Biblical Figure / Mythical Figure
Best Known As:
Evil personified

Satan, or the Devil, plays various evil roles in ancient and modern literature and in Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Zoroastrian religious traditions. Satan is an opponent of God and of those seeking to do God's will. "He" is often described as an angel named Lucifer who was cast out of heaven for rebelling against God, was condemned to roam the earth and rule hell, and who battles God for possession of souls and the earth. That legend is not found as such in the Bible but is based on interpretations of scattered Bible passages and later literary portrayals. Satan is also variously seen as a supernatural force who really exists; a humorous Halloween character with cloak and pointy tail; a scriptural figure who can be read symbolically or allegorically to represent evil in the world; the supposed target of the Inquisition and witch hunts; and a spirit -- a lying trickster -- who actually (if rarely) possesses people and may be challenged through psychotherapy or even exorcism.

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The English word “Satan” is from a Hebrew word meaning “to oppose” or “adversary.” “Devil” is from the Greek diabolos (to slander)… The name “Lucifer” appears in Isaiah 14 in the King James Version of the Bible… Famous literary portrayals of the Devil include those in Dante‘s The Divine Comedy (early 14th century), John Milton‘s Paradise Lost and Regained (1677), John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s Faust (1809 and 1832)… The Devil should not be confused with Slovakian professional hockey player Miroslav Satan.

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