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Pukon_the_Treen

Satanic Cameos in the Bible

I've been told today that Ezekiel 28 is a reference to Satan; it was presented to me as evidence that Satan is a fallen rebel angel, adversary to God (as the Christians see him), rather than an angel working under God's will and authority to test and accuse the faithful (as the Jews see him).

Is this chapter generally considered to be about Satan? Personally I can't see any reference to him at all.
Powwow

Pukon,
In my opinion verses 1-19 is about the king of Tyre. Some of the language does fit Satan. But most likely it is describing the human king who is being used by Satan. Sort of like when Christ said to Peter, get behind me Satan in Matt. 16:23
Pukon_the_Treen

My favourite picture of this enigmatic and fascinating character (from Paradise Lost):

Pukon_the_Treen

Pow wow,

Quote:
In my opinion verses 1-19 is about the king of Tyre. Some of the language does fit Satan. But most likely it is describing the human king who is being used by Satan. Sort of like when Christ said to Peter, get behind me Satan in Matt. 16:23


Yes, that's how I read it. Ezekiel slags off this king (his name was Ithobaal III by the way, and he was deported and effectively deposed by the Babylonians, though the city itself continued to prosper under a variety of different rulers), saying that he was the most blessed, he had it all, but due to his pride, greed and arrogance he is going to be reduced and thrown down. Trade is mentioned a few times in the prophet's diatribe; the Phoenicians were despised by many ancient cultures for being merchants, a profession generally considered to be lowly and dishonourable.

Ezekiel says that Ithobaal III was 'in Eden', presumably a reference to the the idea of being in a paradise, which was then squandered and lost through personal pride and folly, then he calls him a 'guardian cherub', which I see as being separate to the Eden reference; I think the prophet was making another analogy to an exalted and trusted position which was then abused and lost.

There is no actual reference to Satan here at all, but you can see how some of the imagery and language used in the passage became incorporated into the Book of Revelation, and eventually became instrumental in the formation of the character of Satan that the Christians would make part of their faith.
BevIsHopeful

Very interesting thread, Pukon.  It has me thinking what this reference means regarding Eden too.  Something you said has me wondering then if Eden is a metaphorical reference to a state of innocence rather than a physical place.
Powwow

Pukon,
Actually he was Itto-baal II. I agree with the reference to Eden. Most likely it is about the beautiful surroundings the king had. Every precious stone, just as Solomon had. 1Kings 10:10
As far as the formation of the Satan character. All the way back to Genesis we discover Satan is a liar and deceiver.
Pukon_the_Treen

Pow wow,

Quote:
Actually he was Itto-baal II.


Thanks, I must have misread that.

Quote:
As far as the formation of the Satan character. All the way back to Genesis we discover Satan is a liar and deceiver.


Except of course, it is only when we get to the New Testament that you start to find the serpent in the garden equated with Satan. As far as I can tell, the Jews (whose creation myth it is let's not forget) think it is a story about the serpent deceiving man, and man loosing the nurturing paradise of his origins; it's not about Satan deceiving man.

Genesis is a bit like one of Kipling's Just so Stories; 'How the Serpent Lost His Legs' or similar; no matter how you twist Genesis, there is absolutely nothing in the story to indicate that the serpent is actually Satan in disguise; that connection was made much later. Take this passage:

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

The author of the story obviously intended this to be God cursing the serpent and turning it into the feared and despised legless crawling viper that we know today; there is no reason at all to suppose that God is actually addressing his rebellious angel Satan who is currently disguised as a serpent, as I said, that idea came much later.

Compare the serpent in the garden and God's attitude and words to him, and the character of Satan in the Book of Job, and God's attitude and words to him; totally dissimilar and unrelated.
Pukon_the_Treen

BevIsHopeful,

Quote:
It has me thinking what this reference means regarding Eden too.  Something you said has me wondering then if Eden is a metaphorical reference to a state of innocence rather than a physical place.


The Jews seem to have a very different view of Genesis from the Christians. For a start they almost all consider it to be a myth rather than a record of an actual historical event, but also they don't accept original sin or the whole idea of 'The Fall'.

