Pardon my ignorance, I'm by birth a non-christian and just trying to learn...keeping up with the philosophy of this stack-exchange forum. According to Christian, Gnostic/Book of Q or other Abrahamic scriptures, is there any description on Why Satan collects souls that are made subservient to him later on? To what purpose does it serve? Is it to fight with the Second coming of Jesus or to fight ultimately with the Father/God? Do they remain subservient to him after they are dead? Is there are reference to the number of souls he needs for that purpose?

  • "Collecting souls" is an odd way of describing what Satan does. Can you give us a link or reference to who describes it that way?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 22:52
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    I haven't come across any scriptures saying that. However, there are very many hollywood movies and songs that kind of imply that. For e.g. "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", "The Ghost rider" series in movies, "The Devil Went to Georgia" country song and so on, where the soul is kind of "collected" by signing a contract for carrying out his deeds. I was kind of extrapolating that if that's the case then how many would suffice or for what ultimate "bigger" purpose does he do that...
    – user43441
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 23:25

5 Answers 5


A better question might be “Is there any biblical basis for thinking that Satan collects souls that are subservient to him?” That’s because there is no such teaching according to mainstream Christianity.

The idea that Satan “collects souls” is neither biblical nor Christian. The Bible tells us that every living soul belongs to God” (Ezekiel 18:4) and that only God has the power to kill the soul (Matthew 10:28). Jesus also said that there is an eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41) and that Jesus has the keys of death and hades (Matthew 16:18). Hebrews 9:27 informs us that “man is destined to die once and face judgment”. This is God’s judgment, not Satan’s. Wherever the souls of persons who have physically died end up is entirely according to God’s will, not Satan’s.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

There are some denominations, however, that appear to subscribe to the power of Satan and his demons with regard to having control over the souls of the dead:

‘Aerial toll houses’ refer to a teaching held by some Eastern Orthodox saints and Eastern Orthodox Christians about the immediate state of the soul after death. It holds that "following a person's death the soul leaves the body, and is escorted to God by angels. During this journey the soul passes through an aerial realm, which is inhabited by wicked spirits (Ephesians 6:12). The soul encounters these demons at various points referred to as toll-houses where the demons then attempt to accuse it of sin and, if possible, drag the soul into hell."[1]

In some forms, the teaching is taught in hagiographical and other spiritual texts from quite early in the history of the church, but it has never been formally promulgated by any ecumenical council.[1] A number of the Orthodox saints, modern elders and theologians have openly endorsed it, but some theologians and bishops, starting from the last century, have condemned it as heretical and gnostic in origin.[2] The content is somewhat similar to that propounded by John Climacus in The Ladder of Divine Ascent. Some say that given the amount of fear that comes along with the teaching, the love of Christ becomes misunderstood and is forgotten, but others suggest that fear is perfectly natural and salvific for Orthodox Christians. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_toll_house

Another source of “misinformation” comes from ‘The Divine Comedy’, written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and 1321. It is written in the first person as Dante describes his imaginative journey through the three realms of the dead: Inferno (hell); Purgatorio (Purgatory); and Paradiso (heaven). Dante describes hell as comprised of nine concentric circles, representing an increase of wickedness, where sinners are punished in a fashion befitting their crimes. At the bottom of hell, Satan waits to gorge on the miserable creatures who reach him.

Dante’s literary vision of hell is depicted by Botticelli in his painting Map of Hell as a subterranean funnel of suffering—a wretched underground landscape of fire, brimstone, sewage, and monsters, with Satan himself waiting at its core. It’s all very disturbing, and effective as a work of art, but it is based on the imaginations of men, not the Word of God.

In Dante's Inferno, Satan is portrayed as a giant demon, frozen mid-breast in ice at the center of Hell. As opposed to the popular conception of the era, which viewed Satan as an all-dominating beast of Hell, Dante gives the portrayal of Satan as simply another victim of Hell's tortures. He places Satan trapped within the ice, stripped of voice and power and thus sets forth a new conception of who and what Satan is. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante%27s_Satan

These views do not represent mainstream Christian beliefs about what happens to the soul at death. Jesus said:

Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

God and Jesus are in control. End of.

  • Thanks for your response @Lesley, I am familiar with Dante’s Hell concept from Dan Brown’s Novel ‘Inferno’. Good to hear that mainstream Christian beliefs do not support the Satan collecting soul concept.
    – user43441
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 2:28
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    Dan Brown’s book ‘Inferno’ is a crib from Dante Alighiere’s “Inferno” so it would be wise to understand what Dante was on about first. He wrote this classic poem by around 1321 but it was an amalgamation of various myths, Catholic extra-biblical ideas, and Islamic traditions about the prophet Muhammed’s supernatural ‘night of ascension’ (lailat al-miraj) which is celebrated annually on the 26th of Rajab (the Islamic 7th month). I read a review of Brown’s book by A.N. Wilson. The heading gave the warning – “Bilge – but one hell of a page turner”. Wilson has written a book about Dante so you
    – Anne
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 8:32
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    would do better to go to this scholar rather than novelist Brown. Virgil the Poet is imagined by Dante to be his guide because, as Virgil explains, he was not a wicked man but as he lived before the advent of Christ he couldn't enter into Heaven. Dante believed Virgil would be one of the souls in Limbo within Hell, which would make him ideal as a tour guide of Hell. Limbo is a now abandoned Catholic teaching and the belief that pre-Christ people cannot enter Heaven equally questionable. Wilson concludes (in his review of ‘Inferno’ in
    – Anne
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 8:33
  • the 4th May 2013 Daily Mail article, p.15), “Dan Brown claims to have gone into philosophical, theological and literary history in great depth for his books, but if he has done so, he has left no trace of these in-depth researches in Inferno. It’s all twaddle.”
    – Anne
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 8:34
  • Add to the list of "interesting" movie is "The Ninth Gate"...
    – user43441
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 19:19

I have not found a statement referencing Satan collecting souls in any of the mainstream Christian documents.

