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It’s pretty common to accept Satan as a real person, and that he and 1/3 of all the angels were cast out of heaven in rebellion against God. What is the biblical support for such a claim, or is it taught somewhere else?

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  • Are you focussing specifically on the name "Lucifer", or are you just asking for the basis for the personhood of Satan?
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 4, 2022 at 1:31
  • The entity you refer to has been given no personal name : but his characteristics and activities are conveyed in descriptive terms such as Lucifer (Angel of - dark - Light) Satan (Adversary) Tempter, Diabolos (Slanderer) Adikios (Unrighteous) Poneros (incurably wicked) Apollyon, Abaddon, Baal-Zebul and Drakon, (draconian). His presence is throughout scripture in a variety of influences and guises.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 4, 2022 at 12:49
  • @curiousdannii I used Lucifer as an alternative word for Satan, now that I think of it that probably caused some confusion.
    – Luke Hill
    Jan 4, 2022 at 16:39

2 Answers 2

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What is the biblical support for Lucifer as a unique individual?

The Church Fathers maintain that Lucifer is not the proper name of the devil, but denotes only the state from which he has fallen!

The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance. The Vulgate employs the word also for "the light of the morning" (Job 11:17), "the signs of the zodiac" (Job 38:32), and "the aurora" (Psalm 109:3). Metaphorically, the word is applied to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12) as preeminent among the princes of his time; to the high priest Simon son of Onias (Ecclesiasticus 50:6), for his surpassing virtue, to the glory of heaven (Apocalypse 2:28), by reason of its excellency; finally to Jesus Christ himself (2 Peter 1:19; Apocalypse 22:16; the "Exultet" of Holy Saturday) the true light of our spiritual life.

The Syriac version and the version of Aquila derive the Hebrew noun helel from the verb yalal, "to lament"; St. Jerome agrees with them (In Isaiah 1.14), and makes Lucifer the name of the principal fallen angel who must lament the loss of his original glory bright as the morning star. In Christian tradition this meaning of Lucifer has prevailed; the Fathers maintain that Lucifer is not the proper name of the devil, but denotes only the state from which he has fallen (Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4).

The Book of Job has been called the most difficult book of the Bible and one of the noblest books in all of literature. Yet we clearly see a conversation between God and the Devil. Only individuals are capable of engaging in conversation and dialogue, especially if it is with the Almighty.

6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. - Job1:6-12

2 On another day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” - Job 2:1-6

In the Book of Revelation, we see Satan leading the wicked angels against God. Only an individual can be in charge of an army.

7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. - Revelation 12:7–10 (NIV)

Even Jesus himself admitted to seeing Satan’s fall from heaven.

And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven. - Luke 10:18

Satan or Lucifer, as some wish to call him is obviously an individual with evil intentions. Satan is also described as a serpent in Scriptures.

Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say: You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?" - Genesis 3.1

Angels, like men are capable of sinning and only as individuals we commit sin. Stones are inanimate object and are incapable of sinning. Ergo Lucifer is an individual, capable of rejecting God!

  1. Sin of the Fallen Angels

  2. A rational creature (that is, a creature with intellect and will) can sin. If it be unable to sin, this is a gift of grace, not a condition of nature. While angels were yet unbeatified they could sin. And some of them did sin.

  3. The sinning angels (or demons) are guilty of all sins in so far as they lead man to commit every kind of sin. But in the bad angels themselves there could be no tendency to fleshly sins, but only to such sins as can be committed by a purely spiritual being, and these sins are two only: pride and envy.

  4. Lucifer who became Satan, leader of the fallen angels, wished to be as God. This prideful desire was not a wish to be equal to God, for Satan knew by his natural knowledge that equality of creature with creator is utterly impossible. Besides, no creature actually desires to destroy itself, even to become something greater. On this point man sometimes deceives himself by a trick of imagination; he imagines himself to be another and greater being, and yet it is himself that is somehow this other being. But an angel has no sense-faculty of imagination to abuse in this fashion. The angelic intellect, with its clear knowledge, makes such self-deception impossible. Lucifer knew that to be equal with God, he would have to be God, and he knew perfectly that this could not be. What he wanted was to be as God; he wished to be like God in a way not suited to his nature, such as to create things by his own power, or to achieve final beatitude without God's help, or to have command over others in a way proper to God alone.

  5. Every nature, that is every essence as operating, tends to some good. An intellectual nature tends to good in general, good under its common aspects, good as such. The fallen angels therefore are not naturally evil.

  6. The devil did not sin in the very instant of his creation. When a perfect cause makes a nature, the first operation of that nature must be in line with the perfection of its cause. Hence the devil was not created in wickedness. He, like all the angels, was created in the state of sanctifying grace.

  7. But the devil, with his companions, sinned immediately after creation. He rejected the grace in which he was created, and which he was meant to use, as the good angels used it, to merit beatitude. If, however, the angels were not created in grace (as some hold) but had grace available as soon as they were created, then it may be that some interval occurred between the creation and the sin of Lucifer and his companions.

  8. Lucifer, chief of the sinning angels, was probably the highest of all the angels. But there are some who think that Lucifer was highest only among the rebel angels.

  9. The sin of the highest angel was a bad example which attracted the other rebel angels, and, to this extent, was the cause of their sin.

