You’ve all probably heard of this guy. The Old Serpent, Prince of Darkness, Master & Chief of Demons, Pitchforked Wonder, etc., etc. If you don’t have a Jesus force-field app on your iPhone, he screws you in your sleep while smearing Andy Rooney’s dung all over your helpless body. Which, of course, you happily pass off as a spray tan.
But, whence cometh Satan? We’ve already seen that both God and Jesus are patchwork quilts of prior gods and archetypes from the ancient world. Is it the same for Satan? Fuck, no! I just have a strange fetish for misleading my readers!
Okay, yes, it is. Satan is first introduced
in the book of Genesis yeeeahNO. The chatty snake in the Garden of Eden is never identified with Satan. Like, ever. Rather, he is first introduced in the book of Job, where he functions as a “prosecutor” and member of the Divine Council, i.e., Sons of God (Elohim).
“One day the Sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them” (Job 1:6).
The name Satan denotes “adversary.” But, originally, he was the adversary of man, not of God. He is God’s right-hand man, “roaming about the earth” and sniffing people out to see whether or not they are truly loyal to the Almighty. Just as he does with Job. Who, by the way, got royally shafted.
Only later in the Old Testament, and especially in the New Testament, does Satan morph into the embodiment of evil, due to Zoroastrian influences that took hold after the Persians freed the Jews from captivity in Babylon. The Hebrew ha-Satan was merged with the Persian Ahriman–the opposer of the Wise Lord Ahura Mazda. In fact, the entire eschatology (end times belief) of Judaism and Christianity flows from Zoroastrian influence, and such is laid bare by the fact that “Pharisee” originally denoted “Persian” (Farsi/Parsee).
In the New Testament in particular, Satan also bears resemblance to the Gnostic Demiurge–the “craftsman” of this fallen world and its inferior, physical state (as opposed to the superiority of the spiritual world). Thus, the apostle Paul’s reference to Satan as “the god of this world,” who blinds “the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Cor. 4:4). Likewise, Paul yearns for the spiritual over the physical:
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).
Of course, Paul wrote this well before 1987’s Predator, so he can surely be forgiven for his naïveté.
And then there’s the whole bit about Lucifer and his legion of rebellious angels getting booted from heaven. This tale is cribbed from Isaiah 14, but with a twist.
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High’ (Is. 14:12-14).
Was Isaiah actually referring to Satan? NOPE. He was talking about the friggin’ King of Babylon, as he makes expressly clear in 14:4. (And that, in turn, was influenced by the myth of Helal [Venus] and his daily ascent/descent in the heavens.) But this is the type of dubious malpractice that early Christians loved to perform, because their god apparently never stated this:
Insofar as iconography is concerned, Satan acquired his horned and hooved image from the ancient Greek nature god, Pan. From whom, apparently, we learned how to get our dusty, old Nintendo games playing again.
All told, Satan is just another, imaginary synthesis of syntheses, cobbled together from this and that antiquated piece of superstitious dumbfuckery. Like God, he simply does not exist.
Or does he…