Judas, Out of the Blue

When Jesus Christ was in the custody of the Sanhedrin, Judas Iscariot showed up, sort of at the side door, out of the blue. He said to them, “I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man.” [Matthew 27:4 NCV] And he threw the 30 pieces of silver they had paid him back at them. Innocent? Had he thought during the handing over that Jesus was guilty? One might believe he always believed the Lord to have been innocent. One imagines that when he was making the deal, that it was not foremost on his mind that they were going to have him killed. Did he actually think he were doing the right thing, those hours ago? I will contend that of all the mysterious motives for him to perform the act, there is one more likely than the rest: he had been told to do it, by Jesus himself. After Jesus was in their clutches, Judas lost his nerve and goes back to them, they so keen on snatching up our Lord. He had found out somewhat later that they meant to kill him, and so the rescue attempt, however ineffective.

As is the common thought, did he have a change of heart from the time he handed Jesus over to recognize what he had done was wrong? Which would mean he hadn’t thought it was wrong before, and he did now. There must have been a good reason in Judas’ head why he handed the Lord over, at least, at the time. Had he at that point with the kiss not been convinced Jesus was the Christ? It seems unlikely that anyone who had been there for all the miracles—who was one of the ones who had been sent out by the Lord to perform miracles in his name—unlikely that he would not think Jesus was somehow sent by God, in some degree divine or holy.

If this were so, if Judas realized Jesus were holy, then either handing him over was the right thing to do or Judas suddenly and inexplicably became evil. Or perhaps it had been building the whole time? Or was he evil from the first? (That one unlikely by most imaginations, unless the entire discipleship, leading to the “handover” and throwing the money back at them was the way, ultimately, to redeem an originally evil person.) Or perhaps he became jealous of Jesus’ authority, and he was fixing that problem with a prejudice. …except then, some hours after, he repented…

One is used to thinking of Judas as evil. We rail against changing a story that is that well known, that you know by heart. It is practically ingrained in you. You will reflexively fight to defend what you know to be true: gospel truth, right? But often in studying the myth, the ugly head of reality peeks through, to see things we might not have thought of at the outset.

There have been theories as to how this myth (the myth of Judas the Betrayer) formed, like how Mary Magdalene were made into a repentant whore. Which now is pretty certain that was not the case. So, this “Mary Magdalene effect”—what if it happened as the gospels were being gathered, and written down? And the myth of the betrayal of Judas made it into the canon, with some other questionable parts, and now we accept it as being part and parcel of the Truth?

People don’t even think about it any other way but the way we were taught in Sunday school, the accepted story being so prevalent. But what if, instead of him out of nowhere turning evil, Jesus Christ himself told Judas to hand him over, for it was his time? It makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE. Jesus Christ had not chosen a bad egg, who was completely blind to his divinity. Judas volunteered to hand him over, when the opportunity arose. Why did it end up being told the way it was told, how we’ve come to know it? If you know any Bible scholarship, there’s a lot in that grand text that became as it was by various competing forces. Much of Isaiah, for instance, is thought not to have been written by Isaiah. And Biblical infallibility? That it is useful in any matter of faith? Judas being innocent may be the greatest of the whole Bible in which when you see it as being wrong, it makes no difference in how we are to worship God. There are other parts, too, that we now believe are just incorrect. And it perhaps diminishes the Bible in thinking we cannot inject reason into it and have it survive the medicine. Faith should be stronger.

In reading the Scriptures, it strikes one as to how—sometimes—it is, if not inaccurate, imprecise. Like the Babylonian exile. Even if the exile being not exactly 70 years is not brought to scrutiny, there is stuff in there about Babylon being overtaken in kind of a cataclysm, which presumably would have immediately preceded the Jews being released. But Babylon, for a historical fact, did not fall violently. Isaiah 13:19 says, “Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.” But that didn’t happen. It is true the Jews were released, but nothing like how prophecy laid it down.