  10. The faithful angels are a greater multitude than the fallen angels. For sin is contrary to the natural order. Now, what is opposed to the natural order occurs less frequently, or in fewer instances, than what accords with the natural order.

  11. The substance of the Angels

  12. Creatures exist in a series of grades. They participate and represent the goodness of God in various ways. In the world about us, there are three kinds of substances: mineral, vegetal, animal. These are all bodily substances. We find also in this world the human substance which is mineral, vegetal, and animal, and yet is something more; it is not all bodily; man has a spiritual soul. To round out the order of things, there must be some purely spiritual or nonbodily substances. Thus createdsubstances are: the completely bodily substance, the substance that is a compound of body and spirit, and the completely spiritual substance. Completely spiritual substances are called angels.

  13. A bodily substance is composed of two substantial elements, primal matter and substantial form. In angels there is no compounding of matter and form. Matter does not exist in angels; they are pure substantial forms. That is to say, they are pure spirits; they are spirits with no admixture of matter in them.

  14. Holy Scripture (Dan. 7:10) indicates the existence of a vast multitude of angels: "Thousands of thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him." Indeed, since the intention back of creation is the perfection of the universe as sharing and representing the divine goodness, it appears that the more perfect creatures should abound in largest multitude. It is, therefore, reasonable to suppose that angels exist in a multitude far exceeding the number of material things.

  15. In bodily substances we distinguish their species or essential kind, and their status as individuals of that kind. For example, we distinguish in a man, (a) what makes him a human being, and (b) what makes him this one human being. Now, that which constitutes a thing in its species or essential kind is called the principle of specification. And that which constitutes a thing as this one item or instance of its kind is called the principle of individuation. In all creatures, the principle of specification is the substantial form which makes the creature an existing thing of its essential kind. And the principle of individuation is matter or bodiliness inasmuch as it is marked by quantity. Since angels have in them no matter or bodiliness at all, for they are pure spirits, they are not individuated. This means that each angel is the only one of its kind. It means that each angel is a species or essential kind of substantial being. Hence each angel is essentially different from every other angel.

  16. The angels are incorruptible substances. This means that they cannot die, decay, break up, or be substantially changed. For the root of corruptibility in a substance is matter, and in the angels there is no matter.

Angels: From the Teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas

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  • "Only individuals are capable of engaging in conversation and dialogue, especially if it is with the Almighty." +1 Jan 4, 2022 at 1:51
  • @Ken Graham I read your post well. it is very interesting. By the way, I found a sentence reading the post. you wrote that Yet we clearly see a conversion between God and the Devil. Could you please explain it more?
    – bak1936
    Jan 4, 2022 at 3:48
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    @bak1936 I think he meant 'conversation', which you can read in Job 2 Jan 5, 2022 at 0:41
  • It was my understanding that the Satan in Job can be translated as "the accuser", so it isn't necessarily the Satan we think of. Thoughts?
    – Luke Hill
    Jan 5, 2022 at 18:16
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Lucifer was more likely the king of Babylon and his identity with Satan is an error. So, yes, he is an individual, but likely not the one you ascribe him to.

The Hebrew word in Isa 14:12 is הֵילֵל (helel - a hapex legamenon), meaning, “shining one” . . . . The Latin Vulgate (Jerome 400 AD) translated the word, “lucifer” meaning “light bearer”.

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/71865/is-lucifer-really-satan-or-has-history-been-unfair-to-st-lucifer-of-cagliari

Most people believe that Lucifer is the true name for Satan. This notion has been reinforced by over a thousand years of western Christian tradition and by the constant appearances of Lucifer as a name for Satan in popular culture. In reality, however, the name Lucifer does not occur anywhere in any of the Hebrew or Aramaic texts that make up the Hebrew Bible, nor any of the Koine Greek texts that make up the Christian New Testament.

In fact, although the name does occur in many English translations of the Bible, it only occurs in one verse—the Book of Isaiah 14:12—which actually has nothing to do with Satan in any way. The only reason why anyone associates this passage in Isaiah with Satan at all is because some early Christians, including the church fathers Ioustinos Martys, Tertullianus of Carthage, and Origenes of Alexandria, spuriously interpreted it as an allegory for the fall of Satan. . . .

The Book of Isaiah, chapter fourteen, includes a poem mocking the “king of Babylon” and prophesying Yahweh’s judgement against him. Isaiah introduces the poem with a brief prose preface in verses 3–4 in which he explicitly states that his poem is about the “king of Babylon,” writing, as translated in the NRSV (with divine names restored):

“When Yahweh has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon.”

. . . Historically speaking, it is more likely that Isaiah was either writing about King Sargon II of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (ruled 722 – 705 BCE), of whose reign he was a contemporary and who claimed the title of “king of Babylon,” or about the kings of Babylon in general, without a specific king in mind.

https://talesoftimesforgotten.com/2021/11/04/lucifer-is-not-a-name-for-satan/

You'll find this non-Satanic opinion of Lucifer among many academics, but in general the Church has been raised believing this errant view. In the straight forward reading of these verses Isaiah prefaces it as a taunt against the king of Babylon. You have to read a great deal into it, and over literally read it at that, to turn this into the fall of Satan.

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