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Spirituality & Meaning Articles

Five Things You Didn't Know About the Devil

Five Things You Didn't Know About the Devil

The devil, Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer—there are many names for this infamous personification of temptation, anarchy, evil, and destruction. Making a headlining appearance in many religions across the globe, the devil is much more of a complicated figure than what we might perceive. As time changes, so does our relationship with the devil. Read on to learn some interesting facts about the most feared figure in the world!

1. Not All Religions Shun the Devil

Christians revere the devil as an evil and malevolent creature responsible for all the world's disorder. Other religions, such as Islam, interpret the devil as a being that rebelled against God. However, in Judaism, Satan is not a noun, but a verb. The word for Satan in Judaism refers to the temptation that one must act to overcome. There is a devil-like demon in Buddhism that is responsible for tempting Buddha from his path to enlightenment.

Unlike Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam, Satanism does not paint the devil in a dark, evil light. Satanists instead celebrate the devil as a symbol of freedom and liberty from religious influence and thought. Satanists believe that the devil exemplifies the importance of self-thought and individual freedom.

2. The Devil Gained Power During Witchcraft Hysteria

You could say that the devil has been a scapegoat during tragedies, unexplained phenomena, and other awful events throughout history. However, the devil gained much more power in recent history during the Salem Witch Trials. Over the 16th and 17th centuries, Puritans prosecuted and tortured hundreds of people they believed were witches influenced by the devil and “devil magic.” The fear that struck these communities caused Puritans to reject outsiders and lead more religiously strict lives. This fear continues to hold influence over many religious communities for centuries after.

3. There Is No Clear Description of the Devil in the Bible

It might come as a surprise that there is no clear description of the devil in the Christian Bible. The first mention of the devil in the Book of Genesis is not of a frightening, winged demon but a snake that banished Adam and Eve from the kingdom of heaven. To add to the confusion, there are passages in the Bible that refer to Lucifer, or the devil, as “morning star”—which is a far cry from the red and hooved creature we have come to know.

4. Our Modern Ideas About the Devil Come From One Book

Our current conception of the devil as a winged beast comes from Dante's poem The Divine Comedy. It was the popularity of Dante's harrowing depictions of the devil as a three-headed demon with wings that gave rise to more frightening and ghastly images of Satan. This epic poem was released in the 14th century, making our current image of the devil reasonably modern.

5. The Devil Is a Fallen Angel, Not a Demon

In Christian traditions, Lucifer was Jesus' older brother. Lucifer was cast away from heaven when he betrayed God to establish his kingdom known as Demiurge. In Christianity, this disloyalty is said to have trapped all souls in the material world.

The devil is here to stay as the manifestation of darkness in a world of good and evil. What did you learn about the infamous demon, fallen angel, and villain?

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