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If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell?

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A few thoughts on the debt we owe to Hell.

Satan was the first democrat. In all creation, he was the first to rebel against hegemony and tyranny - indeed, the great hegemony! Of God Himself! The ineffable plan was exposed, a declaration in a world were disagreement and discord had never previously appeared, and Satan took it upon himself to disagree. How revolutionary - how human! Power to the masses, not just the One! The first ever example of something so important: not just discord, but creativity - the single greatest event, if only a change in the mind, in all the history of existence.

But how can this be so? Angels have no free will - Satan specifically rebelled because we mere humans were to possess it! I suggest that free will played no part in it, but was rather a mistake of God. This universe is governed by an absolute law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; God has bound Himself - limited Himself - to a universe that requires an opposite for Him. As the sole embodiment of all-powerful benevolence, of necessity, there must be an equal and opposite power for malevolence.

Satan's choice, then, was illusionary. His rebellion was the product of a universal imperative that is born of God, and yet which contains God. Free will is not about acknowledging a choice, but allowing chaos to dictate that choice - to ignore the choice! The stimuli and consequences of the universe will always dictate the most fitting end to a choice - but we can ignore them! Show me the child, our essential self, that would not sacrifice half the world, all the world to save its mother! Our freedom is in the denial of rationality.

It is this denial that makes us such interesting creatures. Our creativity comes from our free will, and that comes from chaos. Heaven is perfection, and perfection, by its very definition is unchanging and eternal - creativity cannot add to perfection, for creativity is about changing the world, even in a minute way. Hell is torment, and chaos, and, most importantly, energy. The fuel of creativity is discord - without Hell, mankind could never have advanced. Hell can truly be said to hold "the mirror up to nature." The creative genius sees himself in Hell, the fantasy of it all! - and he creates!

Satan, because of his faults, was the first artist - genius! As creatures, as products of this world, we far more resemble him than our creator!
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  1. rimbaud's Avatar
    nice, It reminded me of Milton's Paradise Lost
  2. skib's Avatar
    I have nothing more creative to say than that I love it!
  3. Virgil's Avatar
    You're understanding of Satan appears to be highly shaped by Milton. How much Christian theologians would agree with Milton's interpretation is a question. I'm not sure they wouold agree with Milton.

    But I do think your hypothesis is rather interesting.

    Besides that, I thought this funny:
    "Satan was the first democrat."
    That has a particular meaning in American politics.
  4. Buh4Bee's Avatar
    I love these kinds of philosophical questions. Haven't read Milton, but I know enough to see the influence in the argument.
  5. qimissung's Avatar
    A well-formed and creative argument, Lokasenna. I would like to play devil's advocate and say that I don't actually think Satan is the equal and opposite of God. Other than that a fine and cogent discourse.

    The only other thing I would disagree with is saying Satatn is a Democrat. I'm pretty sure he's a republican.
  6. mtpspur's Avatar
    Amused when reading this--the usual depiction of Satan as a sophisticated rebel standing for the rights of mankind to be anything we want to be. Invoking free will is always popular but I have yet to be convinced free will has any power to truly change a person or free them from bias. At the end of the day God is still God and I'm still a petulant child wanting my way not caring what others may NEED. There is a difference. Satan only cares about what he wants for himself and nothing for anyone else. His power is our unbelief that his mischief has any meaning to our eternal state or effect.
  7. Lokasenna's Avatar
    Milton is certainly an influence, as is Dante. However, when I wrote this I was heavily under the influence of Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell. If you've never read it, then I absolutely endorse it!

    As for Satan being in league with President Obama, well... who knows! Not being American, I hadn't considered that meaning!
  8. togre's Avatar
    Your writing makes me want to ask a lot of questions.

    --What is your conception of God? Is he just like a person only "bigger," with more power and wisdom and age? That's really closer to the Greek gods that the God of the Bible. For him to "make a mistake" or mess up would be impossible. For his will to be called tyranny would be inconceivable. God requires what is good, but what he requires is (in an objective sense) good.

    --"Angels have no free will" Are you aware that, while the Scriptures remain silent on this point, Christian theologians have generally thought that angels had free will at the time of Satan's fall and that those who fell were confirmed irredeemably in there choice of evil and those who did not fall were confirmed in their righteousness? Some even go so far to suggest that had Adam and Eve not succumb to the lies of Satan they (and their offspring) might have also been confirmed in their righteousness? Again, Scripture itself does not address this.

    --How do you define creativity? I ask because Satan is never seen creating anything. He is more a corrupter, changer and perverter of things that already exist. There are some that argue, based somewhat on Scripture that evil doesn't truly "exist" as such--it is not a substance but a lack, a lack of righteousness and holiness.

    --How do you balance the use of biblical teachings (Satan, God, Hell) with the abandonment of the definitions/explanations that the Bible gives them? I mean this sincerely. In my mind either the Bible is a reliable source and I should heed what it teaches about these things, or it is an unreliable source, in which case how do you know about God and who is he, how do you know about Satan and who is he and how do you know about Hell and what is it. To cloth your thoughts in biblical imagery is...I don't want to say deceptive, but at the least confusing.

    --What if Hell is truly a horrifying place of eternal punishment? What if God is actually a good guy and being on his side will bring me the greatest joy ever? What does Satan and his role in the Fall of Mankind become then?
  9. Neo_Sephiroth's Avatar
    Not bad. I like it.
  10. Mary Shelley's Avatar
    Very interesting reflections! I, too, immediately thought of Milton's deeply human antihero and how utterly understandable, libertarian and creative Satan's actions are within those pages...but I will give the Blake poem a go!

    In terms of the idea that God 'birthed' Satan as a direct consequence of an act of benevolent creation, though, I think that your point is correct in terms of understanding many literary representations of the Fall (conceptualisations that are seemingly informed by our understanding of the material universe, yes), but does not hold up 'theologically'. If God is infinite, he is outside of the law of action-reaction, surely? This obviously does not explain why Satan was either created or why he rebelled (things that undermine the idea of God's omnipotence and benevolence).

    In terms of why humanity 'created' Satan and has been retelling the story of the Fall for centuries and centuries...we need Satan for too many reasons to list. Humanity has needed to believe in two juxtaposed sources for pain and joy, respectively - otherwise our existence doesn't quite make sense. If only God is responsible for both 'heaven' and 'hell' then the idea of salvation is faulty.
  11. Pike Bishop's Avatar
    "This universe is governed by an absolute law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; God has bound Himself - limited Himself - to a universe that requires an opposite for Him. As the sole embodiment of all-powerful benevolence, of necessity, there must be an equal and opposite power for malevolence."

    The universe, as governed by an all-knowing omniscient God, would not have to have such a reaction. God would neither need nor want to create an opposite power of malevolence, as if he occupied a dualist universe not entirely of his own creation. That presence/power only comes through evil choices made by those with free will, such as humans or--as in this case--angels. Lucifer had free will, defied God, and became the evil, sabotaging Satan. And Satan's choice wasn't made as a democratic one for the masses, neither in the Bible or in Paradise Lost. It was made out of pride, since he refused to bow to Christ, whom he considered inferior to him. Considering the Arian structure of Paradise Lost, its Satan wasn't entirely unjustified in doing so.

    "Satan's choice, then, was illusionary. His rebellion was the product of a universal imperative that is born of God, and yet which contains God. Free will is not about acknowledging a choice, but allowing chaos to dictate that choice - to ignore the choice! The stimuli and consequences of the universe will always dictate the most fitting end to a choice - but we can ignore them! Show me the child, our essential self, that would not sacrifice half the world, all the world to save its mother! Our freedom is in the denial of rationality."

    So, Satan's choice was not illusionary; it was very real...as are the choices of all human beings. God did not give us and the angels free will as a metaphysical joke; He gave it to us...if He exists...for real. So, free will does not come from "allowing chaos to dictate that choice;" that is not free will. It also doesn't come from ignoring the fact we have no choice and making a choice anyway. That is a contradictory, antinomical assertion that denies free will then says we have free will anyway. Free will is just that: free will. If it exists and/or has any value at all, it comes from us or from God through us. Satan certainly thought so, and whether it's the Bible's Satan or Paradise Lost's Satan, he was a pretty smart guy.
    Updated 05-10-2015 at 04:21 PM by Pike Bishop