Satan's Fall


Before the New Testament, there were many powers of evil, with Satan existing alongside other demon chiefs. Satan did not become the one supreme evil power until NT literature. Many of these apocryphal books were written between the beginning of the first century BCE and the end of the first century CE.

"By the envy of the devil death entered into the world,
And they that belong to his realm experience it."
- Book of Wisdom 2:24

This passage usually is interpreted to refer to the temptation and fall of Eve. The following passages describe this encounter. (It may also be noted that this passage could also be interpreted as referring to Cain because according to Genesis, physical death did not enter the world until Cain murdered Abel.)

2 Enoch explains that the angels were created on the second day of creation and were assigned to various positions. One of the angels, called Satanel, rebelled because he thought he could become more powerful than God. God, therefore, threw him out of heaven.

  • "But one from 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 than the clouds which are above the earth, and that he might become equal to my power. And I hurled him out from the height, together with his angels. And he was flying around in the air, ceaselessly, above the Bottomless." - 2 Enoch 29:4-5
  • In his jealousy, Satanail decided to lead Adam astray, even though he was aware of his own sinfulness. When his plan worked, God cursed evil and ignorance, implying that it is through man's ignorance of his own nature that is the root of sin, not Satanail.

  • "And the devil understood how I wished to create another world, so that everything could be subjected to Adam on the earth, to rule and reign over it. The devil is of the lowest places. And he will become a demon, because he fled from heaven; Sotona, because his name was Satanail. In this way he became different from the angels. His nature did not change, (but) his thought did, since his consciousness of righteous and sinful things changed. And he became aware of his condemnation and of the sin which he sinned previously. And that is why he thought up the scheme against Adam. In such a form he entered paradise, and corrupted Eve. But Adam he did not contact. But on account of (her) nascence I cursed them. But those whom I had blessed previously, them I did not curse; (and those whom I had not blessed previously, even them I did not curse) - neither mankind I cursed, nor the earth, nor any other creature, but only mankind's evil fruit-bearing." - 2 Enoch 31:3-7
  • The Apocalypsis Mosis tells of how Satan used the serpent as a vessel to lead astray Adam and Eve. The serpent tells him that he fears the Lord's wraith, but Satan convinces him that he only has to be a vessel - it will be Satan speaking through him.

  • "And the devil spake to the serpent saying, Rise up, come to me and I will tell thee a word whereby thou mayst have profit." And he arose and came to him. And the devil saith to him: "I hear that thou art wiser than all the beasts, and I have come to counsel thee. Why dost thou eat of Adam's tares and not of paradise? Rise up and we will cause him to be cast out of paradise, even as we were cast out through him." The serpent saith to him, "I fear lest the Lord be wroth with me." The devil saith to him: "Fear not, only be my vessel and I will speak through thy mouth words to deceive him." - Apocalypsis Mosis 16
  • This book then mentions that it was the devil that spoke through Eve that led Adam astray.

  • "For, when he came, I opened my mouth and the devil was speaking, and I began to exhort him and said, "Come hither, my lord Adam, hearken to me and eat of the fruit of the tree of which God told us not to eat of it, and thou shalt be as a God." - Apocalypsis Mosis 21:3
  • A similar account of the fall of Satan takes place in the Books of Adam and Eve. These books give an account of how Satan tempted and brought about the fall of Adam and Eve. In the beginning, Satan is represented as being an angel of God. It then explains that when Adam was formed in God's image, Michael commanded the angels to worship him. Satan refused to do so because Adam was inferior and younger then himself. He claimed that Adam should worship him. Because of this, Satan and the other angels who refused to worship Adam were banished from heaven. Satan then decided to bring about the ruin of Adam and Eve. There is no reference to the Watchers or the union of angels with women.

  • "And with a heavy sigh, the devil spake: 'O Adam! all my hostility, envy, and sorrow is for thee, since it is for thee that I have been expelled from my glory, which I possessed in the heavens in the midst of the angels and for thee was I cast out in the earth.' Adam answered, 'What dost thou tell me? What have I done to thee or what is my fault against thee? Seeing that thou hast received no harm or injury from us, why dost thou pursue us?' The devil replied, 'Adam, what dost thou tell me? It is for thy sake that I have been hurled from that place. When thou wast formed. I was hurled out of the presence of God and banished from the company of the angels. When God blew into thee the breath of life and thy face and likeness was made in the image of God, Michael also brought thee and made (us) worship thee in the sight of God; and God the Lord spake: Here is Adam. I have made thee in our image and likeness.' And Michael went out and called all the angels saying: 'Worship the image of God as the Lord God hath commanded.' And Michael himself worshipped first; then he called me and said: 'Worship the image of God the Lord.' And I answered, 'I have no (need) to worship Adam.' And since Michael kept urging me to worship, I said to him, 'Why dost thou urge me? I will not worship an inferior and younger being (than I). I am his senior in the Creation, before he was made was I already made. It is his duty to worship me.' When the angels, who were under me, heard this, they refused to worship him. And Michael saith, 'Worship the image of God, but if thou wilt not worship him, the Lord God will be wrath with thee.' And I said, 'If He be wrath with me, I will set my seat above the stars of heaven and will be like the Highest.' And God the Lord was wrath with me and banished me and my angels from our glory; and on thy account were we expelled from our abodes into this world and hurled on the earth. And straightway we were overcome with grief, since we had been spoiled of so great glory. And we were grieved when we saw thee in such joy and luxury. And with guile I cheated thy wife and caused thee to be expelled through her (doing) from thy joy and luxury, as I have been driven out of my glory." - Vita Adae et Evae 12-16
  • These later accounts (Vita Adae et Evae and Apocalypsis Mosis) give a much more highly developed concept of Satan, that is close to the presentation of Satan in the New Testament. He appears as the great enemy of mankind and God, and is directly associated with the fall of Adam and Eve (which isn't the prominent teaching of the New Testament, although Paul does mention it briefly in 2 Corinthians 11:3). The Apocalypsis Mosis also is one of the only books to develop the idea that the Devil can take possession of a person (the other being the Book of Tobit in which Asmodeus appears to take possession of Sarah).