History of Satan Devil Lucifer in Judaism Christianity and Islam Research Paper

Pages: 16 (4478 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

History Of Satan

Since the very dawn of civilization, the battle between good and evil has been part of the mythology and interconnected philosophies of human beings. From the Epic of Gilgamesh to the battles between Egyptian Gods, to the words of the Koran and the Bible, conceptions of the battle of good and evil abound in popular, philosophical, legal, and religious literature. Many theologians and scholars have tried to argue the creation of evil. They question if God created it or if man and his perversion of the good created the absence of "goodness," and therefore the necessity of evil. Add to this the human capacity for a sliding scale of evil (e.g. deception, lust, greed, avarice), and we have an epitome of the human condition.

In fact, one of the most predominant symbols in many world religions is that of a man and a woman, created in the image of God, bound to the teachings of that God, with the directive to mate and populate the earth. Symbolically, this is the way most cultures understood the way that humans came to live upon the earth. Within the context of the Qur'an and the Bible, the basic story tells of Adam (in Hebrew meaning dust or mankind) created from God, and Eve (living one) created from a part of Adam as the first man and woman to live on earth, in an idyllic place called, "The Garden of Eden." Representing evil or Satan, a serpent invades this holy garden, tempting Eve, and thus brought the concept of evil into the world (Farley, 1990, intro).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Paper on History of Satan Devil Lucifer in Judaism Christianity and Islam Assignment

Further, Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel, and by allowing evil (original sin, etc.) into the world, Cain, through jealousy, kills Abel, thus explaining the manner in which humanity is flawed. There are, however, some very basic differences between the explanation and interpretation of the Adam and Eve story between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In brief, Adam and Eve (representing mankind) were created on Earth in a place made for them by God called the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). For Islam, Man was created in Janna (Paradise) and then banished to earth later (Qur'an 2:36). The Bible tells that God took 6 days to create the world, and each day had a specific creation hierarchy, similar in the Qur'an -- but in the Bible, mankind was created to live in harmony with the "beasts," (Genesis 1:29-30), but to devour cattle and survive by predation (Qur -- an 6:142, 16:5). All which is designed to form the basic structure of the manner in which humanity exists and why there is a place called Earth.

This leads to why there is evil (sin) on earth. In the Bible, mankind has access to the entire garden (earth) with the exception of the "Tree of Knowledge," usually thought to represent the idea of good and evil, and the explanation for the dichotomy between the two.

And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die"(Genesis 2:16-17). In Islam, though, there is not a "Tree of Knowledge," but a "Tree of Eternity," which may or may not be linguistically identical, but has similar properties of giving life (Qur'-an 7:20). Further, the Qur'-an has no symbol for Satan/Evil in a serpent, but uses both the metaphor of nakedness and shame to understand certain structural aspects of society (Qur'an 2:34, 7:19).

To explain original sin, the Bible indicates that the Serpent tempted Eve:

The serpent enticed Eve, denying she would die. "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5). and, in the Qur'an:

Satan enticed Adam and his wife. 'But Satan whispered evil to him: He said, "O Adam! Shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?" 'Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them & #8230; He said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live forever." (Qur'an 20:120, 7:20-21).

And, after disobeying God's orders, both texts indicate that there is just punishment from God. This "just punishment," explains a hierarchy, as well as why humans must toil, why sickness exists, and the quintessential question -- why is there evil in the world? for, after the fall, Adam and Eve are banned from Eden, set to work the fields and toil, and there would forever be part of the Earth that would not support life (Genesis 3:23-24, 3:17-19). The Qur'an, however, does not mention banishment, death is not the ultimate enemy, and negativity (bad things) is part of Creation, not a separate, recreated concept (7:20). While the Bible says that as descendants of Adam, all are born with a sinful nature (Psalms 51:5; Romans 3:23), the Muslim view is that man is born innocent. Qur'an refers to sin as 'earned' (4:111, 6:120, 24:11) (Catchpool, 2002).

It is with the basic concept of humanity, though, that a most interesting comparison exists. In Judaic tradition, Adam is likely to have been created as both man & woman (at least spiritually, but possibly a hermaphrodite as well). Adam was lonely, though, so God created Eve from Adam, symbolically linking the two genders together, but not the concept of original sin (Jews Believe in the Satan, and Not in the Devil, 2003). Symbolically, then, what is clear is that there needed to be a clear explanation for creation, for the "things" on earth (beasts, weather, natural resources, etc.), as well as a believable "story" to support the idea of people spreading from the original source, speaking different languages, and while having free-will, having the conceptualization of evil in the world.

Origins of the Concept of Satan -- the term Satan is actually from the Hebrew, "the accuser," or in Arabic Shaytan,"the adversary." Looking at the terms for both, the term itself is really an antagonism from the basis of Abrahamic religions. If there is an ultimate good, then there must be an adversary or opposite of the light. However, over the centuries, the term has been embellished and has taken on new meanings, some of which have moved from the adversarial religious symbol to the embodiment of pure evil.

The conception of the evil one, though, the Devil, also has roots in similar theology and concepts. In Ancient Greek the term diablolos meant "slanderer or accuser." This is one of the more common views of the Devil - a personification of evil and enemy of God and humanity. The Devil can be seen as the absence of good -- the nature of the "anti." The Devil is typically associated with all manner of infidels, heretics, and unbelievers -- and psychologically has been a way to conceptualize an enemy so that the humanity of the individual is snatched away. Some beliefs see the Devil as a manifestation of evil spirits, of all that can go wrong on the natural earth, even as an allegory that represents a crisis of belief, or turning from the path of tradition, and even at times for those who simply disagree with the status quo. This personification of evil is as old as societies -- and continues on into the contemporary mythos as the archetype of evil. Ironically, the term is bandied about so that we have the "Axis of Evil," former President Regan calling the Ayotolla Khomeni the "Devil," and in turn, the Ayotolla referring to Regan as "The Great Satan" (Keene, 1986).

The idea of the Devil, or evil incarnate, is, like Good, a system. It is at once part of human tradition and culture, and provides a way to explain certain events, as well as allow for there to be a side of temptation. Evil can be a distortion in moral and philosophical thought, something as tangible as the deeds of the Nazi party, or simply a way to explain further genocide and the way humans can even conceive something so vast and horrible that the only possible way it could exist within the human psyche is for some outside force to hold control (Muchembled, 2003).

The concept of evil as the antithesis of good comes to us between three and five thousand years BC with the Sumerian Civilization of Mesopotamia. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, we find the explanation for evil, the fact that the God's had the power of good and evil over humans, and the power to punish with the Great Flood story. But what is interesting about the evolution of not only this mythos, but the conception of the Devil is that we can trace archaeologically a movement from numerous Gods (upwards of 600) and no truly evil one; through the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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