“So in ancient times men studied the Cosmos to find the bridge across the ocean of death. And he saw that the sun, in all its life creating power, was what gave the Earth continual sustenance. Therefore, to him, the Cosmos became the source that he might use to escape death, creating within himself the power to claim eternal life while at the same time possessing all that he loved, surrendering nothing... ..
Malachi glanced at them... ..
“A powerful temptation, if primitive. The Pharaoh was considered to be God because of his soul’s divine union to the sun. He was considered more than mere man, and more than Nature. He was the ultimate Sun-Man, or Man-God, in the most natural sense. He was one with the Cosmos, holding the keys of life by the power of his will and by the power of the sun. For his very will was his life, both for the here and the hereafter. Seemingly, it was the ultimate escape from death and from moral limitations... ..
“You see, evil did not exist, at least not the Man-God who found his freedom in the vast and infinite universe. For Nature itself, was neutral to good and evil. The only moral limitations that might be imposed on the Man-God were the limitations of his own, divine will. The end purpose of his existence became, therefore, the power to create that thing that was the object of his desire.. ..
“But at the emergence of the Hebrew God, the Man-God was confronted with his ultimate nemesis. An enemy that perfectly defied his deific claim. So Yahweh, the Ancient of Days, became the scorned and rejected scourge of the world, despised as an enemy of the ultimate free man. The ageless collision of forces. Man and God. An men who would not kneel accused the God of Israel of being the waste product of a condemning moral code propagated by foolish men who must create an imaginary God that is beyond themselves. And Yahweh was condemned in the old world as the foolish false creation of weak men who were simply unable to survive or rule the power of the Cosmos and by their own hand. A conflict of decision, of decided faith or non-faith. And it was on this ground of the unknowable that the battle first began... ..
Malachi cast Gage a frowning glance... ..
“I call it unknowable because this ground is ultimately the dominion of faith. Gage, where nothing can be completely understood empirically, and a man must decide for himself alone, to believe as he would believe,” he continued, solemn, “I am old, now, and I have forgotten much of what I knew. But I still recall all the questions of limitations of empirical thought. I recall all the questions of fundamental certainty that evaded Descartes, Augustine, Hegel, Pascal and Kant. So I do not claim to completely understand the ultimate truth, nor do I stand alone in my ignorance of it. I know that I can defend my faith as far as reason may ascend, in and discipline of thought, be it philosophy or theology or science or archaeology. And I am certain that I hold a perfectly and ultimately reasonable faith. But in the final plain of human reason, faith is faith and knowledge is knowledge. God always has been, and always shall remain, the ultimate mystery. Always there will be fundamental questions of uncertainty that only faith may bridge. And it is because of what I know if these fundamental questions, and faith itself, that I say with confidence that reason will never fully close the void between the known and unknowable. Faith alone, is forever the final step.” He paused. “It’s true, you know, that the secret things belong to God. Ant those who worship the Man-God, or this Sun-Man, from the very beginning, has regarded Yahweh’s very existence as a hated and mortal threat to his moral autonomy. And for certain, the very idea of an omnipotent and holy God is an attack upon the ground of what he holds most dear: Himself... ..
“It is nothing unique to the history of man,” Malachi sighed, continuing, “One side elects to believe that the Cosmos, or Nature, of the Superior Man himself, holds the keys to eternal life. They believe that man himself should be the ultimate measure of Good and Evil. While we believe that a holy and righteous God has given man the commandment that we must worship Him with all our heart, mind, soul and spirit, abide by His law, and claim no moral sovereignty over ourselves. One side claims that they themselves are God as Man, the ultimate expression of what is good and right and true. The other side simply chooses to worship and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses, who proclaimed that we must worship no other God before Him... ..
Malachi paused, frowning... ..
Silence hung like a heavy cloak over the room... ..
