I'm looking for some information/books/papers/essays about the archetype of Satan as the Antagonist of our lives and not the villain. I've found some information but it is really hard to find something objective without so much religious content. So if you happen to have some links or names I would really appreciate it :).


  • I made an edit. Please check to make sure I didn't misrepresent you. You may roll back what I edited or continue editng. Regarding evil, Paul Ricoeur comes to mind perhaps because I recently thought about him. See The Symbolism of Evil. Welcome. Aug 31, 2018 at 0:38
  • Try literature.stackexchange.com
    – MmmHmm
    Aug 31, 2018 at 1:19
  • Ok! I'll try it there too Aug 31, 2018 at 1:27
  • BTW, I think this would be more appropriate for mythology and folklore SE. Actually this would be a study of myths.
    – rus9384
    Aug 31, 2018 at 10:37
  • Lewis Sperry Chafer authored a book titled simply Satan, which I found to be quite informative and straightforward. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Sperry_Chafer The book is available to read freely on Project Gutenberg gutenberg.org/files/12586/12586-h/12586-h.htm Chafer was a respected Theologian and recipient of three honorary doctorates.
    – Bread
    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


I think you'd have to go along the lines that Satan, or the devil, is the metaphor for or archetype of evil, so then you need to consider what evil is. Taking evil as self-centredness, then you have an angle on sin. Conversely you have the forgiveness of sin and grace.

So the image of the serpent in Eden is tempting Adam & Eve into sin; self-centred behaviour. This would be the crux of the antagonism you are enquiring about.

there simply is no way to an understanding of the forgiveness of sin apart from an understanding of evil, and an understanding of the full and total actuality of evil. This actuality is inseparable from an actual forgivenessof sin, but so likewise it is inseparable from a fully actual realization of grace.

Altizer, Godhead & The Nothing, The Transfiguration of Evil, page 98.


  • An irony is that typically people see evil in God of Old Testament. Jealous one. Narcissist who wants to be worshipped. One who killed those who rejected to worship him.
    – rus9384
    Aug 31, 2018 at 10:46
  • This is an important point about sin and I upvoted this answer. I would just note that in the Gospel of Thomas Jesus tells us 'Sin, as such, does not exist'. Esoteric religions speak of ignorance where exoteric religions speak of sin.
    – user20253
    Aug 31, 2018 at 12:29

The story of the fall of man from the Garden of Eden is one which has been told throughout history.

It is a story which has rationalised, explained and shaped our ideas of perfection and imperfection.1 Yet there is huge diversity in the accounts of the fall, and the portrayals of the characters involved. The Old English poem known as Genesis B describes the fall of Satan and his followers, his plan for revenge upon God, and his sending a messenger to bring about the fall of Adam and Eve. It comprises lines 235 to 851 of the Anglo Saxon Genesis, found in the Junius Manuscript, and is agreed by scholars to constitute a different poem.

However, the poem does conjure sympathy for Satan and his plight.

Firstly, the descriptions of Satan before his fall are repeated throughout the poem and serve to construct an image of him which is angelic and prelapsarian.

His brightness is referenced throughout the poem: ‘his lic wære leoht and scene’ (his body was radiant and shining; l.265); ‘engla scynost’ (brightest angel; l.338); ‘hwit on heofne’ (bright in heaven; l.350). Such repetition of his qualities before the fall mean the reader cannot help but associate these with him even while he is in hell.

As Belanoff writes, ‘We are reminded so often of a trait he does not have that the trait perversely adheres to our image of him’. Overall, it seems that Genesis B offers a challenging interpretation of Satan and his role in the fall of man. On the one hand, a Christian reader knows that

Satan is evil; but this poem presents him as a heroic, generous, esteemed lord who leads his men in a flawed rebellion, suffers the cruel punishments, and attempts indirectly to avenge his situation. Taken out of context, his behaviour is no less heroic than that of Beowulf or Byrthnoth, for example.

Yet the context is extremely important; this is a poem about the temptation of humankind. I would pose the theory that perhaps this poem is working to prove its own point.

If we view Satan as sympathetic, then we are being tempted away from God, by eloquent and logical reasoning: we are Eve. And thus the poem is not controversial or heretic; it is a test, to see if we fall.



  • Well, Satan is not a single figure in Old Testament. Consider book of Job. Thrre Satan is just the one who is highly doubt Job actually is faithful. However, the who actually is against God would not do that. BTW, earlier myth was about Ishtar learning sex from the tree...
    – rus9384
    Aug 31, 2018 at 10:41
  • @rus9384 "[Satan] would not...highly doubt that Job actually is faithful..." As Satan is the "father of lies", his primary function is to cast doubt in order to undermine faith in God.
    – Bread
    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:02
  • @Bread, I hope you know what you say. Satan asked God if he (Satan) can try Job testing his (Job's) faith. And God allowed him. In either way Satan there is a subordinate of God, not rebel.
    – rus9384
    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:04
  • @rus9384 Please explain how subordinate and rebel must necessarily be mutually exclusive, because I believe they are conditions which may coexist within the same personality.
    – Bread
    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:17
  • @Bread, why would a rebel be subordinate? Can a rebel be subordinate? A subordiate can disagree with boss/chef/etc. But that's not what rebellion is.
    – rus9384
    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:24

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