There is No Satan
There is no person named Satan in The Bible. What The Bible has is satan, lower case S, which isn’t a person, it’s a job. Specifically, a satan is a trusted advisor and counselor. More specifically, he is what we now call a Devil’s advocate. His job is to review God’s decisions and beliefs to try to find mistakes God made. This is what God pays him for, just like it’s what a mafia boss pays a consiglier for (you know, that lawyer who is the mafia boss’s right hand and tells him when he’s about to make a mistake). The role exists because God, unlike so many of the people who claim to be Christian (especially the protestors with hateful signs), is confident enough in his character and interested enough in doing the right thing that he has the humility to ask others for advice, listen to disagreements and change his mind. So I guess he’s kind of like a scientist. And he made us in his image, so if we can’t handle carbon dating, genetic homosexuality and measurements of the Earth’s temperature, that’s not us following God’s word, that’s us turning our backs on God’s example and throwing away the gift he gave us. Since we’re in his image, it’s not that we can’t listen to critics and change our minds, it’s that we don’t want to. Which is both an insult to God and a character flaw.
Satan doesn’t appear very often in The Bible. At all. His most famous appearance is in the story of Job. Job loves God. God says, I sure an lovable. His satan says, have your considered the possibility that he only claims to love you because you’re so nice to him? How do you know he’s not a fair weather friend?
God replies, good point, I don’t. We’re scientists, let’s do this the scientific way. I’m going to kill his wife and see if he still loves me. The satan says, ok, if that’s what you want, let’s see how he reacts. Job says, this sucks, but I still love you God. God says, see? The satan says, are you sure that was a valid experiment? It’s just his wife and you know how men don’t give a shit about women. God says, good point, I’m going to kill his children. He murders Job’s entire family, pissing him off. Job stomps off to Heaven and says, hey, what the fuck? What did I ever do to you? I’ve always been nice to you. You’re a dick God and I hate you.
The satan says, see, they only like you when there’s something in it for them. It’s a worship of convenience. They aren’t serious about their love of you, it’s just words.
God says, you’re right satan and I’m wrong. And Job, you’re right too, killing your family was a dick move. I apologize to you. To make up for it, here’s a new wife and some kids. And again, sorry.
So that’s the uber-famous story of Job. It’s one of the few mentions of satan and in it his job is to help God think through things and consider alternatives. Thanks to the satan, God realized that even the most apparently devout person might just be saying he loves God and when push comes to shove, he abandons him. Satan helped scientist God explore human nature and learned a valuable lesson. Satan is the good guy.
And that’s what The Bible says about satan.