In this final post in a series on the history of Satan, Vincent Czyz shows us how in the early centuries of the Christian era, the serpent in the Garden of Eden came to be identified with the Prince of Darkness, and the details of the story of the Fall From Heaven, familiar to readers from Paradise lost, were filled in.
In the intertestamental literature, written between the Old and the New Testaments, Satan continues his dual evolution into both the personification of Hate and God’s opponent. The New Testament exhibits completely contradictory versions of Satan: Sometimes he is the Tester, as in Mark, Matthew, and Luke; but in other places, as in Revelations, Persian dualism seems to hold sway.
In the Hebrew Bible, satan originally not a name but an office; he is a messenger from God, sent as an accuser and tester. There’s only a single reference to an independent spiritual force named “Satan.” This is the moment when the concept of the Devil as the West has come to understand it was born, and it may be a borrowing from Zoroastrian dualism.