I was driving to the airport yesterday to pick up Kyndall, as she was coming home from California. I started a conversation (with myself) about an interesting concept that actually had me a little stumped. I stated, "All evil people think what they are doing is actually good." The concept is easy enough. Hitler thought he was doing the world a favor. Stalin thought he was doing his country a favor. Even Kavorkian thinks he is doing his victims good. They are wrong, of course, but they think they are right.
So came the retort, "Let's take Satan as our example of an evil person, do you think he feels he is actually doing good?" That was the stump. Of course I knew Satan was no man, but still, it was interesting to entertain. My gut reaction was that he knew how evil he was, of course; as the father of lies he was deceiving us intentionally for the sole purpose of his own insatiable blood lust.
That's when I started to think about his fall. He thought he could defeat God, and rallied a third of the angels behind him (an interesting point here is that this suggests that angels have a free will like man; another interesting point is that this is surely sin, and they were in heaven where sin is absent) and they must have believe that they could do it, and must surely have been convinced that it was the best thing to do - though I am stuck to conceive of a notion why.
Anyway, it's reasonable to assume that an angel that was up until then without any sin, was convinced not by the evil of the action but by the conceived good of it. Maybe he thought he could be more infinitely merciful - or maybe he wanted to create the earth in 5 days instead of 7, I don't know - and hey, this is all speculation anyway.
So, what motivates Satan? Is it is desire for revenge? This is pretty reasonable. Satan wants to spoil God's plan, but wait - God put Satan in the position of prince of earth, right? In order to foil God's plan, he would have to _not_ be evil, right? Being evil is fulfilling God's plan.
Let's move on. Did you ever wonder where Satan fell to? Think about it. He fell before the earth was around, that's for sure. In the beginning was the word, and it's reasonable to conceive that everything there after is part of God in a non-pantheist way of thinking. So, Satan was kicked out with a third the angels to where? Not to earth. Not to hell. Surely out of heaven - there must be someplace else, or maybe he was sent to hell and he is back for his attempted rule of the earth, I don't know.
Now, back to the original point. Does Satan think he is doing good or evil? There is a small part of me that thinks it is possible that, well, Satan really thinks he might still win. If that is so, the same thing that motivated him the first time in heaven probably still motivates him. Christians are trained to say that motivation is pride and greed. That's probably right, but that doesn't mean Satan thinks he is evil.
Here's my take. Satan _is_ indeed evil, but it's conceivable, even likely, that still thinks he will win, and he thinks that victory is in some way better - some kind of good, even if he has deceived himself. That means, when he messes up our lives, he is trying to foil God because he believes that if God is foiled some perverted good may result.
So, the question is begged, "Pity the devil?" The answer is easy, "No." When criminals convince themselves that something good comes from evil, punishment is earned. When children convince themselves that selfishness is not wrong, punishment is earned. How much wiser, more knowledgeable and experienced is one of God's highest ex-angels? Another easy answer, "Tons."
If Satan wants to be a fool, he can have it. If he wants to think he is a good guy, hey, go for it. But I am not deceived by his foolishness. He is a pawn of his own evils. He already fools me enough for me to go and start thinking "he has a good point" or "hey, he's not so bad" when all he wants is to destroy me - he is like a predator, prowling the earth in search of whom he may consume.
I think I will stick with the "He's out for revenge" concept that seems to keep things in line. It explains his motivation; it explains why he hates me so much. It explains why I will never pity or trust him. Not to mention, I know what comes next!