OF the many references to angels and demons in the Koran, none is more difficult to explain than the story of how the devil (Iblîs) refused to obey the Divine command to all the angels to worship Adam when he had been newly created. The angelology of Islam is very extensive and has been treated only partially by Western scholars, although it holds such an important place in the belief of popular Islam and has borrowed perhaps more than any other article of their faith from Jewish and Christian sources.

The second of the articles of the creed of orthodox Islam refers to the angels of Allah (malaikatihu) and includes belief in angels, jinn and demons. This article of the faith is based on numerous passages in the Koran, illustrated by countless traditions, 1 and is the cause of endless superstitions in popular Islam. 2

“Know thou,” says Kazwini, speaking of the nature of angels, “that the angels are substances (beings), free from the darkness of passion and the turbidity of wrath, never rebelling against the commandments of God, but always doing what they are commanded to do. Their food is the praise of God and their drink the description of His holy and pure being. . . . There is not a span of space in the heavens upon which no angel is to be found prostrating himself in prayer.”3

Angels are innumerable. They have no distinction of sex, as have the jinn (Surahs 43:18; 21:26; 37:159, etc.), therefore do not propagate their species.

The marginal references add to the difficulty of the interpretation of our New Testament text (cf. Deut. xxxii. 43, Sept. and Psalm xcvii. 7).

I. The Sources of the Koran Passages. Are these Jewish or Christian in origin, and how did Mohammed become acquainted with the story?

Rabbi Geiger expresses doubt whether it came through Jewish tradition, on the ground that the command to worship any other being than God would have been inconceivable to an Israelite. 4 Grünbaum follows Geiger in his more recent study of Islamic sources. 5 But, as Charles C. Torrey remarks, the word used in the Koran for worship (sajada) does not necessarily indicate worship of the Divine, but frequently the prostration before an honourable personage in Oriental fashion. He gives instances of such use of the word in pre-Islamic poetry. 6 Geiger cites close parallels to the story of the Koran from Jewish tradition, viz. Sanhedrin 59b and Midrash Rabba 8.

“Rabbi Simon (4th cent.) said: ‘In the hour when the Holy One, blessed be He, came to create the first man, the ministering angels formed themselves into parties and companies. Some said: “Let him be created,” others: “Let him not be created.” To this division Psalm lxxxv. 11 refers: “Kindness and Truth are met together. Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other.” Kindness said: “Let him be created, for he is a bestower of loving-kindness.” Truth said: “Let him not be created, for he is falsehood.” Justice said: “Let him be created, for he deals justly.” Peace said: “Let him not be created, for he is wholly quarrelsome”’!”

The Jewish story is also found at some length in mediaeval Christian writers. In Pugio Fidei it reads as follows:

“R. Joshua ben Nun: ‘When the mind of Adam matured in him, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to the ministering angels, “Worship ye him!” They came (and did so) in accordance with his wishes. And Satan was greater than all the angels of heaven. And he said to God: “Lord of the Universe! Thou hast created us from the splendour of the Shekinah and Thou sayest that we should bow down before him whom Thou hast created from the dust of the ground?” The Holy One, blessed be He, answered: “He who is made from the dust of the earth has wisdom and understanding which thou dost not possess.” And it came to pass, when he would not worship him, nor hearken to the voice of God, that He cast him out of heaven and he became Satan. To him refers Isaiah’s “How art thou fallen, etc.”’”

We must remember, however, that Pugio Fidei (The Dagger of Faith), by the monk Raymundus Martinus, was not written until the thirteenth century. But this passage and many others are taken from the great Genesis Rabba of Rabbi Moses ha Darshan, the genuineness of which is established by criticism. 7 He in turn took the story from much older and pre-Islamic Jewish sources. We find it also in Pirke of R. Eliezer XI and elsewhere in the Talmud. The antiquity of the story is established by the fact that the Talmud (Genesis and Numbers Rabba) introduces it. 8

We find it again at greater length in the so-called Life of Adam and Eve, translated by R. H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (p. 137: Oxford, 1913):

“And with a heavy sigh, the devil spake: ‘O Adam! all my hostility, envy, and sorrow is for thee, since it is for thee that I have been expelled from my glory, which I possessed in the heavens in the midst of the angels and for thee was I cast out in the earth.’ Adam answered, ‘What dost thou tell me? What have I done to thee or what is my fault against thee? Seeing that thou hast received no harm or injury from us, why dost thou pursue us?’

