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Satan and Man (Matthew chap. 4, vers. 10)

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Jesus calls Satan the being with which he is confronted. Matthew calls him in different ways: devil, tempter and satan. The word Satan is a title of a being not a person like Jesus. It should be noted that Jesus is always called by the evangelist by his name – the devil also calls him  Son of God – while the mysterious being is defined on the basis of the function it performs with regard to Jesus.

Calling him Satan, the evangelist refers to his function as an adversarysatan is an Hebrew word that means adversary – because this is the final confrontation, where Jesus establishes the right values. Only God can be worshiped. To worship and to serve are terms of a parallelism where the phrase Lord thy God corresponds to the word him.

By saying this, Jesus warns man that the greatest adversity is the lost of values, i.e. the right points of reference. This happens when you worship an human being who disguises himself as God and who, with his subtle reasoning, wants to pose himself as the undisputed god of your life. From this adversity comes every other human problem and drama, because the risk is the lost of the greatest of human dignities: freedom.

It is necessary to say to anyone who wants to steal our dignity, our inalienable freedom, that we choose and that we follow the path that only God has traced for us. So is devil the adversary? Is he a personal being? Yes if we think that Evil can use men and women. He becomes a person using  human being to hinder the path of another human being; whenever envy and jealousy destroy the possibility to become what God has established for us.

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Simone Venturini

Writer and Researcher at Vatican Secret Archives, Professor of Bible at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross od Rome

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