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Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Spring 1995 -- Volume 8:14


Grace in the Arts:

THE ALPHA STRATAGEM

An Annotated Work of Fiction

Part 2

FRANK D. CARMICAL
Evangelist
Harvester Ministries, Inc.
Plano, Texas

 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold . . .

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world . . .

1 Peter 1:18-20

 

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

Ephesians 1:4

 

And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was . . . Father, I desire that they also whom You gave me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold my glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world . . .

John 17:5, 24

 

Prologue

Having read the biblical passages above, meditate on the phrase before the foundation of the world. Let your imagination take flight back to that time before time.

Imagine what it could have been like after God created the Universe of starry galaxies when all the angelic sons of God sang for joy, but during that fearful day when Lucifer, the anointed cherub, began to lead a rebellion against the Most High. What ingredients went into that fateful decision faced by every angelic being—to choose loyalty to the Creator or disloyalty, forever heading down the path of eternal doom?

Think back to that same era of pre-history when the incarnation of the Son of God and His work on the cross were events in the distant future. Conceive of a time when salvation by grace was only a prophecy, pre-written in Heaven. What awesome preparations were made for our redemption, not only before we were born, but before the Earth itself was born?

Fasten your seatbelts. You are about to embark on a fictional journey down the corridor of time, across the ages of history, and back to eternity past.

 

Synopsis of Part 1

Lucifer, leader of the angelic rebellion, began his temptation of the angels who guard and rule the planets of earth’s solar system [given here with their Roman or popular names in parenthesis]: Apollo, (the Sun); Hermes (Mercury); Aphrodite (Venus); Gaia (Earth); Artemis, (Earth’s moon); Ares (Mars); Hera (as the planet destined to be destroyed and become the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter); Zeus (Jupiter); Chronus (Saturn); Ouranos (Uranus); Poseidon (Neptune); and Hades (Pluto). A majority of these planetary angels voted to accompany the Prince of Darkness on a journey.

Lucifer took this group of twelve on a guided tour of Planet Heaven, visiting specific sites: the Library, where the Eternal Written Word of God was stored, the Universal History Museum, where items such as the real Ark of the Covenant and the real Ark of Noah would someday be preserved and put on display after human history, the building site of the New Jerusalem, and finally the Mount of Election, a colossal slab of clear gold etched with the name of every saint in future history.

Over Gaia’s many objections, and building his case little by little, Lucifer attempted to create doubt about God’s justice, because of His lavish grace and love for the future saints of human history and the lack of any such salvation provided for angels. During a short break, Gaia was comforted by the angel Gabriel, and Zeus discovered Lucifer’s real stratagem—to kill the Son of God.

 

I

The next stop on this most unusual journey brought Lucifer and his band of twelve planetary angels to the outskirts of the Divine Palace itself. Here were to be found the stables for the Royal Family, a family which Lucifer was quick to point out was "politically incorrect," as we humans would say, for it discriminated against angels in favor of humans.

Outside the Palace were barns and stalls, stacked one on top of another at least ten billion high. Here were housed and fed not earthly, but heavenly steeds—huge, white, fearsome horses. These were not at all the grotesque, winged beings that the Greeks would one day imagine in mythology, but intelligent, fiercely proud creatures that could fly by a sheer act of the will.

Time fails to tell of the elaborate breeding, breaking, and training process of these marvelous animals. Anyone with the slightest background in the equestrian field can appreciate the exhausting work involved in teaching a fine breed to ride or race. These horses were taught to fly faster than the speed of light, not just in the atmosphere, but through outer space, and not just for peace, but for a future time of war—the Great Tribulation—that would be unparalleled since the inception of the Great Rebellion itself.

Having taken a tour of the immaculate stables with one of the angelic guides, Lucifer addressed his companions: "Why do you think He keeps these proud beasts? Why train them for war?

"The crown Prince of Heaven and His ‘redeemed’ bride shall someday invade the earth riding these creatures and make it His property forever."

Gaia smiled. "And when He comes again, I shall kneel on that day and lay my crown at His feet which will then be scarred by nails.

Ignoring her, Lucifer looked at the others. "Make no mistake. He will return as a conquering General. It will be an invasion—not only of earth, but of all your planets. You will be conquered, subjugated, and never again able to rule them as you do now."

