Satanael in Bogomilism
In Bogomilism, a Gnostic dualistic sect that flourished in Europe in the 10th through 15th centuries, Satanael is the older of two sons of God; the other is Christ. Satanael existed before Christ and was created good along with all the other Angels. He was held in the highest esteem and sat at the right hand of God as his steward. Soon, however, he grew dissatisfied with his station and rebelled. He persuaded other angels to join him, promising them freedom from boring liturgical duties. God reacted by casting them all out of heaven. Satanael wandered in the void and then decided to make a new world for himself—a second heaven over which he could become like a second God. The universe became this second heaven.
Satanael created the physical world, with all of its misery and suffering. He inspired the Old Testament. He created Adam out of earth and water. But Adam was defective, and he had life trickling out of his right foot and forefinger in the shape of a Serpent. Satanael breathed spirit into Adam, but it trickled out and became the serpent. Satanael appealed to God for help, promising that God would be able to help govern humankind. God agreed because he wanted to replenish the ranks of angels depleted by the Fall.
Another version of the story says that Satanael could not animate Adam, and Adam lay lifeless for 300 years. Satanael wandered about the world, eating unclean animals. He returned to Adam’s body and vomited his food into his mouth. Thus, the soul is imprisoned in a defiled and corrupt physical house.
After Adam was created, Satanael created Eve with God’s help. He assumed the form of a serpent and had sexual intercourse with Eve with his tail, begetting the twins Cain and his sister Calomena (Abel was conceived by Adam and Eve). God punished Satanael for defiling Eve by making him dark and ugly and taking away his power to create and his divine form. God left Satanael to have dominion over the world for seven ages. Satanael gave the law to Moses in order to retain his control. He keeps humankind oppressed and strives to make people worship him instead of the true God. Humanity was unable to rise to the ranks of angels as God intended.
After 5,500 years, God sent Christ to Earth to tell people about their true condition and to help them unite with him. Christ/Michael defeated Satanael and took his place at the right hand of God, sending him out of heaven for a second time. He lost the -el suffix on his name, becoming Satan.
The Bogomils said the world of matter must be rejected and despised. They rejected the sacraments of the church and the cross, for they maintained that Christ never died on the cross. Miracles and the acts of saints are deceits by the Devil. The only salvation is gained through asceticism.
The Bogomils believed that Satan will be loose in the world at the end of time but will be defeated by Christ/Michael.
Satanail in Enoch
In 2 Enoch, Satanail is an archangel and the leader of the Watchers. He is cast from heaven on the second day, the day in which God creates all angels from a great fire he cuts off from the rock (foundation) of the heavens:
But one under the order of the archangels deviated, together with the division that was under his authority. He thought up the impossible idea that he might place his throne higher in the clouds which are above the earth, and that he might become equal to my power. And I hurled him from out of the height, together with his angels. And he was flying around in the air, ceaselessly, above the Bottomless. (29:4–5) Satanail is imprisoned in the fifth heaven along with the Watchers and Nephilim.
FURTHER READING :
- Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, N.Y., and London: Cornell University Press, 1984.
- The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Vols. 1 & 2. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. 1983. Reprint, New York: Doubleday, 1985.
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