saw that his efforts were not going to pay off and left Jesus. The angels then came and comforted him.
Satan does not have a family. It is said though that those who worship him are “Children of Satan” but he does not have a wife or children in the traditional sense.
When most people think of Satan, they picture a red devil with horns and a pitchfork. This is more of a comical interpretation of him though and there are no historical or religious references that give artists a clear idea of his appearance. There is one Bible verse that says “Satan disguises himself as an angle of light.” This most likely means that he disguises himself and presents himself in a form that is easily trusted and recognized.
The problem with describing an appearance of Satan is that he is a spirit. He is non-physical and doesn’t hold physical features that we’re used to seeing, like eyes, feet or arms. But remember that he is able to disguise himself so it can be speculated that as a spirit, he can take on virtually any form he desires.
There are several symbols used by the followers of Satan to pledge their allegiance to the being. The pentagram might be the most popular. It’s a five-pointed star that looks to be upside down. It’s technically a symbol for witchcraft and paganism but many associate it with Satan because it’s used to draw images of him as a horned goat.
Another popular symbol is the upside down cross. It’s meant to serve as disrespect to Jesus and is associated with rejection of God’s will and the acceptance of Satan. Another symbol associated with Satan is the number series “666”. It is said to be the number of the beast in the book of Revelations. It is used by those who worship Satan to show their rebellion.