A Perspective Flip as applied on a cosmic level and a natural corollary to the God Is Evil trope.
You know the story: a long time ago, there was a conflict between the Powers That Be. The good guys won, and the bad guys got to suffer (a popular misconception would be to rule) in Hell instead. But it could be you're not getting the whole story. Maybe Old Scratch (or his in-world counterpart, thinly-veiled or not) has been Wrongly Accused. Maybe his loss in the war with God/the gods was the original Downer Ending, and the bastards who did win have been tarring him with the propaganda brush ever since. Wouldn't that be a Mind Screw?
Another variation is that God isn't necessarily evil; he and Satan may just have Creative Differences. Or perhaps Satan is willing to play a Zero-Approval Gambit and be a Dark Shepherd to help keep people in line, the "stick" to God's "carrot". Or maybe God just doesn't care, or, similarly, he vanished from the universe sometime after making it, and the other angels are evil. It's even possible that he and Satan are actually good buddies. In these versions, if the reasons behind it are mentioned at all, Satan's bad reputation may be chalked up to misinterpretation on the part of mankind; particularly if he and God don't really have anything against each other. It could even be that the entire "warring angels" part never really happened. "Demonizing" the, well, demons could be the work of a Corrupt Church.
This was quite common in earlier times, where Satan was seen as a servant of God, who performed an important role in testing peoples' resolve. Satan is derived from the Hebrew "ha-Satan", which quite literally means "the Accuser" — and what he accuses you of is sin.note
Appears often in Rage Against the Heavens plots, although it doesn't have to - it's easy to portray God as the Big Bad without bringing Satan into it at all, usually by portraying humans as the good side. Also seen in settings with Black-and-Gray Morality, where Satan may not be good, but he's better. This kind of one-two punch is a red flag that you're living in a Crapsack World. There's no telling what The Legions of Hell will be like in a Satan Is Good setting; they may or may not even work for him, and if they do they may be just as Wrongly Accused as their leader or he may be just barely keeping them in check. In an Order vs. Chaos conflict, Satan will lead Team Chaos, often opposing the tyranny (real or perceived) presented by God's Team Order and their notions of The Evils of Free Will.
The important distinction between Satan Is Good and Villain Protagonist or Sympathy for the Devil is that, while the latter cases may make him sympathetic, in this case he's actually heroic. Depending on how idealistic the world is, he may be an Anti-Hero (he probably is) or even a Noble Demon, but he's definitely on the better side. In other words, Satan making an honorable decision, letting someone go because he has nothing against them, or helping the protagonist with something that is mutually beneficial does not immediately make for a Satan is Good situation. Note as well that just because God Is Evil it doesn't necessarily follow that Satan Is Good. He can just as easily be as bad as his counterpart, ineffectual, or absent. By the same token, just because Satan Is Good does not necessarily imply God Is Evil; Have You Seen My God? situations in particular allow for Satan Is Good without going in for God Is Evil. If this trope co-exists with God Is Good, then you would have a Good Versus Good scenario and/or a White-and-Grey Morality setting, or maybe it's Heaven's Devils and they're actually all on the same side.
If Satan Is Good, expect to be treated to A Hell of a Time when you die, assuming you don't end up on the other side of the fence. Remember: Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Goodnote .
Compare Ascended Demon, Cry for the Devil and The Devil Is a Loser. See also God and Satan Are Both Jerks.
- The Demon King from Maoyu just wants to end the war in such a way that everybody wins, bringing peaceful coexistence between humans and demons, and is perfectly happy to work with Yuusha for that purpose.
- Akuto Sai from Demon King Daimao is the Demon King (apparently via reincarnation) and is a nice guy with noble ideals.
- Heavily suggested in the backstory for Witch Hunter Robin, although the witch relating it came off (intentionally or not) as an Unreliable Narrator.
- In Slayers: Next, the Lord of Nightmares, the ultimate Creator beyond good and evil, maker of both with a purpose for each, ostensibly the source of all chaos in the universe and god-boss of all Mazoku (demons), doesn't quite live up to her bad hype, as she not only makes short work of the Big Bad (though admittedly in a very cruel manner) but also returns Lina to life when pressed by Gourry (instead of, say, smiting him). Xellos, the series' resident Devil in Plain Sight, chalks it up to her sense of humor. The bad reputation is presumably firstly due to the fact that a being that doesn't take sides is easier to put in the bad camp, and secondly because she is extremely destructive when invoked; people who see Giga Slave and know what it can do out of control undoubtedly have a hard time in considering its originator as anything but evil.
- In Kaori Yuki's Angel Sanctuary, God is the Greater-Scope Villain and Lucifer aka Sakura Kira most of the time isn't entirely evil, he's more an Anti-Hero who only does good things because he promised the woman he loves, Alexiel, to break her free which involves the destruction of fate. At the end, he himself tells Setsuna he did it all because of his promise. Furthermore, whether you're an angel or demon doesn't have anything to do with your alignment.
- In Shina Dark he does appear to be good overall. Satan has all sorts of horrible things written about him (even to the point where he is believed to be a pedophile and a sex maniac). However, he really is just a good-natured, lazy, couch potato, who has numerous "accidental pervert" moments. In fact he doesn't even look like what you would expect him to look like. So much so that his Butler is often mistaken to be Satan. Though refusing to fight ("It goes against the Beauty of battle if you fight the boss first") and sending your maid to fight first and then attempting to duck out of the battle with out fighting may not be considered good by some. Then again, if said maid is a Robot Girl Person of Mass Destruction, that's pretty much justifiable.
- There are a few hints, however, that at some long, long ago point of his Mysterious Past he may have been justifiably called Demon King, but as the manga ended years ago on a Sequel Hook that never materialized and with many unresolved plot points including this one, we'll likely never know.
- In Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, Loki the Trickster from Norse Mythology is not evil. Apparently Baldr tried to kill him and Loki killed him in self-defense; which caused Odin the All-Father to go insane and try to punish Loki by any means imaginable; even if it means trying to destroy the world in Ragnarok and blame it on him.
- In Bastard!! (1988), the fallen angel Lucifer better known as Lucien Renlen, Dark Schneider's alter ego fights to protect humanity when all the other angels are trying to exterminate them. However, as it turns out Satan himself (who's a different character from Lucifer) and The Legions of Hell are just as evil as you'd expect.
- Dragon Ball has had Demon King Piccolo, who was later reincarnated into the more familiar Piccolo who eventually became good (and never was as completely evil as he claimed to be, despite having been evil in his previous life). And there's Dabura, a demon who went to Heaven and reformed his ways (anime version only), with the explanation being that sending a demon to Hell when he dies would hardly be a punishment.
- In Ghost Sweeper Mikami, God and Satan are both good guys; the former is in charge of maintaining order, the latter in charge of maintaining chaos/change. The closest we have to a leader-of-all-wicked-things is Ashtaroth (it's implied that he only recently gained the ability to do that).
- Turns out Demon Overlord Satan in The Devil is a Part-Timer! is actually a pretty decent and hardworking person who cares for his underlings. On Ente Isla its implied that he spent most of his time running the demon empire far away from the front lines and didn't know much about the massive atrocities his generals committed during the war, though he admits he probably wouldn't have cared at the time. Once he ends up in Japan working at MgRonalds and is forced to interact with humans he comes to see them as people, too. Not that any of this tempers his desire to Take Over the World.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion puts us through everything that could have led to Homura's seeming Face–Heel Turn. The world as she recreates and oversees it is in fact tranquil, orderly and generally happy. The most unforgivable thing she does is giving other characters a Laser-Guided Amnesia. Why? So they would for once stop being in constant misery. That said, she did not exactly ask for anyone's permission before doing this and her actions may have severely screwed up the order of things.
- If you can look past the Fanservice and gratuitous nudity (no small feat, mind), High School D×D shows that Devils really aren't all that evil. No more evil than anyone else in the world is capable of being. In the series, the Four Great Satans (Lucifer, Leviathan, Asmodeus, and Beelzebub) are titles given to the leaders of the Devils, with the current Satan Lucifer (the main leader of the Devils) being a Reasonable Authority Figure and Rias' older brother. It turns out that while Angels have been fighting Devils for ages, the Holy Bible is merely just the largest piece of propaganda that God ever created. Angels and followers of God maliciously attack them because they were told that they are evil and must be destroyed (They don't show any mercy to normal humans either, which is how the whole series starts). There are magics in play for each side though. For example, a Devil reading or reciting the Bible will experience pain for trying. The devils usually just try to get by with using their magics to curry favors from clients. They use their magics to fulfill some type of reasonable desire or request, and are paid for their services, but not with people's souls or anything like that. All in all, Devils, and Satan, are just ordinary people trying to live their lives. It's just propaganda that makes the Angels and Fallen Angels give them trouble. However, it should also be noted that just like Devils, Angels and Fallen Angels can be perfectly civil and kind. The Archangel Michael is pretty much the nicest guy you'll ever meet, and the leader of the Fallen Angels is pretty reasonable as well. The only thing that really separates the three races from humans is the fact that they have magic powers.
