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There are few demon-like figures in Hebrew scripture, but the most famous one appears in the Book of Job. In that book, an "adversary" or "tempter" asks God whether the prosperous man Job would continue to praise God after losing everything. God takes up the challenge, and strips Job of his wealth and family, leaving the man wondering why such a horrible fate befell him. But in this story, God wields more power than this adversary; as such, this evil tempter challenges God, who then takes away Job's fortune, Weiss said. But Satan did become a part of certain Jewish sects beginning around the time of the Common Era, when Jesus was born, Weiss noted.

Where Did Satan Come From?

Moreover, Judaism's mystical teachings, called the Kabbalah, mention a light side and a dark side, but the dark side is never given equal power to the light, Weiss said. Any Sunday school student can tell you that Satan is a fallen angel, but this fall actually isn't described in the New Testament , or the Christian bible, said Jerry Walls, a professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University and author of "Heaven, Hell and Purgatory: However, Satan suddenly appears in the gospels as the tempter of Jesus, with nary an introduction of how the evil presence got there.

So, Christian theologians have come to this conclusion: If God created the universe , and everything God creates is good, then Satan must have been something good that went bad, Walls said. There are other references to Satan in the Bible, depending on different interpretations. The Hebrew Bible has two passages about people who aren't respectful toward God.

In these passages, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, human rulers make outrageous boasts, and some Christians interpret these actions as expressions of Satan, Walls said. Moreover, the gospel of Paul in the New Testament refers to the snake from the Garden of Eden as Satan, though the snake isn't described that way in Genesis, Walls said. In this sense, the snake and Satan can be seen as tempters that try to get people to disobey God, but aren't always successful, Walls said.


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Top 10 Unexplained Phenomena ]. Satan can also emerge as the enemy — the "other," or an "outside" group. The Hasids, a Jewish sect whose name translates into "The Holy Ones," were the first group in Judeo-Christian history to seriously discuss Satan, she said.

'The Origin of Satan' author Elaine Pagels discusses the religious figure's modern conception

The Hasids lived just before the Common Era and didn't like how the Romans and some of their Jewish collaborators ruled their country, Pagels said. So, the Hasids withdrew from Jewish society and began preaching about the end of times, when God would destroy all of the evil people, "which meant all of the Romans and all of the Jews who cooperated with them," Pagels said. The Hasids took a radical position: They said that they were following God, while their enemies had turned to the dark side , possibly without even knowing it.

At this point of her research, Pagels had an epiphany, she said: The concept of Satan emerges when communities split.

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Radical groups want a clean break between themselves and their enemies, and so they describe their enemies as Satan, as devils who will one day face God's wrath. They know whom they're talking about.

Christianity - Satan and the origin of evil | omyhukocow.tk

Then, having received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, she joined the faculty at Princeton University in , where she now teaches and engages in research. Besides continuing to write scholarly articles, she has published other books accessible to a wider audience, including Adam, Eve, and the Serpent Random House, , which explores how various Jewish and Christian readings of the Genesis accounts c.

During her fellowship at the Stanford Humanities Center , where she delivered an endowed lecture, Pagels recounted the social history of Satan and reflected on her scholarly life from The Gnostic Gospels to her current book project. How does the figure of Satan evolve throughout the Bible? How, if at all, does he change in the New Testament?

What accounts for his metamorphosis over the centuries? What surprised me when I started working on Satan is that this figure is hardly in the Hebrew Bible.

Christianity's devil

But when you look at groups that became followers of Jesus of Nazareth, or the people who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls , these are Jewish sects who saw themselves as separate from the majority of the Jewish community. Yet throughout history, people have invoked his name to discriminate against others. By sowing the seeds of discord, the intimate enemy made friends into strangers. Why does this happen? I would have guessed that the Satan would be a way of talking about people who are different from us: Yet these stories hardly speak about such outsiders.

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The Satan is a brother, a member of the family, somebody upon whom you count, but who turns into a betrayer. Why do you think this happened? We are following God. You went over to the dark side to the prince of darkness, Beelzebub.

Peter and Paul quarreled; church councils suppressed dissidents, labeling them heretics; schisms cleaved Christianity into dozens of denominations, each laying claim to its own version of the truth. What role was Satan said to have played in this infighting? How, exactly, was he used?