Satan wasn’t always portrayed as an evil, beastly monster. In the Romantic era of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, revolutionary writers and artists reimagined the character of Satan in the epic poem “Paradise Lost” as a hero, daring to rebel against God’s unjust tyranny.
Taking a closer look at its portrayal of Satan, we find him painted as a humanitarian hero, a compassionate friend and benefactor to mankind and the source of such gifts as knowledge, art, culture, and civilized law. The Christian god, on the other hand, is portrayed not as the source of all good, but as an evil pretender who loves pain, misery and suffering and who seeks to subjugate all under his unjust tyranny.
Through his studies, he comes to realize that Jehovah (often called Ialdabaoth in this tale, a Gnostic name for an evil demiurge) is nothing more than a fraud. He says, “I deny that He created the world. At the most He organised but an inferior part of it, and all that He touched bears the mark of His rough and unforeseeing touch. I do not think He is either eternal or infinite, for it is absurd to conceive of a being who is not bounded by space or time. I think Him limited. ... And, to speak candidly, he is not so much a god as a vain and ignorant demiurge.”
As more angels fled the mountain of Jehovah to become companions of Lucifer, Jehovah’s jealousy grew until he demanded that all should bow to him alone or risk punishment by force, and war became inevitable in Heaven. After gathering a great army of angels, Lucifer and his companions assailed the citadel where God had set himself up as the ultimate authority. They fought a mighty battle, sweeping over the ethereal plains. “Above our heads streamed the blacks standards of revolt,” Nectaire says as he tells the tale.