Catholic Dictionary




Chief of the fallen angels. Enemy of God and humanity and everything good. Other names for Satan are the devil, Beelzebul, Belial, and Lucifer. The serpent that tempted Eve was identified with Satan (Genesis 3). In both the Old and New Testament he is considered the adversary of God, bringing about evil and tempting human beings to defy God's laws (Wisdom 2:24; I Chronicles 21:1; Job 1:6-12). Even Jesus was subjected to temptation by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Later the Pharisees accused Jesus of "casting out devils through Beelzebul, the prince of devils" (Matthew 12:24). Paul warned the Corinthians against the temptations of Satan (I Corinthians 7:6). References to Satan are numerous in the Scriptures. The dominant feature of this teaching is that a personal, malign force is active in the world attempting to pervert the designs of God. (Etym. Latin Satan; from Greek Satan; from Hebrew s_t_n, devil, adversary; from s_t_n, to plot against another.)