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[Caldwell, Taylor. Dialogues With The Devil. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1967. pp 12-17.] Please see Taylor Caldwell’s Dialogues With The Devil (1967) #1 of 22 for an introduction to this serialization.
GREETINGS to my brother, Michael, Archangel of the Conformists who ask no troubling questions:
. . .
For another time without count you have asked me to have some pity on Terra, that miserable speck of congealed slime that lumbers heavily about a wretched dwarf yellow star in a forgotten boundary of your own Galaxy. There have been moments when I have considered if Our Father had not deliberately tormented me by choosing that depraved little morsel for the scene of His universal Redemption. From among the inconceivable bounty of His billions of worlds He chose the most loathsome and insignificant, the dullest and most lightless, the most stupid and degenerate. Is there a meaning in that? Who knows His Mind? You, too, have asked that question. I, therefore, am not alone. You, however, accept meekly. But I am not meek and so there can never be any acceptance in me, but only incredulity and affront. Endless other worlds have sinned and fallen, under my tutelage and suggestion, beautiful vast worlds of blinding color and enormous vistas and splendid cities, and with men who could at least claim to have a wink of intelligence. But He did not choose one of them. He chose the most vulgar, the most animalistic, the muddiest, the dirtiest, the most inarticulate, the least endowed with poetry and comprehension, without mercy and faith and learning. It is not worthy even to be called a latrine or a gutter, this murderer of prophets and heroes, this murderer of God, Himself. This delighter in filth, in sins most abominable and unspeakable, this arrogant little squeak in the song of creation! I have felt some pity for other worlds which have fallen, for they had some splendor and some glory. But for Terra I have only revulsion. Half desert, half storm, half-polluted seas, half-eroded mountains, it is a fit habitation of the creature which reared itself on its hind legs and dared to call itself a man!
. . .
You will say, as you have said before, that it was Our Father’s will, and that His Son was born for that very purpose of the one creature unstained by the contemptible sins of her fellowman. It was a Consummation [an act of completing], you have told me, that He designed from the beginning of time. . . .
Would other worlds have consummated that supreme crime, other worlds fallen and now vanished? I think not. They, evil though they were, would have revolted . . . even if they had considered the Christ only a man as they were men. They were not forever intent on the murder of the innocent, for the destruction of the harmless, despite their tedious wars. The manifestly pure and good never aroused their hatred, as the men of Terra are endlessly aroused. Even if the good angered them they recognized its virtue, and though they often exiled it, out of expediency and because it was troublous and interfered with the enjoyment of life, they did not torture and condemn it to death in a most infamous way. They even gave it an amused honor, though they did not wish to embrace it. They had tolerance, so they were truly men, suffering what was incomprehensible and annoying. . . . Does Our Father realize that in truth the creatures of Terra are not absolute men, and was it His desire that He raise them to manhood? If so, He has dolorously failed. Those who are men on Terra can be counted only in the thousands, and it was always so. They conceal themselves with justified terror and prudence from those who presume to call themselves their fellows. They hide in far places, behind walls and in jungles, in the lost sanctuaries and in the deserts. When they emerge with words of love and mercy and compassion they are greeted with derision, or with the inevitable murder. Have they not learned? Will they never learn? The man who comes with the bread of pity and the bread of life in his hands is doomed, forever and a day, on Terra, to hatred and assassination.
Our Father, through the ages of Terra, inspired priests of all religions with the secret and mystical knowledge that He would send His Son to man to open again the gates of eternal life . . . There was not a religion through the ages which did not dimly proclaim the coming of the Redeemer. The priests of Babylonia, of Egypt, of Greece, of Rome, of Persia, of wearisome other nations also, proclaimed this living Promise. . . . The prophets repeatedly announced the coming of God unto man, in his flesh. Do I need to recall to you the words of the prophet, Isaias: “Unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given. The Government is upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.” His Mother was prophesied: “Who is she that looks forth as the bright morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” . . . God did not withhold His secret, nor come in stealth without prophecy. Yet, when He came He was murdered.
It has been endlessly amusing to me to listen to men since the day of that most infamous murder. . . . Liars, liars! The men of Judea, who had witnessed through the ages the mercy of God, said to Jesus, “Had the prophets been born to us we should not have killed them!” But all men kill their prophets . . .
Had not God been born to the Jews His Name would still be unknown among the children of men, for It would have been obliterated. But the Jews had cherished and remembered the prophecies of the Messias, and when He came among them thousands of them indeed did cry, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” It was not an accident that He Chose His Apostles from among the Jews, for only they were devoted to the prophecy, and recognized Him. . . . I often conjecture: Had not Israel been oppressed by Rome, and in terror of her, would the Christ have been yielded . . . by the priests of Judea to the Romans? Had Israel been free, would she not have joyously lifted up her Lord and proclaimed Him to the nations? But then the prophecies of Isaias would not have been fulfilled. It is a great mystery and I despised it from the beginning. The ways of God are indeed inscrutable, and a weariness.
It was the Jews who spread the “good news” to the children of men, that the Messias had been born and had died for the salvation of men, according to the prophecies. It was the Jews, who for three hundred years, cried forth the words of deliverance from evil — from me. They took His Name to the Greeks and the Romans and the Persians and the Egyptians — and died in their own blood for the message. They died joyfully — for nothing. For I followed them everywhere, and raised up haters and cynics among the listeners, and skeptics among the wise and urbane — as I raise them to this day. I whispered, “Nonsense!” to the multitudes, and they laughed at the Jews and struck them down, as they had struck them down in Egypt and Persia and Syria and Babylonia. . . . And in Terra today, where the whisper and laughter and merriment announce, “God is dead!” It is my ultimate success.
You have asked me always, “Why do you do this thing?” I do not do it out of hatred for Our Father, Whom I love. I do it to prove to Him that He was wrong from the beginning, and that He must erase, forever, the memory of Him from among the cattle who dare to call themselves men. Shall a beast share in the feast of the Holy of Holies? It is a profanation. The tramples of hoofs in the Temple must cease! The ass and the wild owl and the serpent must know the Temple no more. I shall not rest until this is accomplished. I shall not rest until Terra is dead, and dies in her own fire and blood, for she has blasphemed God too long.
I have given Terra the formula for her death, as I have given similar formulae to the men of other worlds. you will not rejoice with me that this abattoir [slaughterhouse] of God and prophets and heroes will soon be caught up in the whirlwind of flame as prophesied by the prophet, Joel. But then, you do not share with me my abhorrence of mankind, wherever it has manifested itself throughout the universes. The suns and the worlds were created for angels, and not animals who stink of manure and sweat and vice and bowels and bladders and disease and all vileness.
It is again my vow that I shall not cease until this insult against God has been purged by universal death, and until the province of the galaxies belongs to angels only. If God will not do it I shall.
Your brother, Lucifer