My question is really at the margin of Literature and Mythology, my main focus is how hubris is involved in the conversion of Lucifer into Satan.

This is my first question here, so I may be not following the strict rules but I’m trying my best. Except John Milton’s Paradise Lost I couldn’t find any references of Lucifer’s conversion, and through some informal conversation with other people I came to know about that this is related to Abrahamic Mythology.

T.S. Eliot tries to convey the same idea by these lines from Burnt Norton

Time and the bell have buried the day,
The black cloud carries the sun away.

Although, I have given literary references of that event but still my aim is to know about the actual event not to understand a particular literary work.


2 Answers 2


The only canonical reference to Lucifer is:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Isaiah 14:12–15(KJV) - How art thou fallen

If that isn't hubris, I don't know what is.

  • What does “son of morning” mean? What it could mean? Sep 6, 2020 at 4:28
  • 1
    The name "Lucifer" literally means "light-bearer", and can refer to the morning star (Mercury). As that light can be seen just before sunrise, as a small version of the sun, it can be considered a child of the dawn. Symbolically, stars usually refer to angels (e.g. Job 38:7 "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy", and Rev 1:20 "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches".) Sep 6, 2020 at 12:50

Among critical scholars, the Lucifer mentioned in Isaiah and Daniel is not considered the same as Satan.

Isaiah chapters 13-23 describes a series of “burdens” on various nations, e.g. Babylon, Tyre, Egypt. Then specifically in 14:4:

That thou hast taken up this simile Concerning the king of Babylon, and said, How hath the exactor ceased

The prophecy is therefore about the human king of Babylon, who is described as “Lucifer”, and verse 16 describes his fall:

Thy beholders look to thee, to thee they attend, Is this the man causing the earth to tremble, Shaking kingdoms?

So this clearly refers to a king like any other, verses 9-10 affirm this:

Sheol beneath hath been troubled at thee, To meet thy coming in, It is waking up for thee Rephaim, All chiefs ones of earth, It hath raised up from their thrones All kings of nations. All of them answer and say unto thee, Even thou hast become weak like us! Unto us thou hast become like!

The later association with the devil comes from the opening words of verse 9: sheol in Judaism is originally the place where all dead go. In later eras, it became the destination for the wicked and a place of punishment.

As to your specific question about hubris, we first need to identify to which king Isaiah is referring. “Lucifer” means “the morning star”, which is the brightest of the stars. In the parable, this star proudly decides to “ascend into heaven (which by the way contradicts the later association with Satan, who was cast out of heaven). This is described in verse 13:

And thou saidst in thy heart: the heavens I go up, Above stars of God I raise my throne, And I sit in the mount of meeting in the sides of the north.

Philologists associate this with Nebuchadnezzar, based on for example Daniel 4:22. Nebuchadnezzar proudly surveyed the great kingdom he had built up, thinking that he had conquered other nations in his own strength, rather than recognizing that the Abrahamic deity had bestowed this:

Thou it is, O king, for thou hast become great and mighty, and thy greatness hath become great, and hath reached to the heavens, and thy dominion to the end of the earth;

The association with the casting out of the devil comes from Jehova's punishment as described in Daniel 4:33, which references the king by name:

'In that hour the thing hath been fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar, and from men he is driven, and the herb as oxen he eateth, and by the dew of the heavens his body is wet, till that his hair as eagles' hath become great, and his nails as birds.'

So Nebuchadnezzar's hubris is the cause for his downfall in the OT. The entire story is clearly about a king, not a fallen angel. The consensus among critical scholars is that the book of Daniel is historical fiction. Nebuchadnezzar's recognition of the power of Yahweh is unlikely to have actually occurred.

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