“The devil replied, ‘Adam, what dost thou tell me? It is for thy sake that I have been hurled from that place. When thou wast formed, I was hurled out of the presence of God and banished from the company of angels. When God blew into thee the breath of life and thy face and likeness was made in the image of God, Michael also brought thee and made (us) worship thee in the sight of God; and God the Lord spake: “Here is Adam. I have made him in our image and likeness.”

“‘And Michael went out and called all the angels saying: “Worship the image of God as the Lord hath commanded.”

“‘And Michael himself worshipped first; then he called me and said: “Worship the image of God the Lord.” And I answered, “I have no (need) to worship Adam.” And since Michael kept urging me to worship, I said to him, “Why dost thou urge me? I will not worship an inferior and younger being (than I). I am his senior in the Creation, before he was made was I already made. It is his duty to worship me.”

“‘When the angels, who were under me, heard this, they refused to worship him. And Michael saith, “Worship the image of God, but if thou wilt not worship him, the Lord God will be wroth with thee.” And I said, “If He be wroth with me, I will set my seat above the stars of heaven and will be like the Highest.”

“‘And God the Lord was wroth with me and banished me and my angels from our glory; and on thy account were we expelled from our abodes into this world and hurled n the earth. And straightway we were overcome with grief, since we had been spoiled of so great glory. And we were grieved when we saw thee in such joy and luxury. And with guile I cheated thy wife and caused thee to be expelled through her (doing) from thy joy and luxury, as I have been driven out of my glory.’

“When Adam heard the devil say this, he cried out and wept and spake: ‘O Lord my God, my life is in thy hands. Banish this Adversary far from me, who seeketh to destroy my soul, and give me his glory which he himself hath lost.’ And at that moment, the devil vanished before him. But Adam endured in his penance, standing for forty days (on end) in the water of Jordan .”

The date of this apocryphal book of Adam, which is of uncertain origin, is put by Hort “not earlier than the first century A . D ., nor later than the fourth century.” The author, or authors, were Jewish Hellenists. A version of it in Syriac, The Cave of Treasure, appeared in the sixth century. There were early versions also of this Life of Adam in Arabic, Ethiopic, and Armenian, which indicate the early spread of the story regarding the worship of Adam by the angels. 9 The Syriac version was translated by Bezold into German as Die Schatzhöle , and is plainly Christian and ascetic in character.

Summing up the evidence, therefore, it seems that there are two cycles of legends behind the Koran narrative: the one dealing with the objection to the creation of Adam on the part of some angels, of which the original is found in Jewish sources: the other telling of Satan’s refusal to worship Adam, which appears to be extra-Talmudic and Christian.10 Mohammed and the later compilers of Moslem tradition confused the two, and it is from looking at the remains of the independent accounts that we are able to reconstruct the whole in its original form. 11

George Sale, in his notes to the Koran translation (cf. Surah 2:34), says: “This occasion of the Devil’s fall has some affinity with an opinion which has been pretty much entertained among Christians, that the angels, being informed of God’s intention to create man after His own image, etc., some of them thinking their glory to be eclipsed, thereby envied man’s happiness and so revolted.” 12

In Die Schatzhöle , an anonymous work already referred to, which dates from the sixth century, we have the Christian legend of what took place after the creation of Adam:

“When the angels saw his splendid appearance, they were moved by the fairness of his aspect. And God gave him there the dominion over all creatures, and all the wild beasts and the cattle and the birds, and they came before Adam and he gave them names, and they bowed their heads before him and wor shipped him, and all their natures worshipped and served him. And the angels and powers heard the voice of God, who said to him, ‘O Adam, behold I have made thee king, priest, prophet, lord, head and leader of all creatures and they serve thee and are thine. And I have given thee dominion over all I have created.’ And when the angels heard this word, they all bent their knees and worshipped him.

