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Theology professor dispels myths about Satan

Ryan Stokes with fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Photo courtesy of Ryan Stokes.
Ryan Stokes with fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Photo courtesy of Ryan Stokes.

A visiting scholar set out to determine where the idea of Satan came from in the spring lecture for the Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies program (AMRS).

Speaking at Ohio Wesleyan University on Feb. 9 to a packed Benes Room, Ryan Stokes of the South Western Baptist Seminary entertained the audience of students and faculty with charisma and interesting facts which he has learned from his studies on the origin of Satan.

Stokes said he wanted to determine whether or not there are stories from the Bible about how Satan came to be who people know as the devil today.

“In the old testament, Satan was just some obscure figure of relative insignificance,” Stokes said.

In the New Testament of the Bible, Stokes said the character of Satan is much more prominent, appearing in 19 different books.

“During that time between when the two testaments were written, Satan teams up with evil spirits, Satan becomes the ‘deceiver’ and the ‘tempter’, he becomes the leader of wrecked nations, and he became the enemy of God’s people,” Stokes said.

Stokes also cleared up several common misconceptions about Satan and the Bible.

“In the Old Testament, he was called ‘The Satan,’ it was a title, not a name,” said Stokes, “and The Satan actually worked for God.”

Stokes also taught that the Hebrew Scriptures actually contain no origin story for The Satan.

One audience member asked about how the number 666 relates to the devil.

“There is honestly no discernible correlation between the number 666, and the Satan,” said Stokes, “The number six hundred sixty six, not six-six-six, had connections to a beast, but that beast was never identified as The Satan.”

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