Ares spoke up. "We won’t stand for that!"

Gaia shook her head in disgust. "Lucifer, you are truly insane. None of our worlds are ours to start with. They already belong to Him. He made them. He has a right to them. He has simply entrusted them to us for a while. To deny this is to deny that we are creatures.

"But that’s what bothers you, isn’t it? You detest being a creature. That’s why you aspire to be God! At last, I’m beginning to understand you!"

Again ignoring her, Lucifer continued: "Do you all hear how accurately she stated the divine principle of stewardship? It all belongs to Him. You each have the privilege of being vassal lords with your pitiful castles and serfs, but one day the King’s Son will come, and of course, you’ll gladly give it all back to Him on your knees, like your sincere, but misguided sister Gaia.

"Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to take that kind of treatment. Not from Him. Not from anybody!"

"And I’m sure," said Gaia, "that in your magnanimous hands we would all be equals."

"Better to serve Egypt than to die in the wilderness of allegiance to Him! He hoards it all, pretending to give, but all the while planning to take it back. Is that really the kind of Person you all wish to continue serving?"

Ares shouted back, "No! Hades, is that what you want?"

Hades remained enigmatic and silent as ever.

As they left, Lucifer called out. "Our business in Heaven is finished. Now, journey with me to your world, Gaia—to Earth!" And then he noted, "Black king takes white king’s knight!"

 

II

The thirteen flew through outer space faster than light, hopping dimensions as easily as children hop across stones in a brook. They arrived at the edge of the solar system in no time at all.

Lucifer sneered, "Ah, home, sweet home. And dear Hades, we are now passing your small, forgotten world. But it won’t be forgotten long! Here is the future prison house for all those mortals of the human race with whom mortality will catch up! How do you think it will feel to have all those Old Testament saints as well as the spiritual descendants of Cain locked up on your surface?"

Hades growled. "Don’t speak to me about it!"

"Forgive me, dear brother. You should know that I am on your side."

When the group arrived at Earth, Lucifer addressed Gaia. "Your highness, do we have your permission to enter the atmosphere of your world and land on the surface?"

"Of course. I never stopped you from coming before."

As the angels entered Earth’s atmosphere effortlessly and descended through the clouds, they began to notice the life forms for which this planet was famous. The one giant continent was teeming with gigantic animal life and thick vegetation.

Here was the home of animals that later would be called "terrible lizards," although that name did injustice to the myriads of species of reptiles and mammals that co-existed in peace and tranquillity. The angels noted with admiration the Tyrannosaurus Rex—not the fierce carnivore mistakenly characterized by a future evolutionary science—but an awesome creature that walked upright and playfully reached for tree leaves with its dainty paws.

Seeing a Stegosaurus and a Triceratops lumbering along gently near each other in search of food, Lucifer lowered his voice. "I must admit, Gaia, that here on your planet, I have always felt a peace of mind not unlike Heaven itself. It is here, with these mindless brutes that I have found camaraderie. There is something within me that identifies with these sleek dragons and serpent-like creatures. Even I can’t fully put it into words."

Flying to the center of the continent, the group arrived at their destination—Old Eden. Miners dug deep underground on other worlds to find gold, silver, and precious stones, but here on old earth, these metals and gems were found on top of the ground, as common as gravel.

Most spectacular of all sites in Old Eden was Lucifer’s Pavilion, located at the head of four ancient rivers, the chief ones being the Old Tigris and the Old Euphrates. Here, Lucifer had performed many a concert for the Almighty. Every precious stone, from diamonds to emeralds to sapphires to rubies, had gone into the building materials so that the entire amphitheater glistened like it was ablaze—only with cold fire. The Edenic Pavilion was so acoustically perfect that the passing waters of the rivers could be amplified to the thunderous crashing of a tidal wave onto a rocky shore or hushed to the whisper of a single dew drop falling onto the still surface of a pond deep in some silent woods.

Lucifer mused. "Some of my very best vocal and instrumental performances took place here."

"Naturally," Gaia quipped, "modesty forbids you to say more!"

