In this next essay in “The Pernicious Lie” series, we take a chilling look at the life’s beginning from a unique perspective. There’s much to learn when we see life from another’s angle, especially if that angle is from … an archangel! Written while he was in high school, Nathaniel forces us to consider things we may not want to consider. Read on and be prepared to ponder … and pray. – Arthur
The masterpiece has been marred; consummation exchanged for corruption. “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25). How else could this “amen” be uttered except with grave solemnity? Indeed it is not an affirmation of “let it be!”, but rather a heavy assent of “it is true”. O, the sting of the truth of lies! How it grieves me to see that which was conceived in love, grow to maturity in bitter hate. What pain is felt in watching those who once walked with the Master, flee from the abuse of their masters. There is no place on earth that does not witness men breathe curses and raise their fists against the hand that formed them and the breath that infused them with life. If only earth knew how many tears heaven has shed on her behalf. But it was not always that way.
The world I now view with grief was brought to life in the midst of angelic laughter. Yes, I have seen it all, for I was there from the beginning. I watched with awe, in a spirit of hopeful expectation, as the Master spoke each creature into being and ordered the world into motion. “It is good,” (Genesis 1:25) He said after each design, for how could the Holy One create anything less than perfect and beautiful? It was exhilarating to observe flowers bloom, fruit ripen, animals frolic and prance side by side, and stars dance in the sky as if they were performing an age old routine, all for the first time. It was all fresh, new, bursting with life, and the joy of living was pure. Heaven erupted in celebration as we considered the splendor of our King’s handiwork. It is not surprising that we gazed intently through the portals of heaven as the sixth day in history dawned. There was that look in the Almighty’s all-knowing eye that read “just you wait, you haven’t seen anything yet.” I couldn’t even fathom what was about to be brought into existence, yet I must admit that I did overhear parts of the conversation of the Three Lords. “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26). Man? What was man? Or who was man? Could he actually bear the image of the Holy One? Would he be like us angels? Would he really be like God? That final question is all too familiar as I recall how the “morning star” and “son of the dawn” (Isaiah 14:12) fell from heaven, from glory, and from Truth. “I will make myself like the Most High,” (Isaiah 14:14) was our chief’s resolve, yet such an aspiration reserved him headship only over the lowest depths of hell. Yet for the moment, all my doubt was dispelled as God blessed man and gave him authority over all the wonders He created. “Very good,” is how the God of all goodness described the pinnacle of His creation. And indeed, in the man I saw the image of the Lord. He had a mind capable of pondering truth, he possessed creativity and authority, he used language and words to communicate thoughts and emotions, he was intimate in relating with the woman made in the same likeness as he, and he was given an eternal soul which was created to last forever. Man was a masterpiece! In him was showcased the eternal power, love, and glory of our Creator.
That was the way things were intended to be, yet the Master knew full well that that was not the way things were going to be. For here again the pernicious lie that took Lucifer captive soon strangled the glory of creation: “You will be like God.” (Genesis 3:5). As I heard this empty promise clothed in partial truth, I longed to scream that they were already like God, at least as much as their physical, created selves could handle. Living in a place where the light of His glory is enough to illuminate the whole land, I yearned to shout that they could never fully be like the Holy One, the one and only I AM. “You will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:5) was the bribe Satan used to lure Eve. And it was all too quickly that this carefully disguised warning turned into a curse. As the One who simultaneously sees the past, present, and future, the Almighty was intimately acquainted with good and evil. He truly knew, as only He could, the murder of Abel, the licentiousness of Sodom and Gomorrah, the cruelty of the Egyptian slave lords, the massacring of Hebrew infants to Molech, and the divine sacrifice of Calvary. Only the I AM could know the end from the beginning. Yet it was at that moment that the journey began for the image-bearers, including me. I could have never fathomed the horrors I would behold as soon as their eyes were opened. The vitality of the misty garden air soon evaporated and the gruesome stench of death hung in its place. Before long, I and another archangel were summoned into the throne room of the masterful Artist and Architect. It was indeed shocking to see the countenance of the Almighty’s face shift so quickly from holy bliss to righteous anger. I shielded my eyes not only from the brightness and radiance of His light but also from the scorching heat that exuded from the consuming fire our God had become. “You shall guard the Eastern side of the garden to prevent humankind from reaching the tree of life,” He commanded, His voice marked with an intense sadness. Then a flaming sword was brought forth and His powerful hand extended and gripped the weapon; in turn He entrusted the blazing object to me. “Now it is necessary to rule by force, yet there will come a time when those who live by the sword will perish by the sword, and I will be Lord of their hearts once again. Trust, dear one, that in the end all will be infinitely greater than a return to Eden.” And with that I descended onto the terrestrial planet, sword in hand. I stood at the gate of what was now paradise lost. I peered briefly into the hazy annals of time and history, glimpsing the lives of countless individuals. All were tormented by their experiential knowledge of evil which was growing deeper with every passing moment. How could the intimacy of evil and humanity truly be used to restore the beauty and glory of Eden? How was it possible to exceed the perfection of creation? Amidst the cacophony of questions and the jarring sights and sounds of evil, His assured voice resonated with my ears and my soul. “Infinitely greater,” was what He promised. I knew I needed to trust the hand that brought man from the dust, that wielded the flaming sword, and that offered hope in the midst of despair. In His sovereign hand, it would all be good. It was a promise, from the Almighty.
– Nathaniel Hsieh (2009)