Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Who is Lucifer?

Prideful Lucifer
Lucifer, morning star, son of the dawn, is an important figure in Christian mythos. Lucifer is one of the archangels. But unlike his holy brethren, Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, Lucifer became enamored with his own glory and succumbed to Pride, the deadliest of the 7 deadly sins. For his crime against God, he was cast from heaven and became known ever after as Satan, the devil.

It's a fascinating story. But, like so much of Christian belief, I can't accept it as literal. If there is truth to be had, as far as I'm concerned, it is by examining the story as metaphor.

But I put the question to a good friend of mine, a practicing Christian and a man of considerable intellect. "Is Lucifer a personality?"

His reply: "I'm agnostic on that."

"What about your church?" I asked.

"I think they're agnostic on that, too."

An honest, if dissatisfying answer.

South side of Saint Stephen's Catholic, up on 41st
I've known people who believed that Satan is an actual personality, the chief of the Bad Guys. I've known people who lived in fear of such a being. I've known people who claimed to worship such an entity, too. (There was a young woman who lived a few doors down, when I was renting an apartment in Cedar Mill. She had a necklace with a medallion on which was emblazoned a red pentagram. She was a nice enough woman. She seemed lonely.)

But in my reality, Lucifer is a metaphor for the evil that exists in all of us: our propensity toward self-infatuation, our lust for power, our malignant indifference toward everything that is not us.

Christians, please weigh in! Muslims, as well! Is there an actual devil? A living personification of evil? Or is it something different?

Odd synchronicity: I thought about the devil all the way up Mount Tabor this afternoon. On the way home, I stopped in at Fred Meyer to pick up a rose for Maty and some kalamata olives. When the cashier rang me up, she glanced at the receipt as she handed it to me.  "Oh, look at that!" she said. "Must be your lucky day!"

I examined the receipt. Single red rose: $1.99. Kalamata olives: $4.67. Grand total: $6.66.

"That's interesting," I thought.

1 comment:

Dan Binmore said...

In the ancient world the serpent was a symbol of wisdom. Lucifer's crime against God was disagreeing with God, having his own opinion. The temptation of Adam was the temptation of knowledge. Lucifer is the great evil of knowledge and independent thought for the #1 demand of God is obedience. This is best demonstrated in Islam, which means submission.