“And when the head of the lower order saw that greatness had been given to Adam, he envied him thenceforth, refused to worship him and said to his powers: ‘Worship him not and praise him not with the angels. It befits him to worship me, not me to worship dust, formed out of a grain of dust.’ Such things the rebel had uttered and was disobedient and by his own free will became separated from God. And he was felled and he fell, he and his whole band. On the sixth day in the second hour, he fell from heaven, and they were stripped of the robes of their glory, and his name was called Satana, because he had turned away from God, and Sheda, because he had been cast down, and Daiva, because he had lost the robe of his glory. And look, from that same day and until today, he and all his armies are stripped and naked and ugly to look on. And after Satan had been cast from Heaven, Adam was exalted so that he ascended to Paradise .” 13

Is Geiger therefore right when he holds 14 that “the story of God’s command that the angels should worship Adam is essentially Christian”? Or shall we agree with Jung that the story in Pugio Fidei is itself taken from the Koran, but has in it elements that are not original to the Midrash version? 15

These queries are difficult to answer. The fact remains that both in early Jewish tradition, in the Christian Apocrypha and in the Koran text, we have legends connected with angels falling prostrate (sajada) before Adam. And so we come to the second question: Does the consideration of this Koran legend throw light on Hebrews i. 6?

II. The Significance of the Passage in Hebrews. The first chapter of this anonymous epistle and the epistle itself is an argument for the supremacy and finality of the revelation of God in his Son Jesus Christ. The Messiah is shown to

be superior to the angels by seven biblical proofs which indicate his names and prerogatives (verses 5-14). Vincent rightly observes: “The quotations present difficulty in that they appear, in great part, to be used in a sense and with an application different from those which they originally had. All that can be said is that the writer takes these passages as Messianic and applies them accordingly.” (Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. iv. p. 286.)

The third quotation, in the words of Moffatt, “clinches the proof of Christ’s unique authority and opens up the sense in which he is superior to the angels.” Mofatt’s translation reads: “And further, when introducing the Firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’” According to this authority on New Testament Greek, the word παλιν is not to be taken with the verb to introduce, but as a rhetorical particle of sequence in, the argument. 16 This interpretation of παλιν is also given in the Peshitto, Arabic, French and German versions, and by Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, Wolf, Cramer, Schulz, Bleek, Ebrard and others. 17

To what event does this introduction of the Firstborn into the world, then, refer? Some commentators say it refers to the Incarnation at Bethlehem (Chrysostom, Calvin, Owen, Calov, Bengel). Others refer it to the Resurrection and Exaltation of Christ (Grotius, Wetstein, Rambach, Peirce, Whitby ). Bleek and Reuss refer the passage “to a moment preceding the incarnation of Christ in which the Father had, by a solemn act, as it were, conducted forth and presented the Son to the beings created by Him, as the Firstborn, as their Creator and Ruler who was to uphold and guide all things.” 18

This may be “an entirely singular thought” (Lünemann) in the New Testament, but Moffatt seems inclined to accept this third interpretation and makes reference to the Ascension of Isaiah (xi. 23 f.) where the angels humbly worship Christ as He ascends to the heavens where they live; here the adoration is claimed for Him as he enters the world. 19

