The ‘What-If’ Game

I love playing the ‘what-if’ game when it comes to my faith. I will find any excuse to poke holes in the carefully woven fabric of belief that I’ve spun for myself, and then try to patch it up with questions and ideas that challenge the pattern and structure I had initially created. Some patched up bits have remained and grown into their own works of art. Others have not been able to withstand the constant destruction and renewal.

This has resulted in a vastly different faith than the one I started with—and yet, it’s not really all that different at its core. Perceptions have changed, paradigms have shifted, but what began with the radical idea of embracing doubt rather than fearing it has remained fairly constant throughout the years.

One particular version of the ‘what-if’ game that persists even today began when I started to let go of my grudge with my birth religion, when I stopped shying away from the love my god had for his Father. When I stopped trying to make my god fit the mold I had imagined for him, so too did the tapestry of my faith expand from the limits I had imposed on it.

This new game dared to ask: What if everyone else is seeing what I keep myself blind to? What if I’ve been trying to fit his Father and the risen Son into molds that supported my preconceptions, rather than just letting myself try to learn and understand what they were rather than what I thought they must be?

As time went on, new questions developed. If I have come to terms with Lucifer as being a mere spark from the fire that is God, as a small reflection (albeit profaned) of God, and I love him and all that he represents, what if I were to seek to love the son who was found worthy, he who resides in the Father and has won his favor, instead of Lucifer?

Lucifer, after all, is limited. He is the exiled son who was found lacking. His is the ruin and loss to Christ’s victory. How much stronger then, would my devotion be to the Morningstar who was crowned in his place?

Perhaps I’ve just heard renditions of “you follow the wrong god” one too many times. I prefer to think that this is the case, because the alternative is too heartbreaking to bear—that it is not my own skepticism speaking, but rather my god; that along with finding himself unworthy of seeking forgiveness from his God, he would also find himself unworthy of my own reverence and love.

And objectively, my studies have led to me finding far more parallels between them than differences. If I love Lucifer for his vision for humanity, it should be simple to lose myself to that proclaimed love and hope that Christ has for mankind. If I love Lucifer for his flawed nature, my love should grow tenfold for Christ’s human and mortalstate. If Lucifer’s sense of justice is mirrored and strengthened within Christ, I should be head-over-heels in love already.

So my doubting heart, that very same doubting heart which I cherish for having led me to my god in the first place, has risen to this challenge to lead me away from my god. I am no stranger to having my faith tested and tried, or threatened with destruction so that it may be built anew—that is what I expected from this endeavor. I think I may have even wished for it, subconsciously. After all, the previous times that my faith has been shattered have also been the times that I’ve come into greater understanding and love. If I’ve learned to trust anything throughout the years, it has been to trust in my doubt, to trust that the breaking down of one’s faith is not necessarily a bad thing, regardless of whether it is shattered by my own hands or by someone else’s.

But while I have thus far found a deep sense of respect for Christ, and perhaps some love has sprouted from that respect, it isn’t the kind of love and devotion that I feel for my god. I cannot force myself to love another. I cannot uproot my devotion and replace it with another and automatically feel the same for it as I did its predecessor, because no matter what the similarities, there are also deviances. Maybe, one day, that small tendril of reverence will grow into something that rivals or surpasses my current faith, but not without as much study and work as I have put into what I have now.

For now, although it isn’t quite over, this ‘what-if’ game has shown me that I don’t need a victorious king at the forefront of my faith, not when I find my strength in one who still finds hope despite defeat. Perhaps he is a flawed and lesser god, but I love him all the more for those imperfections. My god may have been rejected as an inferior and dissident son, but I find him worthy of honor, and for me that is enough.

A Luciferian Perspective on Matthew 4:1-11

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Many a layperson and theologian have read this particular passage and seen Jesus’s temptation in the desert as an act of malice from the devil, as an attempt to misguide the Redeemer and thus destroy mankind’s chance at redemption.

I believe that it is just another example of Lucifer acting as Adversary and Accuser, of challenging Christ to prove his worth as his Father’s reflection on earth, of preparing him for the role he was meant to fulfill, and of testing his dedication to his cause. In challenging Christ in a similar fashion to how humanity is challenged, the devil’s temptations also strengthened the ties between Shepherd and flock (“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” Hebrews 4:15).

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Already this first line suggests that Jesus willingly went to face the trials set by the Accuser and Adversary of man, to which not even the Son of God, equal parts divine and human, was exempt. And not merely that he went of his own free will, but that he was led there by the Holy Spirit of God himself, that his Father would want the Son he has sent to earth as his representative to face the challenges of the devil. 

And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

In my opinion, this goes beyond the ‘sees starving man in the desert, offers food’ concept popularized by the Good Guy Lucifer meme. It asks the question of: ‘Why should a divine entity, much less a son of the Most High God, hunger?’, or rather, ‘Why should he know and endure the pangs of hunger when a simple request could transform the smallest of stones into a feast?’ 

