Talk:Devil in Christianity

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See Talk:Satan for what this page is about. This page is under construction. I'm currently importing material from Devil, Satan, and other pages to create a basic Devil in Christianity page. I know that this page is currently redundant, but I don't want to delete material from other pages until this one is ready to be linked to. Jonathan Tweet 18:34, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm ready to call this page done. It's not perfect, but it does centralize the material better than it had been centralized. Currently, links to Devil in Christianity go to Satan. I'll change them so that they go here. Jonathan Tweet 16:12, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Aquinas quote[edit]

how is this quote significant enough to have its own section without any sort of explaining text or background? the section title poses a question and the only content is a quote from the middle ages. more content is needed, maybe representing another viewpoint, maybe explaining, or the section should be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


I would say that with the reference to Satan founding Islam gone the article is neutral POV again, so I removed the Neutrality check that I put up earlier since I can't really see any other issues where it leans toward any one POV. (Clarktracy 18:19, 15 March 2007 (UTC))


Removed reference to "satanism" because this article is about the Devil in Christianity, not the Devil in general. Jonathan Tweet 01:49, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


"It should be noted, however, that much of this history is not biblical; instead, it is a post-medieval reading of the scriptures influenced by medieval and pre-medieval popular mythology." I understand the idea here, but it's tacked onto the end of the paragraph and should be worked in organically. Jonathan Tweet 03:11, 12 September 2006 (UTC)


I summarized this comment: "(Christians argue that this contention is disproved in the Bible text as it explains that God's perfect world [1] was corrupted and made imperfect by Adam and Eve's original sin; see Gen 3; Rom 5:12; Rom 8:22-23)." None of the verses quoted state that the Fall caused the world's imperfections, so they really don't belong here. Jonathan Tweet 02:08, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

john 10:10[edit]

the reference to verse ten of chapter ten in John is taken out of context. the author of this article uses it to support the idea that jesus is refering to satan as a thief. if one reads the previous verses it becomes evident that jesus says that all who came before him are theives and robbers (in that they enter the figurive flock by hopping a fence). he continues saying that thieves only come to steal and slaughter, but he comes so that people may have life and live it more abundantly.

the context in which the article's author uses the verse makes it as though it is a direct reference to satan and what jesus says of his dealings. it is not and should be removed or rewritten.

Got it. Jonathan Tweet 04:27, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

New Testament[edit]

This material is well-meant but not supported in the NT per se. Needs to be shifted to a different section if it's worth keeping at all. "Satan himself or one of his allegiant demons offers a thought to the mind of a person (Luke 4:1-13). The thought is contrary to what God has deemed right and true. Thus, the person is urged to disobey and violate the commands of God. Temptation in itself is not sin. Yielding to temptation and acting on the thought, violating any command or statue of God, is sin." Jonathan Tweet 04:27, 12 November 2006 (UTC) ..

This section is a good preliminary starting point but could be much more nuanced. The recent book Satan: A Biography by Henry Ansgar kelley, concludes that the NT accounts of Satan do not differ theologically from Hebrew accounts; he is a tempter and accuser doing God's will. Jeffrey Burton Russell's older four volume work on the history of the devil supports this view. The suggestion that Satan goes against God's plan in the NT is misleading; it confirms later Christian beliefs about Satan, but is not supportable by NT texts. The conflation of Satan, the Serpent, and the tradition of Fallen Angels occurs after NT times, as well as the notion of Satan as opposed to God, and is broadly datable. Please see the above sources for clarification. Mark Cedar Love (talk) 23:56, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Characteristics of the Devil[edit]

This section lays a claim, although qualified by "some Christian scholars", that is blatantly anti-Islam, that the entire Islamic faith was founded by the devil pretending to be Gabriel. To keep a neutral viewpoint we need to approach this section in such a way as to not give Christianity more validity than other faiths. This is why I posted the dispute on the neutrality of the article. ( 03:40, 13 March 2007 (UTC))

Agreed. I've just reviewed the article for the first time in a while, and it seems to have slipped toward Christian POV. This reference to Islam being inspired by Satan is an example. Jonathan Tweet 14:11, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I have removed the following paragraph:

Some Christian scholars believe that this is how Islam started. According to Islam, Muhammad went into a cave, and the angel Gabriel gave him a new revelation. Many scholars believe that Satan or another demon gave him the revelation, pretending to be Gabriel. This follows the prophecy of 1st Timothy 4:1

because there is no citation and expresses an anti-Islamic sentiment that cannot be validated from a neutral POV. (Clarktracy 18:14, 15 March 2007 (UTC))

Concrete Proof the devil exists?[edit]

himself as an angel of light and convinces people to follow him in that way

There may be now proof that the 'original sin' did indeed happen and that its consequences are with us.

