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.
Famous quotes containing the word devil:
“Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.”
—Bible: New Testament, Luke 4:5.
“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)
“It is said, the devil takes care of his own. Much more should a good spiritthe spirit of the Constitution and the Uniontake care of its own. I think it can not do less, and live.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)