- In SHUFFLE!, the Demon King is a friendly and gentle person, and his best friend is the God King who has a funny personality. Both wouldn't really mind if the protagonist Rin won't marry their respective daughters (in the anime, he chooses Asa instead). Well, since Fantastic Racism doesn't exist in this world, neither humans nor Gods nor demons are evil. The only "bad" thing the demons have ever done during the series would be Project Yggdrasil, but it's not that the Demon King wouldn't regret it, and he considers the subjects of Project Yggdrasil as people. He really cared for his daughter's clone Lycoris who sacrificed herself to save Nerine, he's genuinely nice to Primula, and he apologizes to Ama for what he and his men have done to her (she doesn't mind though).
- The Testament of Sister New Devil: Season 2 reveals that while most combat demons are dicks, a vast majority of demons are just ordinary citizens who have MUCH more in common with human citizens than any other faction in existence. They've managed to balance out their economy with the environment (as seen by their pollution-free cities and lack of slums) and have little desire to rebel against the demon lords, who they pay tribute to but don't actually need. Suddenly, the former demon lord's desire for demons to invade the human world seems like the most rational option.
- A hentai anime called Be-yond involves Satan, who who was apparently a Sealed Evil in a Can with Easy Amnesia with a Quest for Identity. The man (demon?) is so nice, you could forget that he can easily destroy the entire universe if he wanted, and crush someone into atoms if they are cruel, but he would rather put his own needs behind himself to help others. One of the main characters who is a Fair Cop decides to make sure he doesn't remember who he is.
- In Seven Mortal Sins, Satan is one of the most noble demons in Hell, seen when she sends the soul of an innocent woman to Heaven and then cuts the soul of her killer into pieces. She even helps Lucifer defend Earth and Hell when it turns out that God Is Evil and the Big Bad.
- The Sandman (1989):
- While he's not portrayed as especially friendly in the spinoff Lucifer, Lucifer is at least on the side of saving this universe (to say nothing of his own universe). He even ends up helping defend Heaven against the Lilim.
- God is also sympathetic, making this the creative differences version. Indeed, the final story makes it seem less like a great cosmic saga and more like the tales of a powerful and distant father and his troubled, bitter son.
- His appearance in The Sandman is more ambiguous. His first appearance seems rather standard Lord of Damnation, but his later appearances show him as a mostly neutral force in things, trying to live his own life, now that he's abandoned Hell. His rant about people choosing to come to Hell and their lies about him stealing souls pissing him off also made him far more sympathetic, if not necessarily good. Also, he has style. And he looks like David Bowie. And he can admit to admiring God's work with sunsets.
- Neil Gaiman tends to portray Lucifer's Fall as all part of God's plan in a number of his works, such as "Murder Mysteries". Albeit a plan poor Lucifer was never let in on...
- Further explored in Hellblazer, with the reveal of the First Of The Fallen. Turns out, Lucifer is 'a Devil, not the Devil. His backstory of rebellion against God is the same, but he was not the original evil. When Lucifer is cast into Hell, he finds the First Of the Fallen already there. Lucifer eventually takes control of Hell, but it's only because of sheer power, and he's a half-hearted torturer of souls at best and not actively antagonistic to humanity, mentioning in The Sandman that the expression "the Devil made me do it" is fundamentally incorrect because he's never made anyone do anything. Indeed, forcing anyone to do anything goes against Lucifer's personal philosophy of freedom at all costs. In contrast, the First of The Fallen is definitely what the average person thinks of when they hear the title of the Devil: contemptuous to humanity and reveling in the torture of the souls of the wicked.
- Even then, the First of the Fallen still manages to play this trope straight, as he was originally not evil at all but was actually the exact opposite: he was in fact God's own Conscience, which held God back from releasing his full potential as the Creator of Everything (as God was inhibited and hesitant in creating as he still had reservations and doubts over creating anything negative), and was thus split apart by God, with FOF as the first independent entity aside from God. God and the FOF gradually grew distant over their differences of opinion (such as the creation of free will inevitably leading to and resulting in misery and suffering) until FOF was later finally banished from Heaven by God and thrown into what later became Hell for accidentally coming across God in a most embarrassing moment masturbating mindlessly while in a manic state complete with leering and drooling. Naturally aggrieved and embittered, FOF then resolved to both expose the Creator to the rest of Creation as being the original Madman, as well as replace the rule of the regime of God in Heaven with what the FOF believed was a lucid alternative i.e. himself. Over the millennia, his endless war and power struggle against Heaven inevitably caused the FOF and his followers to eventually get corrupted until they ultimately Became Their Own Antithesis. The FOF admits that he already realized at some point long ago that he had finally become the irredeemable monster which humans had always made him out to be, but it was John Constantine, using knowledge from human Satanic cults, who figured out at last the true nature of FOF as the former conscience of God.
- The Satan figure of J. Michael Straczynski's Midnight Nation is not quite good but rather an Anti-Villain who works at undoing creation because of what he sees as the needless suffering and misery of those in it, and because God has refused to allow criticism of this.
- In Proposition Player, Hell Mary points out that the "other side" rushed their book through production without letting her side make a point for them, and asks Joey if he could really picture his friends in heaven, kowtowing to the big guy and trying to outdo each other at telling Him how great he is. She is also savvy enough to level with Joey and, later, switches allegiance and joins his group when he decides to become a big player. Her celestial counterpart, meanwhile, is a huge jerk who alternately tries to buy off the souls or threaten Joey passive-aggressively, and makes no secret of what a misogynistic, power-abusing, sociopathic asshole he is. (He also doesn't realize that intimidation doesn't work on a cynical bastard like Joey.)
- In the French comic Professor Bell, every thousand years, a Devil gets seven days to break out of Jerusalem, and if he succeeds, he is free to wreak havoc across the Earth. The Devil from a thousand years ago was vanquished by priest-mages, who created golems to stop him. Eventually, he ended up locked in a pit where his only distraction was a ton of Bibles to read, and over the years has turned... not exactly good but True Neutral at worst.
- In the comic Nancy in Hell, Lucifer is basically The Load. He was cast into the Primordial Chaos for showing free will, and Hell grew up around him independent of his wishes. All he wants to do is get back to Heaven, but Hell needs him to stay put to maintain its existence, and clouds his mind with doubts to ensure that he stays put. Nancy's tasked with keeping Lucifer on-message long enough for them both to escape.
- In the Swedish comic Himlens Änglar by Jan Romare, the Devil is usually shown to be really bad at his job; his evil acts usually go no farther than putting banana peels on the sidewalk for people to slip on. In one extended story arc, his background is explained in more detail, and he even goes to therapy to handle his performance anxiety and general depression. The Devil then goes on to tell the psychiatrist how he started off as a regular angel but got more and more depressed and disenchanted with God because of the various Old Testament horrors he had to watch and take part in. The Devil then decided to go down to earth in order to speak directly to them the humans and try to make them (and his boss) act a little better. He became known as Jesus and was unfortunately killed horribly before being sent back to Heaven. God was really upset about his subordinate's behavior, because "now people will expect me to live up to all the nice things you told them about me", and as punishment, he sent the Devil down to hell to become the Lord of Evil.
- In Marvel comics, Satan is a title some fallen angels and demon lords of various origins compete to have and not everyone who had the title of Satan was evil. Noble Kale from Ghost Rider ruled one of the splinter realms benevolently after he became an angel of death and killed Mephisto and Blackheart, taking their places. He was so benevolent the demons in said realm revolted and kicked him back to Earth, which somehow allowed Mephisto and Blackheart to come back to life.
- In Crimson, Lucifer appears as a friendly, smooth-talking, easy-going Man of Wealth and Taste. While he is said to be evil in nature as he attempted to usurp God's creation in the distant past and is fated to try it again in the end times, he saves the main protagonist's life when he is being summarily judged by a group of overzealous archangels - Its quite telling when the freakin' Devil is nicer than the angels. A flashback shows him as a Benevolent Boss to Ekimus when he fought on Hell's side and gracefully heeds his retirement request from service. In general, he is the only one of the angels who maintains a close relationship with God. It's implied that the other angels have become so full of themselves that they can't recognize God for who He really is. God and Satan have creative differences, but they team up to manipulate the other angels into achieving mutual goals for each other. God even offers him redemption, Lucifer declines stating that he likes his gig.
- Dilbert has Phil, the ruler of Heck and Prince of Insufficient Light. He's basically a harmless version of the devil who inflicts very minor punishments on people for very minor sins. He also turns out to be Dilbert's boss' brother.