Ignoring her, the old serpent continued. "It was here that I first began to grow dissatisfied with the Divine ways. Look! This is a world of unintelligent life with fabulous gems fit only for intelligent life! Why all this waste when they could have been sold and given to the poor planets who have no such wealth? Such egotistical extravagance and overindulgence makes me sick!"

Gaia landed in the center of the amphitheater. She spoke and her voice carried with perfect clarity to every corner of the pavilion. "No, you’re terribly, stubbornly wrong! The things you accuse our Sovereign Lord of are not selfishness, but virtues you’ll never understand.

"Listen to me, all of you. God is lavishly superabundant in all He does. Why are there trillions of stars that He calls by name every one differing from another in glory? Why are there billions of snowflakes, no two of which are alike? Why do millions of wildflowers decorate the face of your world, Aphrodite, that no eye will ever see?

"This is the way the universe is because the cosmos can’t help but reflect its Creator. That’s the kind of Person He is. Extravagant? Yes! And a million times more in grace and love and mercy—especially to those who will inhabit my world someday."

"Precisely my point, Gaia. The prodigality displayed here is an example of what He’ll do for them, but what He’ll never do for us.

"You see, He’s always in a quandary. Loving them and not appreciating us. Wanting to hate sin and yet love the sinner. He wants to be just and merciful, but the two are mutually exclusive.

"It’s merely a symptom of His greater shortcoming. He wants a unified whole to reality when reality is clearly a plurality. There are no absolutes—relativity and pluralism must reign in metaphysics as well as morality. He created it and it takes a creature like me to understand it! His vision is too broad. That’s why it’s distorted."

Zeus could not contain himself, striking his sword on his shield sending sparks flying. "Brilliant! The creature has surpassed the Creator!"

Gaia laughed. "Lucifer, I just realized that for this entire tour you’ve done nothing but talk about God. You’re obsessed with Him."

"Nonsense!"

"You can never achieve your real goal. You want to be like Him, but with every word you find yourself changing and growing more unlike Him."

"You’re going too far."

"Now I’ve found your Achilles’ heel! What sticks in your craw is that He is infinite and you are finite and you can never be what He is—you’ll always be a mere creature!"

"Silence!"

Gaia laughed again. "Check!"

 

III

The thirteen angels de-materialized and transported themselves deep within the earth to its molten core—a lake of fire.

Lucifer began. "To those of you who join me, this is our eternal home—a maximum security penitentiary, an asylum for the criminally insane, a galactic concentration camp. The real hell of it is its proximity for eternity to the New Jerusalem—in hell, we’ll be able to see their party, but unable to participate. No mercy. No redemption. No way out.

"Here His true character is revealed. He plays favorites. Heaven for some and hell for others who disagree with Him."

Gaia addressed the other angels. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Has it come to this that you will abandon the God who made you for the creature He has made? Join Lucifer and you deserve this fate!"

Lucifer shook his head in disgust. "Fundamentalism at its primordial best! He tortures us forever simply because we disagree. He calls my good evil simply because it’s a different good from His. He’s so narrow minded that He thinks only He is right! Now, I tell you that He is evil!"

Gaia shouted back, "Fool and Blasphemer! You’d have no standard of good and evil at all without the absolute standard of His Person."

"And you, madam, are a fanatic of the most pathetic sort—is He so weak and ineffectual that a mere created thing like you must defend Him?"

"He could wipe you out of existence with a single thought."

"But instead He decides to barbecue me forever—so much for ‘His lovingkindness enduring forever’!"

"In His mercy, He’ll allow you to say NO to Him forever. He forces His love on no one. The feeblest faith receives all that Heaven offers. He doesn’t lock you in your prison. It’s you who lock Him out."

Zeus interrupted. "I’ve seen enough for eternity. Let’s get out of here. Apollo, it’s time for us to vote."

Gaia spoke before Lucifer could open his mouth. "Let me say one more thing before you cast your votes. This time, you are voting forever. You have seen the place God has prepared for the devil and his angels. Is that really where you want to spend eternity?"

Lucifer sneered. "So now we’re going to use the old fear tactic. What a noble way to motivate people!"

Gaia spoke to her fellow planets. "He’s wrong, my brothers and sisters. Our Sovereign Lord is so gracious, He’ll use any and every means to keep a man or an angel from going to hell—any means that doesn’t compromise His Word. Which is worse, fear of the flames or being a fool burning in those flames forever?"