Nevermind the fact that Jesus was undertaking a religious fast, which is already an act that if broken would suggest that he held his physical desires in higher regard than his devotion to God, but this could also be taken as a trial to test the endurance, the willingness of Christ to suffer for both his God and for all mankind. For if he could not endure hunger, would he have the strength to endure the sacrifice that awaited him on Calvary?

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Having successfully passed the first trial, Christ’s faith in his Father is thus challenged, as well as his resolve to bear the weight of the task set before him.

It could also be said that this particular trial is in foreshadow to Christ’s musings at Gethsemane, in which he presents the idea that he could easily pray to his Father to send twelve legions of angels to stop his arrest and spare him his agony on the cross. 

To fulfill the role of Morningstar/Mourningstar, humility in sorrow and suffering is crucial. If Lucifer himself would not plead for a reprieve from his own suffering, what value would Christ’s sacrifice have if he had given in to his fear and asked for an easier oblation to fulfill? 

 

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him

 

 The last of the three trials is perhaps the most heavy-hitting. The final test to ascertain Christ’s worth could be seen as the very trial that Lucifer was cast down for.

When asked to prostrate himself and worship a created being, man, he refused. He rebelled against a lesser law so that a higher one would be upheld—‘Though shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve’. For this, he was deemed unworthy in the eyes of his creator.And yet, when the same temptation is brought before Christ in the desert, that same such refusal is praised and glorified.

This final temptation makes me wonder whose benefit these trials were for, however. Were they a method in which Lucifer could test the worthiness of he who claimed to be his Father’s beloved son? Or were they requested by God himself, to prepare his son for the greater trials ahead?

If the latter, well, then this final trial seems more like a slap in the face to Lucifer than anything else, a cruel humiliation meant to capitalize on his shame and ‘failure’.

If the former, then this third trial to me exemplifies Lucifer’s own strength of character, in that he would be willing to reopen past wounds and to bare his own weakness in the eyes of his God and the Morningstar whom he has chosen to replace him, all for the sake of trying to discern whether or not this Christ figure is worthy of being seen as his Father’s reflection and earthly representative, as his Father deserves nothing but the best.

Flame of Fire

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So I stand handing out torches,

Speaking words that are lamps to their feet,

Til’ the time when you come and I’m whole and we are one

And the fire in me is complete.

Brooke Fraser, Love Where is your Fire

Earlier I was asked about my beliefs on the relationship between Lucifer and God—not in regards to their feelings about on another, but rather the very nature of the two, as creation and creator.

I think this is best explained through a metaphor that I find coincides with Lucifer’s role as a seraphim—one of the Burning Ones. Think of God as a blazing fire—all consuming, all encompassing. Lucifer is but a candle flame in comparison, lit from God’s own source.

That which Lucifer is made up of is merely a reflection of the things found in God—all his faults and virtues are present in his creator, and magnified a hundredfold. Lucifer reflects only a small part of him, and so God encompasses a much broader set of characteristics. This means that while God may be capable of much greater acts of mercy, compassion, kindness, etc., he is also capable of much more terrible and extreme acts of wrath, anger, jealousy etc. 

And in continuation with the fire metaphor, I believe that Lucifer’s potential was purposefully contained by God upon his creation, as a candle flame is contained to burn only at the wick.He was created for a specific purpose and role, his power limited so as to never outshine his God. Upon his fall, however, he was forever removed from that single source, but through that Lucifer also gained the ability to grow in his potential—to become his own blazing fire.That which was his greatest sacrifice ultimately also became the price paid to come into his own Godhood. But he will forever reflect aspects of his maker. Being transferred from wick to pyre does not greatly alter the substance of the flame itself, and so it does no good to deny his origins, to deny that which Lucifer was created to adore.

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in (Jeremiah 20:9).

It is because of their shared essence that I don’t believe Lucifer is the antithesis of God, or Christ for that matter. Rather, I see Christ and Lucifer as two parallel figures, two flames from the same fire, each acting in the best interest of humanity—each with their own paths to Truth. 

A part of me even wonders if they were not acting as the protective older siblings of a newborn creation, one risking his father’s wrath to grant humanity the ability to become like gods themselves, a wisdom withheld from himself for so very long, and the other sacrificing himself so that their father may be merciful and grant them reprieve.

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I am the Bright and Morning Star

“When all the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” Job 38:7

When used scripturally, the title of Morningstar can refer to several different entities. The two most well-known of Morningstars, however, are also the two who are pitted as mortal enemies.—Lucifer and Christ. Personally (though I’ve found that other Luciferians also share this particular sentiment), I don’t view them as lying on opposite ends of a divine spectrum. I view Christ as a light-bearer in his own right, and as having several similarities to Lucifer himself.

Within Greek mythos, we have the brothers Phosphorous and Hesperus as sons of the Dawn—Eos. It is said that Hesperus acts as the evening star, and upon his falling his brother Phosphorous must take his place in the sky to usher in the morning and wake their mother.