- Attero Dominatus has Satan reveal to a rebel Israelite soldier that he was never the evil being God portrays him to be.
- In Hero High: Sphinx Academy, the character Lord often lampshades this trope. Once commenting on how he was the good guy since he has turned people to salt, fed them to whales and caused a flood to wipe out humanity. Then states Satan is evil because he punishes people who are evil. After finishing that sentence he openly asks "which one of us is the bad one again?"
- The Mandela Magazine: Satan still takes the form of the Archangel Gabriel and has a huge Slasher Smile on his face like he does in Mandela Catalogue, but "Gabriel" isn't shown to be malevolent in the slightest and just wants to throw a party. When Mark starts shooting his mom, he's shown to be genuinely horrified like the rest of the Alternates.
- Michael Aquino's Morlindale is a retelling of some of the backstory of The Lord of the Rings that paints Melkor and Sauron as ultimately heroic figures. Col. Aquino used to be the equivalent of an archbishop in the Church of Satan. Satan Is Good, indeed. As an additional note, Eru Ilúvatar, the traditional analogue of God in the Tolkien mythos, is not evil; rather, he is a True Neutral embodiment of the natural order of Arda (although in the view of Melkor and Sauron ( and eventually Pallando), this order is inherently unjust and something to be struggled against). The Valar, on the other hand...
- Played with in Sonic X: Dark Chaos. Maledict is a Faux Affably Evil Manipulative Bastard tyrant with semi-good intentions. However, compared to Allysion and the Angels (especially the Muslims), he looks like a saint in comparison.
- Satan (played by John Ritter) is portrayed quite sympathetically in his brief appearance in Wholly Moses!. Basically, he was God's partner, inventing stuff like trees and three of the four seasons. One day, God called him over and told him to try his Satan's suit on and, boom!, he's the Devil.
- In the original film, Satan (Peter Cook) isn't really evil, just kind of irritating in the pranks he pulls; he only tempts people to win a bet with God (first one to get 100 billion souls) and get back into Heaven. In the end, God is shown to be something of a Jerkass when he denies poor old Lucifer access back into heaven on a technicality, and laughs about it. When Satan starts ranting about how much worse he's going to be from now on and how bad he's going to make the world, this seems to be exactly what God wants. He even explains that he's only a fallen angel because God was being such a dick, he just said "Well, screw this!".
- Satan is played by Elizabeth Hurley in the 2000 remake, whose purpose is not so much to tempt men to fall but to offer the choice of falling and during that take the choice to redeem themselves, earning salvation. She's actually quite fun to be around and likes her most recent temptee. It's shown that there is no cosmic battle of good and evil between God and the Devil and they're actually on pretty good terms.
- Little Nicky takes a slightly different route, with Hell being set up as a parallel agent to heaven less about tempting the good and more about punishing the bad. The only tempting is done by the devil's two mutinous sons. The current Devil is actually the second, replacing his father, and believes in maintaining the Balance Between Good and Evil and raising his kids right. Nicky is the product of a drunken tryst between Satan and an angel at a "Heaven/Hell mixer".
- Drive Angry doesn't show Satan on screen, but The Accountant mentions that Satan is well-read and an all-around good guy. He's really just the warden of the afterlife's prison. He even opposes the idea of having kids sacrificed in his name, making the cult leader villain of the film more evil than Satan himself.
- Cecil B. Demented, if his resident booster, Raven, is any indication, Satan Is Love!
- Dark Angel: The Ascent: Demons are just the people who guard and enforce Hell, and answer to God. A demon family is even shown clocking off and saying grace before a meal.
- Hail Satan?: A documentary about the creation and growth of the Satanic Temple in America and its grassroots political activism. Many members interpret Satan as a positive rebellious figure for encouraging free will and independence, ideals that align with the temple's political views.
- Jacob's Ladder does this as the stick/carrot interpretation. The demons are angels, depending on the perspective of the person encountering them. If they don't want to die, they're demons trying to take their life away - if they're at peace, they're angels freeing them from the Earth.
- In Ernst Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait, the recently deceased protagonist goes straight to the gates of Hell, thinking that his dissolute life has doomed his soul; Satan himself makes him see all the good he's done in his life and convinces him to try his chances with Heaven.
- The Master and Margarita: The Devil does not harm any good guys and even teaches the mains some wisdom.
- William Blake's Prophecy epics heroicise Satan, or rather his allegorical equivalent Orc, against the tyrannical Angel of Albion. Blake is also perhaps the most prominent member of the Misaimed Fandom evoked above, famously writing that Milton was "a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it."
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice, Satan is much friendlier and more accessible than God, who's portrayed as kind of a dick, and neither of them is the true Supreme Being.
- Satan and the rebel angels get a sympathetic portrayal in Steven Brust's To Reign in Hell. In this version, God is really just the most powerful angel, who seizes absolute power in a fit of stubbornness and arrogance. The creation of the Jesus-like character is treated like a case of Multiple Personality Disorder. The rebel angels aren't evil, they simply reject their new "god's" authority.
- In the "Von Bek" novels from Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion novels, Ulrich von Bek finds himself damned and in the presence of Lucifer, who is now good. Lucifer had decided he wished to make peace with God, and been charged with ending suffering on Earth as the price of his redemption. Lucifer can't act directly, so he asks von Bek to aid him by returning the Holy Grail to the earth and ending "the World's Pain." The Grail is a symbol for our power of rationality, which Moorcock sees as the only way we can end our suffering, and of course this being so would redeem Lucifer, as it would mean the entire apple thing was ultimately to our benefit.
- In Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice, Satan empathizes intensely with the pain of human existence (particularly before there was a heaven, when souls simply continued existing between worlds for all eternity), and frequently accused God of being arrogant and uncaring towards his creations. God eventually agreed, but gave Memnoch a job he despises: punishing the wicked and purifying them so they can enter Heaven. Granted, we only have Memnoch's word for this, and he turned out not to be entirely trustworthy.
- In an earlier book, David Talbot talks about his own possible encounter with God and the Devil in a Parisian cafe. In the encounter, the Devil begs God to let him come back to Heaven, being tired of working in Hell.
- In the Prince Roger series by David Weber and John Ringo, one important supporting character's ENTIRE RELIGION is based on this. The character's religion came about as a result of a religious purge war on her home planet, with everyone not in line with the corrupt church being labelled Satanists. Thinking that Satan can't be all that bad if the corrupt church was an example of God's wishes, they pretty much just took the rites and litany of their corrupt church and switched all the names and references around as part Insult Backfire and part Take That!. Hence, their religious practices bear little resemblance to those commonly associated with Satanists in the media; the entire name is arguably a joke masquerading as a religion. As for their actual beliefs: The Archangels at some point decided they could run the universe better than God, and imprisoned him (which is also why evil happens, according to them; the Archangels are powerful and wise, but neither omnipotent, omniscient nor omnibenevolent). Lucifer tried to defend God, but failed and was cast out of Heaven. Now he sits in Hell, amassing his forces and biding his time until Armageddon, when he will lead his army into Heaven, defeat the Archangels and free God, who will then grant Lucifer's followers the Promised Land as a reward.
- The sixth book of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, For Love of Evil is based entirely on this trope, combined with a Perspective Flip from the previous 5 books.
- Lucifer is the main character of Catherine Webb's Waywalkers duet, and is a bastard son of Time and Magic and mankind's last hope against Chronos. He has been subjected to a ruthless smear campaign by his half-brother, Jehovah, son of Time and Belief, to the extent that even most other immortals believe he is evil, though they really should know better. He is actually quite a nice guy who lives in London disguised as a mortal. Despite this, Jehovah is not evil, per se; he's just a Jerkass. On top of this, Lucifer's bad rep was one of the many result of his father's plan to turn him into the ultimate weapon against Chronos.
- Not surprisingly, given its very anti-religious theme, the Adversary in the His Dark Materials trilogy is described as an extremely sympathetic figure - the leader of the rebel army of angels that attempted to overthrow the Authority (who was simply the oldest being, and only CLAIMED to be the creator to legitimize bossing everyone else around) in aeons past.
- Well, the character who was the leader of the fallen/rebel angels is the angel Xaphania, and she is pretty much still going around in the universes; needless to say she's wise and "good". Lord Asriel (named after the angel of death) fits the role better, but his Knight Templar status makes him occasionally quite unsympathetic, specially in the end of the first book, where he considers his goal more important than the life of his daughter's friend, Roger. Arguably, Metatron is also similar in role to Satan, having taken over from The Authority after being his right-hand angel, but he is clearly evil (and used to be a human).
- Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy is not a straight example, but still worthy of mention. Here, Hell is a gloomy but all-in-all pretty cozy place, and its ruler, Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, is easily the nicest guy in the entire series.