Lucifer scoffed. "And now, we see her practicing the old insult tactic—which we pull out of the magician’s hat when the fear tactic fails to get results!"

Gaia raised her voice. "Until today, has our Sovereign Lord ever once given any of you the slightest reason to question Him? Why in so short a time are you now prepared to abandon that long-standing trust and betray the One who’s never done you anything but good? Doesn’t He deserve the benefit of the doubt? Take Him at His Word, trust Him, and He will explain everything in time. Is it so unreasonable to treat Him just as you and I would want to be treated?"

She smiled. "I expect better things from you, brothers and sisters. I know that four of you have already defected to the other side. I know that Lucifer is about to win a major victory today, but let’s not give him the satisfaction of one more vote over our two-thirds majority. I am asking the other seven of you to side with me for an 8 to 4 loss—a victory in disguise.

"I’m asking you seven to join me in a vote that says ‘thank you’ to Lucifer!"

"W-What?" cried both Lucifer and Zeus, as the other angels looked at Gaia in disbelief.

There was the passion of truth and the conviction of triumph in her voice. "Yes, listen to me, all of you. Thank you, Lucifer, for the tour of Heaven and Earth that you’ve given us today. I admit I voted against going with you. And now I have to admit that I’m sorry I voted that way."

Apollo tried to interrupt her, but Gaia continued, giving him a wink.

"I’ve learned so much today that I have always taken for granted—that we have all taken for granted.

"Such fabulous wealth and such magnificent splendor has been right here in front of our eyes all this time and we’ve been so busy, so preoccupied with our own responsibilities that we’ve neglected them. Lucifer, without you, I’d never have seen all this."

Lucifer frowned. "This is some sort of trick—you’ve seen these things before."

Gaia shook her head. "I’m not talking about seeing with my eyes. You’ve helped open the eyes of my heart. It wasn’t until I saw through your twisted eyes that I looked into my own heart and soul and realized how blind I’ve been.

"Lucifer was right! We have been acting like slaves—doing our duties, keeping our small part of the universe going, the planets spinning and rotating—while all along we haven’t taken out the time to see our Creator as He is. If we’re paupers in a palace, it’s not because He’s made us that way. It’s because we’ve made ourselves beggarly by closing our eyes to the blessings around us.

"How gracious our Sovereign Lord is! He’s never once demanded that we worship Him or thank Him or honor Him. And that’s all the more reason to remain loyal to Him, no matter what the cost.

"Brothers and sisters, I appeal to you on behalf of Him who has never once taken from us, but has always given to us and blessed us. I know you’ll do what’s right, not for me, nor for yourselves, but for His sake, because He deserves it!

"I’ve said all I can to persuade you." Gaia turned to Lucifer, compassion entering her face for the first time. "Go ahead. Win this game of yours. We’ll see who loses the most."

Lucifer bowed in mock courtesy. "Yes. We shall see."

Gaia called to her brother, "Apollo, take the vote."

 

IV

Apollo held up his emblems. "I call for a vote. If you choose to remain loyal to God, vote Yes. If not, then say No. Remember our group’s majority rule—a better than two-thirds vote is needed by the majority to block Lucifer’s taking control of our solar system. This is the most important decision you will ever make. I trust you will all make it well, because you make it for eternity."

The decision was made by each angel in a way unfathomable to a human being. It was made by each of these heavenly beings in a moment immeasurably short or an age incalculably long, or better, outside of time altogether. They decided in no time, but the consequences were still just as awesome as that for any future soul in the human race, deciding Heaven or Hell.

Apollo began. "We go in order. As for me, I vote Yes—I remain loyal to our Lord of Hosts.

"Hermes, how do you vote?"

Hermes looked at Gaia and smiled handsomely. "Yes!"

Apollo smiled too and looked to the second in order of his children. "Aphrodite, what is your decision?"

After a long pause, she sobbed and covered her face with her hands. When she finally looked up, a beauty and innocence was gone from her countenance forever. She spoke with a new tone in her voice. "No. I won’t serve Him anymore. I join Lucifer."

At this, Zeus and Ares cheered.

