Satan is a Fallen Seraph and Not a Cherub

The Inconsistent Position of Aquinas on Satan’s Angelic Order

  1. Those who, with my favorite theologian St. Thomas Aquinas, theorize that Satan is a fallen Cherub (כרוב) face an insuperable difficulty which is of course not satisfactorily answered in ST{1} Aquinas’s reply seems to imply that one cannot sin by virtue of being a Seraphim; he says the meaning of Seraphim is incompatible with mortal sin. But this would seem to mean that we are affirming that this group of angels by virtue of their name could not have sinned; and this is true of no group of angels because each angel had the choice of sinning after the first instant of his creation and becoming obstinate in evil.

Proof from Traditional Angelic Hierarchy
2. The highest angel must belong to the highest order. The highest angelic order is the Seraphim.{2} Satan is the highest angel.{3} Therefore Satan is a fallen Seraph.

Ek 28:14 Does not Mean Satan is a Cherub
3. There is no getting around this; even if you identify Lucifer with Satan{4} you don’t have to and indeed should not call Satan a Cherub in light of the straightforward inescapable logical proof above. Scripture does not call Lucifer a Cherub as you see when you read Is 14:12. And it cannot be said that Ezekiel 28:14 shows that Satan is a Cherub. For Ek 28:1-10 make it clear that the discussion of the Cherub strictly concerns the mortal king of Tyre and not the immortal fallen angel Satan: “thou art a man, and not God;” “I will bring upon thee strangers: the strongest of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy beauty. They shall kill thee, and bring thee down: and thou shalt die the death of them that are slain in the heart of the sea. Wilt thou yet say before them that slay thee: I am God; whereas thou art a man, and not God, in the hand of them that slay thee? Thou shalt die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers.” Other parts of Ek 28:1-10 are not strictly inconsistent with the target of the warning being Satan but these are and so the passage cannot be said to call Satan a Cherub! Additionally, Ek 28:19 says, “I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, to devour thee, and I will make thee as ashes upon the earth in the sight of all that see thee,” and this is not applicable to an immortal angel. We must never take passages out of context.

Ek 28:13
4. Does Ek 28:13 mean that the person in mind must be Satan? This verse begins, “You were in Eden, the garden of God.” Of course Satan was in Eden; he was the serpent who tempted Eve. But the context teaches us that Ek 28:13 refers to the king of Tyre who traded with Eden [Ek 27:23] and the person in Ek 28:13 received all the items for which he traded in Ek 28:1-24. And the only place in which a cherub is found in Eden is Gen 3:24 and these guardian Cherubim (כרובים) came only AFTER Satan led our first parents to sin. The king of Tyre, and not Satan, is compared to these guardian Cherubim because he was the guardian of the prosperity of many ancient nations. As is clear from the logical proof above, the only way we can say that Ek 28:14 refers to Satan and labels him a Cherub is if we say that the Cherubim are a higher angelic order than the Seraphim, but this is impossible.

Clues from Genesis to Revelation
5. In Nu 21:4-9 St. Moses mentions plain seraphs (the good figurine of the seraph will cause miraculous healing of its beholder) and seraph serpents. God lets these seraph serpents punish the people just as he let Satan punish Job; Nu 21:4-9 is a clue that Satan is a seraph; Satan is the serpent in Gen 3:1-15 and Rev 12:3-4,7-9,12-13,15,17; 20:2. Satan is a seraph serpent!

Notes and References
{1} St. Thomas says [ST], “Cherubim is interpreted ‘fulness of knowledge,’ while ‘Seraphim’ means ‘those who are on fire,’ or ‘who set on fire.’ Consequently Cherubim is derived from knowledge; which is compatible with mortal sin; but Seraphim is derived from the heat of charity, which is incompatible with mortal sin. Therefore the first angel who sinned is called, not a Seraph, but a Cherub.” Now if you have read ST like me, you will agree that there are not many “unsatisfactory” answers to be found in the masterpiece of this great Doctor!
{2} The Seraphim (שׂרפים) are the highest according to Pope St. Clement of Rome [Apostolic Constitutions], St. Ambrose the Great [Apologia Prophet David 5], St. Jerome the Great, Pseudo-Dionysius [Coel. Hier. 6-7], Pope St. Gregory the Great [Homilia], St. Isidore of Seville [Etymologiae], St. John Damascene [De Fide Orth.], and St. Thomas Aquinas [ST]. This list includes two Popes and six Doctors of the Church.
{3} Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Hom. 34 in Ev.
{4} I agree with the Patristic view that Lucifer denotes the state from which Satan fell [cf. Petavius, De Angelis 3:3:4]. But this does not force me to say that Satan is a Cherub.

Fairly interesting, but who cares really…Whether Satan was a Cherubim, a Seraphim or my next door neighbour’s pet cat’s gardener won’t make any difference to his motives and what it means to us in this world.

This is very interesting if you want to know this sort of thing. I always assumed that the Satan was a seraphim. But i dunno, what you say makes sense.

(( Underline = my emphasis ))

Article 7. Whether the highest angel among those who sinned was the highest of all?

**Objection 1. **It would seem that the highest among the angels who sinned was not the highest of all. For it is stated (Ezekiel 28:14): “Thou wast a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set thee in the holy mountain of God.” Now the order of the Cherubim is under the order of the Seraphim, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vi, vii). Therefore, the highest angel among those who sinned was not the highest of all.