To which the enlightened Christian will say, “the Bible is not history.” Yea, verily. I will state a commonly held scholarly belief: the writers of the Gospel had a certain agenda, each of them, in writing them. Their motives were not to provide the most accurate account of what had happened decades before they first put pen to paper. And they most likely did not accurately attribute those writings, either (John didn’t write John). So what do we believe? One can yet find the message in the Gospels, even if they are not all fact, in fact. And that’s likely what the Gospels were meant to impart: the Message. Of a man who was God but did not lord it over everyone, even if that’s what they called him. Who came to serve instead of being served, who did not conquer but took the worst that the world had to give and still was able to love it all. And us all. Who asked God to forgive those who were murdering him, for they knew not what they did. How is it served by blaming one of his closest associates for a baffling betrayal? Is that account of betrayal perhaps the tip of an iceberg?

I get this starting from Klassen. This is what scholarship tells us: Judas = Judah = Jude = where the term “Jew” comes from. It was a time when Christianity was turning from a Jewish base to a primarily gentile following. In moving away from the jurisdiction of “the Jews” as the later Gospels call them, the followers become anti-Jewish, pro-Roman, to the point where in their “good news”, “the Jews” cry out about their King… really? to crucify him, and further, “His blood be on us and our children!” And Pontius Pilate—who was removed from office at a later point for being excessively vicious—he was actually the good guy! Washing his hands of the whole affair (a Jewish gesture). One cannot look at this critically and not see something very wrong with this picture.

So, it was who that crucified the Lord? The Jews? Even if, as a rule, the Jews did not crucify anyone. The Jews, represented in singular form by Judas, the convenient prototype, who is in fact named so prototypically. That we don’t now associate Judas with Jews in general anymore does tell us that the point of time is past the limit of relevance, and it may be now to reevaluate what exactly we believe and why. Because we understand that many constructs within the Bible are now antiquated, and some things have to be most severely interpreted, warped from their original positions, to make sense currently. We do not stone to death someone who has blasphemed anymore. And as for the New Testament, am I taking crazy pills, or does the text not at least imply the thought that Jesus Christ was coming back real soon in relation to those first-century disciples? We interpret that away, don’t we? These are those warpings. We have grown used to them.

Judas has become a device. Once again, we look to Mary Magdalene. How convenient that we have a fallen woman that the Lord had turned from her wicked ways. But as we come into the future, we may find that the figure of Mary Magdalene may be rehabilitated, if the actual person never needed such saving as was thought. Judas is another matter. His position among the damned we learn from the mouth of the Lord himself, as (part of the) “gospel”. Why should we believe differently, could that truly have been so wrong? Well, if you found out that the past did not happen as the Bible said, do you still believe that part of the Bible? I mean, factually. If your answer is yes, I can only shake the dust from my sandals and bid you good day.

“I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man,” he said. Why do we so desperately want a villain? The most foul one imaginable, one in the inner circle who turned evil, like the Lucifer myth. But then, let’s say that Jesus had told Judas to turn him over, why does he try and rescue his master? Perhaps like the other disciples scattering at Gethsemane the night before, without the Lord, he lost his nerve. He wanted his teacher back. If he were, in fact, guilty, why would he not have run away? Instead, he shows up, out of the blue, and said as if confessing, “I sinned.” I have done something wrong, I know it. This couldn’t be what he actually wanted. “I handed over to you an innocent man.” I am telling you, me, the one who gave him to you, this cannot be the plan: you do not put an innocent to death!

The Lord had said he was going to be turned over, but his disciples did not understand. Peter took him aside and told him not to speak of such things. The Lord said he was going to be handed over to be crucified, but that thought had not hit, just yet, when Judas identified him with a kiss in the darkness. Without the Lord, when Jesus Christ let himself be taken, the disciples were at a loss as to what to do. They fled. Peter would follow the ones that had taken him, but ended up denying him three times in his course.

Surely all this could not have been what was supposed to happen? The reality of it was so different from the words that had described it. They had been in his presence when he spoke of these things, and without him was gone all courage, all reason, all sense.

“I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man.” He repented, as if he had needed to. This was courage, do you not see? But it is written: he was a villain. You can say what you want, but what a billion say is truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—how can you argue with what is there in plain black and white? The simple fact? You can’t. But you can know better. Just like you can see that the story of Adam and Eve didn’t actually happen like that, you can see that Judas is blameless. Because it makes no sense, the conventional story. He was Judas, Judah, Jude: a symbol for “the Jews”, who killed our Lord and Savior. The death story of our Lord has suspect things throughout it. Will you not accept the spirit of the story instead of holding on to the letter? Perhaps now, we can be trusted with that canniness, to go in the direction the Bible is pointing toward, in spite of all that’s wrong with it. If you don’t think there is anything wrong with it, read it. We as a people did not remain unchanging in how our heart reacted and reacts. We found, and continually find, what is the good and what is the better that we can make of this world. Open your eyes/have eyes to see. Forgive everyone. Yes! Forgive everyone! For if we do that, it doesn’t even matter who is innocent or guilty, right? Right? And it’s not ours to judge, anyway. Right?

If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.

The Prophet’s Brief (A Theory of Everything)

I, being a prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the line of Philip K. Dick, present to you what I have pieced together as a theory of everything. In what it solves, it does in broad swaths, but how a God can be all good while there is pain and unjust suffering—I believe I have an answer. See if it makes sense to you, and better yet, more sense of the world around you. It is one of the central documents of the War in Heaven. Take it as you will.

  1. In the very beginning, before the universe, there was Eternity. No evil existed, there God and His angels lived in the light, with other heavenly beings.
  2. Lucifer said “no” to the Holy Spirit, that being the unforgivable blasphemy, from his pride becoming Evil. (God is love, and to say “no” to love is for that part to die.)
    • The “no” was the birth of Sin/Pain/Error (Daughter of Satan). Before, there had been none of these. No one had ever committed an error. No one had ever done wrong. And how great a wrong it was.
    • The entity known as Sin was to have been born into excruciating pain, through her very essence, so she was killed out of mercy before she was born (given the light of life). However, she still had a semblance of form (antiform), and this form had enough spirit (antispirit) in its essence to move the form as if it had life. Antiform and antispirit were the power rendered to darkness by Evil.
    • Lucifer (Evil) copulated with Sin and Death came to be (Son of Satan).
  3. Satan convinced 1/3 of the angels to commit sin and become evil. In committing Evil, (and bringing about Sin and Death), Satan and his angels ruined a part of Heaven, and this part was to become Hell when torn away from the main. For Heaven was so good that it could even accommodate such evil and its works.
  4. The body of Sin was cast into the outer darkness. This was the primordial chaos (formlessness of Genesis 1). Also known as Rahab.
    • The one about whom it is said, “She is dead and giving birth to monsters.”
    • Here was the environment wherein would form the material world, and this world—to use her body as the basis for its first stuff—this world is in part was a tribute to the one that was lost. For she was never given a chance.
    • That it was so difficult to work with, being formless, being of essence “error” itself, and from that it was made beautiful by God, in fitting ways, explains much of the character of this universe, that even the worst situations can bring forth wonder.
  5. Satan sought to kill and replace the Logos, who was God (see John 1). This was the beginning of the War in Heaven. Michael and his angels were dispatched to fight the Dragon (Satan) and his angels. For Satan desired power ultimate, unholy.
  6. The War in Heaven was combat between Logos and derangement, truth vs. lie, and to be on one side or the other was good vs. evil.
    • The battleground were the Godhead itself, the root controls of existence. So that all creation groaned under the War.
    • Every one of Michael’s angels (and of course Michael) won, so that derangement—none of it—it did not ultimately win anywhere. There was no crack in the edifice of creation, the pillars of its existence (there are four).
    • But that there was even a fight at all meant that the created world would have such things as natural disasters in it—just that laws of physics would not break—and there would be opportunity for the evil we now witness, to this day. That which was permissible in the matrix.
  7. They did kill God, this being called the Cross, but that concluded not with that death, but with His defeat of Death itself: the Resurrection. Being the Son of God means that he is God (this was the “blasphemy” that he had been charged with by the Sanhedrin). 
    • That Jesus Christ had to die for the world to be saved tells you how FUBAR things got, how powerful the forces of evil had become, that the will of God would be so forced. To hold to logic is sometimes finesse, often brute. At times one invoking the other. But there was no getting around it in this fight.
      • Having been sinless his whole life, in his death was the defeat of Sin.
      • This is how the God who is love defeats Evil: Jesus gave himself and was obedient to God with the whole of his own life, even to the death. The whole of his trust. To defeat Death not with any weapon but the nature of what love truly is. The light by which life moves, and is moved.

