Our writing staff often receives email inquiries asking why Satan is sometimes referred to as the Morning Star. So in response to those questions, I have decided to write up this very brief article on the subject. To get right down to it, Satan is referred to as the Morning Star, because the term is a play on the Latin word Lucifer, which translated means light bearer, or holder of light. Scholars have concluded that the word Lucifer was first used by the ancient Romans as a name for the planet Venus, which the Romans thought was a star. As this star was one of the first to be visible before sunrise, some have concluded that it symbolizes Satan crashing down towards earth from heaven, after he was cast out by the archangel Michael. Thus the term Morning Star, or Day Star, stuck on Satan or Lucifer, and it was eventually incorporated into Biblical scripture. Some disagree with this conclusion, as we will explore further theories in the sections below.
Another theory as to why Satan is referred to as the Morning Star, is that he was called this in Isaiah Chapter 14 verse 12. Isaiah tells the Israelites that they will soon be freed from bondage, at which point they will develop a song highlighting their defeat over the Morning Star, a song which would be used to taunt their enemies. According to Canaanite legends, the morning star was a god who once attempted to rise high above the clouds to claim the highest point in heaven above all of the gods, however his attempt failed and he was eventually cast down into hell. There is some dispute regarding the translation of this passage, and whether or not the term morning star was actually used, and not injected into Biblical scripture well after the term was already in use. Clearly from this passage Isaiah isn't referring to Satan himself, but the King of Babylon, who upon acquiring ultimate power, was eventually cast down to his death by Israel.
Some scholars believe that Satan is called the Morning Star, because it was transferred from European pagan myth onto Satan, after the spread of Christianity into Europe. Many academics can point to various pagan myths throughout Europe that contained fallen angels or godlike deities, who even before Christianity were associated with the Morning Star, or Venus. These fallen pagan gods or angels were also associated with evil, and thus were very similar in nature to the Old and New Testament depictions of Satan. So some scholars have concluded that it was early Christians, freshly converted away from pagan ideas, who first began to call Satan the morning star, who reminded them of their pagan stories. The reason some theologians reject this notion, is due to the stigma involved with pagan influence having worked it's way into official Christian belief, despite the fact that has proven to have happened on many occasions.
So as is the case with many other minor literary debates regarding scriptural origins, this debate will likely never be concluded. It's by no means a faith altering debate that would affect Christianity, it's more of a technicality that seems to have lost touch with it's source of origin. As things stand however, it is fully accepted within most Christian denominations to refer to Satan or Lucifer as the Morning Star, and the most important fact is that most Christians will understand exactly who you are referring to. Regarding the semantics of the term Morning Star as associated with Satan, it's kind of a pointless quest to find it's source, and one that could likely lead to hundreds, if not thousands of possible points of origin. I tend not to focus on such minor scriptural debates, as concluding them one way or another will have no bearing on my faith as a Christian, as they have no sway or impact on the message and teachings of Jesus Christ.