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Who is the Devil?

Updated on June 27, 2012

Satan Strikes Fear in the Heart

Who is Satan? What is the devil? Is it all just bad press?

Satan is a powerful archetype in many societies. Typified by his horns, cloven hooves, goat legs and arrow pointed tail; often depicted brandishing a trident to terrify and threaten all who happen to fall into his traps. In Western civilization the Devil represents evil, cleverly and constantly finding new ways to lay temptation before mankind. With the lure of pleasure, worldly goods, lust and gluttony; the charms of the devil are difficult to resist and the price we pay is our soul.

Satan lurks around every corner and his work is easy to see in our society-people dabbling in spiritualism and Ouija boards, carnal pleasure, gluttony and gambling. Some would lay all this at the cloven hooves of the devil.

It is not a coincidence that Satan is depicted as a half man, half human horned icon brandishing a serpent. This ancient figure was a powerful deity in Celtic times.

Christianity has marched its crusading ways across many religions and cultures, trampling ancient Gods, festivals of fertility, death and new life, vilifying, borrowing and transforming underfoot.

Could the character we know as the devil have much more important roots and meanings for us than the simple antagonist that the church would like us to know?

And God Created Satan

The bible tells us that God created Satan as an angel, long before the creation of Man. However pride caused Satan to rebel and so God cast him down to earth, where to this day he continues his rebellious work, trying to persuade mankind to rebel also and dethrone God.

Satan was created by god as a cherub, a powerful angel, but when he rebelled took one third of God’s heavenly angels with him, to become his demons.

In the Garden of Eden Satan appeared in the form of a snake, where he was able to tempt eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge (a powerful Pagan symbol). Eve then persuaded Adam into following her lead, and from then mankind became sinful creatures.

To this day god and Satan have a constant struggle, both locked in a battle for souls.

One of Satan's cleverest tricks is to convince us he doesn't exist. We have to keep purity in our heart and body to resist Satan’s seductive charms. Unless we believe in god and Jesus as our savior; pray regularly then our soul cannot be saved.

Satan is an intrinsic part of Christianity, without him there is no adversary; no antagonist to fight the holy crusade. Without the devil the duality of the Christian faith could not exist. Satan is a very useful character to the Christian and Catholic Church as a way of instilling fear and guilt allowing the chosen few to yield power.

We don't have to dig very deep to discover the roots of the Christian devil, and realize that the mythological characters he has been built upon are not so Satanic after all.

Cernunnos at Val Camonica

Cernunnos An Ancient Celtic God

Gundestrap cauldron

The Lord of the Hunt

Satan bears an uncanny resemblance to many old gods throughout Europe and Asia.

The colourful imagery: horns, goat legs are nothing new, many ancient earth gods such as Pan, Dionysus and Cernunnos shared similar characteristics, but unlike Satan were not particularly evil: neither were they particularly begin, such was the way of gods in a polytheistic system.

The horned god in all his manifestations was an earth god, a god of the forest, of luck, successful hunting of sexuality, fertility,

Gods were summoned and celebrated at different times of the year; the concept of the Horned God is a repeated metaphor throughout many religions, representing an affinity with the animal kingdom.

If we stretch back eons of time we can find drawings and carvings of horned gods and creatures on cave walls over forty thousand years old, and even to Neanderthal man. The idea of a horned god predates Christianity by a very long time. Ancient man would perform ceremonies and wear animal skins and antlers to ensure success in hunting, which would have been crucial in ensuring survival especially during harsh winter months when vegetation became sparse.

At Caverne des Trois Freres at Ariege in France there are carvings which date to 13000 BC depicting a goat or stag rearing on hind legs, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Christian idea of Bahomet, The horned god was called many things in his different cultural guises, Pan Puck, Baccus or Dionysus,

In ancient Celtic society in Europe we see evidence of the god Cernunnos; the name Cernunnos means horned, and an early depiction of him van be found in Italy at Val Camonica from the 4th century BC, complete with horns and serpent.