    If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.

    The Answer

    It was once a radical monism: there was one God and He was responsible for everything. “I create the weal and the woe,” He says in Isaiah. He was a one stop shop. So is Deuteronomy: “The LORD our God is One.” After that, it appears to come that there was a Satan who was a minor functionary in God’s court: simply, the Accuser, who still took orders from that God Most High. This is how he is depicted in the Book of Job. He does nothing without God’s approval. But by the time we get to the days of Jesus, the Christ, then Satan had become the prince of demons, who is described to have fallen from Heaven like lightning. And he’s stayed there until present day, waiting for us to think on the situation: it was here that I wondered about the problem of evil, and the problem of pain.

    The problem of evil was actually pretty simple, if it did not contain the problem of pain. It consists of a simple question, why is there evil in the world? And if you do not count the problem of pain, it can be answered almost trivially, because God grants free will to his creations, and it is their responsibility to choose well, and some do not. But the problem of pain, which is to ask why there is pain in the world: if we include natural disasters and such, that cannot be solved by the wills of His creations, can it? The considering of it, it comes down to power. We generally believe that disasters are “acts of God”, basically—surely the Devil hath not such fury. Can he? How do we think on divine terms? If we look up into the night sky, while out in the rural plains, we can see in the expanse of stars a hint of the true glory of God. What if the power we once thought God to have—what most of us think right now think of God having, based on the story of Exodus and such—what if that is actually the scope of power of an archangel, and the power that God can conceivably wield is well beyond what our knowledge can reach?

    It is to introduce a radical dualism, then. We introduce a very basic premise: what if Lucifer invented pain? What if all that has ever gone wrong, anywhere, what if all of it (ultimately) came from the Devil? Because now, if we have an Evil of cosmic scope, doing his utmost to create havoc and such, couldn’t this be so? To put it simply, if we think things through, none of it came from God. Surely, God will make use of it, just like nature makes use of excrement as plant fertilizer, but recall your last dose of pain: odds are, it was an ugly feeling; if you think about it, it makes sense that God didn’t think that stuff up. Its semblance… brutishly rough is its aesthetic, as if it were invented without that certain skill: pain is a stab of wrong.

    It can be therefore solved, how it is that God is all good while there is evil in the world: at every level, there is at its ultimate source a creature of His at fault, great or small, one or more who are where the buck stops at the causational chain of pain; if there is merely the barest of conscious choice that became something whose pain held some significance. Or perhaps that some pain that came from a previous pain, for it oft begets some more of it. All its source, however, is an ill-applied exercise of free will, for in the days primordial, one imagines a Heaven where literally anything was possible, even the first evil, the first sin, the first of pain. Born, in its preliminary stages, all of what is wrong with the world.