The quotation made by the unknown author of the epistle to the Hebrews is not found in the Hebrew text, but is taken from the Septuagint of Deut. xxxii. 43, and has a somewhat parallel reference in Psalm xcvii 7b (“Worship him, all ye gods”). Moffatt expresses the opinion that the writer of the epistle was “a Jewish Christian who had imbibed the philosophy of Alexandrian Judaism before his conversion.” 20 Like Philo, his view of the world is fundamentally Platonic. The phenomenal is but an imperfect shadowy transcript of what is real and eternal. The present world of time and sense stands over against the world of reality. There is an archetype to all things mundane. The viewpoint of the writer is Hellenistic. And, as Dr. Macdonald points out, “the very sane, realistic Hebrew mind, when worked upon by the equally sane and realistic Greek mind,” produced non-realistic speculations in Philo and other Alexandrine thinkers. “The Palestinian Jews remained free from these extravagances, but the Alexandrian Jews were by necessity driven into allegory.” 21

We have an example that touches the subject before us in connexion with the pre-existence of the Messiah, and finds frequent expression in Talmudic literature. Dr. Oesterley states:

“This conception is of a two-fold character: in the first place, the Messiah is believed to have existed in Heaven before the world was created; God, it is said, contemplated the Messiah and his works before the Creation of the world, and concealed him under His throne (cf. 1 Peter i. 20). Satan, it is added, asked God what the light was under His throne, and God replied that it was one who would bring him to shame in the future; then, being allowed to see the Messiah, Satan trembled and sank to the ground, crying out: ‘Truly this is the Messiah who will deliver me and all heathen kings to hell’ (Pesiqtarabbati 36).” (Religion and Worship of the Synagogue, p. 233.)

Here we have, as it were, the germ of the Koran legend, although the object worthy of worship from whom Satan shrinks is not Adam, but the Messiah Himself.

III. A suggested interpretation, that the Second Adam is the Firstborn whom the angels worshipped. Our thesis was the seven-fold reference in the Koran to the angels worshipping Adam; our antithesis the passage in Hebrews i. 6, where the New Testament writer places the Messiah as the object of angelic worship. Is there a possible synthesis by equating the Second Adam of St. Paul (1 Cor. xv. 45) with the Firstborn (prototokos) of Col. i. 15, 18, Romans viii. 29, and the passage in Hebrews?

“The first Adam became a living soul, the last Adam a quickening spirit”—these Pauline words have been interpreted in various ways. Baur, Pfleiderer, Beyschlag, and others see in “the Second Adam, the lord from heaven,” the pre-existent Christ whom they identify with Philo’s ideal or “heavenly man” of Genesis i. 26. According to this interpretation, Christ was the Urmensch , the prototype of humanity existing with God from all eternity. 22

Hugo Gressmann, in his book, Der Ursprung der israelitisch-jüdischen Eschatologie (Göttingen, 1905), points out that the pre-existence of the Messiah as the original Adam is found in Daniel, in 2 Ezra, and in the book of Enoch. He concludes also that, although the idea of such a pre-existent Adam is not found in the Gospels, Paul comes back to it:

“ Paulus scheint auch den Zusammenhang der himmlischen Messiasgestalt, d. h. des Titels Menschensohn, mit dem Urmenschen noch zu kennen, da er I Kor. 15 :45 nicht einfach beide parallelisiert und gegenüberstellt: ‘es ward der erste Mensch Adam zu lebendiger Seele, der letzte Adam zu lebendig machendem Geist,’ sondern sogar polemisierend hinzufügt: Nicht das ‘Geistliche kommt zuerst, sondern erst das Seelische, und hernach das Geistliche. Der erste Mensch ist von der Erde und irdisch, der zweite Mensch ist vom Himmel.’ Es muss also noch zu seiner Zeit Leute gegeben haben, nach deren Theorie der erste Mensch ein himmlisches Wesen war .” (p. 365.)

Philo’s idea of two Adams is also found in Jewish literature. The Rabbinical title ha-Adam ha- acharon is given to the Messiah (Neve Shalom IX. g.). 23 Indeed, we find this belief in an earthly and a heavenly Adam fully developed in the Jewish doctrine of Adam Kadmon. 24 The heavenly man as the perfect image of the Logos is neither man nor woman, but an incorporeal intelligence or idea. Philo combines the Midrash and Platonic philosophy.

