DEMON EST DEUS INVERSUS.
THIS symbolical sentence, in its many-sided forms, is certainly most dangerous and iconoclastic in the face of all the dualistic later religions -- or rather theologies -- and especially so in the light of Christianity. Yet it is neither just nor correct to say that it is Christianity which has conceived and brought forth Satan. As an "adversary," the opposing Power required by the equilibrium and harmony of things in Nature -- like Shadow to throw off still brighter the Light, like Night to bring into greater relief the Day, and like cold to make one appreciate the more the comfort of heat -- SATAN has ever existed.
Homogeneity is one and indivisible. But if the homogeneous One and Absolute is no mere figure of speech, and if heterogeneity in its dualistic aspect, is its offspring -- its bifurcous shadow or reflection -- then even that divine Homogeneity must contain in itself the essence of both good and evil. If "God" is Absolute, Infinite, and the Universal Root of all and everything in Nature and its universe, whence comes Evil or D'Evil if not from the same "Golden Womb" of the absolute? Thus we are forced either to accept the emanation of good and evil, of Agathodaemon and Kakodaemon as offshoots from the same trunk of the Tree of Being, or to resign ourselves to the absurdity of believing in two eternal Absolutes!
Having to trace the origin of the idea to the very beginnings of human mind, it is but just, meanwhile, to give his due even to the proverbial devil. Antiquity knew of no isolated, thoroughly and absolutely bad "god of evil." Pagan thought represented good and evil as twin brothers, born from the same mother -- Nature; so soon as that thought ceased to be Archaic, Wisdom too became Philosophy.
In the beginning the symbols of good and evil were mere abstractions, Light and Darkness; then their types became chosen among the most natural and ever-recurrent periodical Cosmic phenomena -- the Day and the Night, or the Sun and Moon. Then the Hosts of the Solar and Lunar deities were made to represent them, and the Dragon of Darkness was contrasted with the Dragon of Light (See Stanzas V.,VII. of Book I.) The Host of Satan is a Son of God, no less than the Host of the B'ni Alhim, these children of God coming to "present themselves before the Lord," their father (see Job ii.). "The Sons of God" become the "Fallen Angels" only after perceiving that the daughters of men were fair,(Genesis vi.)In the Indian philosophy, the Suras areamong the earliest and the brightest gods, and become Asuras only when dethroned by Brahminical fancy.
Satan never assumed an anthropomorphic, individualized shape, until the creation by man, of a "one living personal god," had been accomplished; and then merely as a matter of prime necessity. A screen was needed; a scape-goat to explain the cruelty, blunders, and but too-evident injustice, perpetrated by him for whom absolute perfection, mercy, and goodness were claimed. This was the first Karmic effect of abandoning a philosophical and logical Pantheism, to build, as a prop for lazy man, "a merciful father in Heaven," whose daily and hourly actions as Natura naturans,the "comely mother but stone cold," belie the assumption. This led to the primal twins, Osiris-Typhon, Ormazd-Ahriman, and finally Cain-Abel and the tutti-quanti of contraries.
Dragons and other fallen angels being described in other parts of this work, a few words upon the much-slandered Satan will be sufficient. That which the student will do well to remember is that, with every people except the Christian nations, the Devil is to this day no worse an entity than the opposite aspect in the dual nature of the so-called Creator. This is only natural. One cannot claim God as the synthesis of the whole Universe, as Omnipresent and Omniscient and Infinite, and then divorce him from evil. As there is far more evil than good in the world, it follows on logical grounds that either God must include evil, or stand as the direct cause of it, or else surrender his claims to absoluteness.
The ancients understood this so well that their philosophers -- now followed by the Kabalists -- defined evil as the lining of God or Good: Demon est Deus inversus,being a very old adage. Indeed, evil is but an antagonizing blind force in nature; it is reaction, opposition,and contrast, --evil for some, good for others. There is no malum in se: only the shadow of light, without which light could have no existence, even in our perceptions.