    Now, why does God let it happen, still? We do not comprehend the patience of the Most High: this is what is meant by a thousand years being like a day to Him. It is not that time flies by at a quicker pace to His observation. Quite the opposite, that he can see of a greater scope of all that happens, just that His patience carries Him through all of it. If you yourself had patience, you would see. Why did not Jesus Christ, the Son of God, not rid us of all the problems in the world? Don’t you see? It’s part of His plan that things happen as they do. Why would Jesus make of things against that plan? Why does God allow evil to continue? There will be a day of reckoning. That day will come like a thief in the night, when we have long stopped looking for it to show. Hearken. He yet in patience watches.

    If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.

    To Die as God

    Epicurus asks of the theist, if God has the will and the ability to prevent evil, why is there evil in the world at all? The question reminds me of one of the temptations of the Devil when our Lord was fasting in the desert: “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” [Matthew 4:6 NIV] One imagines, whatever the Devil says about how things are, had the Lord jumped from the building, he would have seriously injured himself. It’s not what the passage meant. And of Epicurus’ interpretation of what God is supposed to do, he thinks not of another possibility in the apparent inaction of God: would things have happened for a better end, for all eternity, had some finite evil been allowed to prosper in the world? One might think then that it is quite worth it, the suffering that we spend.

    I have written before that all pain has source in that one who rebelled at the beginning of time, at the end of time: Lucifer invented the concept of that which is wrong. But he is not the Logos, he is not how things come to be in the world; could it be true, however, that he was power enough, that in expending his whole potential, he could force the hand of even the Most High? One thinks of this passage, of what kind of curse Lucifer might have uttered: “To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” [Herman Melville] I once had a vision of Lucifer with a dagger in his hand, with a great stab into the back of the Lord Jesus Christ, right where neck and shoulders meet. Was this image as it is written in Revelation, the Lamb slain at the foundation of the world? It might truly be the case that there is a certain way things must transpire in the world, for prophecy needs be fulfilled, and the will of God must be made manifest.

    One might think that it is in those terms that any sort of pain happens, even the greatest natural disasters. Being Logos and omniscient, the Lord knows exactly what happens, and how. And the why may seem long separate from the event, but it is there, too, somewhere in the matrix of all. Even his own death, he is the means by which it happens, for the Logos is the Holy Reason by which all things transpire: the very logic of logic. So in that sense, it is true when God says, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” [Isaiah 45:7 NIV] But that there needs to be disaster at all: Lucifer threw a wrench into the gears of the Godhead. This was when he invented pain. I have written of this before, his committing of the first sin, and thus the formation of his daughter, who is also called Error, as well as Sin and Pain. To Lucifer and his own were given an aeon in which they might have influence, in which we live. And so there is pain.

    It is not as if God spared Himself pain, for as we know, Jesus Christ was God, and he was executed in tremendous suffering. One might suppose that it was not his preference to go in that way, being that the night before, he prayed that that cup should pass from him; but not his will, but his Father’s was what he would follow. Once again, one must think that Lucifer had an irrevocable hand in the whole thing: he was out to kill God. This was the ultimate showdown of good vs. evil (it was literally that). The Passion, and the Cross—the Devil and his angels amassed in the air above Jerusalem to multiply the suffering as greatly as they could—but what they may not have realized: given the circumstance, this is how the Lord wanted things to be. “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” [John 10:18 NIV] There is a controversial scene in The Last Temptation of Christ where Satan tries to get him to die like a man—yes! on point: in real life, he died as God.

    In the words of Blue Oyster Cult, “I’m living for giving the Devil his due.” In the death of Christ is indeed shown the clash between good and evil, for under threat of pain did Christ never think to strike back, never to have overcome the physical forces that were before him, so that he would not be spared the effects of the evil that permeated the world. Bitten into the very stone were the possibility of pain, and none escaped. But in the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, a grand lesson to be learned about the consequences of one’s choices. In giving the Devil his due, letting there be so much pain in the world, the Lord shows him that it could be matched by the good, that love conquers all. And so the Lord shows the rest of us. What good would it have been had all evil been prevented from happening? Surely we talk of a worse adjective than it being “academic”, then. Not to say God wanted evil to exist! Can you see a grander view of the Kingdom? He will use what is at hand, but it is of one’s own God given free will to commit the wrong, what is not of God.

    Then it is true power: to be able to force the hand of God. It must be the case that the most powerful being in creation was given power in truth. Pain is intrinsic to the structure of the universe: this is Lucifer’s magnum opus. This is that wrench in the works, which you cannot get out else the whole thing falls apart, because now, it is part of the puzzle. Satan knew what he was doing. For now, for God to be just, to show that He doesn’t win by a sort of “deus ex machina”—to give the Devil his due—bad things must happen. You can see that quite readily if you’re a scientist, that if you have such things as plate tectonics, the drift of land masses, then you will have volcanoes and earthquakes. And sometimes, there will be people in their vicinity. So, some of us will throw up their hands and say, “bad luck, chaps,” and some will say they must all have been sinners. None of the above. What’s actually happening? “There are many things which do not concern the process.” [Joan of Arc] There’s a bigger picture we’re not seeing. Perhaps that we don’t want to see.

    For blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. [Matthew 5:4] I will go further: blessed are those who fail, those who are confounded when they try and do good; blessed are they who exert a mountain of effort for a molehill of a reward; blessed are they who are paid back evil for a good they gave; blessed are those who are humiliated for no reason at all; and blessed are they whose lives are brutish and cut short, for lo, thy reward is great in Heaven, where fate is not subject to the whim of evil—but is laid out by Holy Reason himself, whom you call Jesus Christ. He forgets none who have been robbed of life or dignity, and his will is the last word in the realm called Eternity. Jesus Christ died as he did to show you exactly whose side he was on. And there will be no stone you can crawl under that will not be overturned, nothing done in secret that will not be exposed. Woe to those who have something to hide, who has done his neighbor wrong.

    The main point? There is always a reason why. The Devil will randomize the pain where he can, and bad things will happen to good people. Don’t be deceived. Nothing is outside the jurisdiction of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Logos, yea, Holy Reason itself. Even if it all ends horribly, that is not a permanent condition. Why did it have to happen like this? If you truly saw what was at stake for the things that transpired in this world, in this life, you would not ask such questions. Count it all joy: and that, too, will be rewarded. One day you will see why things unfurled as they did, and rejoice when your faith was shaken, but did not buckle under the strain to comprehend why. No natural disaster is larger than the purpose that undergirds it. We are greater than any pain that has run through us; we are made larger by it. This is the mystery of the quotient: tragedy makes a saint of any of us.

    Do not concern yourself with any thing. Nothing is wasted. Even the evil ones, who are burned into nothing at the Last Judgment: the harm they have caused has gone to good use—in the making of the saints. Do not imagine any setback has slipped from the accounting of the angels. And it is not so much the important that the saints we are to be will go to Heaven when we die, but that in being saints we bring Heaven down into the world by the love we show. Not to hide a lamp in a bucket, but to shine it from the rooftops. And all of us are to die as God did, who in the worst of it yet loved the world. This is to take part in the Resurrection. And pain? It points to that deeper way, that there will be now what is called justice, which in the days before the world ever was, it was not known: because it had no context where nothing was ever wrong. A fascinating birth, in the world as we know it: justice. There will be justice wherever there has been pain. It is what God made out of fire.

    If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.

