Depictions of Satan
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27-06-2011, 02:11 PM (This post was last modified: 27-06-2011 02:28 PM by ghostexorcist.)
Depictions of Satan
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam depict Satan in various ways. I wanted to share one depiction from Judeo-Persian literature. The source is a poetic version of the Bereshit-namab (The Book of Genesis) entitled "The Fall of 'Aza'zel." It recounts the story of how the angel falls from grace because he declines to bow to the newly formed body of Adam (who had not been given a soul yet). I believe it was written by a Jewish-Persian poet named Mowlana Shahin-I Shirazi during the 14th century. I don’t want to transcribe the entire poem since it is rather lengthy, but I will post the interesting bits:

[The Description of ‘Aza’zel’s Greatness]

‘Aza’zel ranked among the celestial elite
Most learned, a teacher of the angles;
Everything they knew came from him;
He lit the very lamp of grace.
No angel was greater than he
Who seemed kneaded out of Mercy itself,
Always obedient, forever bent
On increasing his service.
The heavens were his place of worship;
Perpetual service was his only task.
Faithfully he served for countless years,
Hoarding a boundless capital of obedience.
He was unaware of the Most Merciful’s decree
Although he knew that among palace intimates
Damnation could strike on suddenly.
He was exceedingly exalted
Among the intimates of the Royal Falcon.
But as for bowing before Adam, he refused,
Denying him any authority.
Still, accompanied by other angels
He set out joyfully flying to earth
Like the wind, alighting before Adam's form
Suddenly, full of pride but curious
To know who the accursed one might be,
What he was like who was subject to no commands.
Arriving, he stood at a distance;
Through his neglects he became himself unjust.
Angels kept flying in troops
Surrounding Adam row upon row. Then
At the Pure Almighty's command,
They bowed down, rubbing
Their faces in the dust; cheerfully,
One by one, they bowed before Adam
At God's command. 'Aza'zel alone hung back
unmoving in his place and did not bow.

[His excellency addresses 'Aza'zel]

His Excellency then called out, "'Aza'zel,
Why are you standing bewildered, indolent?
Come, bow down, for such is my command,
Or else misfortunes await you in ambush."
Hearing God's command, 'Aza'zel replied:
"O Creator of the elephant and of the gnat,
Who is like me, possessor of such a capital
Carrying out orders for years, obedient?
Why should I bow before a lump of clay?
O Pure Almighty, should this be lawful for me?
He is made of earth, I of pure light;
I should not have to bow down before earth!”
The Almighty replied: “O foolish ignoramus,
Such is My command; don’t disobey it!
I did not ask you to explain its roots and origins;
Whatever I command you must obey.
What is your business with either earth or fire?
The latter burns, the former is foundation;
Do not imagine that fire is superior to earth:
Without a doubt Adam’s clay is pure light.
Though Adam’s light is not everlasting,
In him the earth becomes transmuted.
Fire has no relations to earth;
It is poison; earths is the antidote.
O unlucky one, fire is not superior to earth;
Ignorance prevents you from perceiving this.
With might I created four jewels:
First wind, then fire and water,
Fourth is the pure earth, that limpid jewel.
These four are the world’s fortune;
The magnificence of each is well known.”

[…]

The moment he digressed from God’s command,
That unlucky one became an infidel;

[…]

The Incomparable Almighty struck his face:
“Take your obedience, O vile accursed one!
Since your back is loaded with obedience,
You escape My wrath and get off lightly.
I curse you till the Day or Resurrection:
You will be a source of calamities, a mine of evil;
You will stray throughout eternity
Full of anger, toil, suffering, and pain.
I will call you Shaytan the Damned;
I will turn all your prayers into insults.”

Satan feels humiliated for being cursed by God after his years of loyal service. He blames everything on Adam, and so he asks The Almighty to grant him any wish “to pay off [God’s] debt to [him].”

Since this befell me on Adam’s account,
Hand him and his descendants over to me
That I may debase them through sin.
With trouble I will tempt them day and night;
So that they will remain forever far from mercy;
Befriending sin through me they will become
the very warp and woof of voice
I will carry them with me to Hell;
They shall be my army and my troops.
I will never let them rest in peace;
I will turn all their gains into losses,
Ambushing them from right to left;
They will be in perpetual want.

[…]

Again, the Judge responded to Iblis:
“O you repulsive, sinister, unlucky infidel,
I will grant your wish concerning them;
Distress no further your sinister mind.
But O unclean one, over saints and prophets
You shall not prevail; they will break you!
I watch over their every state, for they are
the quarry of every treasure and good fortune.
Upon them I bestow abundant favors. (Moreen, In Queen Esther's Garden, pp. 31-38)

From here, the two continue to argue over who will prevail over mankind. God eventually breathes life into Adam, who praises The Almighty for the rest of the poem.

