The guardian of the Dead
Satan, also known as the devil, is mentioned frequently in the Bible. There are many
popular ideas about this evil spirit being. Some think that Satan is not real, but is rather a personification of the wickedness
that abides in the world. Others admit that the devil exists, but presume that he is now confined in the fiery pits of an
ever burning hell. Still others believe that Satan is free and actively promoting sinfulness in our world today. What is the
truth? What does the Bible tell us about this evil being?
God's Word clearly teaches the reality of Satan as a personal entity. He is presented as an evil being
who affects humanity by his actions. Many details about the devil are available in the Bible, but the facts have to be searched
out. In this article we will piece together what the Scriptures have to say about Satan and draw conclusions from the Bible
and other available sources.
The Misunderstood Angel
LUCIFER, also called Lucifer Calaritanus (d. c.370), bishop of Cagliari, Sardinia, was a fierce opponent
of the heresy of Arianism (first proposed early in the 4th century by the Alexandrian presbyter Arius, who taught that Christ
is not truly divine but a created being). To further his rigorously orthodox views, Lucifer Calaritanus founded the Luciferians,
a sect that survived in scattered remnants into the early 5th century. 8
It was attacked by St. Jerome in his polemic Altercatio Luciferiani et orthodoxi ("The Dispute of the Luciferian and
References to these Luciferians, without further explanation, has perhaps lead subsequent writers such as Nesta H. Webster to erroneously assume that they were satanic.
Lord of the Underworld
Hades, lord of the underworld, has grown weary of listening to the endless complaints
of the dead and decides that the gods, especially Zeus, have been abusing their power without assuming adequate responsibility
for their actions. He decides it is time to bring true justice to the world by conquering it and placing it under his protection.
Learning of Zeus' goal of conquest motivates him to take immediate action to prevent his brother from becoming an unstoppable
A Fire Giant
He is married to Laufey and is the father of Loki, Byleist and Helblindi. Laufey
gave birth to Loki while being struck by a bolt of fire from Farbauti.
God of Love
Cupid was the mischievous little god of love. His weapon was a bow, and anyone hit by one of
his arrows fell madly in love.
Cupid once scratched himself with one of his own arrows by mistake. He was looking at a woman
called Psyche, and fell in love with her. He knew that his mother Venus would be angry, so he hid Psyche away and told her that she must never try to look at him. Psyche thought
that she had been captured by a hideous monster, and, of course, couldn't resist taking a peep. She was enchanted by the first
sight of her handsome husband, and while playing with his arrows, scratched herself as well. So now they were both desperately
in love with each other. Venus drove Psyche away, and she had many adventures before she was allowed to stay with Cupid, and
Venus became reconciled to being a mother-in-law!
God of the Sun
Apollo was the god of the sun. Each day he drove his chariot of fiery horses across the sky to give
light to the world.
He was also the god of healing, so sick people prayed to him.
His most famous temple was at Delphi. There, his priestess would prophesy the future. But she wasn't
easy to understand. One day, a great king asked the priestess if he should invade a nearby kingdom. She said, "If you do this,
a great kingdom will be destroyed." He thought that she meant he would be successful, and so started the war. He lost disastrously.
It was his own kingdom that got destroyed!
Apollo had a son called Phaethon, who was human. Phaethon nagged at Apollo to let him borrow the sun
chariot and fly across the sky. Finally Apollo agreed. Phaethon proudly drove the sun chariot up into the sky, but then he
lost control of the horses. The sun chariot dived towards the earth, burning everything. Finally Jupiter had to stop him with a thunder bolt.
God of Time
Saturn was god of Time and his weapon was a scythe. He ruled the gods before Jupiter. He is called Old Father Time.
Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were his children. They represent Air, Water and Death, the three things that Time cannot kill.
The Romans had a mid-winter festival in honour of Saturn, called the Saturnalia. It lasted seven days,
and there was much merrymaking. Public business was suspended and schools were closed. Parents gave toys to their children
and there was a public banquet. That is why we eat so much at Christmas, give presents and go to parties!
God of the Sea
Neptune was the god of the sea. He carried a trident, which had three prongs. He rode a dolphin or
a horse. When the sea is rough enough to show white tops to the waves, these are called sea horses.
Neptune was also the god of earthquakes. He was called the Earth-shaker!
It may seem strange that Neptune was not a more important god, since the Roman Empire was based on
the Mediterranean. But the Romans were poor sailors. When Julius Caesar invaded Britain, it was considered an astounding adventure,
even though he was just crossing the English Channel!
God of the Dead
Pluto was the god of the Dead. When someone died, they travelled down to the Underworld. First, they
had to cross the River of the Dead, called the Styx. Everyone was buried with a coin, to pay the ferryman, Charon. Then they
had to get past Cereberus, a fierce dog with three heads, which would only let the Dead through. Finally they had to come
before the Judges of the Dead.
The only living man to fight Cerberus was Hercules, the strongest man in the world. He had to
bring Cerberus back from the Underworld. (He let it go afterwards.)
The moon of planet Pluto is called Charon.
The metal Plutonium is radio-active. It was discovered
at the same time as the planet Pluto. It is not only used for nuclear bombs, it is deadly by itself. It deserves to belong
to the god of Death!
Pluto sometimes got confused with the Greek god, Plutus, the god of wealth. This is not surprising,
since the names sound alike, and also wealth, like gold, silver or jewels, are found underground, where Pluto ruled.
The God of Wars
The Romans were great soldiers and thought Mars, the god of War, was very important. They
said that he was the father of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. When Romulus and Remus were babies, they were left
to die. But they were found by a mother wolf, who suckled them.
The Campus Martius or field of Mars, was next to the river Tiber in in ancient Rome. It was used to
train soldiers and hold horse races.
Messenger of the god
Mercury was the god of travellers. He had a winged hat and sandals, so he could fly. He carried a
staff with two snakes winding round it.
He was also the god of thieves! When he was only a few days old, he stole the cows of Apollo. Mercury made special shoes for the cows and made them walk backwards, so no-one could follow their tracks.
Eventually Apollo noticed that Mercury was playing a new musical instrument called a lyre, strung with cow-gut! Apollo was
furious with Mercury, but thought the lyre was wonderful. So they agreed that Mercury could keep the cows and Apollo would
get the lyre.
Mercury was also the god of science and business. I think that he's the god of the Internet as well!
The Smith God
Vulcan was the smith of the gods, and made Jupiter's thunderbolts. His smithy was in the volcano Etna, in Sicily, where you can see fire from his forge.
Once, he made Jupiter angry, and Jupiter threw him out of Heaven. Vulcan fell to Earth and broke both
legs, which made him lame. This picture from a Greek vase shows him in a sort of winged wheel-chair.
He made women of gold to help him in his smithy - possibly the first robots!
God of Doors
Janus kept the gate of Heaven, so he became the god of doors and gates.
He was very important,
because a house is only as strong as its doors.
His temple in Rome had its doors thrown open in times of War, and closed in times of Peace. They were
usually open! The Emperor Augustus closed the doors of the temple, since he brought peace to the Roman Empire.
Janus had two faces, one looking forwards and one looking back, since a door can let you in, or let
you out. The first month of the year is named after him. In January, we look back at the last year, and forward to the next.
Goddess of Growth
This is a picture of Flora, the goddess of flowers, rather than Maia, the goddess of Growth, but
they were similar goddesses.
In the Middle Ages, people went out Maying on the first of May. They would go to the fields and woods,
collecting flowers and enjoying the sunshine. This might have been in honour of Maia, the goddess of May, or Flora, the goddess
of flowers. Today, we still have the first Monday in May as a holiday. Sometimes people dance round a maypole.