    The Mathematics of the Judgment

    “Very few people in the world would care to listen to the real defense of their own characters. The real defense, the defense which belongs to the Day of Judgment, would make such damaging admissions, would clear away so many artificial virtues, would tell such tragedies of weakness and failure, that a man would sooner be misunderstood and censured by the world than exposed to that awful and merciless eulogy.”
    – Gilbert Keith Chesterton

    Come Judgment Day, what exactly would you say to the Face from which heaven and earth fled—“I meant to”? I once figured it out this way: out of two choices, for your entire life, would you rather expose it all to the world, every event and decision, or would you rather cast it all into darkness? Saved, or damned, this to mean, and there I was toying with the mathematics of the judgment, that even with a life that was full of wrongdoing, if the soul had the courage to reveal it all—be as reviled in the Kingdom of Heaven (if that is even possible)—then that one heroic gesture might indeed save them. There are myths of judgment aplenty from the ancient world, from weighing your soul against a feather to walking a tightrope across a fiery pit. And some pictures of damnation are more horrible than others. What does it mean, exactly, to be saved?

    The main equation seems to be simply this: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Otherwise known as, “love your neighbor as yourself.” But then comes the main counterargument, being the curiosity as to whether some are born having innately more propensity for forgiveness than others, thus making the game a rigged apparatus… In the past, one merely figured that the Devil had his children, and God had His, the Devil’s children causing all the mayhem, God’s children are all the saints, and that’s that. You were simply born one or the other. But the modern reader might ask, how can that possibly be fair? If you had no choice but to be evil, how can you possibly damn that soul? Free will has since (from those days of ultimate predestination) become a key feature of this life of virtue and sin: you must have done things of your own free will for it to count, else life is a meaningless puppet show.

    So, what becomes of the Son of Satan? Was he born evil? Or was he born good in circumstances which would make it impossible to have been anything but evil? Where does the free will factor in? The Devil is damned because he was born good and of his own choice and logic decided that that wasn’t going to work for him. We must ask, too, if even was Satan born with a conscience. If that were so, he has only the angel on his shoulder, the little birdy from his own inner sensibilities to try and keep him on the right track. He has no devil on the other shoulder, and so one might conjecture that evil was at that time the narrow way (to exit from the good) and the broad gate was that which was of God, the right. What a waste, how the story of the great Lucifer ends. What about them, though, the rest: his son, and the third part of angels cast down with him—by him?

    What if one can genuinely say to the Face from which heaven and earth fled, “I was deceived, and knew not right from wrong”? Or there is the question of how one may judge him, he whom all he knew of the world was evil. Not just the Son of Satan, though he is an especially strong case of this, but those born of bad families. One may consider that God rather grades on a curve. Not as much a reward when a boy scout, whose dad was a boy scout, helps an elderly black granny across the street; but one whose father was KKK—that would be phenomenal. Does it get complicated, then, when we have to factor all the relevant factors in order to judge someone? Perhaps here we find the real reason for the Lord’s command, not to judge, that it is only God’s to judge: for only the all seeing can know why anyone lived the way he did, the rationales and compusions, what was inside him as he decided, and the roads not taken.

    Verily, when we have the bold and outward actions of someone born into a culture of cruelty, when he breaks from all he knew because he discovered a greater truth—we can surely measure the heroics of such actions. But as we know, such displays of heart come only when certain stars align; they are not of the everyday, and the everyday is where one (even the hero) must live most of one’s life. Yet when the hero lives an ordinary life, when he abides by ordinary rules, he is roundly to be commended for his humility; but when things surface, like from World War II, the ordinary, everyday lives of those who ran the concentration camps—we feel a wave of disgust. Yet it is here where even a demon might redeem himself. The Lord said that when you fast, make it look like you’re not sacrificing anything. If an “evildoer” were to outwardly perform nefarious deeds, but hidden in his everyday were guilt, nightmares, tears and the true suffering of conscience—how do we judge, knowing that?

    Surely, many of us will judge the man who keeps doing evil while being tortured about it as one who is in the final analysis destined for the fire. But one might say it is a case of, “There but for the grace of God go I.” If we had been born in his place, would we not have done the same thing? Thus might it be that the mathematics of the judgment are a mystery. Perhaps indeed, that if we had been given certain temptations, then we might have committed the wrong… but we were not so given, we did no such thing. And we cannot, in fact, actually make the supposition, if we were in that situation, or if they had not been in that situation, it would not have happened as it did. Reality is such an intricately woven web that we cannot cut out one small piece and hope to graft it elsewhere. It is so a mystery.

    Indeed, we may speculate about the future, but of the past, speculation is ultimately fruitless. Change one variable and it is not in isolation—if it is reality—and we may find that even when we are correct in predicting the future, it may just be that we were not right for the reasons we thought, why it happened. The future comes into the present and we are proven right or wrong, but the past? We can never be sure of any theory, not until we have a simulator of the entire universe, and we can test one aspect’s change. And even there, it would probably turn out not as we expect. So we really can’t say, what might have been. All we have is what actually happened, what we did with what was given to us. We will not be judged on what we could have done, but on what we did. Is it in any wise unfair? For we may think life unfair, but the Judgment—this should be the great equalizer, correct?

    If then, the true judgment is ultimately just, by standards that the Lord has (if we can even call them “standards”, for that in itself implies something static and rigid)—perhaps we cannot tell, the difference between the saved and the damned, and it is not our place to try and guess, to tell the Lord what He’s supposed to think. Mayhap this was why He told us to treat everyone well, to love even your enemies, for perhaps you might mistreat a saint, if you treat anybody badly. The only one whose salvation you should be mindful of (in the main), is yourself, and this you handle by acting out of love in everything you do. Do protect your families against criminals, etc., etc., but realize that you do not know the whole story about even they, even whom we characterize as the “bad guy”. “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” [Oscar Wilde] You never know who’ll turn it all around.

    And then, there are two things you should know about Christianity: 1) converting someone is more about saving them in this world, not the next: Christ is ready to catch you when you slip into that next world; and 2) there a lot (A LOT) of Christians who should be told either, “From these stones can God make sons of Abraham,” and “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say?” The first quote from Yohanan the Dipper (John the Baptist), the second from Yeshua ben Miriam (Jesus Christ). You see, the main problem of Christians, at least in America, is that they think they are just in the right. Because they are Christians, they think they are better—when God can of course make Christians from anyone. Because they are Christians, they think they know what it means to be righteous—when the one who says, “have mercy on me, a sinner,” he is the one justified. They feel they are qualified to understand, and believe they know by heart the mathematics of the judgment. And one thing I have come to know: we all of us know nothing.

    So how do we tell, then, who is saved and who is not? In the final analysis, it’s none of our business. Even our own personal selves we cannot be sure if we’re on the right track. And this, my friends, is the correct attitude. If we indeed become sure that we are of the saved, it is at that point that our souls are in the greatest danger. The path of entitlement is what Lucifer followed, all the way to being kicked out of Heaven. (There are indeed many lessons we may learn from the War in Heaven, and the Fall.) And we come back to the question of the Son of Satan. Did he truly have a choice? Did he have a chance, at all? I tell you it matters not—not to us. We are not the ones responsible for throwing him into the fire. Our is to love everyone, even him, even to love our enemies. If you can fight for justice, by all means do, become an enemy as far as the darkness is concerned—but hate not that darkness. Call no one an enemy to yourself.

    It is not to say we rebuke no one for their ill deeds. Our children must learn to do what is right. Stupidity must be called out. But we must stick to the facts. We must not think it is we who are given the charge to save souls: we cannot forgive sins, only the Lord; and only by the Lord’s grace are we any of us saved. So, ask yourself, if you consider yourself Christian: am I any better than the next person? or at least a certain class of person? If your answer is yes, you are indeed mistaken, and possibly dangerous. When your answer is no, you begin to crack the shell of the mystery, that whosoever would be first in the Kingdom must be a servant of all. There is no room at the height of the light for he who values his own life more than his neighbor’s. Comprende? It’s as simple and impossible as one, two, three… infinity: that is the mathematics of the judgment.

    If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.