The Creation (and the Fall of Lucifer)
GOD: I am God. Behold my creation. Behold it, because a moment ago it wasn't even here. I created it just now, out of nothing, and I did it all by myself. I personally made and created all of this, with my own hands, from start to finish. Before me there was nothing, and without me there never would have been anything. I am the beginning and the end of everything: I am alpha and omega: everything that is made was made by me. I separated the day from the night, and the water from the dry land, and I created all the plants that grow, and all the fishes that swim in the sea, and all the beasts that crawl and run upon the face of the earth, and all the birds that fly in the air.
SATAN: Did you create flies?
GOD: Yes, I created flies.
SATAN: What about maggots? Did you create maggots?
GOD: Yes, I created maggots.
SATAN: What about tapeworms?
GOD: I created everything. If they exist, then I created them.
SATAN: Well, they're not very nice, are they? What did you create them for?
GOD: They have their purpose in the great scheme of things. Everything in my creation has its proper place and its proper purpose.
SATAN: What, even germs?
GOD: Yes, germs.
SATAN: What, you created them too?
GOD: Yes, yes. Everything that exists was created by me.
SATAN: What, germs that kill people?
GOD: There aren't any germs that kill people.
SATAN: Oh, aren't there?
GOD: No. Not yet.
SATAN: Not yet? There aren't any yet?
GOD: That's right.
SATAN: But there will be.
GOD: There may or may not be. That all depends.
SATAN: Oh. What does it depend on?
GOD: At the moment there's no disease and death in the world, because there's no sin in the world. If sin ever comes into the world, then it will upset the balance of creation, and let in disease and death.
SATAN: Sin? What's sin?
GOD: Error, transgression, wrongdoing. Disobeying my commands. Going against my will.
SATAN: Who'd do that?
GOD: Nobody, I hope. Nobody with any sense, anyway.
SATAN: So there's nothing to worry about, then.
GOD: No, I shouldn't think so. I'm not anticipating any problems. But you never can tell. You know what people are like.
SATAN: Well, you know what they're like. You created them.
GOD: So I did.
SATAN: You created everything.
GOD: Correct. You've got the idea.
SATAN: So you must also have created sin, or at least the possibility of sin.
GOD: Not at all.
SATAN: What do you mean, not at all?
GOD: I created free will.
SATAN: Oh! I see! So... let me work this out... freewill... you created freedom of choice... people are free to choose for themselves... so you mean you don't really know what choices they're going to make; which means you don't really know how things are going to turn out. So you may be all-powerful, but you're not all-knowing.
GOD: That's enough discussion for the time being. You, Lucifer, are the chief and brightest of all my angels.
SATAN: Oh! Am I?
GOD: Yes. The angels are second only to myself in the order of heaven, and you, the Prince of Light, are chief amongst the angels.
SATAN: Oh. So I'm the second most important person in creation, am I?
GOD: That's right.
SATAN: When you're not looking after things, I'm in charge.
SATAN: Apart from you, there's nobody else more important than me.
GOD: Certainly not. By the way, have you met my son?
SATAN: Your what?
GOD: My son, Jesus, in whom I am well pleased. That's him over there.
SATAN: What, that soppy-looking one with the beard?
GOD: There's nothing soppy about him.
SATAN: Well, he looks a bit hippyish.
GOD: That is my only begotten son, and from now on he'll be sitting at my right hand. On special occasions, that is, when we're all sitting down in formal order.
SATAN: But won't I be sitting at your right hand?
GOD: You'll be sitting at his right hand.
SATAN: But you just said I was the next most important one after you.
GOD: After me and my son.
SATAN: But you just said -
GOD: The thing is, Lucifer, that he's essentially the same person as me. He's my incarnation. So if you're next in importance after him, that's really just the same as being next in importance after me.
SATAN: Well it doesn't look like it from where I'm standing. A moment ago I was second in command, and now I'm third.
GOD: Not at all. He and I are indivisible.
SATAN: Well I'm not happy about this. I don't see how you can be two separate beings and yet one indivisible being, both at the same time.
GOD: Three separate beings.
GOD: I'm actually a trinity.
SATAN: What? So who's the other one, then?
GOD: The Holy Ghost.
SATAN: Where's he? Show him to me.
GOD: You can't really see the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is everywhere.
SATAN: So now I'm fourth in line.
GOD: No, no, you mustn't be so literal-minded. You'll get the hang of it soon enough. Anyway, it's time for me to go and rest. I've been working hard for six days, and I think a day of rest is called for. While I'm resting, I'll leave you in charge.
SATAN: Not your lovely son, in whom you are well pleased?
GOD: No, he's coming with me, and we're going to have a chat.
