Christian tradition has always warned against an evil presence that, although unable to compete with God in dignity and power, is committed to spoiling God’s work, seeking to hinder the salvation of human beings and, more generally, the fulfillment of creation. Many facets of the mode of action of this presence have emerged over the centuries, and many names have been assigned to it. Most of them are commonly known names, more or less figurative, sometimes personal, each expressing some characteristic: Satan (the accuser), the devil (the divider), the evil one, the serpent, the dragon, the demon, etc. There is also the name “Lucifer,” meaning “bearer of light.” Originally this was a name of Christ, but over the centuries has become the r name of the angel who rebelled against God out of pride.
This malign presence is recognized as having its own will and freedom, and therefore the dignity of an intelligent creature, of a “person.” Let us add that sometimes it is spoken of in the singular, other times in the plural, e.g. demons, devils, principalities and powers. It seems that so many names and so many representations are necessary to designate a presence that does not have an individual name and a face of its own, whose tactic consists in concealing itself from any attempt at understanding.