Apollo looked at the only blue-green planet in his solar system. "Gaia?" Gaia swallowed hard at the shock of her sister’s defection. Then she raised her chin courageously. "Yes. All praise forever to the Name above all names!"

Apollo called to Gaia’s moon. "And what is your vote, Artemis?"
She answered sweetly. "Yes."

Angrily, Ares spoke up. "And I vote No. From this day forward, I am at war with the Almighty!"

"And how do you vote, Hera?" said Apollo.

"Can I wait until last?" she asked.

"You cannot abstain this time," answered Apollo.

"I know," said Hera, "But grant me this request. I wish to vote last."

"Very well," said Apollo, "And now we turn to the giants."

Smiling perversely, Zeus threw a thunderbolt into the sky. "And I vote No. From this day forward, I proclaim myself king of the planets and the gods. I bow to no one but Lucifer!"

Chronus paused a long while before speaking. When he did speak, it was with conviction. "Yes. I will not forsake Him who will never forsake me."

"What?" cried Zeus. "How could you do this to me?"

Chronus smiled. "To whom am I being disloyal, brother? To you or your new master?" Then, he briskly took his place by Gaia’s side and glanced at Ouranos in silent appeal.

Ouranus looked at Zeus sadly and also walked toward Gaia. "Yes. I never defected. My journey with Satan is over."

"Traitors!" yelled Zeus. "You’ll all pay for this."

Apollo looked to the angel of the sea planet. "Poseidon?"

Poseidon answered, "Nor can I be disloyal to One who’s never been disloyal to me! I vote Yes."

Zeus growled. "What’s going on here? Gaia, have you bought their votes?"

Gaia looked at Zeus and raised her eyebrows. "Remember, you’ve joined the other side. From now on, you must get used to the taste of defeat."

Apollo called to far away Hades. "And you, son?"

Hades whispered, "No."

Zeus clapped his hands. "We have the four votes to block your majority, Gaia."

Hera interrupted. "And now I will vote." She looked at Gaia and smiled. "Because it’s right and because we must do right even when everyone else does wrong, I vote Yes!"

Gaia shouted triumphantly. "You’ve won our solar system, Lucifer, but you’ve lost the war. Your average here was no better than anywhere else. In spite of all your boasts, you’ve never managed to pull anymore than a third of any of the stars from Heaven with your dragon’s tail."

Lucifer’s voice was no longer like that of a gentleman or an angel of light. "But I have won your solar system and now your puny planets are my pawns to do with as I please."

 

V

Zeus spoke up. "But aren’t we going to decide together?"

"Shut up, Zeus,"said Lucifer, "you fat, pompous idiot. I’m in charge of this game now and you’ll do what I say."

Zeus hung his head in defiant shame, tasting the first bitter fruits of rebellion.

Lucifer took over like a general. "Now to business. Zeus, you and Hades are in charge of the outer planets. Destroy them so completely that no plant, animal, or person can ever live on them again. Ares, you and Aphrodite, destroy your own worlds, and then Hermes’s. Zeus, I’ll leave Hera to you and Ares—do with her planet whatever you wish. Leave Gaia and Artemis to me."

The remaining loyalist angels raised their voices in outrage as Lucifer and his followers went to work.

Apollo raised his hands. "We didn’t have a majority vote to block them. We must submit to whatever they do."

As their voices subsided, Gaia spoke kindly to them. "Dear brothers and sisters, not one of you will suffer as my world will, but someday, you’ll understand when our Sovereign Lord makes all things new. For now, let us be brave. Soon it will all be over."

What followed was destruction and chaos unlike anything witnessed in the history of the cosmos. Hermes’s planet was reduced to a desolate wasteland, alternatingly freezing and blazing without its former atmospheric canopy to protect it.

So quickly had Aphrodite changed that when she destroyed her world, she could only look upon the hellish scene with contempt. Once second in beauty only to earth, the planet that would one day be called Venus became one of the most hostile of worlds, with crushing atmospheric pressure and intense heat matched only by reddish clouds laced with sulfuric acid.

Ares destroyed his own world with the glee of a hoodlum gone berserk on some inner city street. The once lush world of green vegetation and Venetian-style canals became a cold, barren desert.

A special punishment was meted out for Hera by Zeus and Ares. Together, the two bullies exploded and pulverized their sister’s world, creating an orbiting band of asteroids between them.