According to biblical sayings, 'the light'...normally refers to 'truth'...but how can truth lie ?

Well in the book "The Jesus Christ Code' you may find a solution that someone else may find acceptable, and it fits into the 'original sin' story...

--Caesar J. B. Squitti : Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 02:29, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Part of the Light = Half-truth = Devil

--Caesar J. B. Squitti : Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 20:07, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Evolution of the iconography (copied from WP:RD/H)[edit]

The Devil, like everything else, has a history. If you ever visit the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, you will see him depicted in a sixth century mosaic, sitting to the left of Christ, helping to separate the sheep from the goats. To the right of Christ sits an angel; but the only difference between him and the Devil is that the latter is depicted in blue and the former in red; both have halos and wings, and both have similar expressions on their faces. Now, travel one hundred kilometers to the west, and seven hundred years into the future, you will find him again, this time in the Florence Baptistery, as depicted by Fra Angelico. From angel in blue he has become the beast, devouring sinners by the handful. The question then arises, what happened in the intervening period, why has he moved from the periphery to the centre, and why has he become so loathsome? Is this the kind of figure that God would have admitted to his council, as he does in the Book of Job? The answer, of course, is to be found in the changing nature of western Christianity, and the kind of preoccupations that had emerged over the course of time, preoccupations that imbued Satan with a new malignacy and purpose.

In his modern guise the Devil only really begins to emerge around the time of the First Crusade. This was a time when the Christian west began to focus on new enemies, both from within and from without. Those who were different were isolated, persecuted and occasionally murdered, whether they be Jews, lepers or heretics. And, bit by bit, yet another malignant enemy was added to the old-those who were perceived to be practitioners of witchcraft. Of minor concern to the early church, witchcraft became steadily more important, and was most often associated with sexual excess. Behind all this one begins to detect the new shape of Satan. He is the consort of depraved women-and it was mostly women who were accused of witchcraft-and along with his erotic attributes he acquires a tail and cloven hooves, a confirmation of his bestial lasciviousness, and an echo of Pan and the Greek satyrs. By the fifteenth century he finally makes his appearance as a goat, horns and all, worshipped by heretics and witches. He is to be found depicted thus in stained glass, stone and paintings, from Fra Angelicio to Albrecht Dürer, as well as in literature. He was a monster born of the monstrous, very much a reflection of the historical mood which gave him shape. Clio the Muse 03:10, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

AFAIK, the devil did was not represented by the guise of a goat until Eliphas Levi drew Baphomet (which doesn't represent the devil), and people associated that with Satan/the Devil. Can you cite some of your claims? Canutethegreat (talk) 19:32, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Old Nick[edit]

Why is the devil called Old Nick in English? (wiki refers to this article when looking for Old Nick) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:14, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Why isn't this in the Satan article[edit]

I don't think we need two articles for this, having it all in one would make it more complete. This article isn't huge for it not to be in there at the moment, assuming there's any of this not in there. Sticky Parkin 17:52, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Regarding the Disputes section of the article[edit]

The disputes section is not inappropriate arguing between members, but contains issues that do come up in theological discussions about the devil. It is a matter of common teachings against Biblical evidence, and is something that must be considered when discussing the devil. It does NOT matter if one agrees or disagrees with one side or the other, the content should remain. No real argument for removal has yet to be presented, just disagreement with what is in there. Ian.thomson (talk) 01:41, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

There are currently no references to show that a) these are actual disputes or b) they are significant disputes. The first one looks like original research (the Bible is a primary source and can't be used as a reference) and the second one is simply a quote backing up a commonly held Christian position. Please find references for the relevance of these or remove them. DJ Clayworth (talk) 13:34, 30 September 2009 (UTC)


It is a common misconception that Satan is depicted as the Serpent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Traditional arms of Satan, based on the "three unclean spirits like frogs" of Book of Revelation 16:13

Relevant image[edit]

