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  • Lucifer, Satan, Father of Lies, Prince of Darkness...the Devil goes by many names, and

  • almost all of them sound like Scandinavian heavy metal bands.

  • In Christian religious writings, the Devil is a fallen angel that rules over hell.

  • So what does the Devil actually look like?

  • And is it even possible to make a video about Satan and Christianity without offending a

  • whole bunch of people?

  • Well, we sent our world-class team of researchers through a portal to hell to find out.

  • [Said as an aside:] We expect them back any day now.

  • Most Christians today have an image of the Devil as a red, horned creature.

  • But what does the Bible actually say about the fallen angel that became Satan?

  • Well, surprisingly, not a whole lot.

  • In fact, the Bible alludes to the fact that the Devil doesn't have a specific physical

  • form at all.

  • In essence, the Bible describes the Devil as a spirit being with no physical form.

  • When the book refers to angels - of which the Devil is a fallen one - it refers to them

  • as spirits.

  • Furthermore, since Satan is depicted as a master of deception and manipulation, he,

  • she, or them - we will use the traditional historicalhefor the purposes of this

  • video - can apparently take many forms.

  • And what better disguise is there for manipulation purposes than appearing as a beautiful angelic

  • being?

  • In 2 Corinthians 11:14, the passage readsand no marvel; for even Satan fashions

  • himself into an angel of light.”

  • Many Christians believe that the first time the Devil appears in the Bible is early on,

  • in Genesis 3.

  • According to your one aunt who disapproves of you living with your girlfriend, the serpent

  • that tricks Adam and Eve into falling from grace is the Devil, or at least possessed

  • by the Devil.

  • This is taken from a line in Revelation 20:2 that says, “he seized the dragon, that ancient

  • serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

  • This unfortunate reference would go on to give a bad reputation to snakes everywhere.

  • Well...the poison doesn't help either.

  • Nor does the movieAnaconda”.

  • However, some modern scholars dispute that the Devil took the shape of a snake.

  • Or, again, even that the Devil was that important in the Bible at all.

  • Henry Ansgar Kelly, a UCLA professor who publishedSatan: A Biography”, believes our current

  • interpretation and image of Satan is all wrong.

  • According to Kelly, not only is Satan not nearly as important or ubiquitous in the Bible

  • as most Christians currently believe, but he's also not such a uniformly evil character,

  • and certainly not the antithesis of God.

  • In the 45 books that make up the pre-Christian scriptures, Kelly only counts three direct

  • references to Satan.

  • That's about as often as you'd mention the weird barista at your local coffee shop

  • in a biography of your life.

  • Furthermore, in these books, Satan's jobis to test people's virtue and to report

  • their failures”, according to Kelly.

  • Even when the word Lucifer appears in the bible, Kelly explains that Lucifer was latin

  • forlight-bearer”, and is unlikely to be a reference to Satan.

  • Rather, it's the name the book gives to various other entities, such as Venus and

  • the morning star.

  • So any description of Lucifer can't be used as an accurate assessment of the Devil's

  • appearance.

  • Going back to Adam and Eve, Kelly believes the Revelations passage that casts Satan as

  • a serpent is mistranslated and misunderstood.

  • Nobody in the Old Testament - or, for that matter, in the New Testament either - ever

  • identifies the serpent of Eden with Satan.”

  • Christian philosophers of the second and third centuries were the ones who originally attributed

  • all these references to Satan, as they considered him a figure of great importance.

  • If all that is true, then where did our ugly, horned, horrifying vision of the Devil come

  • from?

  • Turns out, a lot of it was due to one pissed off Italian literary genius named Dante Alighieri.

  • Dante, as those who were at least partially awake in World Literature classes know, wrote

  • The Divine Comedybetween 1308 and 1320.

  • The narrative poem, now considered one of the best works of literature in history, was

  • divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso.

  • Because a lot of Italian really is just about adding O's to English words, these mean,

  • as you may have guessed: hell, purgatory, and paradise.

