Most find Lucifer’s story to be the most compelling in angel and demon lore. He rebelled against God (stupid) and for his trouble, he and a third of the angels were expelled from Heaven. Oops.
When I was about seven, my dad gave me a t-shirt that read “The Devil Made Me Do It”. I thought it was a funny sort of thing because no one could make me do anything. Not even the devil. I misbehaved often because being good seemed intolerably boring when it involved sitting down and asking no questions. A time or two at school, when in trouble, I would tell Sister Mary Margaret, “It wasn’t me. It was the devil.” It went over like a ton of bricks.
I once read that an angel is pure love, even a fallen angel like Lucifer. The Light Bearer, once the most beautiful of all the angels or so the poets have us believe, was cast from Heaven and scattered into a billion pieces. Nothing can put him back together so here is a thing of great love utterly broken. Isn’t that what we all are? Broken creatures of great love?
I don’t think we would recognize the devil if we met him in the street. Like Simon in “Lord of the Flies”, I worry that maybe he is just us. And that’s a terrifying thought. Although, the idea that we are cosmic puppets whose strings are being pulled by divine and demonic beings we can’t see is even scarier.
I wish Neil Gaiman had the right of it. Angels and demons are charming English people and quite fun to have tea with. His version of Lucifer is far more palpable than the force that spilled its guts and corrupted all of creation.
I suspect Tolkien hit closer to the truth with his Sauron, a force of absolute power and oppression. Yes, that seems more likely than a nightclub owning playboy in LA. And seems the devil is alive and well and wreaking havoc in this world we must share, dividing us, scattering us like leaves in winter.