Cernunnos is in evidence again in a stone relief on a pillar in the remains of a roman temple, now situated near Paris in France. In an edifice named The Pillar of the Boatman, the name Cernunnos is etched in stone, and the figure clearly depicted with the familiar antlers and torc.

Another famous image of the horned deity is a silver cauldron found in a Danish peat bog in 1891, near Gundestrup in northern Jutland. The chalice is the largest piece of Iron Age silver work found in Europe, measuring 42cm high and dating to around 2BC.

This silver cauldron clearly depicts a horned god sitting cross legged brandishing a snake and a torc. The figure is Cernunnos, surrounded by animals, a hound and a stag.

Pan Seducing Aphrodite 100BC

A needed force in a modern world.

Christianity has taken and altered many of the symbols of this masculine animal character, changing forever the view of the horned god as a tool for spreading fear by creating a devil out of these component parts.Increasingly the aspects of the horned god are being recognised as relevant and useful in today's society. The important aspects of this forgotten god have been lost.

Remembering that we are simply another species- Cernunnos with his representation of man as an animal reminds us of this that we are simply co- existing with other species who share this planet. He shows us our connection to the earth and our place in the cycles of birth growth and death.

An evil force- or a corruption of a useful archetype?

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    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      Amazing: Human's tendency to personify Good and Evil. Will people ever outgrow this tendency and take responsibility for their doings on this planet, and especially of their habit to create good and evil as far as they go and then blaming either God or Satan - NAMES they have given to forces beyond their comprehension.

      Silver Fish, this is a very interesting hub about mythology...

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      I could equally suggest that homo sapien is a "pest. Surely scorpions - like many other living organisms on the planet are simply trying to exist. They seek food, they reproduce, the defend themselves.

      In doing so other individuals may get injured or killed. Much like any other species, including man.

      To suggets that scorpions are "natural evil" seems a very archaic view,

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My comment was removed. Yes Scorpions and other venomous pests are under the category of Natural Evil. We don't know if the Devil or his minions created these cruelties or God created these horrors. The origin of evil and suffering is unkown.

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Scorpions are "natural evil" - what a bizarre concept.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The Satan of the Bible bears some resemblance to Angra-mainyu or Ahriman and Set. Satan in Job inflicts physical torture and killing whereas Satan in the New Testament is better known as liar tempter and deceiver. Some believe Satan is the origin of all natural evil such as diseases and scorpions and all human evil and sin such as selfishness and violence. Satan is the enemy of God and man and has helpers or demons to aid him in deceiving corrupting and damning human souls. Satan and demons are able to possess the minds and bodies of people. Satan and demons are used to explain evil and suffering in the world and to get God off the hook for having a screwed up world. The God of the Bible has an evil cruel side like Satan who is supposed to be His enemy. Both Satan and the God of the Bible are frightening. Christians blame Satan for all the horrible things in the world.

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Tnaks Nate.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 

      6 years ago from California, United States of America

      Very fascinating how images have been used to induce feelings in people over the years. Very interesting and captivating piece!

    • Lin02 profile image


      6 years ago from India

      The hub is quite mystical. The devil is the main center of attention in this era. Especially where there is a God there must be a devil also.

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Thanks kitty, gald you found it interesting.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      LOVED IT LOVED IT. Awesome article. Thanks for being so clarifying on the image of Satan that so many people confuse with the Horned god.

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 

      6 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Because the Bible says so, that's why!

      But, seriously, you hit the nail on the head. The ignorant are easy to control, threaten them with eternal punishment and add an evil, powerful monster bad-guy that wants their soul, you got your control. Sad, people believe this stuff with their entire being... so misled.

    • Disappearinghead profile image


      6 years ago from Wales, UK

      Numbers 22:22. Compare an English bible with a Hebrew one. The angel of the lord is a satan, or simply adversary, in Hebrew. The Jews started the Satan myth by mixing it with Zoroastrian ideas during the exile. The Church exploited this ingrained superstition and evolved satan by adding elements to it over the centuries. So if Satan is a Frankenstein composition of a number of pagan mythical deities which we don't believe in, they why should anyone believe in the manmade creation aka Satan that resulted?


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