  • Therefore, the book included a lot of descriptions of the Devil.

  • In Dante's “Inferno”, the Devil is grotesque.

  • He is a giant, winged demon, frozen in ice up to his chest, trapped in the center of

  • hell.

  • In Dante's disturbing vision, Satan has three heads, each with a pair of bat wings

  • under each chin.

  • To top it all off, his three mouths are always chewing on the following historical figures:

  • Judas Iscariot, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

  • Judas was, of course, the disciple that betrayed Jesus, Marcus Junius Brutus was ofet tu,

  • Brutus?”

  • Caesar-killing fame, and Cassius was the guy that started the Caesar-killing plot along

  • with him.

  • As gross as this vision of the Devil sounds, Dante's version of the Father of Lies was

  • a little more pathetic than in other descriptions.

  • Dante envisions Satan as a slobbering, wordless demon subject to the same terrifying punishments

  • of hell he is doling out.

  • Furthermore, Dante emphasizes that Satan once used to be beautiful until he rebelled against

  • God.

  • A line from the poem states, “Were he as fair once, as he now is foul”.

  • Another medieval book, the Codex Gigas, also has very detailed images of the Devil.

  • Codex Gigas, which meansGiant Book”, is also nicknamedThe Devil's Bible”.

  • Given that the tome weighs a staggering 165 pounds, we actually think thatGiant Book

  • is the more accurate of the two names.

  • We have also never been so grateful for Kindles.

  • Throughout the several, several, hundred pages of the book, the devil is depicted with a

  • greenish face bearing red horns, eyes, and claws.

  • This comes closer to our modern image of the Devil.

  • But according to some scholars, it turns out Christianity also borrowed bits and pieces

  • from other religions and belief systems to fill in the Bible's blanks.

  • Bernard Barryte has curated an exhibit titledSympathy for the Devilat Stanford's

  • Cantor Arts Center, which somehow escaped the notice of Mick Jagger's legal team.

  • Barryte says, “bits and pieces from lots of now-defunct religions got synthesized:

  • the cloven feet from Pan, the horns from the gods of various cults in the near east.”

  • This image was highly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, which depicted the Devil

  • as the sworn enemy of Christianity and of all mankind.

  • A horned, furry beast, barely human in appearance.

  • As we dive further in, the research shows that the image of the Devil, besides being

  • influenced by important literary and artistic works of each era, changed along with the

  • interpretation of what the Devil symbolized.

  • For example, John Milton's workParadise Lostdrew Satan as a sad figure deserving

  • of pity.

  • This depiction, combined with the effects of the French and American Revolution, led

  • to images of the Devil as a more human character.

  • As Barryte says, “people interpreted the figure less as a demonic creature and more

  • as a heroic rebel against the oppression of the paternal god.”

  • At this point in time, many Christians wanted to remove the superstitious elements of their

  • religion altogether, considering them a bit backwards.

  • Therefore, this new more human look for the Devil suited them just fine.

  • By the 19th century, Goethe's “Faustleaned into the image of the Devil as a sly,

  • cunning manipulator.

  • At this point, the image of Satan switches to a more weasley-looking trickster.

  • Many bronze statues of this era depict him as a thin, drawn, frequently hunched over

  • man with pointed features

  • One thing many depictions share in common is the color red.

  • That's usually a theme for images of Satan, which makes sense as he rules over a place

  • where fire is eternally burning and people are bleeding from being tortured.

  • Some Christians believe that the Devil still occasionally walks the Earth, presenting himself

  • in the form of demonic possessions.

  • Popular shows and cartoons show him carrying a trident and wearing a red cape.

  • A few last-minute, ahem, “sexyHalloween costumes depict him in a red bodysuit and

  • horns, wearing nothing much else at all, and prone to being fined for public intoxication.

  • Nowadays, many works of art depict the Devil as embodied by a person, or institution, right

  • here on Earth.

  • The Devil has been depicted as a tailor sewing Nazi uniforms in Jerome Witkin's “The

  • Devil as Tailor”, or even as a red-clad papal figure next to a bloody woman inHeaven

  • and Hell”.

