When did Satan go from the Prison to the Ruler’s House?

BILLIONo hear popular culture recounts that Satan — or the Devil, if we are officially — is the ruler of hell. He ran hellish operations in the Far Side comics, fought Saddam Hussein in South Park, lay on the throne in Lucifer, and get bouncy dance moves from Lil Nas X in the catchy “Call Me By Your Name” video. It seems that everywhere he seems to be responsible for eternal punishment and even though it’s work, he seems to enjoy it. Therefore, you may be surprised to learn that in the Bible there is no mention of Satan alluding to the damned one. On the contrary, if the Devil is in hell, it is only because he is being punished. All of which makes you wonder, when did Satan turn from prisoner to warden?

Both Satan and hell have complicated histories that are often but not always intertwined. In the oldest books of the Bible, hell is like an afterthought. There’s Sheol, a dark underground pit where people go after death, but it’s home to everyone, not just the villains. He also appears in Numbers but as a minor player on the heavenly court. Satan first appears as a real person in the book of Job, but here he is a legitimate character. He was an enemy at war with God in Job’s righteous wager. Satan is not evil, he is just a lawyer.

It was the Second Temple period, and in the shadow of Alexander the Great’s conquest, the supernatural population witnessed an explosion. Angels, God’s messengers and slayers, were once a relatively stable feature in the Bible. It was an angel guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were driven out of the house. And the angels themselves visited Abraham, wrestled with Jacob, and killed the first child of Egypt. However, the devil is something else and it is during this period that we find the first descriptions of demonic activity and fallen angels.

One of the most influential stories about the origin of demons comes from a section of the apocryphal book about 1 Enoch called the Book of Followers. Dr. Archie Wright, author of Origin of Evil Spirit and Satan and the problem of evil and a visiting lecturer at the Catholic University of America, told me that 1 Enoch inspired by the biblical flood story, which refers to angels having sex with humans. “In 1 Enoch [these] The fallen angels, or Fallen Watcher Angels, rebelled against God and His creative activity and created their children with human women known as the Giants. “The problem with the Giants was that they ate so much and ran out of less irritating protein sources, they eventually set their eyes on humans. As a result, Wright said, “God sent the Flood to consume it. destroyed the Giants, but they were only physically destroyed; their souls survived and were identified as evil spirits or demons”.

The Fallen Angels, the parents of the monstrous Giants, were imprisoned by God in a Pit or Abyss (a kind of small-scale version of hell). They will only be released at the end of time. As for the demons, they continue to roam the earth to torment people in a new form. According to the Second Century B.C. Book of Holidays, Wright said, ninety percent of evil spirits were imprisoned with their father while ten percent were free to work with a mysterious figure named was Masterma, an individual later identified with the devil. However, this Masterma works like Job’s Satan: he tests humanity with the help of evil spirits but he is “not an autonomous being”.

Wright told me there is no point in the Bible being Satan’s ruler or ruler of hell. Instead, as best-selling author and Princeton professor Elaine Pagels writes in her book The Origin of SatanSatan is God’s servant, an angel of God. If Satan or Mastema torments mankind, it is only because God has given them permission. Satan never acts independently of God. According to Pagels, Satan opposed God, at the same time as Jewish groups opposed each other. The Essenes, the sectarian group responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the followers of Jesus, who faced opposition from the Jews, used demonic symbols as codes for their religious beliefs. enemies in this real world. For the Essenes, demonizing those they disagree with as children of darkness was a way to settle cosmic grievances.

The leader of these figures, who is also known as Satan, Belial, and Beelzebub, is God’s main rival. In the first-century Book of Revelation (the last book of the canon), Satan is captured by God’s angel and cast into the “Abyss”. This may not look like the hole in which Genesis and Enoch’s Fallen Angels were confined, says Wright. There Satan remains for a thousand years before a final battle and eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

According to Pagels and Wright, a small group of Christian philosophers known as the Gnostics, advocated Satan from a rebellious angel who might have been anointed an evil god by another angel with powers enviable strength. Satan in Gnostic thought is still identified as a subordinate entity, but he creates his own lower material realm in which humanity is (currently) imprisoned. Just like the Essenes did, Christians Using the Devil remains a story of cosmic struggle, in which first the other Jew(s), then the Roman authorities oppose them, and eventually other dissident Christians are all turned into demons. The Devil takes shape in antagonistic encounters between competing groups.

But throughout this period, and indeed for the first millennia of Christianity, the Devil did not sit on a throne or reign over the tortured subjects of hell. As Dr Meghan Henning wrote in her recently published book Hell Hath No Fury, early depictions of hell show humans being tormented by angels, not demons. It is the angels who administer “justice” in a space that, while in hell, is clearly still owned and operated by God. Any startled reader should remember that, in the eyes of these authors, the horrors of Hell are not at odds with the Divine. This is the justice of God.

Only really later, in the writings of Dante, Milton, and their successors, did the popular myth of the Devil emerge. For Dante, the Devil is Lucifer, the bringer of Dawn, who was once God’s favorite. As a perfectly created being, Lucifer refused to bow down and worship the newly created humanity. Lucifer broke the heavenly hosts and waged war against those who were loyal to God. He was defeated and sent to hell, where he ruled his fellow demons from the icy tundra of the ninth circle of hell. Though bound in the bowels of hell, he is still able to project himself onto a mortal plane to tempt and deceive. Likewise Milton’s Satan is consumed by envy. In the words of Sowaldner and Russ, he “walked through the chasm between hell and the newly created earth” plotting the doom of mankind.

What these images of the Devil show to the surface is the paradox of Christian ideas about Satan. As Philip Almond put it in Devil, “The devil is God’s mortal enemy and is beyond God’s control…however, he is also God’s faithful servant, acting only at God’s command. .” Satan may hate humanity and (quite effectively) plan its doom and demise, but he is hardly God’s partner, not much more of an equal. All of this means that hell is ruled by God. Satan is not the Lord of Hell, but if he is, he is just a puppet king who rules at the behest of a god who allows the devil to interfere but does not tolerate disobedience.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/when-did-satan-go-from-inmate-to-warden?source=articles&via=rss When did Satan go from the Prison to the Ruler’s House?


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

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