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Many people have seen the Classical depiction of Satan in paintings and statues, but what does scripture say about what Satan looks like?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Apparently, anything he likes, including an angel:

2 Corinthians 11:14:

... Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

Assuming Satan is an angel, then he can probably take on any appearance, at least that of a human:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2

And possibly a snake (though some Christians do not take this passage literally)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.

Genesis 3:1

More information can be found on the Christian demonology Wikipedia article.

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Similar to Apperance | Christian demonology? Taken from here or you Wiki editor? –  FMS Jul 15 '14 at 23:02
@FMShyanguya: it was a while ago when I wrote it but I think it was all original work based on my existing Bible knowledge. I don't remember ever looking at that link, prior to today. –  Wikis Jul 16 '14 at 4:51
got it! It could also be the other way round, perhaps the editor of Wikipedia lifting from you ... –  FMS Jul 16 '14 at 6:15
@FMShyanguya - very flattering, but no. If you look at the changes to that page since I posted this, the Appearance section is not edited. :) I think any similarity is because the verses I have quoted I quite well known to many Bible-reading Christians. –  Wikis Jul 16 '14 at 6:57
nice! I am learning so much. may I suggest the a reference to Wikipedia in your answer so that people may not conclude as I did? –  FMS Jul 16 '14 at 7:02

Don't forget the images in Revelation:

an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. Rev 12:3–4 NIV

And especially this one, which gives the Number of the Beast:

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon...It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
    This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. Rev 13:11,16–18 NIV

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Although some readings (particularly modern dispensational ones) associate them, many historical interpretations say that the beast of Revelation is not the same thing as Satan. Even if they were, this imagary is clearly intended to be symbolic of a function, not necessarily the physical appearance of an individual. Considering how this conflicts with how Satan is known to appear from clearer scriptures, I think one ought to prioritize the other facets. –  Caleb Apr 30 '12 at 21:02

It should be noted that as an angel, aside from a stint in fleshly imagery in the West, Satan like other angels is considered to not actually have a 'true appearance' at all. He is a bodiless intelligence and is thus, invisible.

It is highly misleading to try to tack down his appearance, like that of any angel or demon, because what they are is not primarily bodily and thus, passively or objectively visible, but intelligible and intelligent, and subtle. Any image they assume can be considered a 'vision of angels', since they have no actual appearance. How they appear is based on how they wish to be intelligible to us.

If you can stomach it, you may wish to consider On The Divine Hierarchy by St. Denys.

Satan can appear as an angel of light and frankly, as alluded to above, whatever suits him and God permits.

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How is it then, as is said, '[...] they shall see God'? –  FMS Jul 16 '14 at 23:06
As an angel, he is primarily a "pure spirit". –  Yves Jul 22 '14 at 15:48
@Yves Jesus says that in resurrection there is no marrying or giving in marriage but we shall be like angels. Do you think we also will lose our bodies, when we meet Jesus? –  One Face Jan 18 at 11:59

The Bible says that Lucifer( Satan's former name)was a cherub(Ezekiel 28:14). Cherubs are not cute little chubby angels but are in truth actually pretty frightening to look at. Cherubs are twenty cubits long, had four faces(of an ox, lion, eagle and man), an enormous wingspan, huge flaming swords and are covered in eyes according to Ezekiel and Isaiah's accounts. We can only assume that Satan looks like one of these.

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Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. This answer needs more support. It needs sources and citations, if necessary, to support what you are saying. Otherwise, it just looks like your opinion. Please edit more to it to make a truly academic answer. Thank you. References: Guidelines for writing effective answers and What is a well-sourced, dispassionate answer? –  fredsbend Oct 12 '14 at 23:17
Remember that the Scripture also says he comes as an angel of light. –  Affable Geek Oct 13 '14 at 0:22

Truth's own testimony

19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. - cf. Luke 10:19 (RSVCE). (Spoken in this context: Luke 10:18-20 (RSVCE)).


Than Truth's own word there is no truer token. - cf. Hymn: Adoro te devote | St. Thomas Aquinas.


A look at the returns on biblical search on Satan shows that there is no biblical description of how Satan looks like, and therefore, the answer that follows will be what we can deduce Satan looks like from the Bible.

Since Satan goes to great lengths to disguise himself as an angel of light, he really must be anything but what an angel of light looks like.

God differentiates evil from Good that he IS. Just as he separated light from darkness.

StackExchange differentiates between an increase in reputation and a decrease in repuation. The former by +(green number), and the latter by -(red number).

Only God is Good [cf. Mk 10:18] and he alone is creator. Good and evil belong to the knowledge of God [cf. Gn 3:5], therefore it is he who determines what evil should look like since he is the only Good. Hence the separation of what is clean and unclean, what is an abomination or not as in Lv Ch 11 and Dt Ch 14. For example:

Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, all the swarming things that swarm upon the earth, you shall not eat; for they are an abomination. [Lv 11:42]

We know most people's reaction when they see a snake, or a centipede, or a scorpion.

Another illustrative example in Rv 18:2

[A]nd has become the haunt of devils [Is 34:11f] and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird. [Rv 18:2]

And if Be-el′zebul chief of demons be Satan, from BEELZEBUB or BEELZEBUL: | he is "god of the dung" or "lord of flies."

Other examples:

Concluding, in general, should one see demons - Satan being their leader - as they really are, the sight will more likely evoke a worse reaction than people have when the encounter say a snake, scorpion, etc., consistent with the biblical description of Satan or the Devil as the primeval serpent and dragon. Since God is beauty and attractive, Satan must appear not-comely and repulsive, and Since God is Light and his children stars and light, Satan must be/appear dark. Finally since Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, he really must be anything but what an angel of light looks like.

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[edited] This is not representative of Christianity's views (nor Biblically accurate). The issue of Satan masquerading as an angel of light is not put in the relevant context that most Christians would put it in, and side issues such as people being attracted to evil things (esp in their unregenerate state) are not explained satisfactorily. –  Caleb Jan 17 at 3:22
Meta discussion. –  FMS Jan 19 at 4:38
The issue of Satan masquerading as an angel of light is not put in the relevant context that most Christians would put it in - unclear who these most Christians are. This is the basic introduction one gets when coming to the site (the importance of scope). and side issues such as people being attracted to evil things (esp in their unregenerate state) are not explained satisfactorily - I have asked for an understanding of this and have been unable to obtain it from @Caleb and the participants at META. Moving on. –  FMS Jan 23 at 0:29

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