English Class: Western Literature

Satan’s Envy

After Satan’s rebellion against God, I think that Satan was motivated to do evil by his envy of God rather than his jealousy of God. Although envy and jealousy are related there is a difference between them. Jealousy is when one wants to get what someone else has. Envy is when one wants to destroy what the other person has, with no benefit to oneself. For example, if Satan was jealous he would want to be god and rule the universe. However, if he was envious he would want to destroy God and everything made by Him.

To understand why Satan would want to destroy God and everything else He created, we have to remember that he had fallen from Heaven after he had rebelled against God. Having fallen from Heaven Satan knew that he did not have a long time to be free. In Revelation 12:12 it says:

Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.


I think Satan’s initial rebellion was motivated by jealousy, but after he fell he became envious. He changed because he realized that he could never become god nor rule the universe, and therefore he began to try to destroy everything God had made, everything he couldn’t have.

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan says:

“but of this be sure—
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.”


This is an example of Satan’s envy. He wants to turn all of God’s goodness into evil, not because it benefits him, but because he hates God. Satan tries to do as much evil in the world as he possibly can with his limited resources. However, unlike God, he is not omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, therefore he could not have taken God’s place. Makes you wonder why he ever tried.

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