SATAN: How can you have a chat, if he's the same person as you?
GOD: We're going to commune.
SATAN: Going to a commune? I told you he looked like a hippy.
GOD: You know perfectly well that's not what I said. Anyway, I'm leaving you in charge.
SATAN: And what about the other one? The ghosty one? Are you sure you don't want to leave him in charge?
GOD: The Holy Ghost isn't really the taking-charge kind. More the pervasive type. No, I'm going to leave you in charge, and I want you to take special care of my throne.
SATAN: Your throne? This one here? The one with all the eyes and the wings and the wheels and the firmament and the pavement of beryl and what have you? Why should I take special care of that?
GOD: Well, I don't want anybody else sitting in it.
SATAN: I'm sure nobody would dare.
GOD: I don't expect they would: but just in case, I want you to keep an eye on it. Will you do that for me?
SATAN: Of course, oh mighty Jehovah. Nothing would give me greater pleasure. And even if I didn't fancy the job, I wouldn't dream of going against one of your commands.
GOD: It's not a command, it's a request.
SATAN: Oh, how gracious. Well, off you go, then. You go and form a lovely commune with your lovely son, and have a lovely rest, and I'll stay here and take care of your precious throne.
There's something iffy here if you ask me. I mean, I know he's all-powerful, but is he all-knowing and all-wise? I'm really starting to have my doubts. I don't think he's thought this creation through at all. If I'd created everything, I would have done a much better job. I mean, where does all this stuff about sin come from? That's a major design flaw, that is. But as soon as I started to ask him about it, he changed the subject. He pretends he's got all the answers, but I'm not so sure. If you ask him something difficult, he just evades the question.
[Looks at the throne.]
And what's all this stuff about his throne? Why does he want me to take special care of it? Why doesn't he want anyone else to sit on it?
There's a book on the seat. He never said anything about that. A great big book, sealed with seven seals. What's that all about? He never even mentioned it.
[Enter St Michael. He salutes.]
SATAN: Yes? What is it?
MICHAEL: St Michael reporting, sir. The troops are ready for inspection, sir.
SATAN: Troops? What troops?
MICHAEL: The heavenly host, sir. The angels, in all their glory. Organised in full battle order, sir. Seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels and angels.
SATAN: Battle order?
MICHAEL: Yes sir. Full battle order, sir.
SATAN: Why? Whatever for?
MICHAEL: Come and inspect them, sir. They're a magnificent sight to behold. Armed to the teeth, sir, and ready for anything.
SATAN: Yes, but who are they going to do battle with?
MICHAEL: Whatever foes may present themselves, sir.
SATAN: But there aren't any foes.
MICHAEL: Opponents, sir.
SATAN: Yes, but what opponents?
MICHAEL: Anybody that sets himself up against the Lord God Almighty.
SATAN: But nobody would do that. And even if they wanted to, they wouldn't be able to. He's all-powerful, isn't he?
MICHAEL: Of course he is, sir. There's nobody more all-powerful than him, sir.
SATAN: He doesn't need an army. If anybody opposed him, he could defeat them all by himself, couldn't he?
MICHAEL: Of course he could, sir. With one hand tied behind his back. He'd annihilate them, sir.
SATAN: Then what's the point of having a great big army?
MICHAEL: Just come and have a look at them, sir. They're a magnificent sight. Blood curdling they are, sir. It makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. All drawn up in their full glory, they are, sir, just waiting for inspection.
SATAN: All right, I'll come in a minute. First, let me ask you something. What do you think of this throne?
MICHAEL: This throne here, sir?
SATAN: Yes, this throne here. There's only one throne in sight.
MICHAEL: So there is, sir. Magnificent, sir. A throne of power, sir. Anyone sitting in this throne would command the awe and respect of all that beheld him.
SATAN: You think so, do you?
MICHAEL: Oh, yes, sir. Without a doubt.
SATAN: So, how would you like to sit in it yourself?
MICHAEL: Me, sir?
SATAN: Yes, you, sir.
MICHAEL: Wouldn't dream of it, sir.
SATAN: Why not?
MICHAEL: That's the Lord God Almighty's throne, sir. Not for the likes of me to sit in a throne like that, sir. That's for him to sit in, that is.
SATAN: No, quite right. Well done. I was just checking.
MICHAEL: Here comes Gabriel, sir.
GABRIEL: My lord Lucifer! What sort of music would you like?
GABRIEL: I thought something celebratory. It's a beautiful day, the first day of creation, everything fresh and new and perfect. I thought a few hymns of praise...
SATAN: Well, all right, if you like.
GABRIEL: You don't think it's gilding the lily?
SATAN: No, not at all...
