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THEOLOGY > Sin > Reality of Satan > Creation of Lucifer 


The name, “Lucifer” (KJV and NKJV), is a Latin word meaning the “shining one” or “light-bearer”; it appears in the Vulgate (Isa. 14:12) and translates a Hebrew word which means “Day Star” (ESV)—in the NIV the Hebrew word is translated as “morning star,” and as “star of the morning” in the NASB.

Though the Hebrew term was never intended to be a proper name, it has come to be so regarded through the influence of Tertullian and Origen, who interpreted the passage in Isaiah as referring to Satan; and in Paradise Lost Milton used the word, “Lucifer,” as a name for Satan. Therefore, “Lucifer” has become the popular and accepted name for Satan in his original position, applied to him from the time of his creation until his sin in heaven, after which he has been referred to as Satan and the Devil. It is interesting to note that this Latin term also has been used for the planet we know as Venus, one of the brightest objects in the night sky.

As with all creatures and all things, Lucifer’s existence is the result of the creative act of God (see: Work of Creation); Day Star exists because God made him. This immediately distinguishes him from the Creator and causes him to be dependent upon the Creator—Day Star is a contingent creature. He is neither self-determined nor autonomous. It is good to be reminded of this when the Bible speaks of his power, for it is a power that is derived. Day Star is not the almighty one; his power is not infinite. Though his ability may be superior to that of man, his ability does not begin to compare to the Infinite; in fact, there is no comparison.

Tradition has assigned the creation of Lucifer to Ezekiel 28:11-15, a passage which seems to intermingle two topics, if indeed these verses report the creation of Lucifer. In the text “the prince of Tyre” is addressed by Ezekiel with “the word of the Lord” (v. 1), a word which confronts the prince with his claim that he is “a god” but which also informs him that “you are but a man, and no god” (v. 2). The word from God to the prince continues through the first ten verses of Chapter 28.

Then the subject delicately changes in verse 11. Instead of “the prince of Tyre,” “the king of Tyre” is addressed, who is said to have been “in Eden” (v. 13); perhaps this is just a change of wording, or perhaps two subjects are interwoven and yet separate. What we have is conceivably a reference to the evil being behind the historical person; the descriptions seem to go beyond the mere earthly ruler to a spiritual ruler. The movement is from the historical ruler of Tyre to the unseen but very real and personal being behind his secular kingdom.

Many exegetes would reject the association of this passage, as well as Isaiah 14:12-15, with Lucifer, his creation and his fall respectively, and would limit both of them to Tyre and Babylon and their earthly rulers. But the association suggested in the above paragraph is worthy of consideration for several reasons.

First, it seems obvious that the passage is addressing more than just the leader of Tyre with such statements as: “full of wisdom,” “perfect in beauty,” “you were in Eden,” “the day you were created,” “you were an anointed guardian cherub,” “you were on the holy mountain of God,” “you were blameless in your ways,” “your heart was proud because of your beauty,” and “I cast you to the ground.” Such statements suggest a greater being than just the human sovereign of Tyre; it is not inconceivable to entertain the possibility that the references are to the spiritual being behind the earthly ruler, namely Satan, who is empowering the prince of Tyre.

In addressing the spiritual power behind the earthly power, God is revealing the profundity of evil that provides the basis for the position, character, and activity of the earthly ruler. The face of the ruler of Tyre conceals a more powerful and unseen face that empowers and directs him. The former is “the prince of Tyre” (v. 1), while the latter is “the king of Tyre” (v. 13). By addressing both, God is exposing the visible and the invisible evil. The lesson to be learned from this is that there is more to evil than meets the eye—the authentic evil is seldom visualized.

Second, there is an intimate association between Satan and world governments, for he is “the ruler of this world” (Jo. 12:31; see Ruler of this World). In the words of Augustine, this world system is the city of man and is dominated by sin and Satan. So, it should not be incomprehensible that in two passages relating to the epitomes of such a system, Tyre (Ezek. 28:1-15) and Babylon (Isa. 14:1-15), the text not only incorporates information regarding the secular empire but also identifies the evil power behind the earthly system.

Earthly kingdoms are not free from spiritual influence, perhaps this is much more than is usually accepted by the current secular culture; but it is the reality that is taught in Scripture. Daniel speaks of “the prince of the kingdom of Persia,” an evil demon who opposed a lesser angel bringing a message to Daniel, but Michael the archangel finally confronted the demon and Daniel received the message (10:13). Behind the visible political power exists an invisible spiritual network of evil that energizes and directs the affairs of governments. Often the believer is caught up in the intrigue, as illustrated by Daniel, without knowing the magnitude of that which affects him (see: Demonic Activity and Supernatural Evil).

On the individual level, the earthly conflict of the believer is a reflection of a greater conflict: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Our real enemy is not that which we see but that which we do not see; it is not primarily flesh and blood, but the invisible forces of evil that war against us and against God. If our eyes were opened like the eyes of the servant of Elisha we would see the comprehensiveness and magnitude of the evil that we face and the working of God to thwart the forces of evil (II Ki. 6:15-17).

Third, the association of the passage with Satan has ancient roots. While not the accepted interpretation by the Jews, Christian writers from the early centuries made the connection between these two passages and Satan. Historically, the identification can be traced back to Church Fathers, such as Tertullian in Against Marcion, Origen in De Principis and Against Clesus, and Jerome in his translation in the Vulgate.

Generally, Reformed thinkers disallow the association of the passages in Ezekiel and Isaiah with Satan; Calvin is emphatic as well as Hodge in their rejection, while Boice accepts the connection in Foundations as well as Erickson in his Christian Theology. But most modern commentaries deny that the origin and fall of Satan are found in Ezekiel and Isaiah respectively.

In the popular mind, however, the assumption remains, and some commentaries reference the identification of Isaiah’s account with Satan: “The passage transcends anything that can be said of an earthly king and has been understood from earliest times to also refer to Satan's fall as described in Luke 10:18” (Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, 1875).

If Satan’s creation is given by Ezekiel in Chapter 28, then he was created with the following characteristics:

intelligence – “full of wisdom,” v. 12;

beauty – “perfect in beauty, v. 12; and “every precious stone was your covering,” v. 13;

talent – “your timbrels and pipes,” v. 13;

position – “the anointed cherub who covers,” “you were on the holy mountain of God,” and “you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones,” v. 14;

perfection – “the seal of perfection,” v. 12; and “perfect in your ways,” v. 15.

The time of Satan’s creation, as well as the rest of the angelic world, is not specified in the Scriptures. It is usually accepted that the angels were created during the week of creation, perhaps on day one or day four, when the sun, moon, and stars were created; in the Law it affirms that in six days God created the heavens and the earth “and all that is in them” (Ex. 20:11). The “all” would seemingle include the material and the spiritual world, both the cosmos and the angelic host. Note: Perhaps Job 38:4-7 justifies some speculation as to whether the angels were created before God created the heavens and earth.

The existence of Satan is never a problem in the Scriptures; both Testaments speak of him, with the greater number of references being in the New Testament. In the two main divisions of the Canon, Satan is regarded as historical, with his historicity never questioned nor discussed; his existence is simply accepted.

In the Old Testament Satan is referenced in Gen. 3:1; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; I Chron. 21:1; Zech. 3:1-2; and possibly Ezek. 28:11-15; and Isa. 14:12-15.

In the New Testament, there are multiple references: Matt. 4:1; Lu. 10:18; Jo. 8:44; 12:31; II Cor. 11:14; Eph. 2:2; I Pet. 5:8; I Jo. 3:8; Rev. 12:3-4; and 20:2; these are just a sampling.  

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