Zeus took longer to unmake his own planet, but when he was done, it was unrecognizable. Like Aphodite’s destruction of her world, Zeus made his forever hostile to any living thing—no solid surface, but a maelstrom of gases with temperatures in thousands of degrees Fahrenheit and zones of lethal radiation surrounding the poisonous atmosphere.

Chronus’s huge, but inviting planet, was reduced at the surface to a mass of toxic gases. One of the moons was accidentally destroyed by Zeus creating an unexpectedly beautiful by-product—what would later come to be known as "the rings of Saturn."

Ouranus, the solar system’s miniature of planet Heaven, was not only destroyed, but kicked on its side—its axis tilting at a right angle and creating a dark, sinister crescent—not from north to south pole, like earth’s moon, but from one side of its equator to the other.

Stripped of its beautiful oceans, Poseidon’s planet became a ball of frozen, blue-green methane. Hades, the last and loneliest of the planets, turned his world into a dark, frozen waste, in preparation for the day when it would be used as the place of the departed dead of earth.

For the unmaking of the earth and her satellite, Lucifer summoned his artistic muses and best demonic musicians to play their compositions. Earth-dwellers would attribute this music to nineteenth and twentieth century composers, but it was inspired long before by angelics—music from the romantic Wagner to modern Stravinsky to the non-music of Cage and Pendereski, and finally to the anti-music of rock and roll, heavy metal, punk, and rap, de-toned and de-tuned of all heavenly musical values.

As this symphony of decadence and self-indulgence played, Lucifer hurled comets at Gaia’s world. He killed the dinosaurs instantaneously and mercifully, while he kneaded the surface of the earth like dough, burying both the jewels of the Edenic Pavilion and the bones of the giant reptiles. This "burial" was carried out almost religiously, for he wanted to resurrect his pets at a future date to prove the evolutionary theories of a scientist named Darwin.

These convolutions shifted tectonic plates, causing massive earthquakes and volcanoes. Giant tidal waves overwhelmed the one large continent, submerging it under water. Lucifer took time out from the carnage to play some music himself, like a prehistoric Nero fiddling at the burning of Rome. Lucifer next turned his fury toward Artemis. The Moon’s pristine, porcelain-white face was showered with meteors until it was pitted and scarred with craters. No night sky would ever again see that face without its ugly splotches and blotches.

Apollo’s star, the sun, was left untouched physically, but the angel could barely control his grief and outrage as he watched the massacre of his planetary children. With his bow, he shot giant solar flares out into space. The loyal planets lifted up their voices and wept. Not until a distant future day called the New Creation would their worlds be whole again.

As clouds of steam and gas rose into the atmosphere, Gaia took one last look at Apollo, whose light and warmth would now be dimmed for the first time. Her face was wet with hot, salty tears, just like her planet’s surface, which was now a vast, worldwide ocean. As the temperature began to drop and ice began to form at the poles, Gaia turned her eyes to her little sister, always so close that even the ocean’s tides were pulled daily toward her. Now Artemis looked like a young woman defiled and deflowered by some brutal gang.

For a moment, Gaia saw a faint halo encircling Artemis’s once pearl-like orb, but soon the last gaseous clouds sealed the earth’s atmosphere like a crypt. Gaia wept uncontrollably and inconsolably. Like a battered wife, she hid her face in shame.

Was all lost? Was there no hope? Then, just as before, she felt the comforting hand of Gabriel and heard his soothing words of challenge and encouragement: "If you hold on to your life, you’ll never keep it. If you let go of your life, you’ll never lose it."

Lucifer surveyed his masterpiece of extermination with satisfaction. Once again he addressed God directly. "Black king takes white queen. Your King, your precious Son, is left unprotected. Once again, check. It’s still Your move!"

 

VI

News of the destruction reached the planet Heaven quickly. The great feeling there for all who heard was sadness, not surprise. The four living creatures, the twenty-four elders around the throne, and the myriads of millions of angels watched and waited in silence.

Before all the assembled loyalist hosts of planet Heaven, the Great Three-in-One manifested Himself as the Father from the emerald-colored rainbow-encircled throne; the Son both in and beside the throne; and the hovering, dove-like Spirit above, around, and through the throne. The heavenly hosts prostrated themselves in worship before the Blessed Tri-unity.