I've even heard a Jew describing Genesis and the expulsion from Eden as a metaphor for that point in pre-histoy when humanity 'came of age' and achieved autonomy and self-awareness. With that interpretation, the expulsion from Eden becomes  good and necessary step in our development, from childlike ignorant creatures little better than the other animals, to humankind, having too confront and deal with the knowledge of our mortality, all of which was entirely in accordance with God's plan for us.

I love this idea, because it makes the Eden story an inspiring and exciting myth about human development, rather than a story about human guilt and failure as the Christians apparently prefer to read it.
Lexilogio

Pukon_the_Treen wrote:


The Jews seem to have a very different view of Genesis from the Christians. For a start they almost all consider it to be a myth rather than a record of an actual historical event, but also they don't accept original sin or the whole idea of 'The Fall'.

I've even heard a Jew describing Genesis and the expulsion from Eden as a metaphor for that point in pre-histoy when humanity 'came of age' and achieved autonomy and self-awareness. With that interpretation, the expulsion from Eden becomes  good and necessary step in our development, from childlike ignorant creatures little better than the other animals, to humankind, having too confront and deal with the knowledge of our mortality, all of which was entirely in accordance with God's plan for us.

I love this idea, because it makes the Eden story an inspiring and exciting myth about human development, rather than a story about human guilt and failure


My understanding of Genesis is the same as the Jewish version.
BevIsHopeful

Pukon_the_Treen wrote:


The Jews seem to have a very different view of Genesis from the Christians. For a start they almost all consider it to be a myth rather than a record of an actual historical event, but also they don't accept original sin or the whole idea of 'The Fall'.

I've even heard a Jew describing Genesis and the expulsion from Eden as a metaphor for that point in pre-histoy when humanity 'came of age' and achieved autonomy and self-awareness. With that interpretation, the expulsion from Eden becomes  good and necessary step in our development, from childlike ignorant creatures little better than the other animals, to humankind, having too confront and deal with the knowledge of our mortality, all of which was entirely in accordance with God's plan for us.

I love this idea, because it makes the Eden story an inspiring and exciting myth about human development, rather than a story about human guilt and failure as the Christians apparently prefer to read it.


The only thing is, when you read the actual story, Adam and Eve experience shame, and they are cast out of Eden forever.  Because of this, I have a hard time seeing the story as inspiring or exciting.  Especially knowing how they suffer after the expulsion.  

Having said this, I'm still not convinced it is a literal story, but I believe it symbolizes man's imperfect state in contrast to God's perfect will.  One might even see this as a metaphorical story that conveys a repeating scenario in the Bible, that is, the difference between walking right with God or falling out is based on ones invulnerability or vulnerability to temptation.  In the NT, Jesus' temptation in the desert is very similar, only he does not succumb to it.

So, I can see easily how the snake in Eden is likened to Satan elsewhere.
Powwow

After God cursed the snake He turned to the spiritual serpent Satan and cursed him. He will crush your head..you will strike his heel. This is prophetic of the struggle between the Devil and unbelievers and Eve's seed (Jesus Christ and believers) Satan could only cause Christ to suffer but Christ will destroy Satan with a fatal blow.
Pukon you wouldn't be suggesting that because the Jews that believe in the literal account are a small minority, that makes them wrong and the majority because of their numbers has to be right?
Traditional or Torah Judaism was the only form of Jewish practise prior to the 18th century. They believe the Torah is truth. But yes, sadly they are a small minority.
Pukon_the_Treen

BevIsHopeful,

Quote:
The only thing is, when you read the actual story, Adam and Eve experience shame, and they are cast out of Eden forever.  Because of this, I have a hard time seeing the story as inspiring or exciting.  Especially knowing how they suffer after the expulsion.


