• Culture

Satan Isn’t Hell’s Ruler, He’s Its First Prisoner

Of all the myriad characters in the Bible, nobody has a worse reputation than Satan. He's described as a serpent, snake, dragon, and the literal embodiment of sin and evil. As such, it's no surprise that people hate him, treating him as the antithesis to God with the power to possess innocent souls and bring the apocalypse upon the world. The actual story, however, is far different from this popular conception. Satan, as written in the Bible, isn't really that powerful; he's simply a fallen angel who isn't that different from any of God's other created beings. Satan isn't even the ruler of Hell - he is just another prisoner like everyone else condemned to its depths.

In literature, Satan is often portrayed very differently from the red-horned devil humanity at large has come to hate. In actuality, he is an anti-hero, someone who opposed the often strict rule of God and suffered for it. If anything, these facts about Satan might show you that he's not so diabolical, after all.

  • Revelation Claims Satan Will Be Burned Eternally Along With Earth's Sinners

    The book of Revelation explicitly states that Satan's fight against God is futile. According to the tale, Satan was captured by another one of God's angels and flung down into an endless pit, where he would be forced to stay for 1,000 years.

    When his sentence is complete, Satan will be allowed out of his prison for a short time before organizing a global revolt against God. At that point, he and all of his followers will be sent to Hell for eternal torment in the lake of fire. At no point does Satan express a desire to reside in Hell, nor is he placed in any position of leadership until the final revolt. Hell is described as a prison, and Satan is stuck there completely against his will.

  • Photo: flydime / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    The Bible Claims Hell Was Created To Contain And Punish 'The Devil And His Angels'

    The Devil is often portrayed in fiction as the ruler of Hell, but the Bible states that God himself created and reigns over the realm. According to some interpretations, Hell was created with the explicit purpose of confining and punishing Satan and other fallen angels.


  • In 'Inferno,' Satan Is Trapped In A Waist-Deep Lake Of Ice At Hell's Center

    Many popular beliefs about Satan and Hell originated in Dante Alighieri’s first epic poem in his Divine Comedy, Inferno, which tells the story of Dante himself as he is guided by the Roman poet Virgil through the nine circles of Hell.

    When he reaches the final level, he finds Satan frozen in a lake of ice. As this contradicts popular interpretations of Hell as a place of fire, the image is a powerful one. It reinforces the idea that Satan is a prisoner in Hell rather than a ruler.

    Dante describes that Satan is trapped in ice from the waist down, with his head, torso, and wings free to move. Satan constantly flaps these wings in an attempt to escape, but the flow of air he creates is so cold, it keeps the ice frozen.

  • The Anticlimax Of Dante's Encounter With Satan Implies He Isn't Truly That Powerful

    Throughout Inferno, Satan is built up as one of the most powerful and malevolent beings in the universe. Dante's entire journey is centered around this climactic meeting, but once it occurs, the drama comes to a standstill.

    In Dante's poem, Satan isn't an all-powerful monster or a master manipulator - he's simply a fallen angel stuck in ice. His most deplorable action is devouring other cursed souls - a punishment thrust upon him by God. To reflect Satan's betrayal of God, this circle is reserved for those guilty of the same sin, and the souls the Devil devours are none other than the infamous traitors Brutus, Cassius, and Judas.