The Pharisees held (Gen. R. viii. 1) the same dual idea. According to the Rabbis, the spirit of Adam existed, not only before the creation of the earthly Adam, but before the creation. This pre-existing Adam was even called the Messiah. Akiba in the Talmud, although denying any resemblance between God and other beings, even the highest type of angels, teaches that man was created after an image, an archetype, for “He made man in his image.” 25 The later Zohar and Kabbalah even give illustrative diagrams of this Adam Kadmon in which the divine attributes of wisdom, intelligence, beauty, love, justice, splendour, etc., are written across the various bodily members of the ideal man, the prototype of the earthly Adam. This Philonic and Talmudic doctrine was taken up later in the Clementine

Homilies, as well as by the Ebionites and other Judaeo-Christian sects. They held that “the heavenly Christ was thus actually incarnated twice and lived twice on earth—in Adam and in Jesus. But he had often assumed an occasional and visible form, and had thus revealed Himself to the most distinguished saints of the Old Testament.” 26

Mohammed was undoubtedly influenced by these Ebionitic and Gnostic doctrines, and his conception of revelation betrays this relationship. 27

There is a curious parallel tradition in Bukhari which tells how the mighty ‘Omar brought fear into the heart of the Devil himself.

“According to the legend, the Devil came to the Prophet one day, and asked: ‘Is it possible for me to repent?’ And Allah’s Apostle answered: ‘Yes, go to Adam’s grave, prostrate yourself and kiss the earth, and then Allah may forgive you.’ (It should be remembered that according to the Koran, Satan’s fall was due to his refusal to prostrate himself before Adam.) Joyfully the Devil set out to find Adam’s grave. But on the way he met ‘Omar, who asked him, ‘Where are you going, and what are you up to?’ The Devil stated his purpose. Then ‘Omar said: ‘Allah can never forgive you. When He commanded you to bow down before Adam, while he yet lived, you refused, but now when the Prophet commands you to kiss the ground upon Adam’s grave you are willing to obey. Shame on you, you miserable wretch!’ ” 28

In view of all this, we reach the following conclusions:

(1) The angelology of Islam is mostly borrowed from post-exilic Judaism, but the story of the angelic worship of Adam has elements from the Midrash, and also from Judaeo-Christian tradition.

(2) The quotation in Hebrews i. 6 from the Septuagint is used by a writer who was familiar with the Gnostic and Philonic interpretation of the double creation story in Genesis.

(3) Dr. Moffatt’s rendering of the Greek text is to be preferred, and the period referred to in Hebrews i. 6, therefore, when the angelic host worshipped the Firstbegotten of all creation, is that before the Incarnation, not at Bethlehem nor at the second Advent .

(4) The Koran text, literally interpreted (as a Moslem in Baghdad once observed), would make all the angels guilty of shirk by worshipping the creature instead of the Creator, and Satan a Moslem for refusing to do so. Mohammed was confused by the very story that intrigued him.

. . . . .

After writing this, we found, much to our surprise, that Jonathan Edwards, in some Miscellaneous Observations at the close of his volume of sermons, speaks of the fall of the angels in terms that are, in a sense, almost parallel to the conclusions we have reached (Edward’s Works (New York, 1830), vol. viii. pp. 496-509):

“It seems to me probable that the temptation of the angels, which occasioned their rebellion, was, That when God was about to create man, or had first created him, God declared his decree to the angels that one of that human nature should be his Son, his best beloved, his greatest favourite, and should be united to his Eternal Son, and that he should be their Head and King, that they should be given to him, and should worship him, and be his servants, attendants, and ministers: and God having thus declared his great love to the race of mankind, gave the angels the charge of them as ministering spirits to men. Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub, being the archangel, one of the highest of the angels, could not bear it, thought it below him, and a great debasing to him. So he conceived rebellion against the Almighty, and drew a vast company of the heavenly hosts with him.” (p. 496.)