They weren't ashamed of their disobedience, they were ashamed of their nudity, which I see as a metaphor for sexual awareness. They were like children, or more like animals; no self awareness, no awareness of their mortality and no sense of shame. Then the serpent and the fruit; the 'deception' and the promise of knowledge and they come of age as fully fledged humans. How do they feel about this, and how does God feel about it? It's like a child leaving home for the first time; lots of conflicting emotions, pride but also sadness, fear of inevitable trials and tribulations, but also exultation of freedom, autonomy and independence.

Quote:
Having said this, I'm still not convinced it is a literal story, but I believe it symbolizes man's imperfect state in contrast to God's perfect will.  One might even see this as a metaphorical story that conveys a repeating scenario in the Bible, that is, the difference between walking right with God or falling out is based on ones invulnerability or vulnerability to temptation.


All good myths will be written is such a way as to explore universal human themes and aspects that can resonate in many different ways in different times and cultures, but it's like a good painting or a good piece of music; you will also be able to take your own experiences, ideas and and imagination with you and make it into something relevant to you.

Quote:
In the NT, Jesus' temptation in the desert is very similar, only he does not succumb to it.

So, I can see easily how the snake in Eden is likened to Satan elsewhere.


Satan tempts and accuses; that's in accordance with his divinely appointed role as you see it in the Book of Job. The role of deceiver, rebel and adversary is taking it a step further though. Don't get me wrong; I think the character of Satan the proud but ultimately doomed and defeated rebel is an excellent myth as well; he has some of the best lines in literature:

“Farewel happy Fields where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell receive thy new Possessor: One who brings a mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time. The mind is its own place, and in it self can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.

What matter where, if I be still the same, and what I should be, all but less then he whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least we shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce to reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.”
(Milton - Paradise Lost)

It's not really biblical though; we have taken the character from the bible and done so much more with it, and that's the essence and purpose of a good myth.
Pukon_the_Treen

Pow wow,

Quote:
After God cursed the snake He turned to the spiritual serpent Satan and cursed him.


Except that's not in Genesis; it's a later interpretation.

Quote:
He will crush your head..you will strike his heel. This is prophetic of the struggle between the Devil and unbelievers and Eve's seed (Jesus Christ and believers) Satan could only cause Christ to suffer but Christ will destroy Satan with a fatal blow.


That's really tortuously stretching a passage that's obviously about a snake and trying to apply it to the Jesus myth, His apocalyptic second coming and a different idea of Satan's identity and role. I don't see that in the original creation myth at all.

Quote:
Pukon you wouldn't be suggesting that because the Jews that believe in the literal account are a small minority, that makes them wrong and the majority because of their numbers has to be right?
Traditional or Torah Judaism was the only form of Jewish practise prior to the 18th century. They believe the Torah is truth. But yes, sadly they are a small minority.


Nope. I think the Genesis story is a myth, and (as I have said above) as such, different people and cultures will be able to take different things from it. The actual numbers who interpret it one way or another are irrelevant, but if you think a myth is a literal historical account of an actual event then you are misusing it. It would be like looking at Picasso's Guernica and trying to pick out actual real objects and images as you would from a photograph.
Powwow

Pukon,
Well Moses did write it down some time after the event but he knew what God was telling him. No stretch Pukon if you consider other scripture. Paul said, And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
You will fined in Gen. 3:4-5 Satan speaks a direct lie to Eve and it shows that Satan is a liar and murderer right from the beginning. Satan's lies always promise benefits.
With no knowledge of evil before the fall, nakedness was shameless and quite innocent. So how is shame produced? I think by the awareness of the evil in something. Adam and Eve had no inward principle of evil to work on, it had to come from outside and it soon did. The apostle John and Paul both identify the serpent as Satan.
Pukon this is a circular argument in my opinion. You think a literal event is a myth and in your opinion you say I believe a myth is a literal event. I won't budge and I'm pretty sure you won't
Pukon_the_Treen

Pow wow,

Quote:
Well Moses did write it down some time after the event but he knew what God was telling him.


And what reason, apart from tradition, do you have to suppose that Moses wrote the first five books of the Torah?

Quote:
No stretch Pukon if you consider other scripture. Paul said, And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.


Yes; Paul. That's New Testament, by which time the character of Satan was changing. Paul may well have been referencing Genesis when he wrote that, but that doesn't mean that he was being true to the intention of the original authors does it? Once a story is written, it is out of the hands of the author, and each generation is free to interpret and re-interpret it according to the needs, concerns and ideas of their own time and culture.

Quote:
You will fined in Gen. 3:4-5 Satan speaks a direct lie to Eve and it shows that Satan is a liar and murderer right from the beginning. Satan's lies always promise benefits.


Except, as I am sure I have already said, there is nothing at all in the Genesis story to indicate that the character of the serpent is supposed to be Satan. Actually there's nothing at all in the Old Testament to lead us to that conclusion; it's certainly not mentioned or even obliquely referred to in Satan's next cameo in the Book of Job. Your interpretation of Satan's character and nature as a liar and murderer came later.

Quote:
With no knowledge of evil before the fall, nakedness was shameless and quite innocent. So how is shame produced? I think by the awareness of the evil in something. Adam and Eve had no inward principle of evil to work on, it had to come from outside and it soon did.


They had no knowledge of anything very much did they? No knowledge of good or evil, loss or fear, death or pain. Animals aren't ashamed of being naked either, is that what God wanted for us; stuck naked in a garden, mindlessly rutting, eating, sleeping and scratching ourselves for all eternity? If I were a creator, or even a parent, that's not what I would want for my children. I would want them to experience life and find their own happiness and meaning.

The temptation of curiosity and investigation, and the subsequent knowledge of good and evil, life and death were necessary developments for humanity; we would never have amounted to anything otherwise. Sure, you are sad when your kids leave home, but you certainly don't want them living in your house, eating your food, having you take care of them all their lives. Eventual independence and autonomy is what we strive for; it's what we are, yet you Christians see it as something dirty and wicked, to be ashamed of! What a tiny, mean and timid outlook.

Quote:
The apostle John and Paul both identify the serpent as Satan.


New Testament writers, obviously. As you know, the bible is a collection of books, written by different people, in different times and cultures. The concerns and themes of each of the many authors vary much over the course of the work, and there is no reason why ideas and characters should not change. It's only if you insist on treating it as a single inerrant and internally coherent and cohesive work with a single internally coherent and cohesive purpose and message that you start running into problems.
BevIsHopeful

Pukon?  In your analysis here, why would God tell Adam and Eve that they "must not" eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?  Why would he warn them of "death" if they do eat that particular fruit?  And most importantly, why would he then banish them afterwards from having any access to the garden's edible flora, which had he not, had this merely been a natural course of events, surely would have made their lives much more comfortable?  

When you read the text, clearly some form of punishment is taking place,  The consequences of their actions are harsh in comparison to what they had before.

I do agree that God had to have designed the possibility for man to take two paths (thus the Law later on), but I can't eek out of the text an interpretation that even mildly indicates the disobedient one is a good one.  

But, then, I've long viewed "Nature" as full of consequences and pain.  My eyes were keenly opened to this the summer I rehabilitated baby wrens (and one bluejay).  In those few weeks when I was easing them into the wild, the gaping teeth of nature seemed to open wide and threatened their innocent ventures in ways I'd never seen before.  And that was only my cultivated garden!
Pukon_the_Treen

BevIsHopeful,

Quote:
Pukon?  In your analysis here, why would God tell Adam and Eve that they "must not" eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?  Why would he warn them of "death" if they do eat that particular fruit?  And most importantly, why would he then banish them afterwards from having any access to the garden's edible flora, which had he not, had this merely been a natural course of events, surely would have made their lives much more comfortable?  

When you read the text, clearly some form of punishment is taking place,  The consequences of their actions are harsh in comparison to what they had before.


It's a myth, a metaphor; Eden isn't literal, it's a state of mind and of existence; a state of innocence and ignorance. Most people look back at childhood with feelings of affection, loss and sadness, but going back is impossible and inappropriate (which is one of the things that makes the Christian striving for heaven so peculiar).

