The Devil is billed (in the book 1001 Ideas that Changed the World) as something thought up by mankind about 3,516 years ago. I don’t know about you, but it makes me wonder why they wanted to think up something as fearsome as that.
I can just imagine some guy sat on a bench thinking (in Hebrew) about the plot for his next blockbuster novel. He’s got the name of the protagonist, but he needs to throw something in there to spice up the story – some obstacle to make his hero sweat for a while. So he dreams up a being of nightmare – a monster that is opposed to everything that is good in his champion. He thinks up a set of dastardly deeds, sketches out a fiery domain for his creature and even makes some notes about its scaly, terrifying appearance.
He can’t think of a good name right then, so he just calls this antagonist ‘adversary’ – just as a placeholder until he can think of something better.
Perhaps he writes his novel, perhaps not, but the idea stuck somehow and the Hebrew word for ‘adversary’ became a part of history – something that affects us still, in deep and profound ways.
You know what that word is? Can you guess? Yep – it’s Satan.
And the moral of this small tale of mine? Be careful what you write in your novels – you could change the entire course of human history.