“. . . And as all the angels are called the sons of God, Lucifer was his first-born, and was the first-born of every creature. But when it was revealed to him, high and glorious as he was, that he must be a ministering spirit to the race of mankind which he had seen newly created, which appeared so feeble, mean, and despicable, so vastly inferior, not only to him, the prince of the angels, and head of the created universe, but also to the inferior angels, and that he must be subject to one of that race that should hereafter be born, he could not bear it. This occasioned his fall; and now he, with the other angels whom he drew away with him, are fallen, and elect men are translated to supply their places, and are exalted vastly higher in heaven than they. And the Man Jesus Christ, the Chief, and Prince, and Captain of all elect men, is translated and set in the throne that Lucifer, the chief and prince of the angels, left, to be the Head of the angels in his stead, the head of principality and power, that all the angels might do obeisance to him; for God said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship him’; and God made him his first-born instead of Lucifer, higher than all those thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, and made him, yea, made him in his stead the first-born of every creature, or of the whole creation.” (p. 503.)

Jonathan Edwards fortifies his conclusion that the occasion of the fall of the angels was their unwillingness to do obeisance to the Messiah, by referring to Zanchius and Suarez, 29“the best of the schoolmen,” without giving any reference (p. 507). Further he states that Mr. Charles Owen in his book Wonders of Redeeming Love (p. 74) has the same opinion, and that Dr. Goodwin in the second volume of his works, in a Discourse on the Knowledge of God the Father, states:

“A lower degree of accursed pride fell into the heart of the devil himself, whose sin in his first apostatizing from God, is conceived to be a stomaching that man should be one day advanced unto the hypostatical union, and be one person with the Son of God, whose proud angelical nature (then in actual existence, the highest of creatures), could not brook.” (p. 509.)

Thus at least some Calvinistic theologians agree in their interpretation of Hebrews i. 6, and the true interpretation of both the Koran and the New Testament passages finds its climax in the Te Deum:

“To Thee all angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein. To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth. . . . Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.”


1 Wensinck, Handbook of Early Muhammedan Tradition, pp. 22, 59, 60, 210, 211. Cf. Article on Malaika by D. B. Macdonald in the Encyclopædia of Islam, with its bibliography.

2 Zwemer, The Influence of Animism on Islam, chaps. iii, vi, vii, and ix; Abdullah-al-Shibli’s Kitab ak am al mirj an fi ahk am al j an (769 A. H.).

3 Edition, Wüstenfeld, vol. i. p. 12. Cf. Rabbi Leo Jung, Fallen Angels in Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan Literature, pp. 13-21.

4 Geiger, Was hat Muhammed aus dem Judenthum aufgenommen? p. 98.

5 Neue Beiträge zur semitischen Sagenkunde , pp. 60 ff.

6 The Jewish Foundation of Islam , p. 71.

7 Jung, Fallen Angels, p. 35. Cf. Epstein in Magazin für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, 1888.

8 Jung, Fallen Angels, p. 49

9 The various translations, additions, and dates of these versions are discussed at length by Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, pp. 123-131.

10 Cf. Die Schatzhöle , chap. v.

11 Jung, Fallen Angels, p. 53.

12 Sale ’s Koran, p. 5. He refers, without giving chapter and page, to “Irenaeus, Lact. Greg. Nyssen, etc.” I have been unable to trace these references. Jung says they are not justified.

13 Jung, op. cit., pp. 57, 58.

14 Ibid ., p. 66.

15 Ibid ., p. 67.

16 International Critical Commentary on Hebrews , p. 10.

17 The complete list is given by Lünemann (Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 87), who, however, opposes this interpretation and says that παλιν must be construed with the verb: “when he again brings in.”

18 Ibid ., p. 88.

19 Moffatt, International Critical Commentary, p. 11.

20 Ibid ., pp. xxi, xxxi.

21 The Hebrew Philosophical Genius , p. 95.

22 G. G. Findlay on 1 Cor. in Expositor’s Greek Testament, p. 939. Cf. article on Adam Kadmon in Encyclopædia Judaica, vol. i. p. 783.