To be human is to eventually outgrow the security and protection of childhood, and stagger out into the cruel and dangerous world of self-governance. The passage from child to adult is traumatic and terrifying; it can feel as though the whole universe is punishing you for something (hence the weird and unfocused angst and isolation that teenagers experience). If the myth had described the expulsion from the the garden as God clapping them on the back, passing them a beer and saying, “well done; you're all grown up! I'm so proud”, then it would not have been successful as a myth. It would not have adequately described the bewildering, alienating and frightening process of coming of age. It's not fun, but it is important, necessary, empowering and it is right and good. You can't really creep back into childhood, back into the garden, back into the womb, and it's a bit odd to go around saying you want to.

Where Genesis is really clever is that it takes that traumatic and double-edged experience of coming of age and applies it to the whole of mankind, saying that this is what we as a species experienced in the mythical past. This way the story can be used as part of a binding and unifying cultural identity, but also as an individual explanation for the whole rather ambiguous and confusing experience of personal autonomy.
Lexilogio

This is an interesting discussion.

I certainly don't want to stilt it in any way - but was wondering if there were any other references. Am I right in thinking that the next reference to Satan isn't until Job? Or are there any other implicit references in the Torah that I've missed? I'm afraid I've never paid a great deal of attention to this particular aspect - apart from in the book of Job, which I find endlessly intriguing.
Pukon_the_Treen

Disregarding the Eden serpent, which the Jews do not consider to be a Satanic cameo, he pops up three times in the Torah; Job, 1 Chronicles 21 and Zechariah 3.

Job is excellent, but I like it for the fascinating relationship between God and Satan, rather than between God and the unfortunate Job. In that, God and Satan remind me of the two old men in Trading Places, who destroy Dan Aykroyd and elevate Eddie Murphy just as a whimsical bet, just because they can.
Powwow

The first theme in the book of Job is the debate between God and Satan in Heaven. God wanted to prove the character of His believers to Satan. The accusations are made by Satan. He pointed out that God's claim of jobs righteousness hadn't been tested. I believe Satan was confident in turning Job against God because he had been successful in corrupting Adam and Eve and He had led other angels in rebelling against God. Satan asserts that believers are only faithful as long as they prosper and he wanted to prove salvation was not permanent.
Isaiah 14:12 starts How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
Just as God talked to Satan in His words to the serpent in Gen. God is speaking to the king of Babylon and to the Devil behind him in Isaiah 14:12-17
Christ also used verse 12 to describe Satan's fall in Luke 10:18
Believers have a very real adversary, this adversary is Satan who is described from Genesis to Revelations.
Lexilogio

Thanks.

The Isiah reference seems to have more in common with Satan as the enemy representing the search for knowledge O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! The phrase "son of the morning" is what leads me to that - he is the son of the dawning of knowledge. However, I don't see this as backing up the idea that Satan was the serpent in Genesis, it's suggestive that Satan arose after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit - almost as if he came into being as a consequence.

These are just thoughts btw - I'm not an expert on this aspect.

I am familiar with Job - it is a book which I have spent many hours contemplating - and have discussed before.

In Chronicles, Satan appears to be the tempter - tempting David away from the path of God. In Zechariah, Satan appears again as the ever present tempter, who Joshua has resisted.
Powwow

Hello Lexi,
I am a SOBP (son of a baptist preacher) so I will admit to a evangelical slant. Just wanted you to know where I come from. I'm no theologian. My calling is plants. Here is just my take on the serpent in Gen. Satan's rebellion against God occurs sometime after Gen.1:31, when everything in creation was good but before Gen. 3:1.
Adam's fall brought sin into every subsequent persons life.
Rom. 5:12
Pukon_the_Treen

pow wow,
Quote:

I believe Satan was confident in turning Job against God because he had been successful in corrupting Adam and Eve and He had led other angels in rebelling against God.


Except of course, this interpretation of Genesis isn't in the Old Testament at all, only the New, and the rebellion and war in heaven isn't biblical at all.