“The dream of the God-Man is to decide his own moral dominion, and by the freedom that he claims, extend that moral dominion over the Earth.” The old man said, distant eyes on flame. “It is a perversion of a solemn truth, for man was, indeed, created to have dominion over the Earth. But not by the might of his own hand. No, and not by the power of the sword, nor the strength of flames.” He shook his head. “No, it was by the mercy of God that man was born to subdue the Earth, remaining within the justice that God ordained... ..
“And is was against this dark dream of mortal cosmic dominion that Simon died resisting. Because he knew what the end of that, the holocaust of ancient empires who held the God-Man as a supreme being. He remembered the dynasties of Mesopotamia.. which worshipped the gods of the Earth; evil monarchies that forced the predatory will of the strongest upon the weak. For always the strongest rule where there is no dominion higher than man himself... ..
“We should learn from history; it reveals former things. In ancient worlds there were many religions that held man himself to be the all-embracing Absolute of good and evil, the decider of his own destiny by the strength of his arm. They rejected the concept of an invisible, omnipotent God who created man and then revealed Himself to man, a God who established moral codes of conduct that could not be altered in the fleshly domain. And even as it is now, it was a time of decision. A time to decide by an act of will to serve the God-Man or serve the Hebrew God that, alone, breathed life into the dust of to make flesh, and still retained the right to decide life or death for that flesh... ..
Malachi shifted, released a long breath. .. ..
“Measure a god by the sacrifice he seeks. Measure a man by the prey he selects. Is it revealing that the ancient empires who worshipped the free moral mind of a master race always selected the weak, the defenseless, or the poor? Is it a coincidence that all the past dynasties ruled by the God-Man, or the Sun-Man, mortared their alters with the same blood? And it’s true you know... ..
“From the Druids to the Massalians to the keepers of demonic Baal to Dagon to the priests of the Aztec’s Xipe Topec, the Sun-God, it was always the children and the weakest who were selected for death. Always the weakest. Never the strong, no. And why is that?” Malachi turned towards them, vivid and bright. “I’ll tell you why. It’s because man without an omnipotent God to restrict his actions will forever serve the beast that lives so strongly within, becoming a predator over a fallen world. And as Nature demands, the strongest men become the strongest predators. And as any predator, men will select easy prey before strong. And children are always among the weakest, the most defenseless.”.. ..
Stillness in the room was unnatural, the poise of the listeners afraid to move within the dark content of his words. .. ..
“Yes, Gage, predation is the final plateau of the God-Man concept. Not love, and not mercy. For a jungle does not recognize mercy; it only recognizes strength. The strong rule, and the strongest rule completely. And it is this cruel fate that has always been in the Cosmos or the Sun. Man as God. Nature as God. The Sun-Man. They cunningly devise whatever ideology that will allow them to justify their moral autonomy and their predatory lusts. A thousand faces for the same being. A thousand names to personify a god who is exactly what they want him to be. And they violently reject the unyielding moral code imposed upon man by Yahweh, a God who has always enforced a code of justice that would defend the weak, and punish the cruel.”.. ..
Gage noticed that Malachi’s face seemed tired. But he still needed some answers... ..
“And how does the manuscript work into this?”.. ..
“Our enemy believes that the manuscript reveals the names, the family lineage, and the place of birth of the ultimate God-Man, or Sun-Man.” Malachi answered steadily. “And he is the one they have waited for during the long centuries. They believe that this God-man, this superior being, will bring into reality the perfect kingdom, their kingdom, on the Earth. They believe that this ultimate being will conquer the world by the strength of his arm, and the universe by the superiority of his mind. They believe that he will drive the archaic concept of Yahweh from the entire world, rebuilding the Earth in the image of himself. We shall all be one, they say.” He shook his head. “Yes we shall all be servants of the God-Man, which is much better than simply being servants of God. Though it seems to me a petty jealousy. The God-Man would simply have us worship him, instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob... ..
“And this, they call enlightenment…”