23 Ibid ., p. 938. Cf. A. E. Waites, The Holy Kabbalah, p. x, footnote.

24 Jewish Encyclopædia , vol. i. pp. 181-183. Cf. Judaica, vol. i. in loco.

25 Compare a recent article by Dr. Jean Herring in Revue d’Histoire et de Philosophie religieuses (Strasburg, October 1936), pp. 196-209: “ C’est précisément parce que Jésus était déjà Homme dans sa pré-existence, qu’il fut préparé à l’incarnation et à son rôle de premier né des morts et par là de chef d’une humanité nouvelle. Il ne peut donc être question chez Paul d’un changement d’essence dans le sens de ‘Deus fit homo’; car malgré le Kénose, un élément essentiel de son essence subsiste: son caractère de Anthropos .”

26 Tor Andrae, Mohammed, p. 139. Cf. Encyclopædia Judaica, vol. i. p. 783.

27 Ibid ., p. 149.

28 Tor Andrae, op. cit., p. 182.

29 Zanchius was a Calvinistic theologian (1516-1590) who wrote De primi hominis lapsu de peccato et lege Dei ; Francisco Suarez, a Jesuit scholastic (1548-1617), whose works were published in 28 volumes. Zanchius, tome iii. (edition 1613), liber iv. cap. 2, p. 170, in his long account of the fall of the angels, states: “Some say Satan’s sin was rebellion against God through pride. Others assert: ‘Peccatum angelorum nihil aliud fuisse, quam invidiam qua homini donum, quod a Deo acceperat, quia ad imaginem Dei factus erat inviderunt.’” And he cites Athanagorus, Petrus of Alexandria, and Augustine in proof.

Suarez, in the second volume of his collected Works (Paris 1586), devotes an entire book to the fallen angels, and states (p. 890): “Et ad hoc confirmandum solent adduci verba Pauli ad Hebr. I, et cum iterum introducit primogenitum in orbem terrae dicit; et adorent eum omnes Angeli ejus. Quod testimonium aliqui contemnunt, sed licet non cogat, quia varias habet expositiones, non est cur illa etiam, in qua hic inducitur, improbabilis censeatur. Nam particula iterum, licet possit ad solam sermonis continuationem referri, etiam intelligitur optime ex parte objecti de secunda introductione, ut Ribera ibi cum aliis exponit. Item, quia licet sic exposita plures sensus recipiat, quia secunda introductio Christi in orbem terrae, multiplex cogitari potest, nam Incarnatio ipsa potest dici secunda introductio respectu aeternae generationis Verbi Dei, et Resurrectio Christi Domini respectu Nativitatis ejus, et secundus adventus respectu primi, et sic de aliis; nihilominus etiam est pia expositio, ut prima Christi introductio fuerit per fidem, in mentibus praesertim angelicis, secunda vero fuerit per realem executionem, et conceptionem. Sed quidquid sit de rigore litterae, inde colligimus ad Christi praesentiam, vel repraesentationem consequi praeceptum adorandi ipsum: nam ideo dixit Deus, et adorent eum omnes Angeli ejus, quia hoc erat debitum dignitati ejus, quam Paulus eo loco ostendebat.”

Compare this summary of the story in a modern “Life of the Devil”: “And this Satan, who desired to be God, was not the madman imagined by the old theologians. He desired divinity, but in a way which had nothing impossible in it, since he wished simply to be taken by the Word and form with Him a single personality, while yet preserving his separate nature. Suarez, struck by all these points, adopted the new theory and declared that, in his opinion, the sin of the Devil came from his desire to be taken himself by the Word as a term of the hypostatic union, instead of the human nature of Christ being that term.”—The Life of the Devil, by Father Louis Coulange (Joseph Turmel); tr. Stephen Haden Guest (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930), p. 23.

Studies in Popular Islam
Answering Islam Home Page