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Eliphas Leviís Profile of Satan
From Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Published in the Theosophist 1881
Satan is merely a type, not a real
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
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
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.
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