The Baby Satan Holds in the Passion: What's That About?

We Like This Answer Better Than Gibson's Own (see links below)
By Ptochos on the Bible Navigator Discussion Forum
Used by Permission

The child is representative of Death, the incestuous child of Satan and Sin. This story is retold very creatively and figuratively in Milton's "Paradise Lost" Book II.746-814. As Satan flees Hell to deceive man, he is stopped at the gates by Sin. She describes herself as having sprung out of Satan's head when they together conspired against heaven's King. All the host of heaven witnessed her birth. Amazed, they named her Sin. Satan became enamoured with his daughter Sin, and out of an incestuous relationship between the two was born Death. Death is portrayed as a ravenous child eating at the bowels of Sin and out of the control of Satan himself. Only He who reigns above can resist his "mortal dint." Ultimately Sin is destroyed by Death.

This story was inherited through tradition by Milton, and ultimately stems from a creative exegesis of James 1:15.

["Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death." James 1:15 (HCSB)]

I think Mel Gibson probably intended to use the imagery in a figurative way similar to Milton rather than as a literal son of Satan.

Here is a lengthy quotation from "Paradise Lost." It is Sin's reply to Satan when he meets her at the gate of hell.

T' whom thus the portress of hell gate replied:
"Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem
Now in thine eye so foul, once deemed so fair
In heav'n, whn at th' assembly, and in sight
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined
In bold conspiracy against heav'n's King,
All on a sudden miserable pain
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
Threw forth, till on the left side op'ning wide,
Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright,
Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess armed
Ourt of thy head I sprung: amazement seized
All th' host of heav'n; back they recoiled afraid
At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign
Portentous held me; but familiar grown,
I pleased, and with attractive graces won
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Becam'st enamored, and such joy thou took'st
With me in secret, that my womb conceived
A growing burden. meanwhile war arose,
And fields were fought in heav'n; wherein remained
(For what could else) to our almight foe
Clear victory, to our part loss an rout
Through all the empyrean: down they fell
Driv'n headlong from the pitch of heaven, down
Into this deep, and in the general fall
I also; at which time this powerful key
Into my hand was giv'n, with charge to keep
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
Without my op'ning. Pensive here I sat
Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way
Tore through my entrails, that with fear and pain
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Trasformed: but he my inbred enemy
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart
Made to destroy: I fled, and cried out 'Death';
Hell trembled at the hedeous name, and sighed
From all her caves, and back resounded 'Death.'
I fled, but he pursued (though more, it seems,
Inflamed with lust than rage) and swifter far,
Me overtook his mother all dismayed,
And in embraces forcible and foul
Engend'ring with me, of that rape begot
These yelling mosters that with ceaseless cry
Surround me, as thou sa'st, hourly conceived
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To me, for when they list, into the womb
That bred them they return, and howl and gnaw
My bowels, their repast; then bursting forth
Afresh with conscious terrors vex me round,
That rest or intermission none I find.
Before mine eyes in oppoisiton sits
Grim Death my son and foe, who sets them on,
And me his parent would full soon devour
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involved; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
Whenver that shall be; so fate pronounced.
But thou O father, I forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though tempered heav'nly, for that mortal dint,
Save he who reigns above, none can resist."

More Answers:
What's Up With the Ugly Baby? - Christianity Today
Focus on the Family

Baptist TOP1000