Economics Energy Environment Education

I. Just Call Me Lucifer
“Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners, saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint”[1]
(Jagger/Richards, 1968)

Although “Lucifer” is commonly thought to be another name for the devil, some Bible scholars contend that this association is an artifact of misunderstood scripture translation.[2] The Vulgate Bible, used by the Catholic Church for almost 1000 years, translated the Hebrew word heylel as "Lucifer", the Latin word for Venus when it appeared as the morning star. The Vulgate text also translated the Greek word phosphorus as "Lucifer". The King James Bible retained the word Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12 but translated other references to “Lucifer” and “phosphorus” as “morning star” or “day star”, including references to Christ. This title for Christ is used in a scriptural context that clearly conveys reverence, whereas “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12 was used as a sarcastic taunt to a Babylon king who compared himself to the Babylonian god Helel, the morning star - Venus.

Of course, we now know that Venus is not a god or a star. It is a planet that shines like a bright star, in part because of its proximity to Earth, but also because its atmosphere is a toxic mix of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid clouds that reflect sunlight.[3] The atmosphere also traps heat, so temperatures on Venus are hot enough to melt lead. Lead sulfide is vaporized on the planet surface, rises as a mist, condenses in the cooler Venus clouds, and settles as a “shiny, metallic frost on the tops of the mountains”, making the Venus highlands more reflective than lower elevations.[4]

Lucifer is not the name of the devil, and does not refer to anything innately evil. Lucifer is just the Latin name for a reflected image caused by a toxic lead-contaminated environment.

[1] Jagger, Mick and Richards, Keith (1968) "Sympathy For The Devil", ABKCO Music, Inc.
[2] Tegart, Brian (Access 4-3-2016) “Isaiah 14:12 & Revelation 22:16 Will The Real "morning star" Please Stand Up...”,
[3] National Aeronautics and Space Administration (February 20, 2001) “Blazing Venus”, NASA Science News
[4] Hammonds, Markus (June 10, 2013) “The Metallic Snow-Capped Mountains of Venus”,