What Is the Story of Lucifer?

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The story of Lucifer, as narrated in the Bible, involves a powerful archangel who wanted ultimate power for himself, rebelled against God, and therefore fell from heaven. Lucifer is also a character in many versions of the classic German legend in which a man makes a pact with the devil to gain worldly pleasures, experience and knowledge.

Lucifer means “light bearer,” and as a fallen angel he is referred to as Satan or the Devil. In Christopher Marlowe’s classic play “Doctor Faustus,” published in the early 1600s, a German scholar wants to learn black magic and sells his soul to the devil, whose master is Lucifer. Many other works of art, including novels, movies and songs, have used this Faustian legend to create stories in which a character exchanges his morality for worldly power and success.

Lucifer is typically depicted with horns and a demonic expression, sometimes standing in a fiery hell and carrying a pitchfork. Prior to his fall from heaven, he often appears angelic with a bright face.

While many believe that Lucifer has brought evil into the world and seek spiritual protection from him, others invoke Lucifer’s power in order to gain spiritual strength for themselves. According to About.com, Lucifer is found in many religions, including Christianity, the Bahai Faith, Judaism and Islam, and is generally considered to be a personification of evil.