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The Jewish Satan vs. The Christian Satan

I've been doing a lot of reading about the Jewish view of "Satan." I've read some instances of Satan are not referring to a being but a literary concept of human nature or temptation. I've read how other references of Satan in the Bible, actually directed towards the being of Satan, Satan is actually an obedient servant of God who serves as the accuser of men. In a court room setting, he'd be the "prosecution." I've read the Jewish interpretation of passages like Job and "the star that fell from heaven" and it makes a lot of sense.

So, how did Satan go from what the Jews believed him/the concept of him to be to what Christians say he is today? Do you think the Jews were/are mistaken OR that Christians are interpreting wrong?

Verses in proper context or historical references are appreciated :-) If you're Jewish and I've misunderstood something, please correct me.

Thank you!


Asked by NovemberLove at 8:36 PM on Jul. 24, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 13 (976 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • I tend to agree with the idea that Satan stands for human nature/fault/temptation.

    Owen Chadwick says (in his History of Christianity, pages 40/41), though, that the Christian interpretation of the devil comes from an anxiety about demons that was inherited from pagan tradition (indeed, he explains that Jews apparently thought the gods of the heathens were demons, which is something the Christians also believed).

    He goes on to say that the question arose of how demons had come into being when God was good, and therefore they invented tales of the fall of Satan, which they based on the account of the fall of man, and the visions in Revelations.

    I'm not sure how accurate his account is, but its something to think about.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:09 PM on Jul. 24, 2009

  • Keep on searching for the truth!Do not be lead astray by others views or opinions.That is how I have learned all I know and that is how I will learn more. I allow God to lead me to the truth. Ask,seek,and knock.We all have so much more to learn and never enough time.(That is how I feel anyhow.)God bless you on your journey.

    Answer by mo2a27 at 9:33 PM on Jul. 24, 2009

  • The bible has all the answers and so few look in it.GB

    Answer by mo2a27 at 9:36 PM on Jul. 24, 2009

  • I think I'm thrown off by the question because my understanding of Satan encompasses both of the sides your comparing.

    Anyway, here's a link with a run-down of how I understand him, and it's got links to scriptures and such in it:


    Answer by Anonymous at 10:02 PM on Jul. 24, 2009

  • mo2a27 I understand your intentions are good but you're missing MY intentions. Asking for other people's POVs and wanting to learn about the history and cultures of other religions does not mean someone is being lead astray. Please don't jump to conclusions. I'm not trying to be offensive or rude to you (but you also posted something to this nature in my last post) but it comes off as condescending.

    I personally don't feel that there is anyone in this world that could explain Judaism to me better than a Jewish person. Maybe I'm wrong? lol.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 10:28 PM on Jul. 24, 2009

  • Thanks bandgeek, I will have to look up that author. I'm just trying to figure out where that "switch" happened Satan went from being one thing in Judaism to Judaeo-Christianity where he went to being a completely different thing.

    Anon 10:02, I should have clarified that I was asking about the stereotypical Christian view or maybe the mainstream view? LDS isn't a belief system I am very knowledgeble in but I will enjoy reading your source and learning about your perspective. Thank you!

    Answer by NovemberLove at 10:34 PM on Jul. 24, 2009

  • Ask God about satan and He will lead you to the truth.
    I have never heard of the Jewish religion or any Christian faith ever call satan obedient.
    He was cast from heaven by God for his disobedience to God and trying to lift himself over His creator God.
    The angels that sided with him were also cast down and out of Heaven.
    Satan does go to and fro as the accuser of the brethren. However; God knows that he is a liar and trouble-maker and that is why God allowed satan to trouble Job.
    God knew Job's heart and satan was allowed to do anything except kill Job.
    Job never cursed God through the entire ordeal.

    Answer by bloodbought at 3:10 AM on Jul. 25, 2009