I find this poem so interesting because, although similar in some aspects, it is so different from the normal depiction of Satan’s fall from grace in Christian sources. Instead of challenging God's position in heaven with an army, he simply butts heads with him over the lump of clay that is Adam. I believe this is closer to the Islamic account of Genesis. You may also notice the Greek influence on the Persian culture through the discourse on transmutation and the ranking of elements.

Others are free to share.
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27-06-2011, 02:47 PM
RE: Depictions of Satan
Quote:‘Aza’zel ranked among the celestial elite
Most learned, a teacher of the angles;
Everything they knew came from him;

I always found it typical for a doctrine thriving on ignorance to depict evil things as bearers of knowledge.

Lucifer/Satan/devil...
tree of knowledge of good and evil...
Witches...

Observer

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Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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27-06-2011, 03:40 PM
RE: Depictions of Satan
(27-06-2011 02:47 PM)The_observer Wrote:  
Quote:‘Aza’zel ranked among the celestial elite
Most learned, a teacher of the angles;
Everything they knew came from him;

I always found it typical for a doctrine thriving on ignorance to depict evil things as bearers of knowledge.

Lucifer/Satan/devil...
tree of knowledge of good and evil...
Witches...

You make a good point. I never thought of that before.
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28-06-2011, 12:55 PM
RE: Depictions of Satan
I always thought it was weird. Tree of knowledge... god wants you to stay away from it... but the devil disguised as a... talking snake... tells you it is your right. Religious books remind me of the weather channel. Flippy floppy, and they never want you to look elsewhere even though they are never right.

It's definitely a cover our asses sort of thing I think. By saying this book is the ultimate truth, to deny it is to be a heretic, heretics burn in hell. Anything that contradicts this book is given to you by the devil to make you doubt your faith in god. Never learn, always listen.

Never mind that if god really wanted us to do what he said, he fucked it all up by giving us free will, curiosity, good looks, making sex feel good, making the tree of knowledge have Delicious fruit, and making the bible read like bad gibberish. I'll take satan and his knowledge about the world over unquestioning servitude to a fella who never even drops by to see how I'm doing.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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04-08-2011, 10:46 PM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2011 04:28 AM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: Depictions of Satan
Here is a cartoony drawing of my take on the Anti-Christ. It's his baby picture. Yes, that is a nut sack hanging from the middle head. You are free to wonder what might be under the censor box. Done on MS Paint.

[Image: babyantichristonbedofhu.png]
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05-08-2011, 05:10 AM
RE: Depictions of Satan
I really dislike the idea of free will. Humans have a tendency to be compelled towards certain actions. If a god were to create them in order to let them try to meet his goals why make them instantly in favor of doing the opposite? Should the idea of a god giving people free will really be about it being something to overcome in their seeking for the god? There is not really a free will argument in a god world if humans are compelled to take certain actions or sides.

I also tend to feel the protagonist of the story is always made to be the most appealing. While the savior is busy maiming, killing, and denying, the protagonist is wanting to be able to discern himself from others. Sure he seems to have a bit of a superiority complex in most accounts, but that is primarily due to the saviors excessive superiority complex.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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05-08-2011, 09:07 AM
RE: Depictions of Satan
Dodgy
This is my intake on what happened-
god said to the angels' you only love me,bow to me,worship me and me only and that should be your oath'
god created Adam
god said 'okay bow to him and love him'
Lucifer refused
god got angry and asked why
Lucifer said ' you said that we had to keep that oath to only bow and love to you'
god got really angry and send Lucifer down to hell.
Even though Lucifer was sent the fiery pits of hell he still loved god

Lucifer earn my respect(even though he is not real)Cool

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09-08-2011, 12:44 PM
RE: Depictions of Satan
Yes, it appears Lucifer is a normal wise old angel, not a bad guy, just someone who wanted to know more and who wasn't afraid of asking the great and terrible question: "WHY"... And for that he is now the Satan, the Unholy one, all the evil on this world? What a lot of BS.

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11-08-2011, 09:40 AM
RE: Depictions of Satan
So worship me!

My mums a Christian fundamentalist and she kicked me out of the house screaming "OUT SATAN" in front of the house. She should know being Christian.

Anyone want a picture? Want me to sign it? Big Grin

I'll only let you see me in my disguised "ordinary" form right now so you wont see my demonic glory yet... Maybe after you die!

See you all in hell! Smile Heart

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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11-08-2011, 02:13 PM
RE: Depictions of Satan
(11-08-2011 09:40 AM)DeepThought Wrote:  So worship me!

My mums a Christian fundamentalist and she kicked me out of the house screaming "OUT SATAN" in front of the house. She should know being Christian.

Anyone want a picture? Want me to sign it? Big Grin

I'll only let you see me in my disguised "ordinary" form right now so you wont see my demonic glory yet... Maybe after you die!

See you all in hell! Smile Heart

Can you sign the photo to me? I will see you in Hell in 70 years.Big Grin
When are going to have a party?Cool

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