The mythical figure commonly known as the devil and the prince or lord of Hell has many names. The most common ones I know of are Lucifer, Iblis and Satan (also spelled Shaitan or Shayṭān). I choose character names based on their meanings and Lucifer is no exception.
Lucifer's name means lots of things:
- light of the morning
- morning star
- son of the morning
- shining one
- son of the dawn
None of these meanings match the concept of a dark, demonic figure and that's because, according to various religious sources, Lucifer was a Seraphim – one of the highest choirs of angels. He was reputedly as close to perfect as an angel could be:
“…the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” – Ezekiel, 28:13
Lucifer's Fall From Heaven
He is believed to have fallen from his exalted position through pride. Christian Biblical sources indicate he wished to be worshipped as a god and God objected to this. He was thrown out of Heaven by the archangel Michael, which was a calculated insult, as archangels are a much lower choir of angels than the Seraphim. According to St Jerome, the name Lucifer is what the devil laments losing in his fall from Heaven.
Jewish sources suggest he was cast out of Heaven because he was envious of Adam, the first human man. Adam had been granted dominion over Earth and Lucifer refused to bow in homage to the man.
In Islam, the Qur'an indicates that Iblis, as he is known, was banished from Heaven because he wouldn't bow before Adam. Iblis isn't confined to Hell in Islam – instead, he spends his time tempting human beings away from the true path of their religion, thereby condemning the erring humans to Hell.
What Does Lucifer Look Like?
Aside from his supposed perfection and six wings that marked him as a Seraphim, Lucifer is described as being able to change his form and appearance. He's reputed to be able to appear as a snake, a dragon, a cormorant, an angel with dark wings and a demon in various shapes.
He's portrayed in all of these forms in art throughout the ages – though few chose to show him in his initial perfection, preferring to give him one of his more bestial forms to match the dark soul within.
Lucifer's Life Goal
Christian sources suggest that he actively tries to subvert humans and win their souls through trickery so that they can worship him in Hell, as he's reputed to have tempted Jesus during his time on Earth. Some Christian works, like Dante's Divine Comedy, suggest that Lucifer is confined to Hell for eternity.
Conversely, Islamic sources indicate he only tempts humans to reveal their true nature, as he has no power over those who are true to their religion.
Lucifer in Mel Goes to Hell
I couldn't write a book about angels and demons in an office without putting someone in charge of the HELL Corporation. Luce Iblis is the ideal overbearing, alpha-male CEO. A superb body, an apt mind and a penchant for power meant even I couldn't resist – after all, I'm no angel, unlike Mel – but the fact remains that he is a fallen angel and synonymous with evil in many religions. As a villain, he comes equipped with a fiery underground lair and myriad minions with a capacity for violence and pain.
Whether he's a villain who can win the angel he's set his sights on, though…well, what can I say? I wouldn't dream of spoiling the series for you. I must admit, he's managed to seduce me fairly successfully, though…