In classical mythology, the morning star (the planet Venus at dawn), personified as a male figure. Lucifer (Latin: “Light-Bearer”) carried a torch and served as herald of the dawn. In Christian times, Lucifer came to be regarded as the name of Satan before his fall; it was thus used by John Milton in Paradise Lost.
Learn more about Lucifer with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Lucifer is a name frequently given to Satan in Christian belief. This usage stems from a particular interpretation, as a reference to a fallen angel, of a passage in the Bible that speaks of someone who is given the name of "Day Star" or "Morning Star" (in Latin, Lucifer) as fallen from heaven. The same Latin word is used of the morning star in and elsewhere with no relation to Satan. But Satan is called Lucifer in many writings later than the Bible, notably in Milton's Paradise Lost.
In Latin, the word "Lucifer", meaning "Light-Bringer" (from lux, lucis, "light", and ferre, "to bear, bring"), is a name for the "Morning Star" (the planet Venus in its dawn appearances; cf. Romanian Luceafăr). The Latin Vulgate version of the Bible used this word twice to refer to the Morning Star: once in to translate the Greek word "Φωσφόρος" (Phosphoros), which has exactly the same literal meaning of "Light-Bringer" that "Lucifer" has in Latin; and once in to translate "הילל" (Hêlēl), which also means "Morning Star". In the latter passage the title of "Morning Star" is given to the tyrannous Babylonian king, who the prophet says is destined to fall. This passage was later applied to the prince of the demons, and so the name "Lucifer" came to be used for Satan, and was popularized in works such as Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost, but for English speakers the greatest influence has been its use in the King James Version for what more modern English versions translate as "Morning Star" or "Day Star".
A similar passage in regarding the king of Tyre was also applied to Satan, contributing to the traditional picture of Satan and his fall.
Latin name for the Morning Star
And Pliny the Elder:
The passage expressly refers to a "king of Babylon", a "man" who seemed all-powerful, but who has been brought low. Isaiah promises that the Israelites will be freed and will then be able to use in a taunting song against their oppressor the image of the Morning Star, which rises at dawn as the brightest of the stars, outshining Jupiter and Saturn, but lasting only until the sun appears. This image was used in an old popular Canaanite story that the Morning Star tried to rise high above the clouds and establish himself on the mountain where the gods assembled, in the far north, but was cast down into the underworld.
The phrase "O Day Star, son of Dawn" in the New Revised Standard Version translation given above corresponds to the Hebrew phrase "הילל בן־שׁחר" (heilel ben-shachar) in verse 12, meaning "morning star, son of dawn". As the Latin poets personified the Morning Star and the Dawn (Aurora), as well as the Sun and the Moon and other heavenly bodies, so in Canaanite mythology Morning Star and Dawn were pictured as two deities, the former being the son of the latter.
In the Vulgate, Jerome translated "הילל בן־שׁחר" (morning star, son of dawn) as "lucifer qui mane oriebaris" (morning star that used to rise early). Already, as early as the Christian writers Tertullian and Origen, the whole passage had come to be applied to Satan. Satan began to be referred to as "Lucifer" (Morning Star), and finally the word "Lucifer" was treated as a proper name. The use of the word "Lucifer" in the 1611 King James Version instead of a word such as "Daystar" ensured its continued popularity among English speakers.
Most modern English versions of the Bible (including the NIV, NRSV, NASB, NJB and ESV) render the Hebrew word as "day star", "morning star" or something similar, and never as "Lucifer", a word that in English is now very rarely used in the sense of the original word in Hebrew, though in Latin "Lucifer" was a literal translation.
However, it was among Christian writers that the identification of "Lucifer" with Satan had its greatest fortune. Tertullian ("Contra Marrionem," v. 11, 17), Origen ("Ezekiel Opera," iii. 356), and others, identify Lucifer with Satan, who also is represented as being "cast down from heaven" (cf. ).
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary states that there are many who believe the expression "Lucifer" and the surrounding context in Isaiah 14 refer to Satan: they believe the similarities among , , and warrant this conclusion. But it points out that the context of the Isaiah passage is about the accomplished defeat of the king of Babylon, while the New Testament passages speak of Satan.
A passage quite similar to that in Isaiah is found in , which is expressly directed against the king of Tyre, a city on an island that had grown rich by trade, factors alluded to in the text. It too has been applied to Lucifer/Satan, because of some of the expressions contained in it. But, since it does not contain the image of the morning star, discussion of it belongs rather to the article on Satan than to that on Lucifer.
The same holds for the picture of Satan in other books of the Old Testament as, for instance, in the book of Job, where Satan, who has been wandering the earth, has a discussion with God and makes a deal with him to test Job.