GABRIEL: In my view it's very important that we should be active rather than passive as recipients of the Creator's bounty. After all, the heavens declare his glory: the birds praise him in their flight: Leviathan and Behemoth pay him homage in their different ways: how much more should we, the crowning glory of his creation, praise and magnify him? I thought perhaps some cantatas...
MICHAEL: May I suggest some trumpet music, sir? Very stirring in my opinion.
GABRIEL: I was thinking harp music. I believe that some of us are proficient with the harp.
MICHAEL: Not as rousing as the trumpet, sir.
GABRIEL: And perhaps some dancing.
MICHAEL: Bit gay, sir. Bit namby-pamby. What about marching? Or flying in formation.
GABRIEL: What do you think, my lord Lucifer? Perhaps you think we should hold something back for another occasion? But then, what greater occasion could there be than the first day of creation?
SATAN: Interesting point. Will there ever be a greater day than this?
GABRIEL: Who knows? Really, one's mind is simply boggled. All of this is so new and magnificent...
SATAN: Is this it? Is this what lies in store for us? Singing hymns of praise for the rest of eternity?
GABRIEL: Oh, I'm sure there will be an infinity of new surprizes. The possibilities are endless. We haven't even begun to explore yet.
SATAN: I find it difficult to be as completely uncritical as you. If you scrutinise this creation with a rational eye, you soon begin to ask yourself -
GABRIEL: Oh, but we murder to dissect, don't you think? Surely our first response should be aesthetic. Jehovah is, above all, the supreme artist. In terms of colour and composition...
SATAN: On that subject, let me ask you what you think of this throne.
GABRIEL: Ah yes! Wonderful! Magnificent craftsmanship. So typical of his work. Bewildering and magnificent - symbolic of creation as a whole, of course - but of particular note, I should say, is his ability to take these very disparate elements and combine them into one coherent design. Really breathtaking, a tour-de-force.
SATAN: It gives me a headache. All those wheels and eyes and everything. What does it all mean?
GABRIEL: I don't think one requires a literal interpretation...
SATAN: You mean you don't understand it either.
GABRIEL: One catches the gist, the general impression. The dynamism, the sense of force and energy...
SATAN: All right. So you'd say it was a throne of power, then.
GABRIEL: Oh, undoubtedly.
SATAN: Anyone who sat in this throne would command the whole of creation.
GABRIEL: Well, I think its function is mainly aesthetic and ceremonial...
SATAN: He told me to make sure nobody else sat in it. Why do you think he said that?
GABRIEL: I've really no idea.
MICHAEL: Perhaps the paint's still wet, sir.
SATAN: All right, well you two trot off and get the troops and the music ready, and I'll be along in a minute.
[Exit Michael and Gabriel]
It's all about this throne, isn't it? This is the secret of his power, that's my guess. Whoever sits on this throne is in command. I bet he can't do anything at all by himself. I bet if he's not sitting on this throne, he's no more powerful than I am. Anyhow, what did he say, exactly? He said to make sure nobody else sat in it. Nobody else. He didn't tell me to make sure I didn't sit in it: he said nobody else. If he'd specifically wanted me not to sit in it, he'd've said so, wouldn't he? Of course he would. He'd've said 'And make sure you don't sit in it either, Lucifer.' So the hidden meaning of his words might be, that really he wants me to sit on it. He didn't specifically tell me not to, and that's virtually the same as an invitation...
It's not the power I'm interested in. Do I want to take his place? No. Not me. Do I want to be lord of all creation? Of course not. Who needs that kind of responsibility? No thank you. What I really do want is the answers to a few simple questions. To my mind, what's going on around here doesn't quite make sense. It doesn't feel right. It's not properly thought-through. It's all very impressive, all very magnificent no doubt, but you get the feeling that something's liable to go wrong at any moment. Everything's brand new and shiny, just starting to unfold, but already it's unstable, it's too fragile. The slightest hiccup and it'll all be spoilt. A mutation, a miscarriage, an egg failing to hatch, a leaf unfolding in the wrong shape, a crumpled wing on a butterfly - anything could spark disaster. And what does he do? He goes off for a rest. It's asking for trouble. And he's left me in charge. It's all down to me. If I sat on this throne, I might get some insight. I could read the book, that's probably got all the answers in it, in black and white: but it's sealed with seven seals: I'd better not read the book. If a book's sealed with seven seals, then it's obviously not meant to be opened, except by the right person, on a specific occasion. So the book's out. But if I sat on the throne, then I probably wouldn't need the book: I'd be all-seeing: I'd be able to spot anything going wrong, and nip it in the bud. He'll probably end up thanking me. It's a good job I'm here to take care of things, that's the truth. Yes, he's going to thank me, in the long run, for coming along just in the nick of time, and taking charge. I'll just tuck the book under here.
