Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mentality of Lucifer


"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven or Hell, a Hell of Heaven...to reign is worth ambition, though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."


- Lucifer speaking to Azazel and Mammon, Paradise Lost, Book 1, vs. 254-55, 263 (John Milton)


Though not scriptural, I believe that Milton describes Lucifer's mentality well in Paradise Lost. The context of the quote comes from Lucifer and his minions' debates about whether to wage war on Heaven, from where they had just been cast out. They eventually determine that war will be necessary, but decide that the best way to figure out how is to send Lucifer to see God's new creation, Man, and see how to deceive him before war is waged.


Surely Lucifer really has this mentality, that it is better to be the master of the underworld than to serve the Lord. He is also correct, that Heaven and Hell depend on us in our own minds. Our living closer to the commandments can make our mind a Heaven. And that is not fiction.

17 comments:

Matt said...

Interesting quote, Hans! Thanks for sharing that.

Nate said...

Here's something I've always wondered...Does Satan really reign in Hell?

We ultimately have power over Satan at this point. And we will also be resurrected and obtain physical bodies. So, wouldn't a resurrected being (in Hell) still be more powerful than Satan?

Your post also sparks thought on a 'war' waged by Satan. Would he not fare better with a host of resurrected beings? Who knows... but something in the back of my mind has always bugged me about Satan's position in the plan. I've always wondered if he fights just to be a jerk, or if he fights because he thinks he can win. If it is the second, I wonder why he thinks that, and what he knows.

These are random thoughts, I know...but I've always wondered.

Hans said...

Good questions Nate, and ones that I am not sure that I know the answer to. An additional question I have is Lucifer's knowledge of the plan. Surely he must have known when offering the fruit to Eve that the Fall was necessary for the plan. But he acts as if he is oblivious of this point. Perhaps it is because he knows he will lose but despite that, the Fall will at least present him with the chance of causing misery.

Thanks for stopping by Matt!

linda said...

I have always wondered about the war in Heaven. One aspect is the people who were cast out. Is there room in the Atonement for them? I understand that if there is that Jesus would be the ultimate judge, however, I wonder if they, like many mortals, feel "tricked" by satan. How many men have taken steps toward unrighteousness but were able to repent.

As I raise kids, I understand "cumpulsory means". I have to work hard to raise my kids without cumpulsion, but find it difficult because deep down I have the mentality that you do what is right because you have to. (before you learn to want to)

I bring this up because this is part of the mentality of satan. And, Nate, I think Satan reigns in Hell in the sense that he is the leader of the spirits who followed him.

I think Hans' point is interesting about the fall. I don't know what info he was privy to, if he knew that it needed to happen, he would have known that was the way to get more people on earth to try to destroy. maybe...?

I also think that Nate's point about ultimately having power over Satan is an important one because if we forget this, we give satan more power. Sometimes I have felt powerless to my bad habits or choices until I realized that was an excuse to not accept responsibility. (crap, it is my fault)

Jeremy said...

Gets me thinking, Hans.

As D&C 76:26 says, "Satan was called Perdition." Perdition means "lost" (perder). It means losing something that you previously had, falling from a high estate. You can't be "lost" without having once been "found." And you can't be fallen unless you were previously at a high estate.

"If Lucifer had not known the effects of his rebellion, how would he have ever become Perdition? If he were ignorant, he could not have become Perdition. He was not ignorant, and therefore became Perdition. They that followed him were sons of Perdition, because they and he sinned knowingly" (Joseph Fielding Smith, "Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:189).

Accordingly, although something I cannot claim to fully understand, Satan and his followers were congizant of their actions. They had to be to merit eternity in outer darkness.

But notice Moses 4:6, "and [Satan] sought to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world." Satan apparently thinks that he can win in mortality. Contrast this with Revelation 12:12, "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." According to the Revelator, Satan is fully aware that he will only have a brief moment to tempt us before he is cast off forever.

Jeremy said...

Nate, indeed, having a body does make one more powerful than those without a body. This is one of the reasons Satan makes pacts (secret combinations) with mortals.

