Consider that in the Book of Job, we have Satan — the devil, whom I will call Lucifer — “presenting” himself to God (Job 1:6).
But only good angels — and according to the common understanding, all angels are either good and glorified or evil and damned — can stand in the presence of God, who “lives in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6:16).
Even Moses could not see God as He is, having been told that “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Ex 33:20)
Who can see God? Well, anyone who dwells in heaven: “among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt 11:11)
The citizens of heaven call God (by adoption), like Jesus does (by nature), “Father”: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” (Rev 21:6-7)
Another interesting point is that God addresses Lucifer, asking him where he came from, having a conversation with him, and giving him a task to perform. But the damned, the inhabitants of hell, if any, are forgotten; God does not know them and certainly does not speak to them. Of them, Jesus said: “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” (Lk 13:27) Yet here God is apparently interested in Lucifer’s exploits.
Now according to the story, Lucifer is the top angel. He is by nature the best creature of all. And he fell. But is this really plausible? Why did he fall? Well, he is a proud creature, but he has reason to be. Surely, he realizes far better than most humans that God as Goodness is as much above rational creatures as rational creatures are above tables and chairs. (These I call the three levels of all things: matter, spirit, and goodness or would, if goodness were a “thing.” Language falters here, I’m afraid.) It is insane and impossible to “rebel” against goodness. It would be like a car gaining consciousness and telling its owner that it does not feel like starting today. I suppose some people may anthropomorphize their cars to an extent, but that is an illusion, and everyone understands that. Far be it from Lucifer to fall prey to an error no less spectacular.
What I think happened in heaven is that Lucifer disagreed with God about the wisdom of creating humans. Lucifer felt that angels are quite sufficient and are far superior to men. He was “entitled to his opinion” and sought to vindicate himself.
Some Christians imagine that there is a huge force out there that hates them and desires their destruction, physical or spiritual. To realize that one is up against this invisible opponent one cannot harm or predict the next move of is terrifying. But Lucifer does not hate humans. Rather, he despises us and has made it his mission to prove to God that He was wrong to create us. And there is a world of difference between hating (a monstrous emotion when directed at fellow men or angels) and despising or feeling contempt for us.
To hate someone is to will evil to him and to want him to suffer. To despise is merely to think inferior. Lucifer is convinced that we are pathetic sort of creatures. Worthless. Stupid. Ugly. Sinful, disgusting, and irredeemable. Why did Christ sacrificed Himself for us? Lucifer, the most illustrious of angels, the greatest thing ever created, is proud of his powers and, indeed, virtue and thinks that it was madness to make something as revolting as us.
I will illustrate by discussing a Japanese anime Inuyasha, a somewhat entertaining show in my opinion. Lucifer, I submit, is like Sesshomaru, an “aristocratic,” handsome, very proud demon who gives no heed to humans or indeed, to corrupt other demons. The evil Naraku he calls “vermin” and assists the heroes in fighting Naraku in his own way. It is true that he despises Inuyasha for being only a half-demon and even resents him for having been specially favored by their father. But Sesshomaru is not “evil” in any way; he does not murder people or mistreat cats. He even has an attachment to a little girl he rescued who follows him, though he expects her to take care of herself.
Thus, Lucifer wanders the earth looking for a worthy opponent, someone who can withstand his spiritual assaults; someone, battling whom will be a challenge. He wants to find those individuals who will put up a good fight. Exactly like Job. Lucifer accuses Job before God of being untested by life. “You may think Job is a good man,” Lucifer is saying to God. “But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face,” (Job 1:11) he argues in the first trial. A second, even more grueling trial follows.
Lucifer’s pride is matched only by his cynicism about humans. He is unconvinced of the adequacy of our world, and he has a right to try to make his case before God. I do not think he is envious of us; for that sin, too, has hatred at its base, and as we have seen, Lucifer does not hate. On the contrary, he loves God so much that he is willing to try to prove Him wrong.
Notice, however, how God’s providence has overcome Lucifer, as well. For God has turned his pride and cunning on its head. Humans are inferior to angels in nature; that is true. How, then, to make us not only full-fledged citizens of heaven but above angels? Why not by putting us in a situation in which we have to battle God’s own champion, Lucifer, in a fight to the death? For if you overcome, beat the toughest opponent that has ever existed, then you have exceeded him! You become superior to him. Even Lucifer, then, has to acknowledge human saints as his brothers, just as Sesshomaru had to reconcile himself to the power of Inuyasha and Kagome that proved greater than his own.
Thus, we obtain a reason for not fearing the devil. First of all, Lucifer does not seek anyone’s physical death; his aim is to demonstrate to all concerned that your soul is little and worthless. Well, don’t be little and worthless. Get out there and fight! Be sure that you can message “GG” to Lucifer during your heavenly life review.
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.” (Lk 12:4-5) Jesus means, do not fear the devil, but fear God who as judge, jury, and executioner can condemn you. Lucifer is just the prosecutor. It is one of the worst sins to fear him. Organize your defense and win the trial.
This is why the Catholic Church venerates saints: they are our examples of those who have bested the most unforgiving and dangerous opponent of all: Lucifer himself, and for that feat (rightly understood) are crowned with glory in the hereafter. Let us contemplate their battles and their victories (and temporary setbacks) and do likewise.