- ....besides all the guys that don't torture, slaughter and generally rip to bits their enemies and the enemies of their families. But yes, overall very decent, definitely a protagonist.
- Perhaps "easily one of the most upstanding, honorable, caring guys" would be a better way to put it. He can be nice, but even more than nice he cares deeply for others, and sometimes that involves showing some teeth. And after all, he is the father figure (or actual father) to every main protagonist and even the not-so-main protagonists in the series.
- The other two male main characters are Daemon and Lucivar. It was obviously the author's intention to do this.
- ....besides all the guys that don't torture, slaughter and generally rip to bits their enemies and the enemies of their families. But yes, overall very decent, definitely a protagonist.
- This is essentially the entire point of The Devil's Apocrypha.
- Jeremy Leven's novel Satan, His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S portrays Satan as essentially helpless and neuroses-ridden, subverting the "Lost Son" concept by making God and Satan half-brothers. They shared a mother, "Fear." The book was adapted in 2002 as "Crazy As Hell". The book really leaves the question of whether or not Satan is evil up to the reader.
- I, Lucifer, wherein Lucifer (he doesn't like to be called Satan) narrates his life and his brief attempt to earn his way into Heaven, doesn't present him as being good, but since God does present himself as good, Lucifer has to be evil by default. By anyone's standard, God is not exactly a good person; in the end, it's implied that God only offered Lucifer the chance to come back to Heaven because He's certain that the latter won't accept, and when it seems like he will, God manufactures an emergency in Hell that requires Lucifer's attention. It's not so much Satan Is Good or God Is Evil as God and Satan Are Both Jerks.
- In Fifth Business, the Devil figure in the story ends up being an intelligent and charming woman who helps the most in the main character's quest of discovering who he is. As he says later, "The Devil turned out to be a very good fellow."
- In Timothy Findley's Not Wanted on the Voyage, Satan is a seven-foot-tall angel. In drag. Who goes by Lucy. And Satan's far, far, far better of a character and person than Noah and his ilk.
- Several of Neil Gaiman's works, including Good Omens and "Murder Mysteries," enjoys playing with the morality paradox that God always intended for Satan to fall, and that by doing so he's performing his proper function in God's plan. That said, we never actually meet Lucifer in Good Omens, and when we almost do, he's a terrifying, nigh-unstoppable force of destruction about to massacre the cast in a temper tantrum at being denied Armageddon.
- Peter Ustinov's (yes, the actor) novel The Old Man and Mr. Smith had God and Satan as best friends, traveling the countryside. Satan (Mr. Smith) tended to commit minor offenses, such as stealing, that bothered God (The Old Man) a bit, but it was always just to help out, and The Old Man couldn't deny that he directly benefited from Mr. Smith's pragmatic approach to problem-solving.
- Shan-wei is the Safeholdian Church of God Awaiting's equivalent of Satan. However, what only a select few know is that Pei Shan-wei was an actual person who tried to deflate the ambitions of her fellow "Archangels" Eric Langhorne and Adorée Bédard and was murdered for her trouble.
- According to the Friar's Tale in The Canterbury Tales, all of Hell operates with permission from God. One minor demon observes that he and his guys actually provide opportunities for salvation, by resisting the temptation they offer.
- In Jeff Long's Deeper Satan is a True Neutral entity that played a major part in uplifting the humanity to its current status in hopes of releasing himself from a metaphysical confinement beneath the Earth with its aid, but it's implied that if his release would actually happen, he would cause immense destruction without even noticing or caring, like only an immortal being with little experience with human contact could when facing fragile mortals.
- While not quite calling him good, Mark Twain opined in one of his essays that Satan had never gotten a fair trial and deserved to be able to tell his side of the story.
- Then he gets his chance in Letters from the Earth. Satan's a little rebellious and every so often gets a time-out, but he just can't comprehend how much of a Crapsack World humans make for themselves, all in the name of a pseudo-God. The God Is Evil corollary here only applies to the fictional one that Man comes up with, not the 'real' one.
- In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Timequake, Kilgore Trout writes a book that has the Devil giving Adam and Eve the apple, because he sincerely wants them to become intelligent.
- In Natalia Vasilieva's Black Book of Arda, Melkor (the Tolkienverse's Satan equivalent) is good.
- The Other Light faction in the Left Behind book Kingdom Come sees God Is Evil because He won't let "naturals" in the Millennial Kingdom live past 100 years of age as unbelievers, and claim in their If It's True manifesto that God has unfairly treated one of His angels (referring to Lucifer) and befouled his name and reputation by casting him out of His presence. To that end, the Other Light worked hard to pass their teachings to the next generation of converts so that the generation that gets to confront God and Jesus at the end of the Millennium will be "assured victory" when Lucifer is released. Unfortunately for them, it didn't go as they hoped.
- Sammael in Storm Constantine's Burying the Shadow is an alternate world interpretation of Satan. In this world God was supposed to move on to another plane of existence and Sammael was to take his place, but he decides against it. This was starting to screw up the world, so Sammael and some of the eloim rebelled and were banished to Earth.
- This is the ultimate goal of wizards and the Powers That Be in the Young Wizards universe. The Lone Power invented entropy and death, and for these gifts was sent away until he could learn better. Rhiow in The Book of Night with Moon describes it best:
But what time is about, they say, is slowly winning the Lone One back to the right side. When that happens, the Whisperer says— when a billion years' worth of wizards' victories finally wear sa'Rrahh down enough to show her what possibilities can lie beyond her own furious blindness and fixity — then death and entropy will begin to work backward, undoing themselves; evil will transform its own nature and will have no defense against that final transformation, coming as it will from within. The universe will be remade, as if it had been made right from the beginning. ... Every time one of us stands up knowingly to the Devastatrix, she loses a little ground. Every time one of us wins, she loses a little more. And the Whisperer says that the effect is cumulative. No wizard knows whether his or her act today, this minute or the next, might not be the one that will finally make the Lone Power say, 'I give up: joy is easier.' And then the long fall upward into the light, and the rebirth of the worlds, will start...
- This is explored in the Joe Hill novel Horns, in which the protagonist wakes up one morning with a pair of horns and supernatural abilities allowing him to influence people and know their deepest, darkest thoughts. He soon comes to believe that he's becoming a devil, but for every character he punishes for their urges and transgressions, he helps just as many to find peace and happiness, as he helps them to realize that it is not healthy for them to repress certain urges, such as making a couple of closeted gay police officers discover that they are deeply in love with each other and should pursue their relationship regardless of what the rest of the force might think of them. He also muses on the nature of Satan, who does God's work by punishing sinners but also accepts humanity for what it is and celebrates sin/human nature, compared to a God who runs a theological protection racket.
- Played with in the Christ Clone Trilogy. The end of the second book almost convinces you God really is the bad guy.
- In The Screwtape Letters, since it's a Perspective Flip on Christian morality, the devils see themselves as heroic and refer to God as "The Enemy." (Of course, Screwtape is one heck of an Unreliable Narrator.)
- Paradise Lost is the probable Trope Codifier. However, if one scratches the surface it is very clear that the Father of Lies is an extremely Unreliable Narrator.
- Ghislain Taschereau's Inspector Spector series, where the hero's secret weapon is being the world's greatest police detective after selling his soul to the devil. The devil is a really cool guy and making deals with him always comes with great perks, such as being nearly invulnerable and Spector's infinite ammunition .666 caliber handgun. On the villainous side, Godall Mighty keeps trying to eradicate humanity to restart from scratch and succeeds in the final book.
- The Devil in The Grim Reaper's Apprentice is a rather nice man, despite being in charge of hell. He chats with Jax when he introduces himself, and even helped the Grim Reaper and Jax's mother to conceive Jax.
- The Devil as presented in Brimstone wasn't necessarily evil. In fact he was in charge of punishing evildoers, hence his need to get the 113 escapees back to hell. He was, however, an unrepentant Jerkass.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Some Bajorans worship the Pah Wraiths, the demons of the planet's majority religion. It turns out these beings are actually real and actually evil, but most of their worshipers simply feel that the Prophets had abandoned them during the Cardassian Occupation and are looking for an alternate spiritual option.
- Dukat was also a true believer in these demons, having been possessed by Kosst Amojin, who's hinted to be their ringleader. He led this cult for a while until his old vices got the better of him, disillusioning his followers and turning them against him. His own faith in the Pah-Wraiths remained undiminished to the end, albeit still thoroughly intertwined with his selfish and twisted motives. (Considering his old enmity with the Bajorans, it makes a lot of sense that he'd side with their demons against their gods once he started believing in the supernatural premises underlying their religion.)
- Subverted on Supernatural: Lucifer would like to convince you that he's the good guy, but he's clearly just an egotistical bastard. At times he'll come off as Affably Evil, but then he'll go and do something that completely averts this, i.e. killing off an army of demons (his children) to summon Death, exploding Castiel, snapping Bobby's neck, beating the living crap out of Dean (while wearing Sam's body!) etcetera, etcetera. Then again, on this show, no higher power can possibly be good.
- The Devil of The Collector, or so he claims.
- A recurring bit on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" features them inviting the Devil on to discuss something heinous in the news, only to refuse to take credit on hearing the act actually described.
"I may be the devil, but I'm not a monster!"
- The title character of Lucifer (2016) may be amoral, as self-centered as a gyroscope, and constantly trying to get the female lead into bed with him, but he's very dedicated to punishing wrongdoers and saving innocents (even when he doesn't believe he's doing it), and some wrongdoings disgust him deeply. For example, one villain murdered an innocent woman just to get his prize client indebted to him. When said villain referred to the girl as "that bitch", Lucifer furiously shoved him through a window. Not to mention he literally and selflessly died for the female lead, twice. And in the Series Finale, he returns to Hell to become a therapist for the damned so that they can move past their guilt and reach Heaven.
- Played with and ultimately subverted in The Fallen, where Lucifer Morningstar is initially portrayed as a friendly, repentant angel, who simply had a disagreement with the Creator. He nearly convinces Aaron to Redeem him, but Aaron suddenly realizes that all Lucifer wants is to be free from Hell in order to wreak havoc on Earth and Heaven. In fact, Lucifer is the only being that is actually permanently trapped in Hell. Humans can leave if they redeem themselves enough. Notably, most fallen angels are also decent people and were thus not trapped in Hell. Azazel is a big exception. The whole "rebellion against the Creator" is seen by them as more of a political move than a turn to the dark side.
- Voltaire's "Almost Human" is, essentially, the Devil's lament about being cast from heaven and being constantly despised by angels (or The Fundamentalist; it's not exactly clear), despite being basically the same as humanity.
- Cormorant's "Ballad Of the Beast" is a possible example, as it portrays Jesus giving in to all three of the devil's temptations and calling him his friend. At the end, Jesus claims that he is "now free". It may also be a case, for God sends out an angel to keep Jesus from dying when he jumps, of God and Satan Are Both Jerks.
- In Power Sympathy's "Lightbringer," Lucifer states that he was created as God intended, and that his fall and temptation of mankind is the will of God.
- Not outright stating it, but Running Wild's song "Satan" shows him in more anti-heroic light.
- The animated clip from DAT's "Showtime" depicts a depressed devil that makes friends with a young woman and falls in love with her. Although he swallows her soon after they meet and pulls teasingly at her (long) skirt, these are more like pranks, and she seems unharmed. They dance together, he drives her on a bicycle and, when he sees her cry, he decides to become human, or almost (his horns and wings just become small) to stay with her. However, he can't remain much long in this form and painfully returns to his devilish self.With the woman's consent, he erases her memories of him with a tear on his eye before they have a last dance and he leaves her for good. The song, however, sounds optimistic: " Though I can't see, I can see compassion/Trust in the hope of our future"
- Despite the song's title, "Sympathy for the Devil" portrays Satan as an arrogant and malevolent presence who haunts all of humanity's great atrocities. Though there is An Aesop in there about how these evils are really the fault of humans or specifically, the human denial of their own capacity for evil, hiding under the guise of civilization and ascribing their flaws to a sarcastic devil who they assign all responsibility for their own actions.
- Country singer Terri Gibbs' Signature Song "Somebody's Knockin'" has this notable lyric, "Somebody's Knockin' should I let him in? Lord It's the Devil, would you looked at him? I've heard about him but I never dreamed he'd have blue eyes and blue jeans." She would later record Christian Country music and is a Christian.
- OK Go wrote a musical response to "Sympathy for the Devil" called "A Good Idea At The Time," which depicts him as, at worst, apathetic to said atrocities.
Now it's true about my wealth, true about my taste
But you don't need no help from me, you'll lay yourself to waste
- In Judaism, Satan (know here as Mastema) is not a fallen angel, the serpent in the Garden, or Lucifer. He's a regular angel submissive to God's will, though his job is still to spread sin, which he heavily implies he does not enjoy. He distinguishes himself by being critical of humanity's capacity for evil, and specifically proposes a test of faith for Job. His name comes from the word for "adversary" or "accuser" and his role is more like that of God's prosecuting attorney, the "devil's advocate." In fact, the title of Adversary does not necessarily belong to one angel; it could be the title of whichever angel is being argumentative at the moment.
- In Christianity, Satan was good would be correct. He was God's servant and his title of Satan (lit. The Adversary/Accuser) meant that he was the adversary of liars, hypocrites, and frauds, and his purpose was to put those chosen by God through their paces and make sure that they were truly devout and could not be swayed from the path of God. His part in the Book of Job was that God was telling him about how faithful and righteous Job was and Satan was not buying it and said that of course he is, after all with all of the benefits that you are giving him he would have to be insane to not worship you.
Although, by the time he appears to tempt Jesus, he seems to have turned evil. Of course, the opposite argument can also be made: If his purpose is indeed to make sure those chosen by God were truly devout and could not be swayed from His path, then his tempting of Jesus fits into this; Jesus, incarnated as a human, is not exempt from anything humans go through, up to and including temptations.
- The Yazidis, a religious minority in western Iraq, call the chief angel in charge of running the world on God's orders the Peacock Angel, Melek Tawuse. They consider him an intermediary between humanity and God. They don't even believe in Fallen Angels, considering evil to be entirely the result of human misbehavior. However, owing to a Yazidi faith about Melek Tawuse that closely resembles the Muslim faith of Iblis/Shaitan's rebellion against Godnote , they are very frequently accused of worshiping Satan by people with a One Myth to Explain Them All mentality.
- Real-life Satanists and Luciferians hold up the major antagonists of Christianity and other major world religions as role models whose values that humans should look up to.
- Generally speaking, Satanists emphasize Satan's disobedience to God and his laws in order to stress the importance of challenging authority and moral mores, engaging in desired carnal behaviors, and feeling unashamed of being unconventional as a way of leading a personally fulfilling life. The few rules that exist in LaVeyan Satanism are mostly safeguards protecting the personal freedoms of others from outside interference. There are also commandments specifically protecting children and animals from undue harm.
- Meanwhile, Luciferians more heavily stress the illuminating aspects of Lucifer, particularly that of striving to acquire knowledge and truth. This extends to things considered forbidden or taboo by culture or by other religions. Modern Luciferians generally support the rational scientific method and tolerance for people of other persuasions.
- Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, and Modern Satanism in general. Modern Satanists like LaVey don't believe in a literal Satan, but consider him to be a symbol. In his later writings, LaVey implied that God might very well exist, but if he does, he's an asshole.
- Laveyan Satanists' prayers to Satan are, per the few doctrines they have, not meant as a personal request to curry favors but a more abstract plea, not unlike how "bless you" isn't an indication of Christian faith or magic powers on the speaker's part.
- Indeed, a careful reading of LaVey's Satanic Bible suggests that he did believe in a very real Satan, albeit as a vaguely pantheistic Jungian Archetype. (It lists the names of several old pagan gods of destruction and evil and contends that these are also proper names for Satan.) Certainly, LaVeyan Satanists believe Satan's power is very literal and real: Anton's own daughter claims to have slain him by smiting him with a death curse.
- There's also Traditional Satanism, which does believe in a literal Satan. Their view is that Satan is the one who really wants what's best for them, or that he simply wants them to think for themselves (most well-known example being the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil).
- There was a group called the Luciferians that was persecuted by the Catholic Church as a heretical sect during the Middle Ages. As with this trope, the Luciferians believed that eating from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil was a positive thing, and that Lucifer was the noble Creator opposing an evil and repressive god who had better press. They never worshiped evil or performed dark sacrificial rituals the way Satanists in contemporary and modern media were/are supposed to do. There are also modern day Luciferians who believe the same thing.
- Interestingly, many if not most Luciferians avoid associating Lucifer with the common perception of Satan, some going so far as to refer to Lucifer as the Holy Spirit or Paracletus and even referring to the god of the Torah/Old Testament as Satan. Satan Is Good who is God assuming God Is Good. But this leads to a logical problem identifying Satan Is Good with God, given the God Is Evil trope.
- In Classical Mythology, Prometheus subversively gives the gods' protected knowledge of fire to humanity, not unlike the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil offered by the evil serpent in The Bible. When the myth first appeared in Hesiod's Theogony, Zeus was a wise and just god who sentenced Prometheus to eternal suffering, while the Titan Prometheus was to blame for the suffering of humanity. Prometheus Bound turns this around, making Zeus a cruel tyrant and Prometheus the benefactor of humanity's rise to civilization (Older Than Feudalism). The suffering of humanity was blamed on Pandora, not Prometheus (and even Pandora is clearly established as having been set up).
