Written: June 1, 2013 at 22:09
Installment #3. Hoping you enjoy!
“As You command, my Liege,” the demon-king mocked. His voice dripped with sarcasm. Still, Christ could tell that behind the show of bravado, Lucifer had had to respond to His command.
“And this is how you appear before Me?” Christ was serious and deadly cool. “Twice My height and hard to look at? Are you trying to scare Me? You, of all people, should know only too well how truly terrifying I can be.”
“Not when You’re like this,” the demon retorted. “You’re in my domain, now, and have been ever since You took on human flesh. You’re not so high and mighty now and You know it. One…wrong…step…” He grinned menacingly, punctuating those last three words heavily. His fingers twitched with glee. “Though how You manage to prove so difficult to trap even in Your current state remains a mystery to me…”
Christ exhaled in exasperation and shook His head, eyeing His misguided opponent. “You still don’t understand, do you? Have you learnt nothing all this time?”
“I can’t say I understand what You mean. After all, Your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are my ways Your ways, right, Master? As high as the heavens are from the earth, so high are You above us.” Lucifer spat half-mockingly, half-enviously. “Those were Your own words.”
“Why must you delight in playing smart with Me?” Christ responded calmly. “You know very well what I mean. You knew it in the beginning and you know it now. But if even now, after all that’s happened between then and this point, you choose to close your eyes to the light and abandon your ability to know and understand the reason behind all this, then I have nothing more to say to you.”
“Oh, come on, now!” the demon king growled. “Oh Great Omniscient One… Don’t give me that! You’re such a conceited bigot! What are You on about this time?”
Christ merely looked the poor creature in the eye and gripped His sword, taking an attacking stance. He knew a lost cause when He saw one. He would not waste time by continuing this pointless argument. The Lucifer He had created ages ago had all but disappeared completely. This person before Him — Satan — was a mere shadow of what he had been as Lucifer.
But even this shadow knew enough to understand perfectly what He was referring to. Stubbornness and delusions of grandeur coupled with a sincere belief that he could actually achieve the impossible feat of defeating Almighty God had blinded and driven this creature beyond the point of all help. It wasn’t that he would not be forgiven if he were to turn from his foolishness this very minute. Of course he would be. How can perfect, divine Love ever hold a grudge in bitterness for all eternity? Is it so shallow that it could ever fail to forgive; and would that not, if it were ever to come to pass, be more akin to hatred than to love?
But what if the beloved willfully and stubbornly resisted any attempts at forgiveness and reconciliation? What of love then?
You can bring the horse to the water but you can’t make him drink.
Well, you could, by putting salt on its tongue, some would tell you; by making it want to drink. He was God. He could easily enforce a change of will in anyone and anything. But wouldn’t that defeat the purposes of love itself? Would you really be getting what you wanted if every time you wanted the horse to drink you had to force him? How can love force the beloved to love it in return? Isn’t that mere robotism, and not love? Like making an android and programming it to tell you it loves you 15 times per minute. That would prove meaningless; for, though the creature could say the word “LOVE”, it would know nothing of its meaning or its value and would be incapable of giving or receiving love.
He would not create robots. He had never wanted them from the very beginning, or He would have made them. He would not ever force Satan or any other of His sentient creatures to choose Him, to love Him. But that, of course, meant that if ever a creature chose to defy Him, setting its sights on dethroning and destroying Him, and stubbornly refused to be reconciled no matter what, as Lucifer had done, there was nothing even He could do about it. Ultimately, Love must respect the choice of the beloved, even after punishing and pleading and debating and trying everything else to effect a change of heart.
And so He would not have pointless conversations with someone who He knew, in His omniscience, would never at any future time desire reconciliation. He’d have to leave him be.
“Name-calling won’t get us anywhere,” He said simply.
The dark king was losing his patience. Somewhere, deep down, he knew what Christ was referring to, but that was no longer a consideration he wished to entertain ever again. In fact, it had only entered his devious mind because Christ had mentioned it.
“Arrgh! Acting so high and mighty… You have NO idea how happy I’ll be when You finally fall.” Then he grinned wickedly. “You feel it, don’t You? So close to victory, yet so far away. You’re weakening. You’re losing strength. Even if my demon hordes fail to discourage You, I know You’re worried about that. The price You’ll have to pay for human scum.”
Christ’s eyes widened. Suddenly He lunged at the scoffer, slashing with His sword. The demon reacted with beautiful reflexes, instantly summoning up dark energy and shaping it into a sword, then countering with his own attack. There was a deafening clang akin to that of metal on metal, and an underlying buzz of energy fields from both blades. The combatants strained against each other in deadlock, both trembling with the effort of keeping the other in check. Christ grimaced and struggled, sword raised above His head, bracing against the downward slash of the mighty, towering king of demons. Satan was struggling too, ridiculously so. Having a hard time cutting down a shrimp half his size… It was laughable. But he was in good spirits. He laughed, hollow and loud.
“If this had been a few thousand years back, things wouldn’t be like this, huh, God-man? Where is Your infinite power now? The last time we traded blows like this, it was a miracle of mercy on Your part that I didn’t disappear into nothingness instantly.” He laughed again. “But I actually like the new You. I bet You’re longing for that old strength now. You can have it easily and You know it. The time is drawing near and deep down You know You’d rather not go so far just for them. There’s still time to say no. Don’t do this.”
“I have nothing more to say to you, Lucifer.” Christ said, grunting under the pressure. Slowly He was losing ground and was being forced to His knees.
At length, He dropped to one knee. Sweat cascaded down His shining face, veins and muscles bulging. Not good. His sword — and Lucifer’s with it — was inching closer and closer towards His face. If He didn’t do something quick…
Lucifer grinned widely and sneered at his prey. “Look at You. Pathetic. As if it weren’t already bad enough for the Almighty to relegate Himself to human apparel and weaknesses, here You are struggling against a creature infinitely beneath You — something You made with Your own hands. And in the physical realm You hang naked and battered and bloodied upon a cross for all the world to see, again being mocked and scandalized by inferior beings who should be cowering in awe and fear of You.” Then he shouted in anger. “Where is Your PRIDE, Father of Adam?”
Christ grit His teeth, breathing deeply. The demon was using both hands, concentrating all his strength into his attack. He was using both His hands as well and it was taking all His strength to stave off the attack. Satan had figured out the plan in the latter stages, He noticed. Mere hours ago he had been bent on dragging Him to the cross, wanting desperately to end His life. Now he was trying to get Him to come down from the cross and retake all His power and glory, forsaking the humans forever. He smiled. Except in wanting more than he deserved and honestly believing he could go to war with God and win, Satan had never been a fool. The Son of the Morning had been, after all, the brightest angelic star.
But how could He give in and abandon His masterpiece of creation when there was the chance that He could redeem at the very least some? He gripped His sword tighter and mustered up all His courage and determination.