Most of us are probably used to imagining the figure of Satan in Miltonic terms—as the fallen Son of Morning, as Lucifer corrupted by pride, as the master of Hell himself, inciting all to evil, yet enwrapt in flame, eternally tormented on that burning lake in Pandemonium:
So stretched out huge in length the arch-fiend lay,
Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence
Had risen or heaved his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs,
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others.
The American Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards recurs to this fiery image of Hell in his justly famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741). There the ungodly are seen to dangle above “a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless...