The Best Story Wins

I’m as yet trying to get a handle on how exactly this thing called “time” works, at least in relation to what I label “Eternity”. I have stated before that since the War in Heaven is a war in eternity, the primordial Fall of the Dragon and his rebel angels is one and the same as the eschatological Fall that is a sign of the Apocalypse. (Wow, a lot of capitalized words. I better have a point.) It is part of doctrine that Jesus Christ defeated Satan once and for all when he died on the cross. Yes, but we did not stop fighting Satan at that point. One of the mottoes of the Church might be, “eternal vigilance”. Always to be on guard against Satan and his minions. Was it because, perhaps, it was that the Crucifixion and subsequent Resurrection were actually to defeat the Devil in Eternity, while things still play out in time, while we are in this mortal coil?

Let us say that the universe is made of words. And that each angel were responsible for one of those words. Since they were blameless before iniquity were found in them, let us say that all of the rebel angels, they were also each responsible for a word: these were the point of contention between the good and the evil, that the meanings of these words were not corrupted to a state that would make them unrecognizable. For at any of these breaches could the derangement propagate. This is not an exact description as to what exactly happened during the War, but it is close enough to understand just how things may work. Philip K. Dick remarked that the universe was made of information: what if the metainformation, how this world’s strata forms as information, what if that were like the “words” just mentioned? Words that governed other words…

Now, within that “words” model: what if the universe were a grand story, composed of smaller stories? What if the only rule, really, in how it all works in the grand scheme, is that “the best story wins”? Maybe not at any given time that the story were being told, that things could not be “better”—this is the fallacy of personalization: if it’s not good for me, it’s not good. But what if, by the grandest wisdom, what if everything that ever was, put together, were the greatest story that could be told? Once again, not because nothing bad happens; in fact sometimes because something bad happened. If that is the case, then maybe we really do live in the best of all possible worlds. Ain’t that a kick? And since we are still going, this grand story is still being written, by you and me, and whatever forces are at work here or in Eternity.

How much did the fallen ones affect the universe? It is easier to do evil than to do good. People don’t (a lot of times) get what they deserve. Bad things happen to good people. Wherever you see it is not as it should be, this is of the damage done to the happening of creation. Though there was no break in the ultimate logic of all things, there were definitely places where there was warping. And then sometimes, you can see God’s hand counterbalancing the dementia, where it is almost obvious that the antiprovidence were turned about, and things worked out better than if the wrong had not happened at all. You’ve seen stories, surely, of the serendipity? Death and pain put to fruitful ends. Evil ultimately defeated by a love that would not have been so had there not been any evil at all.

As far as “time” goes, I still see sometimes things from before the casting of Satan from Heaven. I am told that even if it is clear in the Halospace that we, the good guys, won, Lucifer from before the Fall merely assumes that this is a reality that he did not choose to instantiate (solidify); which unfortunately for him is a wrong assessment. How the things I see reconcile in Eternity, I seem to have some feel for it. They, the ones in the Halospace, must expend some of their precious time to do anything, especially if that is to interact with the “real world”. It used not to be a big deal for them there, but after the Fall, it is written that Satan was filled with wrath, for he knew that his time was short. The fallen angels: the words they were entrusted with were taken away. They no longer possess anything of Eternity. Trapped in time, all of them are, to await the end that surely comes.


The True Alchemy

We live with such things daily, what we call “counterintuitive”. If you start sliding in a car on the ice, you should turn into the slide, not away from it. If you’re flying a plane and start to lose altitude, you shouldn’t pull up (because you’ll stall), and instead you should point your nose down to gain speed. There are ways of doing things. In these days, now, technology has been good in many a way to make things easier than they had been in the past. One of the hallmarks of the gadgets and appliances we use is that at their best, they make us think that this was the way things should work. Now, I’m not saying that what would be the Age of Gold will be ushered in by the technologies that we discover, create, and utilize, but let it be known that the technology, it is an indication that the Age of Gold us nigh upon us. In patches, at least. “The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.” [William Gibson]

Now to get all religious on you: in the Age of Iron (and of course back through the Neolithic age), the way things worked was sort of counterintuitive. Or perhaps a better way to put it was that it simply was not fair. For one, look at all those sacrificed animals. The original meaning of the word “scapegoat” was an actual goat which would be slaughtered to expiate all the people of their sin. The goat did nothing wrong. That poor goat. In Genesis, Jacob steals his father Isaac’s blessing by dressing up as brother. We’re supposed to understand that this was the way things worked. So what happened that we don’t sacrifice animals anymore to curry God’s favor? Yes, we got “civilized”, but one great, overarching reason? It was that Jesus Christ gave himself as the last and perfect sacrifice: to turn how things worked in the Iron to the way things were supposed to work in the Gold.

So what did Christ actually do? This was indeed the true alchemy—not lead, but iron into gold. If you looked at it, it was not fair, it was not right: this was an innocent man who was being killed for no reason at all, he literally had done nothing wrong. But this was his way of being the ultimate scapegoat, the one who by the rule of Iron died for all of the world’s sin—past, present, and future—everywhere that any of us ever did anything wrong, for everyone else who ever existed. By Iron’s law he was put to death, but this he accepted, and with that, he turned it all around. So is God’s work like this victory over violence: through holy submission. Dying in all the sin not his, in complete acceptance—and then coming back from that death, and given dominion over every last thing… And as Jesus Christ was two days in the earth, so the world was 2,000 years in darkness and even now struggles to emerge from it. For it is written: a thousand years is as a day to God.

Basically, it is an awakening of that world which has known the Resurrection. And from a dark sleep to get our bearings in the waking world. Thomas Jefferson had it right: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Indeed, you will know that the Age of Gold has truly arrived by that one criterion: are we, all of us, equal? As you see, looking out into the world, it is a promise half fulfilled, if that much. When we reach the point of civilization all around the world, where every single person has access to food, shelter, and education, then indeed would that mark the Age of Gold truly come. But I say to you thus: it is coming. We may have hiccups along the way (or worse), but its coming is inexorable. Try not to be on the wrong side of history. Hearken: the Beginning is near.

There still exist the trappings of the former age. For instance, stupid and untalented people get rich and famous for what seems like no reason. Teachers, responsible for the minds of our future, are severely underpaid for what their function truly is. But we generally don’t worry about a beautiful but poor girl abjectly stolen away by a rich nobleman. And we generally agree that all types of slavery is wrong, though (as some people do not realize) it still does go on, even to this day. We expect this movement toward a better world to continue. There is a certain threshold that we would say that if a land breaches it, it has reached the Gold, to try and shrug off the main fetters of the Iron. Perhaps not in everything, but the important things, how they work: you should be able to say of them, “That makes sense.” Like if you’re good, you go to Heaven—not because you believe (in) something.

Do not be discouraged by all that you see and hear in the news. Some people may say they wish for a simpler time, that the world seems to have gone crazy, and fast, and loud. What you should know is that all these injustices you now see have always been going on. And to think it would have been better to live in the 50s, before the hippies started wrecking things, you must be white and male, right? Without any sort of controversial attitude? Such was a time best exemplified by the time’s TV shows: all in black and white. We need a new normal, one that includes all the different type of people that we must now live with, especially since we’ve gone global in so many ways. “Who is my neighbor?” they asked Jesus. In the Age that comes, let the answer be, “The whole wide world.”

Shades of Mordor

It is a well known fact, at least in some circles, that the author J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Christian. It was he who turned the popular theologian (and author himself), C. S. Lewis to the faith. Was Tolkien actually thinking theologically when he wrote some of the source material for the Lord of the Rings trilogy? When he wrote the piece entitled, “Ainulindalë,” the creation myth of Arda (where Middle Earth is located), was he in fact making an allegory that one could, if they wanted, apply to this world, the real world? One doubts that Tolkien meant it to be so, quite like that. But I read the part where Melkor, the greatest of the Valar, abandoned the purpose of Ilúvatar, who was God, and made discordant notes in the music of the creation. I first read this and thought how clever a device it was, that it would solve so many things in the nature of Middle Earth, and in fact, looking at the world around me—which was the inspiration for Arda, in any case—it would make sense of a lot of things here, too. And then I dismissed that idea off hand.

I remember between having read the “Ainulindalë” and when I went through the brunt of the War in Heaven, a piece written by a clergyman about when Japan had experienced their disastrous earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Some religious folk took to the pulpit to pronounce that this was the judgment of God, a payback (decades later onto people who had nothing to do with it) for Pearl Harbor. But the article I read had something different to say. It was talking about how God was not in the tremors, nor in the mighty waves, not in the cataclysms themselves, but in fact was present in the aftermath, in the people picking up the pieces of what had just happened, who were giving a hand to other people even when all they themselves had had been destroyed. God was in these pockets of mercy, the small warmth of a hand helping another hand. And in this, I sensed something of a truth had been told.

Now there was this other thing I read, maybe a year or two before the end of the War, and it was sort of funny, how an all-powerful being had so much trouble with a finite entity in a jerkwater part of the cosmos. They were like, Really? And I could see the author’s argument: why didn’t God just zap Lucifer when he got out of line? But then again, at what point would you do that? When he had the first thought of turning evil? When he had first committed an evil deed? Maybe before that rebel was even born? What do you think? One might believe that with an infinite wisdom, the Lord would pick the best possible time, correct? And there we go: this, then, would be called the Last Judgment. It might seem He has a little more patience with that sort of jazz. And for another thing, just because an entity was finite did not mean that they would be no trouble at all, even for an infinite being: Lucifer was the greatest entity in the cosmos, second only to God. What you might think of, the power God would have: that probably was more in scope to the power Lucifer had. Consider that.

If we say, for one, how powerful indeed God’s greatest angel would have been, and then, at the tippy top of Heaven from where he fell, what resources he must have had: one might wonder, what if Tolkien was onto something? What if God were not the one that gave birth to Pain, at all? What if the concept of disaster were not, per se, written in the Plan? At least, not by the Most High? The question suddenly becomes, does it answer too much? Is it too neat a package, that wraps everything up too simply? It might be the final act of the play that is dualism. Satan, from the minor functionary in the Book of Job, becomes by the time of Christ the prince of demons. And now, we would be saying that he alone is the ultimate source of all the wrong and pain and disaster that ever has existed. He threw that mighty a wrench in the works that was the cosmos. It is a staggering thought.

And so would be why there is so much ugliness mixed in with the beauty. They are both intrinsic in the mix. Why bad things happen to good people. Why it is easier to do wrong instead of to do right. How could God let it happen? That’s life, and thank God for it. Because now that things are the way they are, the hardwon things are that much sweeter. No, it is not the Devil that has made it this way, but what God did with the pain and the wrong! God is love. And you cannot defeat that. Love in our reckoning is a soft thing, an “old fashioned notion” according to Tina Turner. But I tell you that when with faith we say to the mountain, “Move!”, it is love that does the moving. And there is more to the story, I think… but all is to be told when the time rings the proper hour. Selah.