Thoughts on the “Old Nick” Reference

There have been many debates and contributions to the familiar reference to the Devil and I would like to add a few ideas of my own. As has been accurately pointed out, there might be an evolution of the description “old” when specifically related to the Devil. The Jewish description of the Devil as the Spirit of Adversity, that could have eventually turned into the familiar idea of Satan is useless here because depictions of age are notoriously absent from the relevant paragraphs in Job, dedicated to the grandeur of God more so than to his minion, “the Adversary.”

We have to refer to the Christian translation that first designated the Devil as the source of all Evil and described him based on the Eden associations as the “old serpent,” as has been stated on the quora site, the word used in Greek to describe the Devil as old, was archaious and my immediate association with  it was of “arche,” the principle of primordial matter, the essential element, used by the pre Socratic philosopher to account for the creation of the universe itself.

With that in mind,  is it not possible that the Devil could have been seen at times as an ancient entity in his own right, familiar with the first principles of Creation and participating himself in the process of Creation.

It is a small stretch of imagination but such figures have been known in mythology. Prometheus of course comes to mind, punished for his sins, ancient, a participant, according to some versions, in the construction of mankind, and a rebel to boot.

As far as the relation to the name Nicholas, a comparison to Santa Klaus comes to mind, especially when his dark assistant Black Peter is considered as the distributor of retribution.

Further, the reindeer have been compared to the goats of the god Thor, who is perceived by many scholars as the god of the people, which could correlate to the meaning of the name Nicholas itself, as “off the people.”

Interestingly enough, Thor, through his domain of lightning, could be partially related to fire, and is even portrayed with the red hair and beards in some myths, going back again to the idea of Prometheus who also had fiery connotations.

It might seem counter intuitive to some readers that the image of the Devil, much like the concept of Satan, can only be conjectured in its entirety, based on several disparate sources. At the same time, the idea of Aleister Crowley comes to mind, that the so called Black Brotherhood lacks cohesion.

I personally think that it makes perfect sense for the idea of the Devil to be composed of various elements. Taking into account that for many the Devil represents conflict and adversity, unity, when established and  successfully conceptualized, must be the purview of the other side.

If any of you reading this are wondering what the video embedded below has to do with the article, well, it features the Living Dead Dolls rendition of the Devil figure, Nickolas, that actually inspired this entire article.

 

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