A classic example is Cain's secret combination with Satan wherein Cain ultimately becomes Master Mahan, the keeper of the great secret. Notice the Lord's caution to Cain before Cain murdered Abel:

"If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. And thou shalt rule over him" (Moses 5:23).

"Now as to whether or not those who in mortal life rebel and become sons of perdition will be able to exercise greater dominion than those who followed Lucifer, who became the devil and arch-enemy of Jesus Christ, might be a moot question. However, the Lord has made it definitely clear that Cain will hold that ascendancy in the realm of wickedness; [and]Satan desired to have him.

"As far as Cain is concerned, the information given is definite that he became Perdition, and that Lucifer who is Satan, became subject to him. It appears that the reason Satan desired to have him was due to the fact that Cain had obtained a body of flesh and bones and therefore had superior power, and Satan was willing to accept and be obedient to him because of that condition. The natural conclusion is, therefore, that a devil with a body of flesh and bones has some power greater than one who was denied the physical body" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:170-172).

The Prophet Joseph Smith also taught this (see TPJS 305-306). Consequently, those with bodies have power over the unembodied.

Jeremy said...

Linda, the scriptures are clear that the sons of perdition cannot be covered by Christ's Atonement. A son of perdition has, as the scriptures put it, "sinned against the Holy Ghost," the unpardonable sin.

"After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him.... He has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it" (Teachings of the Prophet Jospeh Smith, 358).

The unpardonable sin is an informed, calculated, irreversible rejection of the Savior and his atoning sacrifice. The sons of perdition have chosen to spiritually disinherit themselves, thus making themsleves spiritual orphans.

The scriptures declare that the Savior "saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him. Wherefore, he saves all except them" (D&C 76:43-44).

So why doesn't the "infinite" Atonement cover them? In my opinion, there are 2 reasons.

1) These have no escape from the second death not because the Atonement lacks in any degree in its infinite nature, but rather because these souls rejected the gift of repentance that had been offered. They knowingly choose to reject the Savior and his saving powers.

2) I may post on this later, but I believe that Christ couldn't have paid the price of their sins without equally having partaken of their fate for eternity. The reason the Atonement works for non-sons of perdition is because Christ suffered for all our sins, sicknesses, infirmities, etc. (Alma 7:11-13). To suffer for the sins of the sons of perdition, would have required Christ to suffer their fate in their stead. However, outer darkness (their fate) is only revealed to those who are consigned to suffer there: "Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof" (D&C 76:46). Consequently, if Christ had suffered their fate, he may have remained there.

Kind of a shot in the dark on that last one. But, it's interesting nonetheless.

Jeremy said...

Last one, I promise.

After reading this post, my wife and I discussed some of the things you have all brought up. Something that has consistently stumped me (again, shot in the dark here) is whether there are multiple Satans, one for each "earth."

When Moses received his magnificent vision of the history of mankind, he learned that there are "worlds without number" (Moses 1:33). The Lord told Moses, however, that "only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you" (Moses 1:35). In the next few chapters the Lord details the Creation and the pre-mortal council in Heaven where a "Lucifer" was cast out for rebellion.

I know that there is only one Jesus Christ, and the Atonement covers ALL of God's creations. But, since Moses was only to see the things that happened on our earth, was there a pre-mortal council in all the other inhabited earths, and a distinct adversary there also? Satan responds by saying, "I am doing that which has been done in other worlds...." Did HE do those things, or did he learn them from another "satan"?

Lastly, Satan and 1/3 of the hosts of heaven were cast down to OUR earth where we are. If they are here, do the inhabitants of other earths have a different "satan" or a different plan of salvation also including "opposition in all things"?

Deep stuff, so don't feel obligated to respond...

Linda said...

Just my first thought, I wonder as satan was referring to "just doing what had been done in other worlds" if he simply meant in the worlds before ours, such as, our Heavenly Father's world.(mortal existence) We know that our world was patterned after His. I'm just guessing but I am interested to look into it further.