Quote:
Isaiah 14:12 starts How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
Just as God talked to Satan in His words to the serpent in Gen. God is speaking to the king of Babylon and to the Devil behind him in Isaiah 14:12-17


Again, you are tortuously forcing Jewish scripture to use it to confirm this later idea of Satan's character and nature. Without the references in the New Testament, there is no reason to suppose Isaiah 14 is anything to do with Satan; it's just another prophet slagging off the king of Babylon for his pride and corruption. The name 'Lucifer' became attached to Satan as a result of the implausible Christian interpretation of that verse; the Jews have never used that name for him.
Pukon_the_Treen

From Wikipedia:

The Talmud mentions the Satan in many places. In all of these places, the Satan is an agent of God, and has no independent existence. Sometimes the Satan is conflated with various demons, such as Asmodai. At times there is even some sympathy for him. Commenting on the Book of Job, the rabbis express sympathy that his job was to "break the barrel but not spill any wine."

In Kabbalistic literature and its derivative, Hasidic literature, the Satan is seen as an agent of God whose job is to tempt one into sin, and then turn around and accuse the sinner on high. An additional understanding of Satan is from a parable to a prostitute who is hired by the King (God) to tempt his son (a Jew). The prostitute has to do the best she can to tempt the son; but deep down she hopes the son will pass the test. Similarly, Kabbalistic/Hasidic thought sees the Satan in the same situation. His job is to tempt us as best he can, and then turn around and accuse us; deep down, however, he hopes we will resist his blandishments.
Powwow

Pukon,
The title to your thread is Satanic Cameos in the Bible. Christians view the Old Testament through the New Testament so I'm going to use it. I get the feeling you have less respect for the new than the old but it is our Christian Bible. As Genesis came before Habakkuk, the OT came before the NT.
We are not given a detailed account of Satan's rebellion but we have some clues.
Matt.25:41 the devil and his angels
Rev.12:7-9 fighting of the dragon and his angels
Rev.12:4 his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to earth.
The stars refer to angels just as Lucifer is called a star in the OT
I don't believe a detailed account of Satan's fall is important. What is important is that Christians know the spiritual fight goes further than what we see with our eyes.
Pukon_the_Treen

pow wow,

It's not about respect, it's about the nature and purpose of myths and stories. In the Old Testament / Torah the character 'Satan' is an angel working according to God's will to test and accuse the Jews. There are only a few appearances, and he always seems to be performing this function.

In the New Testament, the character is more of a tempter and deceiver. He becomes referred to as 'The Devil', which is from the Greek 'diobolos' meaning slanderer. There is the shift; Satan 'the accuser', devil 'the slanderer', similar ideas, but with a very different emphasis.

As you say, he is mentioned as The Devil with angels in Matthew, in John there are a couple of mentions of the prince of this world being cast out, which may or may not be a reference to Satan, it certainly isn't explicit. Paul mentions the god of this world, and the prince of the power of the air (in 2 Corinthians and Ephesians respectively), but again; is he talking about Satan? It's pretty vague. It seems to kind of fit the bill, but mainly because our understanding Satan has been created from these passages, so obviously it's going to fit the bill. Then of course we have the alarmingly vivid (not to say garish) prophecy in the Book of Revelation, but lets face it, the symbolism, metaphor and allegory are so heavy and dense in that book, it could refer to almost anything.

So you have tried to make the ultimate evil; Prince of Darkness, Father of Lies, adversary to all of God's work, by taking a handful of rather ambiguous, vague and confusing snippets, rolled them all together with some frankly incomprehensible ravings from John the Divine, seasoned it with some scraps of Old Testament terminology and prophecy (most of which seem to be directed at various rulers that the Jews disapproved of), stuck that talking snake from the creation myth in, then tried to dress it all up as Satan, an angel obedient to God who had the thankless task of testing the faith of the Jews!

