Lucifer vs. Satan: Which Name Is Correct?

Written by Tony for

In today's society, there is a general belief that Lucifer and Satan are one in the same. This is thanks to mistranslations, groups based on these mistranslations and various fictional works, such as John Milton's Paradise Lost. Unfortunately, the line between traditional religious texts and these misconceptions has been strongly blurred over the years. Most people make no differentiation between the two words largely because most people do not know any better. In general beliefs the difference is largely unimportant: Satan and Lucifer are accepted as the same being that most people want to avoid being associated with. This "fear" of one might encompass something unrelated in the process, but it still effectively does its job. Unfortunately, as a result you wind up with many people telling the story of Satan as the story of Lucifer. This confusion has led heavily into the false idea that the Devil was called "Lucifer" when in Heaven and "Satan" when he was cast out. This is probably the most popular and accepted of these tales.

The name Lucifer, as many people know, means "morning star" or "bright one". This word is Latin, not Hebrew, which logically makes it impossible for this term to appear directly in original Hebrew texts. In Old Testament related writings, Satan is the most beautiful, powerful and loved of the angels in Heaven. Satan is the one God speaks against with Michael. Satan is the one that is cast out from Heaven with other angels in his legion. Satan is the one that regularly tempts humanity in its different phases. Many people take the meaning of "Lucifer" as a description of how God felt about this angel: a beautiful, bright star compared to his other angelic creations. As expected, this is a false concept. Lucifer is only named once in the Bible and never in other related texts.

The word "Lucifer" appears in Isaiah 14:12 (if at all, depending on the translation). This verse reads: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" The original Hebrew word "Lucifer" was translated from was "helel". The problem here is that helel is not a noun (particularly, not a proper one), but rather an adjective. The general accepted belief is that this refers to a fallen king of Babylon or even a celestial pattern in the sky, not any angelic being. There are others who take this as if it is applicable to other important Biblical figures (going as far as Adam or Jesus), but little points to that aside from agenda fueled assumptions. Even Catholic documents refer to Lucifer in the sense of a celestial pattern rather than an actual character within the Bible itself.

Despite all of this, the general accepted beliefs of 1.) Lucifer changing to Satan after the Fall, 2.) Satan and Lucifer being interchangeable names or 3.) Satan and Lucifer being two separate "evil" angels/demons are far more prevalent. Lucifer is generally the more common one when it comes to actual stories, largely because the idea of him formed by writers such as John Milton is more romantic and interesting.

In the case of Shin Megami Tensei, the differentiation is more of an issue. Lucifer and Satan are always portrayed as two very different figures on opposite sides of the spectrum in both goal in appearance. Considering the research and bibliography displayed by the R&D1 team responsible for these titles, I find it unlikely that they are ignorant of this idea. Instead, it seems they have taken their own route with this, utilizing these misconceptions and stories to create two separate and important beings. Considering SMT is, basically, an interactive work of fiction, this slides by a bit more easily and is not something worth arguing against.

However, it is still important to realize the difference when getting into religious-based discussions. Non-fiction and fiction get intertwined so heavily in this case that it's hard to know what is worth accepting as the true story and what is not.

Finally, here are some links that further go into the subject from various authors (a few of which apparently include doctors and professors of some sort). It is worth noting that a few of these eventually skew the idea of what "Lucifer" actually represents (such as the previously mentioned Jesus and Adam "theories") or try to push an agenda (such as the Gnostic Witch Bible's account), but the idea of Lucifer's appearance within the Bible is all rooted within actual, available documents and books (including the translations of the Bible themselves) that are respected, accepted and established.

© Tony

4 Responses to “Lucifer vs. Satan: Which Name Is Correct?”

  1. ricochet Says:

    Actually, Satan and Lucifer are two different beings.

  2. yksehtniycul Says:

    ^Yes, I think the authors point was just to define the modern academic/theology take on Lucifer/Satan versus the contemporary pop-culture/pseudo-christian angle.

    Truthfully Lucifer and Satan in both Megaten and Shin Megaten are derived from Gnostic, Luciferian, and other esoteric/literary evocations of these characters, which really never existed but are basically considered archetypes. Megami Tensei 2 tends to identify the two with Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu of Zoroastrian teaching. It’s not unlikely the talent behind MT2 pulled most of their material from a single source, but the concepts of angels is rooted in Zoroastrianism, which if had not fused with Judaism there would be no angels or devils to speak of in modern monotheistic cultures. So it sort of makes sense to take the dualism of Zoroastrianism and the two most polarizing angels and marry them together in an epic way (and more so with Zorastrianism the origin of angels and their demonic counterparts and the first of the “revealed” religions. Ie. the precursor to Judeo-Christian-Muslim monotheistism — only without the monotheism)

  3. HakuNoKaemi Says:

    Nel mio libro di letteratura indica che satana tiene tra le sue mani i traditori per eccellenza e poi lo indica con Lucifero , chiunque fa quest’errore pure i prof.

    In My literature book Satan is Pointed as ” The One who takes the traitor for excelence in his hand ” and after it’s pointed with Lucifer … This error is did by all people … even the professor
    some mistook between Satan - Lucifer and Beelzebub

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