The origin of evil is an age-old philosophical problem, which has attracted many scholars and has led to a plethora of diverse theories. The human mind by itself, constrained by the limits of space and time (Acts 17:26), can never grasp the truth about the spiritual realm. Therefore, we should not apply philosophical speculation or human precepts in discussing the truth concerning Satan’s fall. Instead, we ask the Holy Spirit to personally guide us to understand the truth that God reveals to us through the Bible.
Origin of the name “Satan”
Nowadays, the New Testament term “devil” is commonly used to refer to the representation of evil. In Hebrew, the word for “devil’ is שֵׁד (shed) and only appears twice in the Old Testament (Deut 32:17; Ps 106:37), whereas “Satan” is שָׂטָן (satan), meaning adversary or opponent; one who opposes the will of God. The Septuagint translates the Hebrew word שָׂטָן (satan) as Σατανᾶς (satanas).
The term traditionally used among Christians—“devil”—is translated from the Greek word διάβολος (diabolos) and this Greek word is derived from the verb διαβαλλειν (diaballein) in the same lexical family. These two words have an inseparable etymological relationship. The Greek word διαβαλλειν (diaballein) is a compound word from the preposition διά (dia) and the verb βαλλειν (ballein), which is literally translated as “to cast across” or “to hurl.” It also connotes actions such as “slander,” “oppose,” “accuse,” or “malign”; thus, the devil is called “the accuser” (Greek: κατήγορος - kategoros) in Revelation 12:10. Comparing the Old Testament term with the New Testament term shows that the “devil” is undoubtedly the epitome of evil and the leader of demons (Mt 9:34).
[To be continued…]