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But to this must be added the two classic texts in the prophets : 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?
With the article ( ho ) it denotes Lucifer, their chief, as in Matthew , "the Devil and his angels ". Gregory says of the word angel , "nomen est officii, non naturæ"--the designation of an office, not of a nature.And in the first place what was the nature of the sin of the rebel angels ?In any case this was a point presenting considerable difficulty, especially for theologians, who had formed a high estimate of the powers and possibilities of angelic knowledge, a subject which had a peculiar attraction for many of the great masters of scholastic speculation.The doctrine which may thus be set forth in a few words has furnished a fruitful theme for theological speculation for the Fathers and Schoolmen, as well as later theologians, some of whom, Suarez for example, have treated it very fully.On the other hand it has also been the subject of many heretical or erroneous opinions, some of which owe their origin to pre-Christian systems of demonology.(Ezekiel -15 ) There is much in the context that can only be understood literally of an earthly king concerning whom the words are professedly spoken, but it is clear that in any case the king is likened to an angel in Paradise who is ruined by his own iniquity.
Even for those who in no way doubt or dispute it, the doctrine set forth in these texts and patristic interpretations may well suggest a multitude of questions, and theologians have not been loath to ask and answer them.The parallel prophetic passage is Ezekiel's lamentation upon the king of Tyre: 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.But modern commentators take this text in a different sense, and refer it not to the original fall of Satan, but his overthrow by the faith of the disciples, who cast out devils in the name of their Master.And this new interpretation, as Schanz observes, is more in keeping with the context.For if sin be, as it surely is, the height of folly, the choice of darkness for light, of evil for good, it would seem that it can only be accounted for by some ignorance, or inadvertence, or weakness, or the influence of some overmastering passion.