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Eliphas Leviís Profile of Satan

From Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan

Published in the Theosophist 1881

 

 

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SATAN

Satan is merely a type, not a real personage.

It is the type opposed to the Divine type, the necessary foil to this in our imagination. It is the factitious shadow which renders visible to us the infinite light of the Divine.

If Satan was a real personage then would there be two Gods, and the creed of the Manicheans would be a truth.

Satan is the imaginary conception of the absolute in evil; a conception necessary to the complete affirmation of the liberty of the human will, which, by the help of this imaginary absolute seems able to equilibrate the entire power even of God. It is the boldest, and perhaps, the sublimest of the dreams of human pride.

"You shall be as Gods knowing good and evil," saith the allegorical serpent in the Bible. Truly to make evil a science is to create a God of evil, and if any spirit can eternally resist God, there is no longer one God but two Gods.

To resist the Infinite, infinite force is necessary, and two infinite forces opposed to each other must neutralize each other.9 If resistance on the part of Satan is possible the power of God no longer exists, God and the Devil destroy each other, and man remains alone; he remains alone with the phantom of his Gods, the hybrid sphynx, the winged bull, which poises in its human hand a sword of which the wavering lightnings drive the human imagination from one error to the other, and from the despotism of the light, to the despotism of the darkness.

The history of mundane misery is but the romance of the war of the Gods, a war still unfinished, while the Christian world still adores a God in the Devil, and a Devil in God.

The antagonism of powers is anarchy in Dogma. Thus to the church which affirms that the Devil exists the world replies with a terrifying logic: then God does not exist; and it is vain to seek escape from this argument to invent the supremacy of a God who would permit a Devil to bring about the damnation of men; such a permission would be a monstrosity, and would amount to complicity, and the god that could be an accomplice of the devil, cannot be God.

The Devil of Dogmas is a personification of Atheism. The Devil of Philosophy is the exaggerated ideal of human free-will. The real or physical Devil is the magnetism of evil.

Raising the Devil is but realizing for an instant this imaginary personality. This involves the exaggeration in one's self beyond bounds of the perversity of madness by the most criminal and senseless acts.

The result of this operation is the death of the soul through madness, and often the death of the body even, lightning-struck, as it were, by a cerebral congestion.

The Devil ever importunes, but nothing ever gives in return.

St. John calls it "the Beast" (la BÍte) because its essence is human folly (la BÍtise humaine).

 

 

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