WARNINGS: this must be read in a philosophical way, not religious one. As I’m an atheist, I’m treating this as literature. I love Lucifer’s character as I love Hamlet or Faustus. So don’t call me Satanist or whatever =___= This is purely for intellectual delight.
The dualistic battle between “good” and “evil” does not start with monotheistic religions. We can see that evil figures can be found in the Ancient Mesopotamian religion
(Nergal), in the Egyptian mythology (Apophis, Set), in the Greco-Roman paganism (Chaos, Erebus, Tartarus, Discordia, Nemesis, Invidia), in the Norse mythology (Hel).
The said dichotomy is very common in philosophy, religion, ethics and it was felt in the same way by different people worldwide. While they tried to explain, offer their point of view, or show evil/good in a religious way, everyone would destroy the evil and make the good shine. In a philosophical contest, evil was explained as absence of good, that was its opposite; but some philosopher would argue that both factors (good and evil) were essential to the universe’s unity (like the Taoist Yin, that can’t exist without the Yang and the Yang that can’t be without the Yin).
The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated that a war comes from opposites, but that this duality is necessary for harmony. He called this “logos” or universal law of the Nature.
Later, Spinoza would say that “By good, I understand that which we certainly know is useful to us. By evil, on the contrary I understand that which we certainly know hinders us from possessing anything that is good”
But what’s “good”? What’s “evil”?
From a non-theological point of view, good can be explained as everything we do that does not harm others or ourselves, helping other people or living beings in the ways we can, respecting others, promoting peace and justice; while evil is basically the opposite: harming others (physically or psychologically), disrespect, injustice, inequality, in short, doing something we know it’s bad.
Of course, every person has in itself its own way to explain them, following their own ethics, but, in big lines, this is it.
Religions included the good/evil discourse and made it its ethical base, but also changing their connotations. To guide people, they would say to believe in Gods/God and be good, because, only in that way, Heaven would have been reached for sure. As we know, religious power had always been strong, along with the imperial one; what I’m trying to say is that their only power was in the people who believed. If there were no believer, every religious system would have fallen, and so their privileges, and they couldn’t let it to happen. So, often, they would brutally kill or force into conversion or to leave the country who didn’t conform.
How did the king make his people follow the rules? By laws.
How did institutionalized religions make people follow them and so maintain their power? By a God’s laws.
Funnly enough, in the past, State and Religion were so much linked (though often in hostility too) that the King, the Emperor or the Pharaoh was considered chosen by God itself, and so, like a God on Earth. It was a vantage both for the ruler and the religious power.
Things got harder and stricter when the institutionalised religion forced conversion on the countries they conquered: just think about the pagans (though they were in their own land), the Saxons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or the Native Americans. (By Catholics).
Examples of forced conversions can be found in religions like Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Atheism too (though this one is not a religion, of course).
It would be too long (I would say, impossible) to talk about how every institutionalized religion had always tried to keep control and power from their birth till now, so I’m going to leave it and reach the main point of my discourse. You will understand why I had to talk about all this before going to the crucial subject.
The title was “Reasons why Lucifer is a victim”
So now let’s see who Lucifer is and how his figure is portrayed in different religions.
“Lucifer” means “the morning star”, “the shining one” (from Latin Lux + Ferre) and we find him first in ancient mythologies (in one of these he attempted to take the Ba’al’s throne, but, since he couldn’t do it, he descended and ruled the underworld.)
As the name itself suggests, Lucifer is not a dark, obscure entity; he is something that shines like a star. In ancient and modern connotations, light has always been seen as something positive, something good; while dark as something evil. So Lucifer’s name itself says that he is no evil.
– Christianity: in this religion, Lucifer is an angel, I may say, God’s favourite, and becomes “Satan” only after his fall.
Why did he rebel? On what? Can an angel rebel? Let’s go with order.
After the Creation, God asked the angels to bow to Adam; Lucifer did not, as he was an angel and Adam a human being. For this, he was eternally punished. (Though God is said to be compassionate, merciful, etc)
Now, we know that angels have been created with NO free will, unlike human beings; so how did Lucifer “decide” to defy God’s order? The only explanation is that God simply PLANNED it. After the Creation he needed a Hell too (as people have free will and so a possibility to sin) and someone to “inaugurate” it. God created Lucifer in that specific way. After all, God is Omniscient and so he knows the future too.
Lucifer was only a valuable, needed piece in his plan. And a victim because of it.
Plus, in the Bible (and the Quran too), God explicitly says to bow to him only; bowing to Adam would have been too much for Lucifer, who could only bow to God.
When the war started, some angels (always with God previously knowing) fought side by side with their brother Lucifer, but in the end, they were defeated and thrown down from the Heaven.
Lucifer, must have felt so betrayed and wronged. He was the way he was and reacted that way ONLY because God created him that way. Also if he didn’t know that.
Anyway, he found his newly discover (free will) appealing. Imagine of being a so old angel with no autonomous thoughts and then, suddenly, being awake. Being yourself. Taking decisions.
Once he discovered this, he OFFERED (not tempted, but offered), the possibility to decide to Eve. She wanted to grab it too. Who wouldn’t have? (I would have lol).
Plus, notice the name of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Ring something? Look at the name carefully. Basically God said it’s a sin to distinguish good from evil and so having a free will.
ANYWAY God already knew it would have happened and he wanted it too. But Lucifer is displayed as the bad one and God as the victim and restorer of order and peace.
– Islam: in Islam, Lucifer is called Iblīs (there is no consensus for the root the name: it can mean “devil” or “despair”) and is a Jinn (and so created from fire) elevated at an angel state by Allah. This version explains how he could have a free will, unlike the Christian one, as he wasn’t a true angel to begin with. His figure is already much darker than the Christian one. When Allah orders the angels to bow in front of Adam, Iblis says “I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay” and refuses to do so, just like Lucifer. And just like him, he respects God so much, that he does not prostrate before anyone else, than his creator, even if ordered.
Iblis then asks to have mercy till the Judgment Day, which Allah grants him. In the meanwhile he would offer people “another way”. A REAL free will. (Because, where is free will in “if you don’t believe in me you’ll suffer for eternity”?)
Also here we can notice how Allah already foreseen everything; he also brought a Jinn among angels to do so (as angels do not have free will).
– Judaism: here there is “Satan” (which means “the adversary”) and we find references of his previous life as an angel with his brothers Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel and Michael. He is also presented as the being who brought death into the world, but that can’t be as God is the only one who can give life and decide for deaths.
It’s simple to observe how it was NECESSARY a negative and opposite figure to God’s one.
Lucifer was created with the only intent to make the Hell a place where people like him could follow.
And, just as in a political campaign, God portrayed Lucifer in a negative light (when the one who created him this way was only him!).
In the end, Lucifer was necessary, as in every religion or mythology there is the famous dichotomy good/evil, so I don’t understand why we should demonize him.
A character who bravely decided, started a war to defend his right to think and act the way he wanted to and to not be a puppet. He is both a hero and a victim of a God’s absolutism and tyranny.
As Milton wrote in his Paradise Lost (though this is REALLY taken out from context, as Milton was a Puritan): “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven”‘