  • We will not be showing that second image in this video, and trust us, your brain cells

  • will thank us for that.

  • In fact, as corruption and sex scandals came to light regarding the Catholic Church, it

  • became common to depict the Devil as existing within the church itself, or at least its

  • important figureheads.

  • Whether drawn by religious Christians or non-religious artists, as society moves more towards addressing

  • issues and injustices right here on Earth, the concept of the Devil appears more and

  • more in human form.

  • Brutal dictators, genocidal psychopaths, and serial predators are all seen as evil to the

  • point of non-comprehension.

  • Aka…”they have the Devil inside them.”

  • However, the concept of an evil spirit, religious or otherwise, is hardly unique to Christianity.

  • Most cultures and religions around the globe have a being similar tothe Devil”, and

  • each has its unique take on what this spirit may look like.

  • Islamic mythology speaks of a demonic creature below the level of angels and devils called

  • the Jinn, a spirit that can take human or animal form.

  • They live in inanimate objects and are responsible for mental illnesses, destruction, accidents,

  • and other maladies.

  • In English we know them as...genies.

  • Clearly, Disney sanitized this creature a bit for its movies.

  • In many Caribbean countries, their folklore speaks of evil spirits known as Jumbees.

  • These Jumbees come in all different shapes and sizes, and carry different intentions

  • as well.

  • In Guyana, native people speak of the Massacooramanis, a large, excessively hairy man-like creature

  • that boasts a sharp set of teeth protruding from its mouth.

  • He always lives in rivers, where he drags boats into the water and feasts on the men

  • inside.

  • The Moongazer, on the other hand, comes out only during the full moon.

  • He looks like an extremely tall, slim, muscular man who straddles a road and stares at the

  • moon.

  • Anyone who tries to pass the road underneath him instantly gets crushed to death.

  • And really, if you see a naked 8-foot tall creature straddling a road and try to pass

  • it anyway, your death might be a little bit on you.

  • The most terrifying spirit of all is the Dutchman Jumbee.

  • It unfortunately makes sense that indigenous and Black Caribbeans would name the most horrifying

  • demon after the colonizers that enslaved and slaughtered them.

  • These Jumbees are said to be the spirits of Dutchmen who killed and buried slaves.

  • They reside in Dutchman trees, and if anyone climbs these trees, the Dutchman will make

  • them horribly ill, break their bones, or even kill them.

  • Some of the strangest looking devils in the world might be the Baku of Japan.

  • According to Japanese legends, the gods created the Baku with all the leftover parts they

  • had after completing the rest of the animal kingdom.

  • In one manuscript, the Baku is said to have an elephant's trunk, rhinoceros' eyes,

  • an ox's tail, and a tiger's paws.

  • Other illustrations show it with an elephant's head and tusks, claws, a hairy body, and horns.

  • The Baku isn't necessarily all bad.

  • Children in Japan would call on the Baku to come eat their nightmares.

  • However, the legends warned that people who called on the Baku too often would make the

  • creature too hungry, and it would end up eating their dreams, hopes, and desires, leaving

  • their life empty and miserable.

  • So the next time you dream that you are naked in class and forgot to study for the past

  • four years of school while your crush points and laughs at you...maybe just deal with it

  • on your own.

  • The Devil has taken many shapes throughout both Christian history, and in whatever analogous

  • demonic form he takes in cultures around the world.

  • Frequently, the Devil changes appearance depending on beliefs of the time, holding a mirror to

  • what role religion is playing in society during each era rather than having one fixed appearance.

  • Now that you hopefully have a good grasp on how to identify the Devil and various other

  • demons, as well as several images to fill your nightmares tonight - remember, don't

  • call on the Baku unless you really need it - check out some of our other stories and

  • legends on The Infographics Show!

Lucifer, Satan, Father of Lies, Prince of Darkness...the Devil goes by many names, and

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What The Devil ACTUALLY Looks Like

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/01
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