As far as sons of perdition, I haven't clearly squared away in my mind who qualifies for that. The pre-mortal spirits who chose satan turned away from Christ, however, Abraham 3:26 states "...they who kept not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate." That scripture made me wonder since their is no glory in outer darkness where the sons of perdition will be (Cain)

The reference of Cain made me realize that Christ did suffer that "perdition experience" in the flesh. In the Savior's final moments when He cried "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" to me expressed the agony one must feel who has lost the presence of the Father. That was His final experience before He "gave up the ghost". My heart aches for anyone who will have that agony. Thankfully the Savior's Atonement provides a way. Although, I am still not sure how or if that covers pre-mortal spirits who lost their first estate.

As for why I'm not sure who qualifies to be called perdition, I always assumed that it would occur in the final judgement when "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ." I kind of thought that after they had that kind of knowledge they would still deny Him. That to me qualified for outer darkness and no glory.

But, I'm Nate's sister...what do I know....j/k

Jeremy said...

To become a son of perdition, as Joseph Smith states, "he has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes wide open to the truth of it" (TPJS, 358)

In other words, you will need more than just a testimony of the gospel. Instead, in my opinion, your faith will have to reach such bounds that you will have faith no longer, but a perfect knowledge of things (see Alma 32:34, Ether 3:19-20).

The 1/3 cast out for rebellion were cast out because of their "knowing" rebellion. They lived in God's presence, learned the plan perfectly, and still rejected everything he stood for. Likewise, those in mortality will have to have a similar relationship with the Lord before being eligible for son of perdition status. Cain walked and talked with God before he fell into perdition. We can't expect that much less would be required of us.

Nate said...

"In the Savior's final moments when He cried 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'"

I've actually been thinking about that lately. I wonder, why would Christ have been totally alone at that point unless he was meant to feel what it felt like when the spirit had withdrawn.

I don't know whether it felt like the experiences of actual spiritual death or whether He, being perfect, always had the spirit with him and this feeling is what we feel when the spirit withdraws from us because of sin (and Christ was sensitive enough to know it was really bad).

If it was the latter, it makes me realize I have a long ways to go.

--Jeremy or Hans: feel free to take the idea and post on that one if you want...e.g. what was the purpose of that moment of the atonement.

Jeremy said...

Nate, good observation. What you said has been taught by McConkie and, most recently, Tad Callister in "The Infinite Atonement." According to Alma 7:12, Christ had to go through everything that we go through so "that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

I think the phrase "accoding to the flesh" speaks volumes. As mortals (i.e., the flesh), when we sin the Spirit departs from us. Christ had the Spirit (God's presence) with him for his whole mortal life except for that one moment. He had to do this so that he could relate to us when we have the same thing happen to us.

It is, however, worthy of a post if you are interested in jotting a few things down, Nate.

Hans said...

Without looking into it too much, this verse came to mind from D&C 133:

"50) And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me"

Jesus had to do it himself without any help from other members of the Godhead. Only Michael was sent to comfort, but not in the divine sense that the Father and the Spirit can. At least that's my thoughts after thinking about this for a few minutes.

John H. said...

"My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

That was an intersting point that Linda made about the final part of the Atonement. Does anyone know if the Lord experienced the Father's withdrawl in the Garden, or was it only on the cross?

I know that Michael was sent in the garden to help the Savior, is there a record that he was he sent to the cross as well?

Nate said...

I'm still trying to find time to write that other one...I don't know how you guys do this blog. But keep it up.

Jeremy said...

John and Nate, you both raise some interesting questions that I will try to convey in an upcoming post. In the meantime, if you are aware of any scriptures or GA quotes along those lines, feel free to post them below here.

Anonymous said...

I read in a book called Life Everlasting something that may shed some light on what sons of perdition suffer. They are consigned to a literal outer darkness where they have literally nothing to accompany them but their own thoughts. In other words, they will be in an envelope of pure darkness with no light around them and presumably no companionship of any kind; they will have only their own thoughts to keep them company and to entertain them. That choice was given to someone who had "died" and passed over. I'm not saying that is what the sons of perdition will suffer but that would in itself be pretty horrible.