The name Satan is one that has popped up in religious texts and pop culture but there are a few things about the entity that is not quite as clear and they are listed below:
1. The mystery of the Garden of Eden
It is often interpreted that the serpent who tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was Satan but this fact was not specifically mentioned in the bible. Biblical scholars have argued that the idea of Satan had not yet been developed when Genesis was written. Besides, it was specified that the serpent was punished by being sentenced to an eternity of crawling on its belly and later depiction of Satan did not specify a belly crawling beast.
So, if the serpent is not Satan, then what is it?
2. The mystery of the census David took
In the book of Samuel (2 Samual 24), God is angry at Israel and incites King David to carry out a census and punishes the land with a plague. In 1 Chronicles 21, however, it said that it was Satan who wanted David to take the census.
Did God or Satan lure David to the sinful census?
3. The mystery of the name
Does Satan actually have a name? “Satan” is a Hebrew word meaning “adversary” or “accuser.” In the Old Testament, the word is even applied to humans sometimes. For example, King Rezon of Syria is said to be a satan (“adversary”) of Solomon. We now use “Satan ” as a given name.
Did Satan have a name?
4. The mystery of hell
It is believed that Satan rules hell where he tortures evil souls but this theory is nowhere to be found in the bible. The only way Satan is mentioned in relation to hell is that he he will end up there after the final judgement.
So, does Satan rule hell?
5. The mystery of Satan in old and new testament
An angelic being known as “the satan” makes two major appearances in the Old Testament. In his first appearance, he and God are catching up when God mentions that Job is his most faithful follower. Satan counters that Job has a great life and would curse God if things went wrong for him. God disagrees and allows Satan to persecute Job to prove that he will remain faithful. His second appearance is in Zechariah, where the priest Joshua stands before a heavenly tribunal. Satan accuses Joshua, but the angel of the Lord defends him.
It looks like, on both occasions, Satan was serving God as some kind of heavenly prosecutor but in the New Testament, he is referred to as the “prince of demons” and he appears extremely evil.
Did Satan’s role change between the two books?
6. The mystery of Satan’s power on earth
In the Old Testament, he’s capable of instantly ruining Job’s life, but only after God gives him permission. In the New Testament, he mostly tempts Jesus to use his own powers. For example, when Jesus is hungry, Satan tells him to change rocks into bread, but he doesn’t offer to do it himself. Some people have come to the assumption that Satan does not really have the power to do more than tempt.
Does Satan have a real power on earth?
7. The mystery of Satan’s look
Some people have an image of Satan (goat horns, legs and a pitchfork) but none of these details were in the Bible.
Where did the depiction come from?
8. The mystery of Satan in Islam
Muslims believe the existence of l-Shaytan (“the Satan”) is a being known as Iblis. In the Quran, Satan refused to bow to Adam saying “I am better than him; You created me from fire and him from mud.” Allah is angry but agrees to postpone punishment while Iblis tries to prove himself right by tempting humans to sin.
In Islam, there are three categories of beings: angels, humans, and spirits known as jinn, who were made from fire and given free will. On the one hand, the Quran states that Allah commanded the angels, including Iblis, to bow, which suggests that he’s an angel. On the other hand, Iblis shows free will and says that Allah made him from fire, which suggests that he’s a jinn. The subject remains in dispute.
9. Was Islamic Satan right?
Some scholars and members within Sufi Islam believes that Iblis was correct to disobey Allah and refuse to bow to Adam. They hold the belief that it is wrong for angels to bow to anyone except Allah. Although Iblis disobeyed, he did so out of his genuine submission to God.
But the idea of al-Shaytan being God’s faithful servant is not considered by mainstream Muslims.
10. The mystery of Satan and the Antichrist
In the New Testament, there were references to the coming of a false messiah, called the Antichrist. The entity is associated with Satan but the Bible maintains that they are not the same. In 2 Thessalonians, it is said that the Antichrist’s coming is “apparent in the working of Satan.”
So what is the connection between Satan and the Antichrist?