The Image of Satan You Have in Your Head Versus the One in the Bible

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In all sincerity, whenever the name “Satan” is mentioned, what physical image immediately comes to your mind and where did you get the image from?

How did we come to the conclusion that Satan is a black man or white man with goat horns, bat wings, long tail, dirty teeth, skinny body, or with human skull, dressed in red/black suit or gown?

The image of Satan you have in your head is it in line with the biblical description of Satan or did you get yours somewhere else?

Why I asked these questions is not in anyway to undermine the powers of Satan but for us to reflect and see if it is possible that what we carry in our heads may be different from what the Bible is saying.

In Genesis 3, Satan was seen as a serpent, a snake that talks even though we know that snakes don’t talk, thus leaving us with the possibility that the story is not to be taken literally. But the conclusion is obvious: Satan is smart and always dialoguing. He is never forceful. Satan’s voice might be gentle and lovely.

In the book of Job, Satan is seen as someone that God chats with, we saw him going into God’s presence along side the sons of God and he was not rebuked. Job 1:6-12. Even Isaiah 14:12 made reference to him as Lucifer to mean “morning star” or “bearer of light”.

In the New Testament, It is difficult to get the physical image of what Satan looks like. During Christ’s temptation, we were told that the devil came to tempt him. We were not told if he is black or white or with horns. In fact, he was even dialoguing with Jesus, taking him up the cliff and pointing the whole world to him and Jesus followed.

St Peter described him as the “roaring lion” in 1 Peter 5:8, and today, one of the titles given to God is”Agu”, meaning Lion.

St Paul talked about Satan as one who disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). He also talked about him as one who is “Lawless.”

Most people quote revelation 12 as the basis of how we can describe Satan. . .But Revelation 12:3 described Satan thus: “And another sign was seen in heaven. And behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.”

Have you seen people depicting the devil as a red dragon with crowns???

In Mel Gibson’s 2004 “The Passion of the Christ,” Satan was depicted as an androgynous albino figure. That was a departure from the usual black faced and horn and tail Satan and the usually idea that Satan is male.

Is it not possible that sometimes the way we see and depict Satan gives him more power than he even has thus keeping us in perpetual fear?

How did you get the image of the Satan you carry in your head anytime the name “Satan” is mentioned?

By Fr. Kelvin Ugwu

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