The Devil (from Greek: διάβολος or diábolos = 'slanderer' or 'accuser') is believed in many religions, myths and cultures to be a supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly. It ranges from being an effective opposite force to the creator god at one extreme, where both are locked in an eons long holy war for human souls on what may seem even terms (to the point of dualistic ditheism/bitheism), to being just a comical figure of fun or even an abstract aspect of the individual human condition at the other.
Whilst mainstream Judaism contains no overt concept of a devil, Christianity and Islam have variously regarded the Devil as a rebellious fallen angel or demon that tempts humans to sin, if not commit evil deeds himself. In these religions – particularly during periods of division or external threat – the Devil has assumed more of a dualistic status commonly associated with heretics, infidels, and other unbelievers. As such, the Devil is seen as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment.
In mainstream Christianity, God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans, with the Devil seeking to lure people away from God and into Hell. The Devil commands a force of evil spirits, commonly known as demons. The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) describes the Adversary (Ha-satan) as an angel who instigates tests upon humankind. Many other religions have a trickster or tempter figure that is similar to the Devil. Modern conceptions of the Devil include the concept that it symbolizes humans' own lower nature or sinfulness.
People often put the concept of the Devil to use in social and political conflicts, claiming that their opponents are influenced by the Devil or even willingly supporting the Devil. In addition, the Devil has also been used to explain why others hold beliefs that are considered to be false and ungodly.
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... who having annoynted their bodies with an ointment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certayne inchaunted girdle, does not only unto the ... in Russia, again, men supposedly became werewolves when incurring the wrath of the Devil ... A notable exception to the association of Lycanthropy and the Devil, comes from a rare and lesser known account of an 80-year-old man named Thiess ...
Famous quotes containing the word devil:
“If the devil were to offer me a resurgence of what is commonly called virility, Id decline. Just keep my liver and lungs in good working order, Id reply, so I can go on drinking and smoking!”
—Luis Buñuel (19001983)
“The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“And get a comfortable wife and house
To rid me of the devil in my shoes,
Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck,
And the worse devil that is between my thighs.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)