The Numerology of 666: Is It Really Such an Evil Number?

666. The Mark of the Beast, the Antichrist, the Devil’s number. Seeing it strikes fear in the hearts of many, while others find it simply amusing. Whatever your viewpoint, this number always seems to draw attention and controversy. Most commonly associated with the Bible in the Book of Revelations (13:17-18), 666 can be symbolic of many things and have multiple meanings. In the realm of numerology is 666 really all that evil?

What’s in a Number?

To paraphrase Shakespeare, What’s in a number? That which we call evil by any other number would still be bad. Numbers are often used as symbols, but what really counts is the intention behind them. Numbers in and of themselves are neither good nor bad. It is we who assign meaning to them. After all if you had a winning lottery ticket with 666 on it, would you object?

In some spiritual circles, 666 is a triple number of 6, a feminine number representing home and family, idealism and loyalty.

Either way, numbers can be looked upon for guidance in our lives. The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was a true believer of this and is often credited as the founder of numerology, but as far as we know, he never mentioned the number 666.

The Many Interpretations and Representations of 666

Although most of us know about 666 from Christianity and the Bible, there are many other interpretations for this number. In some spiritual circles, 666 is a triple number of 6, a feminine number representing home and family, idealism and loyalty. As a triple number it has three times the power of a typical 6, meaning even greater energy. Among some pagan cultures, 666 is actually symbolic of goddess energy—one number 6 for each aspect of the goddess—maiden, mother and crone. Who knows? Maybe 666 became associated with evil due to some ancient male writer’s fear of women.

In other philosophies, 666 refers not to the Mark of the Beast, but to humanity. According to researcher Clyde Lewis, he reminds us that we are carbon-based living units, which reduces us to 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons or 666. Perhaps mankind is the so-called beast. Some biblical interpreters would agree, citing that Revelations 13:18 should be translated as “the number of man” plural instead of the “number of a man” singular.

According to ancient Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah, 666 is a holy number. It represents creation and the physical universe. In the Torah, God creates the world in 6 days. There are also 6 cardinal directions emanating from a central point in the universal plane—north, south, east, west, above and below. All physical space and objects adhere to these dimensions. Repeating the number 6 three times emphasizes the power, strength and perfection of creation.

Finally, 666 has long been associated with the Antichrist or an evil man of power. Using gematria where letters are translated into numerical values, many historians and futurists have tried to figure out who this person is. It has often been said that the Roman Emperor Nero’s name added up to 666. He was obviously the devil incarnate to many early Christians that suffered under his persecution. Yet Nero wasn’t the only one accused of being the Antichrist, many have claimed former President George W. Bush’s name also adds up to 666. And finally there is the self-proclaimed 666 Beast, the famous occultist Aleister Crowley. Apparently there is no monopoly on the number 666.

The Devil in Us All

Esoterically speaking, 666 can also symbolize humanity at its lowest level of imperfection. 6 can represent the material world and tripling it signifies we are too focused on the material and thus neglecting our spiritual nature. That obviously leads us down the wrong path. Starting with materialism, we can slide down a slippery slope into greed, selfishness and a multitude of other sins. 666 can remind us that we all have a potential devil inside.

Whether you fear this controversial number or not, there is no denying its many meanings—especially the good ones. Maybe 666 really isn’t so evil after all!