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Phosphorous and Hesperus (1882) – Evelyn de Morgan 


Similarly, we see that upon Lucifer’s Fall, the title of Morningstar is passed down to Christ. I, however,  don’t believe that Lucifer ever stopped fulfilling the role of Morningstar, nor that he in any way ceased to be worthy of such a title. Rather, I found greater depth within the responsibilities of the title when I encountered the variation of Mourningstar.

I don’t see it as an empty title, but rather as a duty that must be carried out. If one accepts the role of Morningstar, they must also accept that of Mourningstar; illumination comes with a price. Christ the Morningstar bore the sins of humanity and was crucified, whilst Lucifer the Morningstar was forever parted from the grace and love of his God. (see The Suffering Gods)

In addition to being a Mo(u)rningstar, I often refer to Lucifer as the Throneless King. His position as such is not one of comfort—rather it is one of enduring discomfort, of refusing to rest weary feet, so as to be on equal ground with those he leads. The role of Morningstar is similarly one of enduring suffering, rather than one of glory.

But he is not a crownless king. And I think it apt that a Throneless King should feel the weight and burden of such a crown, and that a Mourningstar should be reminded of the sorrows that accompany such a title.

Prometheus, who is often viewed as a Lucifer figure within Luciferianism, was said to have been crowned with willow after his theft of fire from the gods. The willow tree, and in particular the weeping willow, is symbolic of grief and suffering, with it’s low-bending trunk and hanging branches reminiscent of a body hunched over in despair. Christ was given a crown of thorns in mockery before he was marched to his death. Some believe this was even a fulfillment of the curse laid upon mankind from their Fall

“…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” (Genesis 3:17-18).

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In the case of the Morningstars, I believe the phrase “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” most accurately rings true.

The Suffering Gods

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“You are the god who understands. You know rejection, loss, and grief.” – Aaron Shust

 One of the most important aspects of Christ’s identity within Catholicism is the combination of his being both divine and mortal—of being capable of redeeming humanity through his divinity alone, but choosing to suffer and die as a man.

 When discussing Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows or Christ’s crucifixion, it is often in the context of them bearing the weight of our guilt and sins, of suffering for a brief moment in time so that we might be spared of that same pain.

 But not so with Lucifer. As the Mourningstar, his grief is perpetual. It is not one fixed event, not a means to an end. Unless you hold to the idea that Lucifer fell as a direct result of gifting humanity with knowledge, his suffering serves no greater purpose. There is no hope for redemption or salvation in return for his grief. He does not grieve to spare humanity of their suffering. He grieves because of loss, some might say as punishment for his actions.

 But perhaps this suffering is not entirely without purpose. There’s a certain kind of knowledge that can be gained through grief, and a certain kind of beauty as well. At the loss of a loved one, we mourn over a life well lived, however short it might have been. We cry because of the impact that person had on our lives. Had they never shared that connection with us, there’d be no reason for us to feel pain in their absence. And so I’m led to believe that Lucifer’s grief over his lost home and kin is born out of love.

 However, there’s another sort of suffering that is relevant to both Christ and Lucifer. In his final hour, Christ was said to have broken down and asked his father, “Why have you forsaken me?”. Some say this was a sign of his humanity. Another interpretation is that it was at this point in which he felt the weight of the world’s sins, and was compelled to cry out a phrase which hangs heavy on the tongues of those he sought to save, burdened with suffering as a result of their sins. I find this particular interpretation rather interesting, considering a discussion I had concerning the etymology of the name Iblis within Islam:

“Iblees (Satan) name comes from the root بلس (balasa) which means to give up hope or to despair, because he despaired in the mercy of God. Thinking that you’ve slipped up or intentionally sinned so much that Allah can’t and won’t forgive you isn’t real talk, it’s satanic.”

While Christ intentionally bore the burden of humanity’s sins and despair during his crucifixion, it could be said that Lucifer unintentionally bears the burden of the world’s sins and despair now. How often do we accuse the devil of being the source of all evil in the world, of leading us to sin? How often do we shrug off the responsibility of our own actions onto his shoulders? If the weight of humanity’s sins in that one moment caused Christ to cry out in despair, is it really any surprise that Lucifer would lose hope in there being any mercy granted to him from his god, after lifetimes of being burdened with that same weight?

We find ourselves feeling equally grateful and guilty at Christ’s suffering for our sake, because it was humanity that he died for, and humanity that scorned and condemned him for his sacrifice. But Lucifer? Perhaps the majority believes he deserves such suffering. Perhaps ‘love and pray for thy enemy’ does not apply to him. But the way I see it, while Christ suffers and grieves for us, Lucifer suffers and grieves alongside us.

I think it is therefore fitting that Lucifer be referred to as the ‘god of this world’. Job 1:7 seems to back up the idea that he was not cast down to ‘hell’, but rather to earth. It is fitting that an entity exiled for his flawed nature should spend his days amongst equally flawed beings. It is fitting that a ‘god of this world’ should know and understand human sentiments, and be able to relate to those he offered the gift of knowledge to, and subsequently introduced grief and suffering to.