03 June 2008

Satan's nightmare

Many years ago, I read an odd little fantasy story which has stuck in my mind ever since. I can't remember the author or the title or where I read it, but the basic theme was unforgettable.

The story was about Satan. Satan, of course, according to Christian mythology, has resided in Hell ever since his unsuccessful attempt to overthrow and replace God as ruler of the universe.

In the story, Satan went to sleep one ordinary night in Hell, and he had a dream.

In Satan's dream, the great battle in Heaven went the other way. He succeeded in overthrowing God, and in seizing the throne of omnipotence. He became the absolute ruler of the universe, taking God's place.

And in his dream, he saw his subsequent reign unfold.

He saw himself, not God, creating the Earth and mankind. He -- Satan -- not God, created man as an utterly innocent creature, without knowledge of good and evil, and then planted the Tree of Knowledge in the midst of the Garden of Eden, and commanded man not to eat of it, presenting the newly-made innocent creature with a temptation far beyond its power to resist.

Satan saw himself, not God, casting man out of the Garden of Eden as punishment, condemning him to mortality and suffering and toil for the sin he himself had made man scarcely able to avoid.

Satan saw himself, not God, raging insanely at the cruelties and sins of the race whom he himself had made unable to do any better, finally sending a vast flood to drown the whole Earth, slaughtering the guilty and innocent alike, even children and babies, even the bewildered and terrified animals who knew nothing of the concept of sin.

Satan saw himself, not God, testing the faith and devotion of Job with torments that the vilest monster who ever lived would scarcely visit upon a dog; he saw himself, not God, similarly test Abraham's faith by commanding him to sacrifice his own son.

He saw himself, not God, send his own son to Earth to preach and then be killed by excruciating torture in a bizarre and convoluted scheme to offer redemption, via this revolting sacrifice, to those human individuals who managed to believe in its power; when of course he, Satan, as omnipotent ruler of the universe, could easily have granted salvation to as many humans as he felt deserved it, by a simple act of choice.

Awakening at last from this hideous nightmare of unrelenting cruelty, Satan understood its meaning immediately. If he had indeed won that battle in Heaven, he thought to himself, then the absolute power he would have gained would have ruined him. He would have become just as evil and sadistic and corrupt as God, and would have perpetrated all the same horrors and insanities.

No, Satan thought to himself, it is better to have been defeated than to have become like that. And so, despite his situation, he achieved a certain contentment.

I would be curious to know whether anyone else has read the same story and recognizes it.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Quantum_Flux said...

I remember at one time thinking to myself that, if God was real, that Satan aka "the father of lies" was the one who wrote the Bible in order to decieve people.

I also remember toying about how perhaps the Bible was maybe meant to be read in reverse, from Revelation to Genesis, instead of from Genesis to Revelation. Of course I now know it to be a complete myth and that it never was meant to be taken seriously any way.

04 June, 2008 00:01  
Blogger FranIAm said...

I have not read that one.

FWIW, that is not the Biblical story of Satan. God has yet to throw Satan anywhere in that book.

04 June, 2008 05:10  
Anonymous handmaiden said...

I've never read it but it sure puts a different spin on things.
One of the reasons I liked the the Phillip Pullman series, "His Dark Materials" he portrays the the Church as evil, working for God who is the bad guy in the story.

04 June, 2008 07:45  

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