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I'm remembering back to a conversation that I had with an individual who was adamant about the fact that Satan was a made up Angel. That instead of Satan being a singular object, satan was actually the term for an angel.

He was claiming that there is more then one satan in existence and they did the bidding of God.

If you know what this theory is called or if there is any evidence being it, please let me know.

Matthew 12:26 NKJV

If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

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Gnosticism, maybe? –  Richard Sep 8 '11 at 21:50
    
The Hebrew הַשָׂטָן (Satan) literally means adversary. –  dancek Sep 8 '11 at 21:51
    
Interesting. However, the Greek interlinear says "kai ei ho satanas ton satanan" so there seems to be a slight difference, albeit I have no clue how significant it is. scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/mat12.pdf –  felideon Sep 9 '11 at 4:06
    
@felideon That is fascinating! Is it possible that when they spoke Greek they were using the Hebrew word in it's place (like how English borrows many words from other languages)? I wonder if that came from the culture of reading the Old Testament Hebrew regularly. Nice find!! –  Richard Sep 9 '11 at 13:49
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@felideon. You might want to ask at Linguistics to be sure, but I suspect that the difference between satanas and satanan is purely grammatical: one is the subject of the verb and the other is the object. –  TRiG Sep 24 '11 at 19:15
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The Hebrew word satan means "accuser" or "adversary". It can be used in a general sense rather than as a proper noun. This does not mean that all occurrences of the word refer to a generic accuser. For example, Luke 10:18,

I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven,

is clearly referring to a specific individual. But in 1 Kings 11:14,

Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom,

the English "adversary" is translating Hebrew "satan". Clearly Hadad is not the actual devil.

In the book of Job, "Satan" appears in heaven and is instructed by God to torment Job. This matches the idea that "satan" can be a job title of an angel, who works for God but whose task is to tempt people and cause suffering. In particular, such a "satan" is not opposed to God. In the Hebrew, it is actually "ha-Satan", "the satan" or "the accuser" (eg in Job 1:6).

Historically, Jewish ideas about Satan changed significantly during and after the Exile, perhaps due to their exposure to Babylonian mythology. The idea that Satan is in active rebellion against God is certainly much more prevalent after this time, whatever the cause. Previously, the dominant view was against an independent adversary, and in favour of God controlling everything, good or bad.

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Lucipher is the fallen angel that we refer to as "Satan" or the devil or Beelzebub. All different named for the same person.

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I didn't -1, however they are not all the same entity. –  user1054 Mar 13 '12 at 12:45
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