From Confessions

[written by Leo Tolstoy]
The foregoing was written by me some three years ago, and will be printed.

Now a few days ago, when revising it and returning to the line of thought and to the feelings I had when I was living through it all, I had a dream. This dream expressed in condensed form all that I had experienced and described, and I think therefore that, for those who have understood me, a description of this dream will refresh and elucidate and unify what has been set forth at such length in the foregoing pages. The dream was this:

I saw that I was lying on a bed. I was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable: I was lying on my back. But I began to consider how, and on what, I was lying—a question which had not till then occurred to me. And observing my bed, I saw I was lying on plaited string supports attached to its sides: my feet were resting on one such support, by calves on another, and my legs felt uncomfortable. I seemed to know that those supports were movable, and with a movement of my foot I pushed away the furthest of them at my feet—it seemed to me that it would be more comfortable so. But I pushed it away too far and wished to reach it again with my foot, and that movement caused the next support under my calves to slip away also, so that my legs hung in the air. I made a movement with my whole body to adjust myself, fully convinced that I could do so at once; but the movement caused the other supports under me to slip and to become entangled, and I saw that matters were going quite wrong: the whole of the lower part of my body slipped and hung down, though my feet did not reach the ground. I was holding on only by the upper part of my back, and not only did it become uncomfortable but I was even frightened. And then only did I ask myself about something that had not before occurred to me. I asked myself: Where am I and what am I lying on? and I began to look around and first of all to look down in the direction which my body was hanging and whiter I felt I must soon fall. I looked down and did not believe my eyes. I was not only at a height comparable to the height of the highest towers or mountains, but at a height such as I could never have imagined.

I could not even make out whether I saw anything there below, in that bottomless abyss over which I was hanging and whiter I was being drawn. My heart contracted, and I experienced horror. To look thither was terrible. If I looked thither I felt that I should at once slip from the last support and perish. And I did not look. But not to look was still worse, for I thought of what would happen to me directly I fell from the last support. And I felt that from fear I was losing my last supports, and that my back was slowly slipping lower and lower. Another moment and I should drop off. And then it occurred to me that this cannot e real. It is a dream. Wake up! I try to arouse myself but cannot do so. What am I to do? What am I to do? I ask myself, and look upwards. Above, there is also an infinite space. I look into the immensity of sky and try to forget about the immensity below, and I really do forget it. The immensity below repels and frightens me; the immensity above attracts and strengthens me. I am still supported above the abyss by the last supports that have not yet slipped from under me; I know that I am hanging, but I look only upwards and my fear passes. As happens in dreams, a voice says: “Notice this, this is it!” And I look more and more into the infinite above me and feel that I am becoming calm. I remember all that has happened, and remember how it all happened; how I moved my legs, how I hung down, how frightened I was, and how I was saved from fear by looking upwards. And I ask myself: Well, and now am I not hanging just the same? And I do not so much look round as experience with my whole body the point of support on which I am held. I see that I no longer hang as if about to fall, but am firmly held. I ask myself how I am held: I feel about, look round, and see that under me, under the middle of my body, there is one support, and that when I look upwards I lie on it in the position of securest balance, and that it alone gave me support before. And then, as happens in dreams, I imagined the mechanism by means of which I was held; a very natural intelligible, and sure means, though to one awake that mechanism has no sense. I was even surprised in my dream that I had not understood it sooner. It appeared that at my head there was a pillar, and the security of that slender pillar was undoubted though there was nothing to support it. From the pillar a loop hung very ingeniously and yet simply, and if one lay with the middle of one’s body in that loop and looked up, there could be no question of falling. This was all clear to me, and I was glad and tranquil. And it seemed as if someone said to me: “See that you remember.”

And I awoke.


Conspiracy Theory

Can it be true? Is the Devil responsible for every wrong thing that ever was, from the barest papercut to the most seismic earthquake, the hugest hurricane? For pain, itself? What does it mean, the Plan of God, and is it the same as the Grand Design? Why would the War in Heaven echo within these questions, and through time and creation? Do you think you can know the answer? For it requires a shifting of scale, as to what you thought God was capable of, and then of what you thought angels, the power of these were, who were said to be a little greater than human beings. What you probably have in mind as to what God is able to do, this is more in line with the ability of the archangels, if we say that Lucifer was once the first of them (and Michael the second).

It took a little getting used to, that last thought. I had read Tolkien’s “Ainulidalë” where Melkor, the rebel Ainur, and the greatest, shaped creation—and I thought, certainly it could not have been like that for the real world, for certainly angels and their ilk did not possess such power. And yes, the evil that was will, the harm man does to man, that could have come from the original rebel; but earthquakes? hurricanes? Certainly not having source in the Fall. Or so I thought. What it took to shift my paradigm was to hear that God had not created pain. I half overheard it, the Lord said it to me as if in a dream. And then it all made sense to me. The aesthetics of pain, pure pain: it is discordance itself. Verily, good things have been made of even this, but that result is the work of the Lord, and not of the pain. Discordance itself, permeating all creation: this was the scale of the greatest of angels. Quite the idea.

But… it was really like that?

What is this conspiracy? Why did we never know this? The Book of Job gives us clues. You know the story, Satan makes a wager with God when God gushes about His faithful servant Job. And so Satan is given permission basically to let loose on poor Job, to test that faith. So at the end of his trials, when Job is about to lose it, God appears. About the reason(s) for his travails, He says:

4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone
7 when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
[Job 38:4-7]

He goes on in that vein for a bit. Not once does he point a finger and say, “Satan did it!” Nope. He takes “blame” for the whole shebang. And to anyone who asks why He didn’t tell us this before, this news about pain, above—I would simply point you to that speech. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to be let in on this tidbit of a revelation.

Also, there’s a look at Satan’s capabilities in the Book of Job:

Job 1:16 “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them”
Job 1:18-19 “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead”

We were talking about natural disasters, here. So are all natural disasters directly the work of evil forces? Maybe not, but natural disasters are due to how the world works, and how the world works is in part due to the strivings of evil against the good. I found that the creation of pain was the start of the War in Heaven. The evil, it is told, spread through a third of all angels. We’re talking billions. The War had a good deal in making the quality of fate, as the angels contended on what was, and is, and is to be—for creation itself. And it is yours to decide which side you are on, those who fight for truth, or those who make their own desire the greatest of their ideals.

So, if you ever come to a place were the walls seem to shut around you, when there seems before you only a dead end, know that these are from the twisting of the innards of the cosmos, and indeed there you may be able yourself to fight in the War in Heaven, which has ended, is ending, and will end—as herald to a new age. If you can make a way out of a structure sealed in shadow, you give the angel fighting on the side of faith and logic a means to bring the demon down. The conspiracy of the darkness is one of despair, for this is how it propagates. Like a virus, to the detriment of its carrier. Find the truth, indeed, the faith and logic: it is with us, not our foe; we are of the light. The Grand Design inhales the darkness and breathes out the dawn, and we are one with the Plan if we do likewise, to carry the candle flame into corners light forgot.

And the grandest conspiracy of all? That which makes all other conspiracies pale in comparison? Of course, it’s right before your face. Pretty much every day. What is the way to all you ever could hope to want? It is simple, and no one ever told you: it is love, and only love: be not but love, do not but love. That’s it. As the soothsayers 4 said, “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you meant to be. It’s easy.” It is what’s behind the whole ball of wax, why God took the blame for all the wrong that’s ever happened, when it’s never His fault for anything (never!). If God is all good, but let His greatest creation have the greatest angle of leeway, and it was from that created one that ultimately, all evil and pain come… it almost seems too easy. But that’s God for you.

“I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” [Luke 10:24 NRSV] It is many a time such a way with mysteries, that once unraveled they show a very simple underlying structure. If this is a great saying, what I write here, remember that it was not the Lord who said, “God is love.” But the Lord, indeed, said that they who were to follow him would do greater things than he had done. Yea, verily. He gives us even this. There is no question, love is the answer. The secret is love. Tell everyone.

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

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.


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.