Here's a redrawing of the arms which were attributed to Satan in some forms of medieval European tradition... AnonMoos (talk) 16:11, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Could Someone Who Speaks English Rewrite This?[edit]

"Some Christian concepts of the Devil include Lucifer, which traditionally gives a name to the Devil. The name, Lucifer, is translated from the Latin, meaning loosely, "Light Bringer" (analogous to the Greek, Phosphorus) and is also used symbolically to mean the "Morning Star", (i.e. Venus), which held some significant meanings for Babylonians as mentioned in Isaiah 14:12. Since the time of Origen, Lucifer is not used to refer exclusively to the "king of Babylon", but rather solely (or additionally) makes reference to Satan before he fell, while he was yet uncorrupted, but powerful and glorious and an angel of God." GeneCallahan (talk) 16:51, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi Gene. Done, and dragged all the other scattered info on Lucifer (which has its own article) in as refs in the same section. Someone who speaks English, and someone who can actually cite references, could go over the entire article with a scythe. For an article about Christian teaching on... there's (with the exception of a few areas) almost no sourcing to actual Christian teaching. No Augustine, no Luther, no Billy Graham, no Pope John Paul II, just Wikigraffiti. In ictu oculi (talk) 18:20, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
What I've done is try and move everything into boxes - there was/is a massive amount of duplication, all of it unsourced (as is the way with duplication)


   * 1 Sources of Christian teaching = Christian teaching on.. by topic
   * 2 History of Christian teaching = Christian teaching on.. by time
   * 3 Modern Christian teaching by church = Christian teaching on.. by group
   * 4 Characteristics = [dubious heading? stuff that didn't fit, yet]
   * 5 Theological Disputes = Christian teaching on.. by more than 1 viewpoint
   * 6 Duplicated Material (literature) = [stuff that needs moving out to...] 
   * 7 References

The contents tree breaks down:

   * 1 Sources of Christian teaching
         o 1.1 Old Testament
               + 1.1.1 The Serpent (Genesis 3)
               + 1.1.2 Job's adversary (Job 1)
               + 1.1.3 David's satan (2 Sam 24. & 1 Chron. 21)
               + 1.1.4 Jeshua's Satan (Zechariah 3)
               + 1.1.5 Azazel
               + 1.1.6 Isaiah's Lucifer (Isaiah 14)
               + 1.1.7 Cherub in Eden (Ezekiel 28)
         o 1.2 New Testament
               + 1.2.1 Gospels = mess
               + 1.2.2 Acts & Epistles = mess
               + 1.2.3 Revelation = mess
         o 1.3 Extra-Biblical Material = is there more? 
   * 2 History of Christian teaching
         o 2.1 Patristic Period  = totally lacking sourced material
         o 2.2 Gnostics
         o 2.3 Middle Ages
         o 2.4 Cathars
         o 2.5 The Reformation  = totally lacking sourced material
   * 3 Modern Christian teaching by church
         o 3.1 Roman Catholic views
         o 3.2 Eastern Orthodox
         o 3.3 Evangelical Protestants = totally lacking sourced material
         o 3.4 Latter-day Saints
         o 3.5 Unitarians and Christadelphians
   * 4 Characteristics
         o 4.1 Rebel = relevant, but where? totally lacking sourced material

o 4.2 Possession = probably needs link to

o 4.3 Black magic = probably needs link

         o 4.4 Christian tradition = ? 
   * 5 Theological Disputes
         o 5.1 Hell
         o 5.2 Sinfulness of angels
   * 6 Duplicated Material (literature)
   * 7 References

Does this structure cover most possible sourceable content on the subject Christian teaching on... In ictu oculi (talk) 00:43, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Page rename?[edit]

Devil (Christianity), just a suggestion In ictu oculi (talk) 16:07, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Cut comment about the Screwtape letters[edit]

I cut the following about the Screwtape Letters from the Anglican and Episcopalian section

However C. S. Lewis in his Screwtape Letters is informed by a view that the devil is real and literal.

