Envy or Jealousy?

Jealousy and envy are nasty things to have present in your life.  They can take over your thoughts and life, just as it did with Satan when he was banished from heaven.  But just what was Satan’s primary motivation?  Jealousy or envy?  Before we jump to any conclusions let’s find out what exactly the meaning of envy and jealousy is.

The definition of envy is a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.  The definition of jealous is being intolerant of rivalry or being hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage.

Over the past week I read excerpts (or what I believed to be excerpts because my teacher doesn’t clarify if what we’re reading is an excerpt or not) of Paradise Lost (1667) written by John Milton.  This book, written in epic poem format, describes the falling of Satan from heaven with a fictional twist.  It is apparent that Milton had quite the imagination when writing this book even though he was blind at the time of writing (or dictating) it.

In Paradise Lost Satan was depicted with an envious personality.  Satan was fully aware that he would no longer have a place in heaven and that he could never have what God had, but Satan then figured out that it was “Better to reign in hell than serve in Heaven.”  In the poem he made the most of his situation by making himself reign over hell.  He desired to have what God had and, in the book, he was not very tolerant as he made himself powerful in hell. In my view, he was acting with both a jealous and envious attitude by establishing hell, but obviously God didn’t take this very seriously since God knew that His position as the ultimate sovereign one can’t be taken away.

Also, in the beginning when Earth was created, Satan tempted Adam and Eve.  I think that Satan’s actions in in this situation could go both ways- he was envious and jealous.  God had control over the Garden of Eden and it appears to me that Satan wanted to challenge His authority by tempting and deceiving Eve into eating the forbidden fruit.  Adam and Eve had been given free will by God.  This obviously upset God as we see in the Bible.  I’m sure that Satan was pleased with this outcome.

I think that Satan in Paradise Lost was mostly tolerant with his position of being cast out of Heaven but that didn’t stop him from doing bad and trying to upset God by messing with His creations.  When an artist’s most precious masterpiece is tampered with or destroyed the artist is devastated.  Think about how God feels when we, who are created in His image and according to His likeness (In other words, God created us to be like Him and He used Himself as an example when making us.), fall away from Him and become corrupted by sin.

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