- The god Endovelicus became identified as Lucifer after Christianity became dominant on the Iberian Peninsula, but he was already quite established as a benevolent god in the native pantheon.
- Theodicy is the philosophical/theological question of why evil exists. One thing that emerges from a study of theodicy is that, if you accept that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving, then Satan must serve a good purpose, or else God wouldn't allow him to exist!
- Unless you adhere to the view that God is The Fettered, and allows Satan to exist because He either believes that everyone has a fundamental right to exist (even the Devil) and eliminating a sentient being from Creation entirely is wrong, or alternatively has a thing for salvation over elimination and is waiting for Satan to learn his lesson.
- The more orthodox view, at least in Christianity, is that God is playing a Xanatos Gambit by turning Satan's entire life into one long series of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain. Any evil deed that Satan does, according to this argument, gets twisted into a good result - the most prominent examples being the temptation of Adam and Eve, and the death of Jesus. In other words, yes, Satan is serving a good purpose, but not by choice.
- The Gnostics generally viewed the Hebrew God as a false and sometimes malevolent demigod of sorts known as the Demiurge and considered the Serpent in the Garden of Eden to be a messenger from the "True, Unknowable God." Because Jesus is also considered a messenger from God in most Gnostic traditions, this leads to an association between Lucifer and Jesus that most modern Christians find odd and heretical. (However, Lucifer and Satan are considered separate entities in Gnosticism; sometimes the Demiurge is even referred to as Satan.) Satanael (Gnosticism's version of Lucifer) is believed to have rebelled against God after realizing he is an imposter.
- Theosophist believe that Lucifer and Satan are two different entities and Lucifer is not evil, is the carrier of Light (i.e. wisdom) while Satan is an unrelated evil demon. The association between both was mistakenly done by the Church.
- In Raëlism, there's an Elohim named Lucifer who was responsible for, among other things, saving samples of all life on Earth from an attack by Yahweh.
- Adonism is a Neopagan belief that believes the God of Evil, Molchos, founded monotheism, while the primary good god, Adonis, is identified with figures like Satan, Iblis and Ahriman.
- The Satan of Old Harry's Game is quite offended by suggestions he isn't the Ultimate Evil, or has some sort of soft spot, but the evidence is against him. One season involved him trying to make the world a better place, purely to alleviate the overcrowding in Hell, of course. In a later season, he's perturbed when dogs and babies start ending up in his domain, insisting things have to be fair, or what's the point? He also refers to the Rebellion as an attempt to bring some sort of democracy to Heaven (although he's a bit defensive when Gabriel asks if it was because he wasn't allowed to ride the flaming chariot).
- Ghost, from True Capitalist, gets a few calls from Satanists, which made him sarcastically remark "Satan is good, Satan is my pal." Of course, this resulted in more than one Voice Clip Song.
- In White Wolf's Demon: The Fallen, the Player Characters are part of The Legions of Hell, and Lucifer is presented as the sympathetic leader of La Résistance. And not merely "sympathetic": Lucifer loves humanity probably more than anyone else ever did in the world's history, including the Jerkass God (and possibly even Jesus). It is exactly because he loved humans more than God that the Rebellion (later labeled "the Fall") happened, but this being the World of Darkness, it didn't work as planned. After Lucifer tried summoning his former comrades, not knowing that time spent in the Abyss had caused them to become Eldritch Abominations, he created Christianity in order to fight them.
- Vampire: The Masquerade:
- The Road of the Adversary, based on real Satanism (described above) as opposed to Hollywood Satanism (which the game also contains, called the Road of the Devil, and emphatically not this trope). To those on the Road of the Adversary, Lucifer is seen as an inspirational figure for vampires, not as an evil Satan, but as the ultimate rebel and protector of freedom, an example of how to lead a truly free existence. Needless to say, a very popular ideology among Clan Brujah.
- The same Clan also contains the Promethean ideology, which is very similar to aforementioned real-world Prometheanism and Luciferianism, and focused on building a shared Utopia for humans and vampires by pursuing enlightenment. Interestingly, despite the similarities to the beliefs of the Fallen, kindred on these paths are not aware of the true nature of Lucifer in the setting and so there is little to no cooperation. In fact, as protectors of humanity, the Fallen lean towards Omnicidal Neutral when it comes to other supernaturals, probably even those who idolize Lucifer.
- The Setites originally practiced a version syncretized with Egyptian paganism, stylizing the pagan god Set as the Biblical Serpent and a Lucifer figure who opposes evil gods as both a warrior and a trickster in order to free mankind. However, over time, this underwent in-universe Motive Decay and became a conventional Religion of Evil. Out of universe, it was actually the other way round, the Setites having always been a Religion of Evil until someone came up with the idea of giving them a more sympathetic original faith for the Dark Ages 20th Anniversary Edition.
- Some In Nomine campaigns feature this portrayal of Satan. The core books leave the characterization of both him and God ambiguous enough that it's mostly a question of how the Game Master portrays the world.
- Nobilis second edition has Lucifer be so principled that millennia in Hell haven't corrupted him at all. And the major efforts of the Fallen Angels at this point in time are all about protecting the world from the omnicidal Excrucians. However, those principles he cleaves to so strongly? Inflicting Suffering, feeding Corruption, and using Power.
- In third ed, the Angels love beauty and justice, but only the Devils love everything. For daring to stand up for the monstrous, the wicked, and the corrupt, the Angels cast the Devils into Hell.
- In Godbound, Hell was once a place where souls were purified before entering Heaven. After a war between humanity and Heaven nearly destroyed the universe, however, the angels snapped and decided all humanity deserved eternal damnation. The former warden of Hell, Sammael, disagrees and wants Hell restored to its purifying role; he is one of the few friendly angels the PCs can expect to encounter.
- In the "Don Juan in Hell" dream-sequence interlude of George Bernard Shaw's play Man and Superman, the difference between Heaven and Hell is not presented as being between good and evil. Rather, Hell is a place for those who love pleasure, love and beauty to be happy; Heaven is a place for the higher-minded, intellectual, aspiring sorts who worship the "Life Force" (a philosophical concept in which Shaw, apparently, actually believed). The Devil is a gentleman who left Heaven and set up Hell because he found Heaven intolerably boring. God is not mentioned at all; the implication is that there is no God, save the Life Force.
- Cygames has given two different examples, both named Lucifer rather than "satan":
- Rage of Bahamut has Lucifer: A dutiful Arch Seraph who was deceived by his God and punished for his rebellion, turning him into the Jerkass the players would come to know. It wasn't until the players went back in time and changed his story that he would come out an anti-hero in the end, working from the shadows to protect Mystaria from threats.
- And then there's Lucifer from Granblue Fantasy, the games Big Good and a benevolent entity that only wishes for the prosperity of the Sky Realm. Even after being deceived by his creator and questioning the motives of God, he doesn't stray away from the path of goodness and disposes of those who threaten the safety of the world he protects.
- Shin Megami Tensei games dance around this one. According to Christianity, he actually is a Bishōnen seraph. As it is their custom, Atlus did their homework. At least, that's what he looks like when he's interested in becoming (or acting as) your ally—he becomes much more demonic-looking when he gets hostile. Also, Lucifer most often appears as The Chessmaster who honestly cares about Humanity in contrast with the angels, who only see them as cattle and labor. The problem? He has very interesting ideas about the concept of Perfection for Humanity... On the other hand, Satan is a very different gent altogether. Who just happens to have the angelic title of The Accuser, and simultaneously be YHVH's Dragon... and an Eldritch Abomination.
- Interestingly, the part with Satan being allied with YHVH is not something Atlus made up - this was indeed his status in the old Jewish religious texts. He is not a case of Satan Is Good, though, because YHVH himself tends to be evil.
- Despite being Chaotic Evil to God's Lawful Evil in Shin Megami Tensei I, in the sequel, Shin Megami Tensei II, Lucifer's depiction changed to Chaotic Good, while YHVH remained Lawful Evil - the ending where you side with Lucifer is the closest that comes to being a truly Happy Ending of the three. Also, Satan (again, different beings) is usually God's lackey. Crapsack World, folks. Crapsack World. It's Double Subverted with Satan's alignment in Shin Megami Tensei II - even he gets fed up with God and joins the hero if you chose the Law path. Then again, everyone thought God had gone too far, even Gabriel.
- Before that, in Megami Tensei II, Lucifer is imprisoned in ice for the first half of the game for battling against YHWH, and recruiting him using the similarly maligned Baal is necessary to get the good ending of the game. Ironically, the separate character Satan was responsible for the apocalypse (On YHWH's orders no less) but managed to blame Lucifer for it.