However, there is still very little biblical evidence support the popular idea of Lucifer, prince of hell, fallen angel, leader of a war in heaven; these are all non-biblical medieval / renaissance ideas, some taken from the Kabbalah, some from the Apocrypha, some just adapted from other bits of pagan myth that were kicking about. People adapted the character to perform a particular role that they felt was important. Of course the character is still important, apparently vitally important to many of the Evangelical / Charismatic / Pentecostalist fraternities, because they have made such a heavily and cartoonishly anthropomorphised version of God to be their combined best-buddy and stern-but-loving daddy, that they need an equally heavily and cartoonishly anthropomorphised version of evil, which they can blame for every rotten little thought and every piece of misfortune in their excitable little lives.

Naturally I don't think any version of Satan is 'real' because I think they are myths, but I am interested in the evolution of the character, as (presumably) he was adapted to perform different functions and serve different purposes within the religion and culture as a whole.
Powwow

Pukon,
Yes I know you believe the Bible is a book of myth. And you show up on the Bible study thread to trash our scripture. I think your idea of a Bible study is a world apart from a Christians idea of a Bible study. Perhaps you are just here to shake a believers faith in God and their respect for His word. Nice.
Genesis, Satan as the serpent has quite a dialogue with Eve. Job, God and Satan have quite a debate. It's almost like you demand that Satan be mentioned in every chapter of every book. Our focus should be on God not Satan. So yes Pukon, one can take all that is mentioned about Satan in the Bible and get a good idea of who he is.
Pukon_the_Treen

A discussion like this is only upsetting and uncomfortable if you decide to make the scripture itself an object of veneration and worship. God tells you to avoid that kind of idolatry.
Powwow

Pukon,
Good grief man! I worship God and only God. I read and believe that the Bible is written by men under the inspiration of God.  To suggest believing the Bible to be the inspired word, is Bible worship, is either total ignorance or a bad attempt at some sort of joke. Since your a non-Christian I lean towards believing you're just a bit ignorant on the matter.
BevIsHopeful

Pukon, continuing to read this thread, I did have one thought.  For me, at least, I took great notice in how Jesus often trumped Old Testament Law with what God actually means for his followers (those in covenant with Him.)  His lecture on "eye for an eye" is perhaps the best example of this.  (See Matthew 5:37-39)

In the same way, Jesus' encounters and words regarding Satan or demons would then trump any lack of such in the Old Testament.

But, then, I'm taking the New Testament as "gospel", little pun intended.  

Having said this, I do see Satan's biggest role even in the New Testament as that of the Tempter.  I remember doing a study of it once and found most references to Satan relating to man's temptation.
Pukon_the_Treen

pow wow,

Quote:
I worship God and only God. I read and believe that the Bible is written by men under the inspiration of God.


The problem is, as I have said before, the bible was written by a great many different people, from different times and cultures, all with sightly different messages, agendas and purposes motivating them. There are several different ideas of Satan, just as there are several different ideas of God and Jesus, different ideas of morality and the afterlife; this is just as we would expect from this kind of literature.

If you think the bible is internally consistent and literally true, and that it deals in facts rather than ideas and concepts, then (as far as I am concerned) you are going to be unable to discuss it in a useful way.

It seems to me that you became hostile because you felt my purpose in discussing Satan in the bible was to attack Christianity; well it wasn't and isn't, though I may have been dismissing a particular type of Christianity which clumsily tries to take myth, metaphor and allegory and insist that it is literally historically true.

My humble academic qualification is in English literature, so I am used to dissecting stories and sifting through them looking for themes and patterns of ideas and meanings, and it is that approach I employ when I consider the bible. I'm not used to people insisting that stories are literally true, because to make that claim is to miss the whole purpose of the story. If I write an essay on the history and character of Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, or Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, then it's a total mental gear clash for me to encounter someone who insists that these are real people with actual thoughts, plans and feelings that I ought to take into account. Such an approach seems unhelpful, limiting and … well ... a bit silly really.

This section is called Bible Study; it doesn't specify how the bible is to be studied. If I wish to study it as literature rather than scripture, then don't see the problem; it certainly shouldn't constitute an attack on your religion unless you insist upon viewing it that way.

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