Here's my justification: The Screwtape Letters is a work of fiction. The presence of the devil in a work of fiction has nothing to do with the author's actual beliefs. If we were to argue that all of C.S. Lewis's allegorical writings were indicative of actual views, then we might as well claim that the Chronicles of Narnia is informed by the view that Jesus took the form of a lion at some point. IF Lewis believed in a literal personification of evil, AND if that information deserves mentioning in the article, it seems like it would be better to find the information from his nonfiction. eldamorie (talk) 19:06, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

That's probably a fair point, and per WP:PSTS a secondary source describing Lewis' reasons for writing the book would be preferable. Given Lewis' importance however, in English literature on this topic perhaps second to Milton, it'd be nice if there was something... In ictu oculi (talk) 03:01, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree. I spent some time with JSTOR (which is unfortunately the only database I have access to at the moment), but I was unable to find anything about Lewis' reasons or perspective on the book. In fact, I was unable to find any concrete statements on whether or not his belief in the devil was literal or figurative. I noticed that apparently, current editions include a preface by Lewis commenting on his motivations - if anybody has access to this it would at least provide a source for his views. It looks like Mere Christianity might be helpful also. eldamorie (talk) 13:29, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Not sure about "recent", but my 1970s paperback (ISBN 0-02-086860-X) has a "Preface to the paperback edition" which makes it clear that although he did believe in devils in a somewhat Christianly orthodox way, he used them in the Screwtape Letters as a literary device, not really as an accurate portrayal of his doctrinal beliefs. The sentence above is rather unfortunate, since Lewis makes it clear that he believes in "devils" (plural) much more than in "the Devil"... AnonMoos (talk) 07:03, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Incorrect use of the word "history"?[edit]

The last sentence of the opening paragraph reads as follows "Much of the popular history of the Devil is not biblical; instead, it is a post-medieval Christian reading of the scriptures influenced by medieval and pre-medieval Christian popular mythology." The word 'history' implies historical events rather than previously written literature. It gives an unnecessary bias towards the POV of the existence of the Devil. A more appropriate term would be 'literature' or 'stories', which both seem more like the appropriate term in this context. Permafry42 (talk) 08:24, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

I changed it to "lore". Good call. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 13:17, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

i saw a vision on a person On the top of his head was a halo of satans horns circling around — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:50, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

When? Citation needed here:[edit]

Second sentence:

"Satan" later became the name of the personification of evil.

When is this "later" ? When was this concept clearly defined? Since the Jews didn't, and still don't to this day, believe in Satan or hell as the Christians do, then Jesus must have introduced it somewhere. Where and when? Darius 1 522-486 BCE made the official religion Zoroastrianism of the Persian area, which first introduced the concept for a personification of evil to the Jews, but it obviously didn't take. I think this is HIGHLY important as this is one of the cornerstones of all Christianity and to have no citation is pretty bad. Darrellx (talk) 12:03, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

We would need a reliable source to say something in the article, but off the top of my head, the Book of Enoch and some other second temple literature that was rejected by what would become mainstream Judaism popularized the idea of Satan as a personification of evil. Also, the Book of Tobit (the author of which would have considered himself a devout Jew) features Ashmedai, from the Persian "Aeshma Daeva." Judaism hasn't remained static for the past 2300 years. No religion can remain static and survive for 230 years, let alone 2300.
And this isn't exactly a cornerstone of Christianity -- Satan isn't exactly the focus of any creeds, and the New Testament says very little about him. Christianity's (diverse) views on Satan do often distinguish post-classical Christianity from the other Abrahamic religions, but most of its core tenants had to be normal among certain branches and sects of second temple Judaism or else the religion simply would not have gotten off the ground. Ian.thomson (talk) 12:26, 26 April 2016 (UTC)
Darrellx -- actually, Christianity received most of its Persian influences through Judaism. The ideas of heaven and hell (as opposed to the vague shadowy Sheol of the Bible) and angels as actively doing good (as opposed to being mere messengers) were introduced into Judaism by direct or indirect Persian influence, and there are more influences in some of the Jewish apocrypha... AnonMoos (talk) 07:13, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

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Anonymous "Christian" websites = "Some theologians"?[edit]

The section on the "Sinfulness of Angels" begins with the sentence "Some theologians believe that angels cannot sin ..." That proposition is supported by references to two anonymous "Christian" websites (one apparently run by a guy named "Phil" since he is hawking his newest book on the Rapture on the home page) with catechism-like ansewrs to the question. Are these really sources that an encyclopedia relies on? Are these people really "theologians"? Why not just quote statements from televangelists? AnthroMimus (talk) 23:43, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ Gen 1:31