reply to post by Chipkin9
My understanding is that Satan began as an agent of God. Originally, as I understand it, Satan's role was to challenge the faith of those who
believed in God's word. This being why Satan bears the title of "adversary." The title is not given in the sense of "God's enemy," but as one
who tests your faith.
Consider the story of Job, and how Satan appeals to God first, asking permission to test Job's faith. It is only as God grants Satan more power that
Satan's attacks on Job and his faith become more serious. The end result, however, never changes. Satan, from the beginning, was fulfilling the role
of adversary to man's faith. Everything Satan did was ordained by God, and was done solely to challenge Job's faith in God. To me, that is the
perfect example of the original Satan and his function in Christian theology.
I cannot for sure say when Satan began to take on a life of his own, but, I imagine it had much to do with the spread of Christianity after the first
Council of Nicaea. A Satan with horns, hooves, and a spiked tail, as typically portrayed in the modern media, is really an amalgam of various pagan
spirits, deities, and totems. Some of the more prominent pagan spiritual figures that inspired the image include the Olympian god of the wilderness,
Pan, from Greece; and his Celtic counterpart, Cernunnos, from Gaul.
Lucifer is an even more obscure figure than Satan, who is at least mentioned in the Bible by name. To my knowledge "Lucifer" is not actually
recorded in the Bible. Instead, you get titles and pseudonyms, like "the morning star" and "the dragon". Whether or not the reference is to
Lucifer, the apocryphal fallen angel, or to Satan, the adversary of man's faith, is, in my mind, open to debate. The fact remains though, that I
cannot readily recall a verse in the Bible that uses Lucifer's name, as opposed to a title.
What Lucifer is, I think, is a philosopher's Devil. Just as Mephistopheles was invented for "Faust," I think that Lucifer was added to Christian
theology when it became clear that a solitary Satan, the Devil, could not possibly pose a threat to an omniscience, omnipotent, and all-loving God.
The Old Testament already demonstrably proves that Satan is subject to God's will, and the New Testament furthers this by showing that Satan is
unable to sidetrack Jesus Christ during His mission.
Satan was no longer a fitting answer for the "problem of evil," as Christians did not like to admit that God was the architect of both good and evil
(Isaiah 45:7). To relinquish God from being responsible for all of man's suffering, they introduced a new figure: Lucifer, who comes bearing wisdom,
light, and an alternative path. Lucifer was, in my mind, introduced as a way to shift the goal posts, and place the burden and blame of evil on the
shoulders of someone other than God.
To further support this, Medieval Christians began introducing the idea that God could be hurt by evil, by sin, by profanity and faithlessness. This
is how we end up with euphemistic terms like "gadzooks," which means "God's hooks" and implies wounding God with your actions and deeds: a direct
reference to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; and "zounds," which means "God's wounds," and refers to the wounds Christ suffered before the
All of this is, of course, just my personal understanding of Satan and Lucifer, supported by my meager knowledge of the Torah, Bible, and history. I
myself am not a Christian, and have no such belief in God, Jesus, Satan, or Lucifer. I don't feel that my stance on the legitimacy of Christianity
makes my understanding of its tenets and figures any less valid though.
~ Wandering Scribe