Joseph Campbell (1972: p.148-149) illustrates an unorthodox Islamic reading of Lucifer's fall from Heaven which champions Lucifer's eclipsing love for God:
"One of the most amazing images of love that I know is Persian – a mystical Persian representation as Satan as the most loyal lover of God. You will have heard the old legend of how, when God created the angels, he commanded them to pay worship to no one but himself; but then, creating man, he commanded them to bow in reverence to this most noble of his works, and Lucifer refused – because, we are told, of his pride. However, according to this Muslim reading of his case, it was rather because he loved and adored God so deeply and intensely that he could not bring himself to bow before anything else, and because he refused to bow down to something that was of less superiority than him. (Since he was made of fire, and man from clay.) And it was for that that he was flung into Hell, condemned to exist there forever, apart from his love."
This interpretation of the satanic rebellion described in the Quran is seen by some Sufi teachers such as Mansur Al-Hallaj (in his 'Tawasin') as a predestined scenario in which Iblis-Shaitan plays the role of tragic and jealous lover who, unable to perceive the Divine Image in Adam and capable only of seeing the exterior, disobeyed the divine mandate to bow down. His refusal (according to the Tawasin) was due to a misconceived idea of God's uniqueness and because of his refusal to abandon himself to God in love. Hallaj criticized the staleness of Iblis' adoration. Excerpts from Sufi texts expounding this interpretation have been included along with many other viewpoints on Shaitan (by no means all of them apologetic) in an important anthology of Sufi texts edited by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, head of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.
The Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan taught that 'Luciferian Light' is Light which has become dislocated from the Divine Source and is thus associated with the seductive false light of the lower ego which lures humankind into self-centred delusion. Here Lucifer represents what the Sufis term the 'Nafs', the ego.
Liberal Christian scholars often deny altogether the existence of a personal being called "Satan", rendering the Lucifer story irrelevant. They argue that the name Satan itself (Hebrew: שׂטָן) merely means "adversary" or "accuser", which may be a personification.
"Lucifer" (Morning Star) also appears twice in the Vulgate translation of the Book of Job, once to represent the word "בקר" (which instead means "morning") in , and once for the word "מזרות" (usually taken to mean "the constellations") in ; and it appears also in for "שׁחר" (dawn, the same word as in ).
Two references to the Morning Star in the Book of Revelation are not represented in the Vulgate by "lucifer". In both cases a circumlocution is used in the original Greek text, instead of the simple term "φωσφόρος", and a corresponding circumlocution is used in the Latin. Thus "stella matutina" is used for "ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ πρωϊνός" in and . (In the latter case some Greek manuscripts have the adjective "ὀρθρινός" instead of " πρωϊνός".)
It is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon. As bright and as brilliant as it is, ancient people couldn't understand why they couldn't see it at midnight like the outer planets, or during midday, like the Sun and Moon. It outshines the planets Saturn and Jupiter, which do last all night, but soon disappears. Some believe they invented myths that Lucifer wanted to take over the thrones or status of the gods Saturn and Jupiter, as a result of which Lucifer was cast out from heaven.
Arthur Edward Waite wrote an exposé of this hoax, titled Devil-Worship in France, producing evidence that it was what today we would call a tabloid story, replete with logical and factual inconsistencies.
See also "Lucifer and Satan" at the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon website.
In the modern occultism of Madeline Montalban (died 1982) Lucifer's identification as the Morning Star (Venus) equates him with Lumiel, whom she regarded as the Archangel of Light, and among Satanists he is seen as The "Torch of Baphomet" and Azazel. In this modern occult teaching, an obvious appropriation of Christian soteriology, it is stated that it is Lucifer's destiny to incarnate in human form at certain key times in world history as a saviour and redeemer for humanity. A symbol for this process is the Tudor Rose. The Tudor Rose can be red, representing Lucifer, or white representing Lilith. The Tau cross or Mjolnir is also a symbol of Lumiel/Lucifer and his role as an avatar for the human race.
In the Satanic Bible of 1969 Lucifer is acknowledged as one of the Four Crown Princes of Hell, particularly that of the East. Lord of the Air, Lucifer has been named "Bringer of Light, the Morning Star, Intellectualism, Enlightenment."
Luciferin is a name given to five types of pigments found in various bioluminescent animals, including fireflies, bacteria, and deep sea fish. Luciferins produce an almost heatless, bluish-green light when oxidized in a reaction catalyzed by their corresponding enzymes, which are called luciferases.
Crystex Composites installs Lucifer furnaces: the furnaces are constructed with reinforced and welded sheet metal shells lined with firebrick and mineral wool insulation.(PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT)
Sep 01, 2011; Grystex Composites, producer of Mykroy/Mycalex glass-bonded mica material used for electrical and thermal-insulating, recently...