I suggested a few weeks ago that perhaps the reason Lucifer maintains his hopeless contest with God on the battlefield of the created order – being a seraph, shouldn’t he know better than to keep at it? – is that, in his initial turn from God he ipso facto turned from a full apprehension of the whole of Truth, which is to be found only in God, as God; and that this turn from Truth effectually blinded him, totally and permanently, to the whole Category of the Ultimate (which consists entirely of God), so that his thinking was thenceforth subtly and profoundly disordered. He would thenceforth have apprehended YHWH as merely a seraph like himself, and nothing anyone told him to the contrary could ever possibly penetrate his intellect and reform his understanding; for, the Category of the Ultimate having been excised from his intellectual toolkit, any inditia of Ultimacy would forever pass him by, completely unseen for what they were. They would be to him, wrongly, inditia of creaturity, or else simply meaningless nonsense.
In passing, I mentioned that this profound lacuna would render Lucifer an atheist of a sort, and a nominalist and a nihilist to boot. Not that his atheism would prevent his belief in the existence of seraphim, of course, for they are not divine; it would consist rather in his disbelief in God (this would, by the way, eliminate any belief that he, or Gabriel, or YHWH were supramundane – for if there is no God, then nor are there gods, properly speaking, but instead only quite natural simulacra thereof such as people Asgard in the Marvel comic books, who do not understand themselves as divine except by comparison to vastly less powerful creatures). Nor that his nominalism and nihilism would follow from his atheism, but rather that they would be other aspects of his turn from the Absolute: blindness to Ultimacy, and so to the Ultimacy of the Logos, entails incapacity to understand either that Forms in general (which all subsist in him) are objectively real (this being the nominalist bit) or that the Forms of Values are objectively real (this being the nihilist bit).
I titled the post The Archetypal Atheist, for as first and mightiest of those who don’t believe in God, Lucifer is the exemplification of the type, and its palmary instance. Not that all atheists are exactly like Lucifer, of course, except insofar as they have in common a lack of belief in God. Just as it does not follow from the redness of the archetypal fire truck that all fire trucks must be red, the atheism of Lucifer does not entail that all atheists must like him be liars and murderers – or fiery dragons.
An atheist blogger got wind of the post, and – missing the point of it – excoriated it as clueless. Then a band of atheist commenters descended on it. They were angry. They were contemptuous, snarky, insulting, puerile, facile, and inept. They did not want to understand the post, but only to heap scorn and derision upon it. In this they succeeded. But, not having understood it in the first place, they failed even to address it, let alone to refute it.
Indeed, it seemed that they just couldn’t understand it. Some could not read what it said, or write about it. Some could not comprehend basic logic, even when their errors of reasoning were explained to them many times, in many ways. They could not interpret the arguments properly, because they radically misunderstood so many of the terms in which they were expressed. They mocked the notion of the Ultimate and the whole discourse of metaphysics. If you can’t think in terms of Ultimacy, can’t use metaphysical concepts, then you can’t begin to think about God, properly so-called. At most you can then think about Great Big Creatures, like Thor and Loki in the Marvel movies. And that’s all that our atheist guests seemed able to talk about. Repeated references by the theists participating in the thread to the Eternal One met with blank incomprehension and ridicule, generating responses that pertained properly only to such contingent creatures as Aurora or Triton. They could not seem to grasp that a supposed refutation of beings like Pan or Balder could not even pertain to God.
Their atheism seemed to have completely disabled their ability to think properly about God, or to understand what sort of being he must be. It was a striking demonstration of just the sort of radical metaphysical blindness the post had conjectured must afflict Lucifer.
What was more – and not a little horrifying – was that they manifested the same bitter spite traditionally ascribed to Lucifer in his rebellion, and in his persecution of his fellow creatures. They were relentless, implacable in their bloody minded determination to destroy their theist adversaries. I suppose that in their hearts they felt as if they were on the side of the angels, of good, truth, and righteousness – that, i.e., they were Doing the Right Thing – for why, otherwise, would they persist in their angry apologies for atheism?
Nor were they happy warriors. On the contrary, they seemed beset with paranoia, apprehending attacks upon their persons when these were not even in view of the theist converse, taking umbrage thereat, and refusing to hear any mollifying words to the effect that discussion of such as Lucifer was not – of course – tantamount to discussion of them. They could not see this, at all. No; it was all about them. So were they immured incorrigibly in the torments of their outrage at the insults they wrongly apprehended.
This leads back then to another aspect of Lucifer’s rebellion, indicated but not named in The Archetypal Atheist: as well as atheism, nominalism, and nihilism, his turn away from Truth involved solipsism. To turn away from Truth is to turn away from the heart of what is objective and real toward what is less so, and thus to begin an inward gyre. Thus to turn from fellowship with God is in the end to turn from fellowship as such.
Having himself completed this turn, how then could Lucifer fail to see himself as completely meaningless and utterly alone (despite all those apparent others in his sensorium)? For the convinced solipsist, nothing transcends his life and situates it, nothing renders it meaningful, or important, or therefore truly good. Such minds are alone; and as alone, without point, and bereft.