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Lucifer admits that he doesn't really care much for humanity, but at the same time states that he will never abandon them, which is certainly more than can be said for God... but does not stop him from being the saint patron of More than Mind Control, a horribly dangerous Chessmaster and a Manipulative Bastard whose only goal is the destruction of Law. Draco in Leather Pants applies as you understand that he's just as dangerous an extremist as the Archangels or YHVH.
- Though in Redux, he (she? She presents solely as a mysterious blonde woman in Strange Journey) will approve of all of the New endings, though only reluctantly for Law, both because they're all humanity choosing its own fate rather than following the whims of a higher power, and because they're fulfilling the wish of her daughter from the future.
- Lucifer himself only appears as a high-level fusion, but his Expy Al Saiduq, aka Alcor in Devil Survivor 2 plays this trope completely straight. As a Septentrion, Alcor rebelled against his creator Polaris, not for Pride, but to violate the Alien Non-Interference Clause. Although he gave primitive humans the gifts of fire and culture out of genuine compassion, he eventually came to regret his actions when humanity's evolution peaked too early. When Polaris decided to erase humanity from the Akashic records as inferior specimen, he countered by supplying humans with the Nicaea Website and Demon Summoning App, granting them the chance to prove their own worth to Polaris. One possible ending even features the player urging him to a full-blown Rage Against the Heavens, ending with him replacing Polaris on the Heavenly Throne. Fittingly, you unlock the ability to fuse Lucifer by getting Alcor's Fate Level to 5, which is only possible if you go for said ending.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Satan only exists to serve the Creator, but once again comes to doubt his boss and joins you so you can take YHVH's place. The Reveal that the Axiom, the embodiment of reality itself, has become fed up with YHVH's shenanigans probably has something to do with it.
- Persona 5: The heroic main character's ultimate Guardian Entity is Satanael, the Gnostic equivalent of the Devil. This version is also heavily inspired by the standard Shin Megami Tensei interpretation of Lucifer, down to having the same character outline and sporting the same arms open wide Ass Kicking Pose.
- In the Devil Children spinoffs, Lucifer seems evil in Generation 1 But it's actually Azel impersonating him after trapping and imprisoning him. The real Lucifer was a straight-up nice guy who was as good a father to Setsuna and Mirai as circumstances allowed up until his imprisonment, helps guide them on their journey even when imprisoned, and wants to use the Ragnarok and Hoshigami to make a better world for everyone. In Gen 2, he's a straight-up good guy. Saving him from being killed by a manipulated Shin and his second-in-command Forlo is a key part of Jin's story in Light Book, and he ends up setting Akira on his journey in Dark Book. Remarkably, this was not changed in any way for the Western release of Gen 2, despite numerous name changes throughout the game.
- Elisa Than ("Satan") in The Bastard of Kosigan was actually out to save everyone from being subjugated by Gabriel's totalitarian regime (there is no actual God in that story). Leads to a bunch of entertaining revelations, like Jesus having been given his powers by the "demons" (John and Judas were the only actual supernatural beings among Jesus and his Apostles), and the "angels" starting Islam to force all of Europe to unite under Catholicism (which they created to subvert Jesus' original message).
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn plays with this. The role of God was taken by the Goddess of Order, Ashera, while Satan was depicted as the Goddess of Chaos, Yune. Neither goddess are truly good or bad (and are actually two parts to a whole), but ancient propaganda had Yune portrayed as a "dark goddess", although this was actually for a noble, albeit misguided, purpose to preserve ethnic and political relations. It doesn't last, and when Ashera decides to pass judgment on the world and turns humanity into stone, it's Yune, long depicted as the "dark goddess", who assists the heroes to save the world.
- Satan is the protagonist himself and son of a Prometheus stand-in in Tears to Tiara. The angels are a bunch of jerkasses. More precisely genocidal jerkasses. They had a hand in creating other races like elves, giants and dragons. When these did not live up to their expectations, the angels did their best to wipe them out. That is why in the present day, these races are now represented by scattered remnants of nigh extinct civilizations. Of these, the elves are in the best shape simply because Arawn stood up for them. And the angels have decided its now humanity's turn.
- The land of Ivalice in Final Fantasy XII is ruled by the godlike Occuria, timeless beings that manipulate history in order to preserve peace according to their own designs. While their morality remains a matter of debate, among their ranks is Venat, a heretical Occuria who wishes to give humanity (and all other species on Ivalice) control over their own fate. Although she commits many, and terrible atrocities throughout the game to accomplish this, in the end her mission succeeds and Ivalice is free from the yoke of its abominable masters, and she joins the main antagonist in death as gratitude for their alliance.
- Ivalice has it both ways, with two Satan counter-parts. One of them is the above mentioned Venat, whose strives to free the mortal characters from The Occuria, but the other is the esper Ultima, who rebelled against them out of pride, and ends up the Big Bad trying to take over Ivalice in Final Fantasy Tactics.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- In the series' primary Creation Myth, this is the case for Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god. To most of the races of Mer (Elves), especially the ancient Aldmer and current Altmer, Lorkhan is a Satanic figure. Their religious beliefs state that, before the creation of the mortal world, they were all immortal spirits in the pre-creation universe. Creation was then a malevolent act which robbed them of their divinity and forced them into "a mortal prison", where they experience death and suffering. To them, he is "the most unholy of all higher powers". The other spirits who he "tricked" into aiding him in creation (the Aedra) lost their Complete Immortality and "killed" him as punishment, tearing out his "heart" (divine center) and casting it down into the world he created. However, to most of the races of Men (especially Nords and Imperials), Lorkhan (known alternatively as Shor, Shezarr, Sep, etc.) is the champion of mankind who freed their spirits from the unchanging stasis of pre-creation. Prior to the formation of the Alessian Empire in the 1st Era, most races of Men followed the Nordic pantheon, which treated Lorkhan (under the name Shor) as their Top God and most beloved benefactor. The Elves, on the other hand, hated Lorkhan to the point that worship of him was out of the question. Even after Alessia conquered the Ayleids, her empire was threatened to be torn apart due to religious in-fighting. Her solution was to group the most important Aedra into the Eight Divines, with Lorkhan only partially acknowledged as the "Missing Ninth God". This appeased both the Men and Mer within her empire.
- This also applies to some of the less outright malevolent Daedric Princes. Unlike the Aedra, who made sacrifices during creation, the Daedra made no sacrifices and thus remain truly immortal. The Daedric Princes are an extremely varied group, with some being almost exclusively malevolent toward mortals (Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal), some generally being more benevolent toward mortals (but not always "nice", such as Azura and Merida), some varying wildly with the Prince's motivations beyond mortal understanding (Hermaeus Mora, Boethiah), and some who toy with mortals simply to amuse themselves (Sheogorath, Sanguine). Like Lorkhan, the worship of the Daedric Princes varies in the religions of different races. For example, Azura is a major deity in the religions of the Dunmer (Dark Elves) and the Khajiit. Similarly, Malacath is despised by most races, but is considered the patron deity of the Orcs (Orsimer).
- In Touhou, Shinki is basically Satan; female, extremely powerful and somewhat nice. However provoking her is not a good idea and she could easily destroy entire cities on a whim. The sole reason why she was attacked in the first place by Reimu and Marisa was because she sent demons to Gensokyo - as tourists. In contrast, the place that she created and currently rules, Makai, The Demon Realm, is not Hell; the bad afterlife is showed later in the series, and has no relation to her or her realm. Really, she is Satan only in motif, being a six-winged ruler of demons that lives in a palace called Pandemonium.
- In Disciples the demonic hordes are a nasty bunch, but their overlord Bethrezen has been royally screwed over by his fellow angels. In the third game, he is the only one who does not want to restart the world.
- Satan from Sam & Max is actually kind of nice, especially compared to someone like Junior.
- Elven mythology of the Dragon Age universe tells of an old god known as Fen'Harel, a.k.a. "The Dread Wolf", who brought on the fall of the Elven Gods and subsequently the loss of elves' immortality, seemingly For the Evulz. The "Trespasser" DLC of Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that your party member Solas IS Fen'Harel, and while he was responsible for the fall of the Elven Gods, and Elves losing much of their power, he did so to put a stop to the empire of cruelty built by the immensely powerful mages who had styled themselves as gods. Still, as with most things in Dragon Age, there's a lot of moral ambiguity in play, as Solas is now trying to destroy the world so a new, better one can be made, even though everyone living in the current one would have to die first. So the trope is ultimatly deconstructed.
- Despite what the characters in We Know the Devil are taught to think, Satan really does want the best for them. She wants to free them from the pain inflicted on them by God, society, and even corporeality.
