Are Satan & Lucifer really the same being?


#1

This has been asked before, but I’m still not certain about it. We have references in the Bible to Lucifer (Morningstar, Helel, Eosphorus, etc.); we also have the same with regards to Satan (the accuser, the adversary). Are the two explicitly connected or referred to as the same being? Is it just implied? Could the two names refer to two separate fallen angels? :confused:

Thanks for any help you can give! I’ve been wondering this for a while now.


#2

Satan and Lucifer are two names for the same evil being. You must never forget that the devil is the great deceiver who will go by anyone of a number of names to confuse human beings.


#3

I had that same question.


#4

If I am correct, from a Catholic theological point, I do believe it is the same fallen angel.


#5

I have never really thought about that aspect…interesting, I would also say its the same entity, with multiple names, and probably has some names no one here knows about too, The question I struggle with is if Satan is any more powerful than any of the other fallen angels/demons. I assume, after his fall, he probably did not retain most of his powers given to him by God. I think God probably kicked him down a few notches when he fell.


#6

The name Lucifer was a misinterpretation and was eventually applied to Satan. Lucifer is not another being, and the name was not intended to be used for the devil. In Latin, Lucifer means light-bringing or light-bearer and has been used as a given name by Christians. The link below is about a Catholic Bishop named Lucifer. I have an old Catholic Encyclopedia that has Lucifer listed as an option for a baptismal name.

newadvent.org/cathen/09410b.htm


#7

I thought that Lucifer as mentioned above meant light-bringing and that was the name of the fallen angel before his fall. Therefore Lucifer and satan would be the same thing except one before the fall and one after the fall.


#8

Second “Lucifer” thread I stumbled upon today.

As mentioned there, the name “Lucifer” got applied to the devil only as a medieval development, as a result of readings of Isaiah 14:12 in older English Bibles (KJV and DR). But even in that context, Isaiah 14:12 refers to the king of Babylon, not the devil. As a common noun (“lucifer”, lowercase ell) the word is applied to Jesus Christ himself.

The fall of the angels is a dogma of faith, and that cannot be disputed. Both Scripture and the Fathers do tell of this rebellion. What is NOT a dogma of faith is that the lead angelic rebel was named Lucifer. I used to take that for granted when teachers told us this in religion class but now that little tidbit just irritates me. The Church has never defined that the devil’s original name was once Lucifer, and in fact, the name was in the early centuries one perfectly compatible with Christian sensibilities, with at least one bishop (and local saint) bearing it.


#9

The name Lucifer is more proper to Christ than to Satan, but it is absolutely wrong to say that the Fathers were stupid and reading things out of context when they applied the name to the Devil. They are reading scripture allegorically, which is not the same thing as reading out of context. In fact, the idea of four senses of Scripture (just like Thomas Aquinas taught) is taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Regarding Satan being called Lucifer, St. Thomas says,

Some have maintained that the demons were wicked straightway in the first instant of their creation; not by their nature, but by the sin of their own will; because, as soon as he was made, the devil refused righteousness. To this opinion, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 13), if anyone subscribes, he does not agree with those Manichean heretics who say that the devil’s nature is evil of itself. Since this opinion, however, is in contradiction with the authority of Scripture–for it is said of the devil under the figure of the prince of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12): “How art thou fallen . . . O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning!” and it is said to the devil in the person of the King of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:13): “Thou wast in the pleasures of the paradise of God,” --consequently, this opinion was reasonably rejected by the masters as erroneous.
(Summa Theologiae I.63.5)

You can see that he explicitly acknowledges the “context.”


#10

It eventually turned into that theory, but originally it wasn’t supposed to be a being. The word in Hebrew was helel which meant morning star or day star. When it was translated to Latin Vulgate it became lucifer, so people began to wonder who Lucifer referred to. The Vulgate translation of the Bible also used the word lucifer were it was clearly not referring to a being. Eventually it was assumed to be Satan before his fall, but that’s not infallible doctrine. Basically the word lucifer was meant to be a concept of a star you can still see at dawn, not a name of a being.


#11

Something I’ve noticed with a lot of Biblical figures who are given multiple names is that in the Bible they are all supposed to refer to the same being, but the names themselves are usually either titles (“morning star”) or are references to deities/spirits/mythological figures revered by other cultures that would have co-existed with the authors when the books were being written. For instance, references are made to Baal (incidentally itself a title, it means “ruler” or “leader”), who was worshipped as a god by the neighboring Canaanites independently of Hebrew tradition, variously as a false god and as a stand-in for Satan, and in the Middle Ages became identified with a specific demon (not Satan) in some occult texts. The ancient Hebrews would have understood references to non-Hebrew gods and beings for what they were – it is often supposed that ancient Hebrews were not monotheistic but monolatrous, that is, they only worshipped one god but did not necessarily believe there only WAS one god, a worldview whose evolution has also contributed to the “cross-naming” of certain figures when they became solidly Jewish – and so contemporary writers might have been speaking more or less literally when other beings were mentioned by name, because they’re something their audience would have been familiar with already. But then over time the names and stories became incorporated into Judaism and later Christianity and were adjusted to fit a monotheistic narrative, so that now you have references to a bunch of bronze-age mythological characters that have transformed into variations on the names and titles of one particular character instead of a pantheon.
We know archaeologically and historically that there was a good deal of interaction between groups during the time when the Old Testament was first being written down, and so the explanation that the many names of a character like Satan are really just the assimilated pantheons of other groups makes a lot of sense. I don’t think this is theologically wrong, either, because the modern Christian view would be to say that all those other deities WERE just Satan in disguise. Anyway, it’s an interesting bit of comparative mythology.


closed #12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.