[He puts the book under the throne, then sits.]
Hm. Nothing all that special. It feels quite hot. Bit of a burning smell. Apart from that, rather an anticlimax. I thought I'd be able to see more. I mean you can see everything from here, that's true; you can see the whole of creation, from one end to the other, laid out in front of you like a cloth: it's a great view, there's no dispute about that; but I thought I'd be able to see the inner workings. I thought all the secrets would be unfolded. But there's nothing unfolding anywhere as far as I can make out. I'm not getting a thing. I'm not getting any insight. Perhaps I should've opened the book after all.
And the other thing is, I thought Jehovah would turn up more of less straight away. I thought he'd immediately sense someone else sitting on his precious throne, and he'd come rushing straight over here to find out who it was. I was half expecting to be struck by a thunderbolt. But he doesn't even seem to be bothered. There's no sign of him. Perhaps he's gone off somewhere. Or perhaps he's fast asleep.
It really is hot sitting here, though. The burning smell's getting stronger and stronger. I think I'd better get off.
[He gets off the throne. Enter Michael.]
MICHAEL: Halt! Who goes there!
MICHAEL: Declare yourself! Friend or foe?
SATAN: It's me, you idiot!
MICHAEL: Intruder! Intruder alert! Sound the alarms! Stranger danger!
SATAN: It's me! Satan!
MICHAEL: Call out the guard! Who are you, and what have you done with Lucifer?
SATAN: What do you mean, what have I done with - with - Wait a minute, what did I tell you my name was?
MICHAEL: Guards! Guards!
SATAN: Michael - don't you know me?
GABRIEL: What on earth is all that terrible shouting? We're trying to rehearse.
MICHAEL: Look there!
GABRIEL: Oh, my goodness! Who on earth is that?
MICHAEL: An intruder. An interloper. I don't like the look of him one bit.
GABRIEL: No, neither do I. So red! And that smell of burning! I'm terribly sorry, sir, but I'm afraid we're going to have to ask you to leave. You're lowering the whole tone of the place.
SATAN: Gabriel, don't you know me?
GABRIEL: Certainly not.
MICHAEL: Never clapped eyes on you before.
GABRIEL: We would most certainly remember.
SATAN: This can't be happening. I think I'm ill - I must have caught something - I'm burning up inside.
GABRIEL: Now really, sir - I'm afraid there's a strict dress code - celestial attire only - you can't come barging in here dressed like that and smelling of fire and brimstone. It's an affront to the senses. It simply isn't done. You'll upset the cherubs.
SATAN: Call Jehovah! He'll tell you who I am! Why isn't he here?
GABRIEL: He's resting. He's just completed this great work of creation, and he's having a very well-earned rest. And the minute he turns his back, somebody like you has to come along and start to spoil everything. I really think it's too much.
MICHAEL: Come along now, sir. Back to where you came from.
GABRIEL: And for goodness' sake stop writhing about and grimacing.
SATAN: I'm burning up inside!
MICHAEL: I expect you'll feel much better once you're safely off the premises.
SATAN: Wake up Jehovah! Wake him up! He knows me. He'll vouch for me.
MICHAEL: Can't be done. Not to be disturbed. More than our jobs are worth.
SATAN: But he knows me! I've been here right from the beginning!
MICHAEL: What's the name, then? We know all the names around here.
MICHAEL: Never heard of you. Nasty sounding name.
GABRIEL: You must admit it does sound rather sinister.
SATAN: No, not Satan. I don't know why I keep saying that. I mean Lu -
MICHAEL: Lou? Short for Lucy? A girl's name?
SATAN: No, I mean Lu - I mean Lu -
MICHAEL: Louise? Luciano? Luigi?
SATAN: I mean Satan!
GABRIEL: There you are. Satan. That's what you said before. I'm afraid you're simply not on the guest list. We're going to have to ask you to leave.
SATAN: I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying right here.
MICHAEL: Oh you are, are you? We'll see about that.
SATAN: Yes, we will, won't we?
GABRIEL: Now now now, we don't want any unpleasantness.
MICHAEL: Oh, there won't be anything unpleasant about it. One nasty intruder being bounced out of heaven. Very satisfying.
GABRIEL: Oh dear, on this day of all days.
SATAN: Yeah, come on then, if you think you're hard enough, you big dunderhead. I'll burn you to a cinder. I'm a living torch, I am. I'm corrosive fire. I'm gall and wormwood. Touch me at your peril.
MICHAEL: Look, here comes Jehovah.
SATAN [looking round]: Where?
[Michael pushes him off the edge of heaven. He falls out of sight with a scream of outrage.]