One Sunday, I had a chance to interact with children as they were winding up their Sunday school. One eight-year-old boy asked me to explain to him what Satan looks like so that he could know that it is Satan when he sees him. It was pretty difficult to explain to him because of the many myths about the physique of Satan, but I believe I helped him get a little understanding. So it brings us to today’s topic; what does Satan look like?
The Bible does not give a vivid physical description of Satan. However, it gives instances when Satan manifested himself as a serpent in the Book of Genesis and as a male human when he tempted Jesus in the Book of Matthew. The Bible implies that Satan can take about any form as long as he can deceive you into joining him to oppose God. The Bible gives the nature of Satan that can help us determine if it is actually Satan in any of his deceptive forms.
Join me in this article as I write about Satan’s possible descriptions from the Bible, literary works, and History. I will also talk about whether we can recognize Satan from his looks.
Does the Bible describe what Satan looks like?
The Bible barely describes how Satan looks in terms of physique. This is because Satan is a spirit and does not have a physical body. Most description of Satan from the Bible is about his nature and not his physical appearance because it is hard to give spirits a sketchy appearance. Satan is described as the deceptive angel of light, a beautiful being, and the fallen angel. In the book of 2nd Corinthians 14:11, Satan is described as a being that will often deceive people to be the angel of light. The common description of Satan as a being that has horns which stem from the Catholic Church is not Biblical.
Where in the Bible can I find a vivid description of what Satan looks like?
As mentioned above, the Bible does not really give a vivid description of Satan’s appearance but gives hints of his traits. The Bible describes Satan as a wicked spirit that has forces that could work against Christians in the book of Ephesians 6:11-12. It talks about putting on the armor of God so that you defend yourself from the wicked spirit and its forces. Satan is also described as a being that poses as an angel of light in the book of 2nd Corinthians 11:14. This could mean that Satan will be that being or spirit that pretends to give you something good as a bribe to turn you to him.
He is also described as a fierce lion that is always ready to attack any believer of Christ in the book of 1st Peter 5:8. He is described as a dragon and a serpent in the book of Revelation 12:19. However, the description is often interpreted to mean his nature of deceitfulness, frightening, destructive and powerful.
What form does the devil take?
The Bible implies that the devil can take any form as long as it serves him the purpose of deceiving you to think he has good plans for you so you can get away from the truth and the true light. The Bible implies that Satan can make use of many physical appearances even though he is a spirit. For example, he took the form of the serpent when he went to tempt Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden. Also, he tempted Jesus while using a male human being’s physique, as suggested in Matthew 4:1-11. There are more appearances that Satan could make use of just to get to you because his mission is to turn you against God. So it is suggested that you can only know that in whatever form, human, serpent, or whatever form, Satan is always opposing God directly and indirectly, and he is real and defeated.
The literary depiction of Satan?
It is believed that during the late medieval era, Satan was depicted as a scary mythical animal like a dragon. There are some implications that one of the popes, Sylvester, literally fought with an animal that looks like a dragon to prove that God is powerful and defeats Satan, meaning Satan was the dragon. The dragon and beast-like depiction of Satan can be found in the book called The Emperor Constantine. Also, other cultures are believed to have depicted the devil as a beast with hooves, horns, tails, and webbed hands.
A Winged Devil
It is suggested that people in the 14th Century depicted Satan as a devil that had two strong wings, according to the literary works that have been passed down from that time to date. The famous poem written by Dante, titled ‘Inferno,’ implies that Satan was depicted as a devil with two wings. Also, it is suggested that this depiction stems from myths in Babylon that associate Satan with Lilith, who apparently had wings. Lilith is suggested to be the first woman and is associated with Lilitu demons that form part of the myths in Babylon.
Historical depiction of Satan?
Satan has been depicted throughout History as a serpent, especially in Hebrew History. This kind of depiction is backed up in the Bible, where the serpent happened to be the enemy that tempted Eve. Therefore, when the Hebrew talk of Satan, they often associate his image with the physique of the serpent.
A fallen angel
In the medieval era, Satan was depicted as a fallen angel as backed up in the Bible, Isaiah 14:12. In this book, Satan happened to be the angel who was too proud and betrayed God, then he was thrown out of heaven and fell on earth—a fallen angel. During the sixth Century, Satan was depicted through mosaic art as an ethereal blue angel. However, it is believed that as time went by, people started depicting him in a scarier manner.
Satan could have horns, according to History
Some people in the past have influenced the current generation with their depiction of Satan to be having horns. It is often explained with the parable in Mathew 25:31-36 that says that when Christ comes again, He will select His sheep from the goats. This is to imply that the goats could be those that are with Satan, and from this, the people have historically depicted Satan to be having horns.
Satan was also depicted as a handsome man
During the 17th Century, Satan was depicted as the most handsome man. History suggests that some people believed that Satan had god-like features in human form. gods and goddesses were believed to be so handsome and extremely beautiful.
Does the devil still have his angel wings?
The Bible does not explain further than the fall of Satan, who was a Cherub in heaven with beautiful Wings. Therefore, there is no information that can back up the idea that Satan still has his wings because, in occasions where Satan shows up physically to people in the Bible, including to Jesus, he did not have wings. However, there is a verse in Revelation 13:11 that suggests the closeness of Satan to the dragon, and dragons are believed to be having wings.
Does the devil have a pitchfork and horns?
The idea that the devil has a pitchfork and horns is believed to be a Greek myth. It stems from the Greek God of the underworld, who was thought to have a pitchfork; he was the God of the hades. Since Satan is believed to be the head of hell, the Greek people imagined him to be having a similar physical appearance. The idea of Satan having horns can also be found in the Bible. In the book of Revelations 13:11, it is written, “ Then I saw another beast, which came up out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb’s horns, and it spoke like a dragon.” This verse could imply that Satan might have horns.
Did the devil have horns when he was still an angel?
The story of the fall of Lucifer, as recorded in the Bible in Ezekiel 28:12-19, implies that Satan might not have had the horns when he was an angel. He was the most beautiful angel, and his beauty was said to be perfect. Satan was among the Cherubs, who are said to have been guarding and covering the mercy seat with his wings. The Bible does not mention that the Cherubs had wings.
Can we recognize Satan from his looks?
It is suggested that it is close to impossible to recognize Satan from his looks because he is a manipulative spirit that can take more than one physical appearance. It is believed Satan can manifest as a serpent, a human being, and many other forms as long as he can deceive you. Therefore, since Satan can take many forms, you can not recognize him based on his physical appearance; rather, you can check his character and nature. The scriptures imply that Satan is deceitful, proud, powerful, fierce and cruel, and subtle.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.