After reading Milton’s “Paradise Lost” with supporting readings including Dante’s “Inferno” and selected readings in both the Old and New Testaments, I keep coming back to the question, “what was Satan’s problem?”
When the choice to honor “Messiah” was made by God, Lucifer was not removed from his enormously prestigious position as the Covering Cherub of Heaven. He was not thrown aside, and he was not snubbed by God. It’s not like he was in line for a promotion and became angry when the promotion was given to one less qualified. Lucifer was not demoted. He did not lose any of his power. What was his before Messiah’s day of honor continued to be his afterward. Reading it over and over, I can come to no other conclusion but old fashioned jealousy–jealousy that was formed within a maniacal level of pride and conceit, and became so malevolent, that Lucifer was driven from Heaven and cast down into Hell, where he became ever after the creature known as Satan.
While still in Heaven, from what I can gather from my several readings, Lucifer was the most beautiful of all Heavenly Beings, loved and doted on by God, given great respect by the citizens of Heaven, and placed in the highest position that a Cherub (which is what Lucifer was) can occupy. He was given privilege, knew all the ancient knowledge, was privy to the inner workings of Heaven, and as the mysteriously powerful “Covering Cherub”, he stood directly in the actual presence of God. Lucifer was God’s “number two”. Yet, in the end, none of it was good enough for Lucifer. He wanted more, but he wanted more of an impossibility, because the thing is this: Lucifer was an angel. He was the best and brightest of all the angels, but still, just an angel. What he wanted was to be more than his own “beingness”, more than his own “purposiveness”, and more than his own individual “identity”. What he wanted was to be transformed into “God”. The only One who might have had power to transform Lucifer into God was God. So, He should turn Lucifer into Himself? Or, turn Lucifer into another God? How would that be possible if God already occupies all places? In fact, Lucifer’s request did not make sense, and neither did his jealousy and rage. How could any rational creature be THAT arrogant? Where did this toxic jealousy come from?
I think it is fair to assume that Lucifer understood and accepted God’s superiority to him, just as all Heavenly citizens did. At first, and from the countless ages since his creation, he served God willingly–maybe even happily. Then something happened. He had always known he was beautiful, but for some reason, knowing he was beautiful began to change him. Then he became conceited. Then proud. Then entitled. And as this negativity began to grow in him, his focus changed from his purposeful service to God and Heaven, to the very narrow scope of himself. That is when he began with all his vain, outrageous imaginings. That’s when he saw himself as something other than he was–and in a way that did not center on either God or his purpose. He began to think unnaturally, and so behaved unnaturally. He chose against goodness.