- The Ancient Gods Part 1 DLC of DOOM Eternal finally introduces the Greater-Scope Villain of the entire franchise, Satan in all but name, and the supreme leader of Hell: Davoth, the Dark Lord. Sure, he caused all of the suffering throughout the franchise, but then it is for one reason: love. Davoth and his demons (and by extension, Hell) were once an ambitious, benevolent race of beings created by The Father in Urdak. The Father created Davoth with boundless ambition and love for his people, but this love was so great that Davoth never wished for any of them to die, and so begins his downward spiral as he futilely seeks immortality. As time went on, Davoth starts to become increasingly deranged, and started to use more and more depraved methods to seek limitless life. His corruption caused his people to start changing as well, turning to the demons that we know today. Sure, Davoth isn't exactly good anymore, but in complete contrast to every other antagonist before him, who are either mindless beasts or vile, self-serving Omnicidal Maniac, Davoth only did it because he didn't want his people to die out before him.
- The Ancient Gods Part 2 take this trope a step further and turns it on its head. It turns out Davoth was actually God himself, originally. And was overthrown by The Father, who claimed to be God and served as a far more benevolent deity than Davoth. Meaning that Davoth is simultaneously a case of this trope and God Is Evil.
- Undertale: While he is never explicitly stated as such, King Asgore, with his goat-like body, pitchfork weapon, fire spells, and penchant for collecting souls, definitely gives off a superficially Devil-ish vibe. He is also one of the nicest, gentlest characters in the game, who only wants to collect your soul so that he can free his people, who were unjustly sealed away in the underworld by the humans who feared them. Interestingly, the game also has Flowey and Chara as more straightforward Satanic Archetypes.
- The World Is Your Weapon: Demon Lord Dolhabach destroyed the local castle after breaking free of his seal, but otherwise doesn't harm anyone during the course of the story. If Weaco makes it to the top floor of the Demonic Castle, Dolhabach reveals that his real goal is to maintain the balance between humans and monsters so that monsters don't overrun humanity while humanity doesn't become complacent from a lack of adversaries. Once Weaco defeats him, he asks her to act as a moral compass to the rest of humanity to prevent them from falling into complacency.
- Tears to Tiara has the Demon Lord Arawn, who's both The Hero of the game and the Big Good of the setting. Bonus points for him actually being a Fallen Angel whose true name is Lucifer, in opposition to the other angels who are genocidal pricks.
- Satan is portrayed as a cute and generally nice young woman in Casey and Andy; it's later revealed that God is her father.
- Satan in Boy Meets Boy is, at worst, Affably Evil. The same goes for her daughter, the main characters' landlady.
- In his brief appearance in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, Satan isn't exactly good...however, he is a man of his word, and ends up whimpering, about his rebellion, "I just wanted to hear I did a good job sometimes." It's an impressive feat to make eight-foot-tall-muscley-red-demon!Satan have a moment of Woobiedom.
- Not exactly good but in The Devil's Panties Satan comes across more as an Affably Evil Punch-Clock Villain than really evil. In later strips there is a demon simply called "The Devil" who is a childish Cloudcuckoolander and is more mischievous than outright evil.
- K's Uncle Luc in Blip appears, for all intents and purposes, to be Lucifer. But he's very polite, and visits her in her dreams to teach her art, music, literature and the like. He seems to be in conflict of some kind with Heavenly forces, but since those forces are conspiring to crush K's artistic potential, he comes across as a genuinely helpful fellow. K is the "blip" in god's plan, and her very existence threatens to alter the future in unpredictable ways, so it remains to be seen whether Luc's true intentions are good or bad, but it's easy to sympathize with him when his "crime" involves making one girl's life less miserable.
- In Mortifer, Lucifer is actually an angel who's job is to prevent the fallen from escaping hell.
- A Channel Ate strip dealt with the devil's confusion over his apparent bad reputation. It was appropriately titled "Don't Believe Everything You Hear".
Satan: Welcome to Hell, Mr. Jones, here is—
Jones: I don't understand! I know I could have tried to be a better person, but I did my best. I didn't kill anyone.
Satan: I know, great job. Here is your welcome package with cologne, margarita mix, a bottle of Patron and a dance card. Enjoy the eternal party.
Seriously, what are they saying about us up there?
- In Evil, Inc., the devil acts quite the gentleman when it comes to his daughter marrying another supervillain.
- Zigzagged in It Hurts!!: sure, Satan is a colossal jerk (but then again who isn't in this comic) but he gives Pasqualo some good advice about Pasqualo's place in the universe and told him that Pasqualo's mother plans on killing God and gave Pasqualo a means to stop that from happening. Also it's implied he and God are lovers.
- Satan in Rooster Teeth Comics is a pretty mellow guy and Benevolent Boss to his demons, and happily honors his promise to allow Matt to come back to life after Matt covers for him when his wife calls. Though he isn't above committing murder for hire (he's saving up for an air hockey table). And technically he's not in charge of Hell anymore: since God sends all Mac users to hell, Apple bought it to use as tech support.
- Awkward Zombie references Shin Megami Tensei's usage here.
Yu: We did it, guys! And it was all thanks to the power of friendship... and the power of Satan!
- Lucy in the Mr. Deity online shorts. An amiable and rather pleasant (if short-tempered) woman and Mr. Deity's on-off girlfriend, who only agreed to be Lord of Hell to do Mr. Deity a favour, really doesn't like the 'passive-aggressive' references to her being a 'snake' in the 'script', and would much rather that her avatar be a bunny. The only thing about her that really comes even close to actually being 'evil' is her slight over-enthusiasm for the torture and punishment of adulterers, and it's implied by Mr. Deity's uncomfortable reactions whenever she brings it up that he's more than a little responsible for that particular attitude.
- Satan attempts to clear up misconceptions about him on his FAQ page.
- Cracked has an article based on the idea that Satan did more for humanity than God did.
- The entire point of the "Good Guy Lucifer" meme.
- Satan in South Park is a rather nice Punch-Clock Villain (the Canadian Devil from "Freemium Isn't Free", in contrast, is genuinely evil). He tortures people, sure, but mostly he is portrayed as naive and needy; his apparently-darker moments seem to mostly be an act. His boyfriend Saddam Hussein on the other hand... Furthermore, while we see more than a few people getting tortured, we also see plenty of people just wandering around doing their thing without hassle in parks and town squares that seem quite nice, considering the fire and brimstone surrounding them. Considering that only Mormons get into heaven in South Park, hell is filled with perfectly good people, so there's no reason for Satan to be mean to them. They might even get a chance at one of those nice condos out by the lake of fire! And don't forget the costume parties and Hawaiian-themed hula-dancing! And on one occasion, he even visited Heaven temporarily to ask God for advice.
Satan: Thanks, God. I forgot how clear you made things.
God: It was good to see you again, Satan.
- God points out in the aforementioned episode that Satan's gone through quite a bit of Villain Decay to get here.
God: ...Jesus, what the hell happened to you? You got kicked outta here for being a head-strong rebel, and now you're a whiny little bitch.
- In "Nobody Got Cereal?", he even performs a Heroic Sacrifice and goes to Heaven.
- The Devil as he appears in Devil May Care is genuinely a nice and friendly guy and, despite the appearance of his true form, is technically still an angel, placed in charge of Hell because his ideas for earth were genuinely terrible. Hell used to be a place of torment but when he realized that humans didn't like pain, he's been revamping Hell so it's at least bearable, if not an enjoyable place to live. The worst thing about him is that he can be a bit impulsive and prone to not thinking things through and having trouble paying attention at times. That said, it's still a good idea to not intentionally make him mad or fight him.
- There's Satan in Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil. While he's not exactly good, he's still a pretty nice guy and he even gets along with DJ Jesus at times.
"Driving to bur-ning man! Driving to bur-ning man!"
- Robot Devil in Futurama is actually most of the time rather polite as a character, despite being a robot Satan, and the depths to which Bender sinks at times leave even him appalled.
- Possible example: In the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Magicks of Megas-Tu", the crew meets an alien who looks like the devil, and other aliens claim that he did form the basis of humans' conception of the devil long ago, but what we see him do now is purely benevolent. Supposedly, he had a Heel–Face Turn.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil has Satanic Archetype Globgor, who is a Big Red Devil seen as a satanic figure to the Spiderbites, but gets shown to have a softer side and being The Atoner.
- Rose Quartz from Steven Universe was once a super-soldier created to serve powerful immortal godlike beings known as the Diamond Authority before she developed a fondness for the organic life on Earth and waged a rebellion against them. While she technically lost the war for Earth, the Diamonds having turned the rebel gems except for Garnet, Pearl and herself into twisted monstrous versions of themselves with a Fantastic Nuke, the Earth has since remained unfinished as a colony where Rose lived relatively in peace. That is until it was revealed that she was one of those "gods" Pink Diamond in disguise as a quartz, having orchestrated the war after having a change of heart over colonizing the Earth, later faking her own death with the assumption that it would make Yellow, Blue and White Diamond cease colonization.