Devils are hyper-competitive, all-consuming creatures. They eat the “weak” and take on their properties in order to become more powerful and more capable of survival. They are constantly in flux, never remaining the same for long, since permanence and stability is seen as weakness. Consume and change and consume and change.
Is that really all that different from the way most humans are portrayed in Devilman? We see characters who are loyal friends one moment betray their “brothers” and join the riot seeking to kill and dismember other friends. We see other characters lay down their hostilities after seeing an expression of kindness. Humans shift their beliefs in order to survive the moment, and those who do not are destroyed by those in the larger mob. Humans don’t consume their kind in order to gain power, but they flow back and forth between moralities in order to ensure personal survival. It’s as if humans are the spiritual equivalent of the devils’ physical mercurial and destructive nature.
And both species originate from this region of space we call Earth.
My original idea was correct: We were seeing The Fall at the beginning of the first episode, and Earth has already been destroyed by God’s wrath once due to Satan taking a liking to the “simple” devil-like creatures of the previous Earth.
But why is the God of the Devilman universe bent on destroying Satan? Or is Satan the thing he wants to destroy?
Is Satan the real culprit here, or is he just the catalyst who casts light onto the inherent “sins” of Earth? The devils from the previous version of Earth were already pretty horrific, and we don’t see them do anything different in either era. These creatures may be aligned with Satan, but they’re just doing what they’ve always done, and the presence of humans doesn’t change any of this. The same goes for humanity. Satan just pushes humanity in the direction it would normally go if presented with a similar situation.
Satan instigates nothing that devils and humanity wouldn’t on their own. Yeah, that is Satan’s gig in most religious texts– getting people to make the choice of damnation– but that’s not how things are presented in Devilman. The way I see it, Earth is an inherently bad place, and its Satan’s presence here that directs God’s wrath upon it.
Damnation and Revelation isn’t about an inherent morality, it’s just about getting caught. Earth was so far out-of-the-way that it took one of God’s followers falling from grace and hiding out here in order for the world to get caught and get punished. And once Satan was here, God knew to keep an eye on Earth, so the human Apocalypse was an inevitability, devils or not.
That isn’t to say that humanity is inherently evil– no more than the devils– but that ultimate judgement and release from the cycle can only come about from something wholly out of our control. Satan gift of knowledge– that proverbial fruit given to humanity during its inception– is that inevitable dread of knowing that your ultimate fate is not yours to determine.
That’s how Satan damns humanity. He gave us the gift of God’s “love.”