The Origin Of Satan Essay, Research Paper
The Origin of Satan
Elaine begins she assumed that Jewish and Christian perceptions of invisible beings had to do mainly with the moralization of society (Pagals XVI), which brings us to the ability to interpret events such as illness or natural disasters as an act of God s will. Throughout her research Elaine also found something that she hadn t expected in the Christian religion. Some Christians attributed events such as natural disasters not as God s will but as Satan s doing. Although Satan, fallen angels, and other demonic beings remain basically absent from the Hebrew bible, among many of the first-century Jewish groups as well as followers of Jesus, such as Catholics, Satan began to take on central importance. The gospel of mark for example only mentions angels in the opening and final verses (1:13) (16:5-7), but as Elaine points out Mark strays away from tradition and introduces the devil. (Pagals XVII) After Jesus had been baptized by John, The spirit made him go/into the desert, where he stayed/forty days, being tempted by Satan but/angels came and helped him. (Mark 1:12-13) Elaine continues to point out that although a negative element may be introduced to the gospels, they do continue to spread the word of love, but since the stories they have to tell are about, killing, and betrayal, they also include elements of hostility which evoke demonic images. (XVII) This is what this book concentrates on, the influence Satan carried throughout the gospels.
Originally Satan was one of God s angels, until he fell. Soon after thousands of years of tradition, we have characterized Satan as a spirit. Now he is known as the one who rebels against God and mirrors aspects of our own confrontations with otherness. (Pagals XVII) People have claimed to see Satan embodied in individuals and groups that seem possessed. Pagals gives the chance to use a story in the bible of when Jesus is arrested, and Satan enters Judas in order to carry out the betrayal. When the officers, temple priests, and elders come to take Jesus away, he himself identifies tem as Satan incarnate (Pagals 93): Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you in the temple everyday, you did not lay hands upon me. But this is your hour and the power of darkness. (Luke 22:52-53) Even Satan may engage in out better qualities such as strength, intelligence and devotion, but twists them for destruction, and uses them for his own fun, inflicting harm, just as he is in Judas Iscariot.
Robert Redfield has argued that the worldview of many people consists of two pairs of opposites: human/non-human and we/they. Where we are human and they equals not human. (Pagals XVIII) In Christian tradition we may be interpreted as God s People, and they as his or her enemies. An example in the bible, separating the two massive groups may be shown in Matthew. He tells the story of how the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the prince of demons (Matthew 12:24), and is said to repeat the charge of Jesus being possessed by Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24). Jesus denies the charge, and then splits the two opposing viewpoints or communities (Pagals 82) Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30) Jesus himself has created a division between the forces of good and evil.
The book was written in order to show how the different gospels reflect emergence of the Jesus movement Though I found it hard to follow through that path of the book. Elaine also added what she calls the history of Satan (XXII) and although still hard to follow allowed me to have a little more foundation to write on. She gives exhausting examples of how the events told in the gospels about Jesus, his friends and enemies co-inside with the supernatural (or demonic) drama the writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) use to interpret the story. (XXII-XXIII) The struggle between Gods spirit and Satan.
Pagals, Elaine. The Origin of Satan. Random House: New York, 1995.