Objection 2. Further, God made intellectual nature in order that it might attain to beatitude. If therefore the highest of the angels sinned, it follows that the Divine ordinance was frustrated in the noblest creature which is unfitting.

**Objection 3. **Further, the more a subject is inclined towards anything, so much the less can it fall away from it. But the higher an angel is, so much the more is he inclined towards God. Therefore so much the less can he turn away from God by sinning. And so it seems that the angel who sinned was not the highest of all, but one of the lower angels.

On the contrary, Gregory (Hom. xxxiv in Ev.) says that the chief angel who sinned, “being set over all the hosts of angels, surpassed them in brightness, and was by comparison the most illustrious among them.”

I answer that, Two things have to be considered in sin, namely, the proneness to sin, and the motive for sinning. If, then, in the angels we consider the proneness to sin, it seems that the higher angels were less likely to sin than the lower. On this account Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii), that the highest of those who sinned was set over the terrestrial order. This opinion seems to agree with the view of the Platonists, which Augustine quotes (De Civ. Dei vii, 6,7; x, 9,10,11). For they said that all the gods were good; whereas some of the demons were good, and some bad; naming as ‘gods’ the intellectual substances which are above the lunar sphere, and calling by the name of “demons” the intellectual substances which are beneath it, yet higher than men in the order of nature. Nor is this opinion to be rejected as contrary to faith; because the whole corporeal creation is governed by God through the angels, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 4,5). Consequently there is nothing to prevent us from saying that the lower angels were divinely set aside for presiding over the lower bodies, the higher over the higher bodies; and the highest to stand before God. And in this sense Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii) that they who fell were of the lower grade of angels; yet in that order some of them remained good.

But if the motive for sinning be considered, we find that it existed in the higher angels more than in the lower. For, as has been said (2), the demons’ sin was pride; and the motive of pride is excellence, which was greater in the higher spirits. Hence Gregory says that he who sinned was the very highest of all. This seems to be the more probable view: because the angels’ sin did not come of any proneness, but of free choice alone. Consequently that argument seems to have the more weight which is drawn from the motive in sinning. Yet this must not be prejudicial to the other view; because there might be some motive for sinning in him also who was the chief of the lower angels.

Reply to Objection 1. Cherubim is interpreted “fulness of knowledge,” while “Seraphim” means “those who are on fire,” or “who set on fire.” Consequently Cherubim is derived from knowledge; which is compatible with mortal sin; but Seraphim is derived from the heat of charity, which is incompatible with mortal sin. Therefore the first angel who sinned is called, not a Seraph, but a Cherub.

**Reply to Objection 2. **The Divine intention is not frustrated either in those who sin, or in those who are saved; for God knows beforehand the end of both; and He procures glory from both, saving these of His goodness, and punishing those of His justice. But the intellectual creature, when it sins, falls away from its due end. Nor is this unfitting in any exalted creature; because the intellectual creature was so made by God, that it lies within its own will to act for its end.

Reply to Objection 3. However great was the inclination towards good in the highest angel, there was no necessity imposed upon him: consequently it was in his power not to follow it.


:rotfl: :rotfl: One of the best posts I have read. Short, to the point, and hilarious. :thumbsup:

This is all too confusing, because according to 2Samuel 24:1 God’s wrath incited David to count Israel and in 1Chronicles 21:1, the same incident brings up Satan. The book of Samuel was written before Babylon and the Book of Chronicles in Babylon or shortly after. Jews borrowed dualism from Zoroastrianism and lost the monotheistic thought, which passed on to Christianity.

So, God’s wrath can be expressed through Satan because God is sovereign over all His creation and He created Satan (Nechash) which was a (HAYYAH) beast of the field, even cattle. Just as Balaam’s donkey (of Numbers 22) could speak with legible voice so was Nechash (later called Satan) and who later became serpent.

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Next. According to the Law only flesh-and-blood human beings can sin, not spirits, winds and flames (Ps. 104:4 and Hebrews 1:7) and we shall be like angels after resurrection (genderless) won’t marry nor be given in marriage, Jesus said in Matthew 22:30, Mark 12:25 & Luke 20:36. In order to have a free will one must have a physical body, exist in time and locale; in heaven there is no time, no darkness and no territory; like matter being suspended in space by which space can be measured. Therefore, there was no time for Lucifer to plan his rebellion or prepare for it; because before one can think a thought God already knows, how much more in heaven? God is Omniscient. There was no darkness to hide Lucifer’s plan, because eternity means no time. So: light, no time and no locale do not provide an environment in which rebellion could have ever occurred.

The law was not given to angels, but to humans, by which sin is defined (Ap. Paul). The Law defines what’s clean and unclean, wicked and sinful etc, but angels are our servants and as spirits they do not procreate; hence, they do not have angelic children, do they?

Seraphim are flames (Isaiah 6) with six wings; they look like stars of David, two wings to cover their faces and feet and with two they flew. The burning bush of Moses was a Seraph so were the tongues of fire above the apostles heads Acts 2.

I think that (regarding Satan) we need reformation in Judaism, in Christianity (in both camps Catholic and Protestant) as well as in Islam, for Satan is a subordinated to God angel.

The traditional nine hierarchies could have subdivisions with in each Hierarchy; complicating the entire issue.

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