I think this page gives a good overview of the doctrine of Satan according to the scriptures: Satanology.

  • Thanks Lionsden! If I have to apply those descriptions of Satan to look for him today in the real world, how would I go about doing it? Is he invisible to the eyes? Is it just me falling for the Seven sins a clue that I'm being ensnared, or my addiction to tech? How would you describe the evil today? Since, only if the definitions are clear there can be any hope of fighting the cunning devil right? Ephesians 6:12 mentions the principles of darkness that needs to be fought rather than persons or the Devil himself.Evil ideologies needs to be fought at the root level for uprooting it.. correct?
    – user43441
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 22:12
  • To identify evil there must be an absolute moral law in which evil and good is defined. I think 99 percent of this is outlined in the scriptures. Do not kill, steal, lust, and contrast love out of a pure heart with pure motives. When Jesus was tempted, what was His method of resistence?
    – Lionsden
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 19:30

According to my reading of scripture, particularly Revelation 20:7-10 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+20%3A7-10&version=NIV), after the final judgment, Satan, fallen angels and all rebellious humans will be imprisoned. Nothing is said about there being any hierarchy in Hell. As far as I know, Satan will be a regular prisoner like all the others, with no authority over anyone.

Until then, however, Satan exercises influence over some people. Some people are demonically or Satanically possessed, such as Judas. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22:3&version=NIV)

Satan's main sin is generally considered to be pride; he wants to be in charge, to supplant God. Thus all his efforts are aimed at opposing God's authority and asserting his own. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+14%3A12-15&version=NIV)


One more verse that sheds light on this is in Luke:

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. (Luke 12:4-5, NIV)

This directly answers the question of who is in charge of souls, Satan or God. Satan has power over human souls and bodies (within the limits set by God, such as the hedge around Job) in this life. In the life to come, all control over souls is in God’s hand.

  • Thanks! In the revealation 20:7-10. It is said the fire devours the Satan and the beast etc. and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Does that mean that Satan would not arise after next thousand years..since it said ever and ever. Any other references would be helpful. Thanks again
    – user43441
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 20:44
  • There are many views of the end times and the chronology of events described in Revelation, Daniel, and other prophets. I subscribe to a historicist interpretation. To me, we are already in the middle of the thousand years during which Satan is permitted to roam. Others have their own views. Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 15:59

Why does Satan collect souls according to Christian scriptures?

The Devil has been described as granting magical powers to sorcerers and witches, usually in exchange for worship or souls. In Acts of the Apostles 16:16 Paul the Apostle meets 'a slave girl who had an evil spirit that enabled her to predict the future'. He performs an exorcism using the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:16-19)- Devil in Christianity

The Adversary called the Satan desires nothing else but the ruin of souls, yours, mine as well as the soul of every Tom, Dick and Harry in the world. He wants everyone to be in hell with him and just as miserable and hate filled as he is.

We are warned in Sacred Scripture to be on guard against the operation and works of the Devil.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Satan is miserable at all times for he knows not what love is and seeks the ruin of us all. Just look how he treated Job, destroying his family and all he possessed and eventually covering him with a terrible skin illness. Yet in all things Job did not Sin. Job remain vigilant and faithful to his Creator.

But the dragon was not strong enough, and no longer was any place found in heaven for him and his angels. And the great dragon was hurled down—the ancient serpent called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Rev 12:8-9).

The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it” (Job 1:7).

Let us remembers St. Paul's words about who we have to deal within this life:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Be always on one's guard, for we know not when he will strike.

Jesus says that the eternal fire of hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). People were made for God. Hell was made for the Devil. Yet people who die in their sin, without Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, will spend eternity in hell with the one being who is most unlike God. It is a tragic irony that many who do not believe in the Devil in this life will wind up spending eternity being tormented with him in hell. - 4 Truths About Hell

Do not let Satan take a foothold in your soul, lest the Devil would enter your heart as what happened to Judas Iscariot. The Adversary is always searching for soul to do his deeds and lead others astray.

Be Vigilant!

"Men who are damned are not occupied in drawing others to damnation, as the demons are." (Summa Theologica, Suppl., Q. 98, a. 6, ad. 2)

  • Thanks! Suppose for argument sake that the eternal hell is completed and Satan and his angels are captured and are there right now. Why should God waste any more resources to torture him for ever and ever every thousand years? Seems to be a vicious cycle. If God could disintegrate the hatred and Wickedness etc. and make him a normal soul then wouldn't things be better? But then of-course he is Satan he will go back to wickedness. But then God is God too right with his infinite powers he can make sure that the time-lord straightens out his time line without all the negative properties!
    – user43441
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 19:15
  • @GopalAnantharaman I don't think it takes any "resources" for Satan to exist in hell. It is a logical incompatibility to say that God can ensure that a free moral agent always does good. God destroying evil means he would destroy everyone on the planet...there are many more questions, answers, discussions to be had on this but not this question. There are many good Christian understandings and books and writings on the subject of the problem of evil. They've been doing it since 2nd century at least. Lots of good answers there. Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 18:24

He doesn't. He just happens to be where people who reject the Light go. A drain doesn't pull water to it. He was just there first.