Book review: Deconstructing Lucifer
by David W. Lowe
Lucifer. The mere mention of his name sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it? Who is this evil angel of light, this beautiful but disobedient “son of God” who fell from glory?
He’s not who you think. First, David Lowe digs up the origin of the proper name Lucifer. He gives a solid argument for rejecting the idea that Isaiah 14:12-15 (the Lucifer passage) refers to Satan. He provides a hilarious discussion of the absurdity of thinking Ezekiel chapter 28 alludes to Satan as the “anointed cherub.” He leads us on an interesting quest to find the earliest references to the idea that Satan is a primordial fallen angel. It turns out to be post-Biblical; the Catholic Church screwed up this time. Then, he reconstructs Satan from Biblical passages (and a little help from the Book of the Watchers in 1 Enoch—Lowe feels that Jude’s reference to this ancient book in verses 14-15 lends it authority) to determine who the old snake really is.
So what do you think? If Satan is not Lucifer, the fallen angel, then who the devil is he? I’m not going to steal Lowe’s thunder, but I will give you a couple hints:
1. Lowe is a conservative Christian who appears to embrace the inerrancy of Scripture. His argument for Satan’s identity and role derives completely from the Bible.
2. You can ignore all those recent books I’ve been reviewing about the Problem of Evil. Oh, it’s still a problem alright, but not the way you thought.
So how do I rate the book? There are a few problems. One is that I’m hardly conservative, so the whole exercise was more academic than meaningful to me. Second, I found the ending a little anticlimactic after the buildup. Finally, I felt more than a little annoyed at Lowe’s digs at the Catholic Church as a tool of the Devil. Yet I so enjoyed the first 130 pages that I decided to stick with a five-star rating. Lowe has done his homework.
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Side note: While hardly the in-depth analysis that Lowe provides, and while we differ in opinion on some minor details, this short three-part series posted last October might whet your appetite on the topic before moving on to Lowe’s book: