Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Succeed Where Lucifer Failed

Asmodel: You have chosen to stand at the traitor's side.
Zauriel: He's going to rebel, see? He's waited a million years.
And he thinks he can succeed where Lucifer failed.
Asmodel: Accursed of Heaven!
- JLA #7
by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter

I admit that I don't know much when it comes to angels, demons, and the hierarchies of Heaven and Hell. But then again, neither does anybody else. I mean, there's lots of ideas and stories, but those are almost entirely extra-biblical mythologies. The Bible really does not say much about the organizations of the cosmic societies. And where such things are mentioned, a discerning reader must ask if these are meant to be literal descriptions or provocative poetic imagery.

Our ideas about angels, ideas which many Christians simply accept, originate largely in popular culture of the Medieval period up to today. I have no idea where we got the popular image of angels as sweet, child-like entities sitting on puffy clouds playing harps. I guess the notion is rather comforting and pleasing. It's a nice thought. It's crap, but it's nice.

Often when angels appear to someone in Scripture, the person is told not to be afraid. I imagine this would be due to the very sight of an angel inciting fear in an unsuspecting individual. The first chapter of Ezekiel offers a detailed description of angels, and it is very bizarre. Really, it's nigh nonsensical. But it sure ain't cute.

Even our general understanding of the story of the devil, Lucifer, doesn't have the most solid footing in Scripture. So when Grant Morrison writes a story about a supposedly renegade angel named Zauriel that has voluntarily stepped down from Heaven to assume mortality and is hunted by another angel named Asmodel, I don't really feel a pressing urge to dissect this comic book angel mythology and point out how it doesn't jive with popular Christian mythology about angels. Plus, Morrison's story has the Justice League fighting an invading army of angels. That mythology sounds like much more fun!

Hey, let's get speculative for a minute. In this excerpt, Zauriel claims the reason Asmodel is after him is because Zauriel knows that Asmodel has secret designs to pull another Lucifer and incite rebellion in Heaven against God. That seems outlandish, right? No angel would dare rebel. Again.

See, that "again" right there is the kicker. If we believe that it already happened once, why should we automatically shoot down the notion that it might happen again? Because it's not mentioned in the Bible that another rebellion will happen? There are a lot of future events (and events now in our past) that the Bible makes no hint of mentioning. Despite what you pastor may tell you, the Bible is not the be-all, end-all, entirely comprehensive guide to the cosmic drama of life, the universe, and the meaning of everything. It is more like a primer. And the countless mythologies attempting to fill in the informational gaps that we've developed over the centuries attest to our persistent curiosity of that which the Bible does not say.

Granted, most of it is theologically crap, such as Asmodel fighting the Justice League. But it sure can be fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment