I noticed it when I watched Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” almost 20 years ago. Satan was portrayed as an androgynous being, though to me at the time, the character seemed more feminine than masculine. Maybe that was just my bias, but I checked it with a number of others who had seen the movie and they agreed that the character seemed that way to them too. I have watched a number of recent shows that have portrayed the devil as female, and it stopped me in my tracks. Is this a trend? Where are the producers, writers, and directors of these shows getting their theological information? Is it wrong or right or a non-issue? After all, the Bible generally puts women in a bad light, and the church purposely created myths and lies to demean strong women, like changing Junia (female) to Junias (male) in Romans 16, or teaching that Mary Magdelene was a prostitute. Portraying God as male and Satan as female throws up all kinds of red flags for me, but again, maybe this is much ado about nothing.
Considering the way most Christians feel about women in general, I don’t think this is a non-issue. My opinion has always been this: if you don’t think women should be clergy, or you agree with 1 Corinthians 14 that women should keep silent in church and learn only from their husbands, or that, like 1 Corinthians 11 tells us, the man is the image and glory of God, and the woman is in the image of the man (I could go on, but I think that is quite enough) – if you think these things are true, you are out of step with Jesus. It doesn’t matter if the Bible has misogynistic passages and ideas; Jesus treated women as equal to men in every way, and they should be allowed the same rights, privileges, and calls from God as men are offered. Portraying Eve as a deceiver has caused immeasurable damage to women over the centuries, even though Paul, in Romans 5, put the blame for humanity’s fall squarely on Adam. Women have been abused, controlled, scapegoated, and mistreated because of what men wrote in Scripture, and portraying the Devil as a woman is not only wrong; it isn’t Biblical.
It’s girls’ attire that is controlled in schools, not boys. It’s women who are blamed for sexual assault and rape, not men. The ban on abortion puts the responsibility for birthing children solely on women and girls. We live in a culture – a world – that treats men like children who can’t control themselves and women like chattel/livestock to be used. Just consider how women seeking office, so as not to be considered unstable, have to maintain their composure while men can get emotional without any consequences. We allow Scripture to be used and manipulated by weak men because, centuries ago, those selfish, childish “leaders” couldn’t handle strong, intelligent women. Sarah Palin’s own church used this reasoning against her when she was nominated for vice president, so it isn’t just an anti-Hillary Clinton thing. And while these female Satan are strong characters, they are still the personification of evil. I don’t think that does women any good. Or men, for that matter.
Prayer – Show us how we are all in Your image, God of all creation, and that, as Paul wrote, there is male or female in You. Amen.