Friday, June 01, 2007

Satan's Aliases

Satan and Beelzebub are different demons

Obviously, Satan is the Devil. He truly is the fallen seraph named Lucifer, and was absolutely the highest angel [Pope St. Gregory I the Great (Doctor of the Church), Hom. xxxiv in Ev.; St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor Angelicus), Summa Theologica I, q. 63, art. 7 {1}] before he fell due to the mortal sin of pride [Sir 10:14; 2 Cor 10:13]. The prophet Isaiah says [14:12-15]:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High. But yet thou shalt be brought down to Hell, into the depth of the pit."
This parable has a dual reference: Lucifer represents the King of Babylon, and, on a deeper level, Satan, for our Lord said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven" [Lk 10:18].
Moreover, the prophet Ezekiel lamented [28:12-15]:
“You were the seal of resemblance, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in the pleasures of the paradise of God; every precious stone was thy covering; the sardius, the topaz, and the jasper, the chrysolite, and the onyx, and the beryl, the sapphire, and the carbuncle, and the emerald; gold the work of your beauty: and your pipes were prepared in the day that you were created. You a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set you in the holy mountain of God, you have walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your wave from the day of creation, until iniquity was found in you.”
Ezekiel was referring to the king of Tyre and Satan.

But how could God’s highest angel become evil? St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Angelicus, explains in Summa Theologica 1.63.1:
“An angel or any other rational creature considered in his own nature, can sin; and to whatever creature it belongs not to sin, such creature has it as a gift of grace, and not from the condition of nature. The reason of this is, because sinning is nothing else than a deviation from that rectitude which an act ought to have; whether we speak of sin in nature, art, or morals. That act alone, the rule of which is the very virtue of the agent, can never fall short of rectitude. Were the craftsman's hand the rule itself engraving, he could not engrave the wood otherwise than rightly; but if the rightness of engraving be judged by another rule, then the engraving may be right or faulty.”
Thus the Fourth Lateran Council (Lateran IV) says that “the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil.”

Now in John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, Satan and Beelzebub are said to be different demons. However, Beelzebub the prince of devils is not a lesser demon, but is Satan himself, for Christ said: “And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? … Because you say that through Beelzebub I cast out devils” [Lk 11:18]. There is extra-biblical confirmation of the identity of Satan with Beelzebub: Satan announced his name was Beelzebub during the exorcism of Nicola Aubrey.{2}

So Satan [Lk 10:18] = Lucifer [Is 14:12-15; Ek 28:12-15] = Devil [Rev 12:9] = Beelzebub [Mt 10:25; 12:24-29; Mk 3:22; Lk 11:15-22] = Lord of the Flies [2 Ki 1:2] = Prince of Demons [Lk 11:15] = Adversary [1 Pet 5:8] = Accuser [Rev 12:10] = Tempter [Mt 4:3] = Wicked One [Mt 13:19] = Prince of this World [Jn 12:31; 14:30] = Belial [2 Cor 6:15] = Dragon [Rev 12:9] = Old Serpent [Rev 12:9] = Beast [Rev 20:10].

{1} I like to cite the Summa Theologica thusly, even though my way differs from the scholarly method: Part.Question.Article.Objection. My citation is Summa Theologica Part 1, Question 63 (“The malice of the angels with regard to sin”), Article 7 (“Whether the highest among those who sinned was the highest of all?”). I did not cite St. Thomas’s response to a particular objection out of the three in that article. Thus, my citation is ST 1.63.7.
{2} The Exorcism of Nicola Aubrey by Fr. Michael Müller, C.S.S.R. Excerpt @ The other named demons in this apparently thoroughly documented account of God's demonstration of the Real Presence in the Eucharist include Astaroth, Cerberus, and Legion [Mk 5:9].

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