The Father spoke in perfect, righteous pride of the best Son a Father ever had:

"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,

My Elect One in whom My soul delights!

I have put My Spirit upon Him;

He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,

Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.

A bruised reed He will not break,

And smoking flax He will not quench;

He will bring forth justice for truth.

He will not fail nor be discouraged,

Till He has established justice in the earth;

And the coastlands shall wait for His law."

The Son replied in perfect, selfless submission, forever after the example for God’s people:

"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,

But a body You have prepared for Me.

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin

You had no pleasure.

Behold, I have come—

In the volume of the book it is written of Me—

To do Your will, O God."

"Not My will, but Yours, be done."

The Spirit intoned in perfected, errorless inspiration, as He would do again through the writing quill of a New Covenant writer millennia hence:

"For to which of the angels did He ever say:

At that moment, the Father began to speak, superimposing His voice upon the Spirit’s words, who was quoting the Father, the two together in stereophonic unison:

" ‘You are my Son,

Today I have begotten You’?"

The Spirit alone began once more alone:

"And again:"

And the Father joined Him a second time:

" ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son’?"

The Spirit quoted a third time:

"But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:

And the Father continued the phrase for a third time:

"Let all the angels of God worship Him."

The Father addressed His only begotten Son:

"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;

A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;

Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You

With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,

And the heavens are the work of Your hands;

They will perish, but You remain;

And they will all grow old like a garment;

Like a cloak You will fold them up,

And they will be changed.

But You are the same,

And Your years will not fail.

Sit at My right hand,

Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."

The Son prayed in eternal prescience, filled with such love that all saints and angels for all eternity could not comprehend its length and depth and breadth and height—love for the Father and love for those loved by the Father:

"Father, the hour has come.

Glorify Your Son,

that Your Son also may glorify You,

as You have given Him authority over all flesh,

that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

And this is eternal life,

that they may know You, the only true God,

And Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.

And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself,

with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me

may be with Me where I am,

that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me;

for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."

And the Father replied, announcing from eternity past into time, his Paternal imprimatur on the Crown Prince of Heavenly Peace:

"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

At this, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit each began to shine more brilliantly than the combined light of all the constellations. All the mighty suns and stars in space paled before this true Light which lightens every man. This trinity of suns merged slowly and majestically to form one sun, yet the combined glory of the one sun was no brighter than the three suns.

This sun then metamorphosed into a solitary hand, like that of a man, viewed from the back. The hand turned revealing itself to be not one, but two hands clasped together in the classic position of prayer, but not the two hands of one person, but the right hand of one person and the left hand of another person.

The two hands pressed together at the base of the palms and the fingers opened outward like the wings of a bird. As these "wings" began to gently flap, the image seemed at one instant to be the actual wings of a bird, but no—the hands of two individuals, but no—both the hands and the wings. Then the hands cupped together around the body of a dove, one hand on one side and the other hand on the other side. The hands lowered and then lifted, with a tremendous whooshing sound, and the bird took flight as the hands opened to release it.

And when the dove was released, the glow of the two that remained did not diminish, but as always, the three were equal to one and the one was equal to the three.

The eternal Spirit was sent on His Divine Mission, proceeding from the Father and the Son, leaving, yet never-absent, parting, but ever-present. This was no chess game—this was life: eternal life versus eternal death; the pure, snow-bleached whiteness of Holiness and Righteousness versus the foul, swamp-stained blackness of Iniquity and Injustice; the true heavyweight championship with the Son of Man stepping into the ring of time and space to be followed later by the Man of Sin. All the other chess pieces had been lost to Lucifer, but it only takes One King to win. The real Alpha Stratagem had begun.

 

VII

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."

In the void, a shapeless form appeared above the shoreless sea. The Spirit fluttered and hovered with anxious concern above the waters. Where all was darkness and chill and death, He began to impart light and warmth and life, like a mother bird cradling and caring for her young.

"Then God said, ‘Let there be light; and there was light."

In a future day, these same agents, the Spirit and the Word, would accomplish salvation on an even grander scale—not only redeeming creation, but also redeeming mankind, who was to become the fallen lord of this creation.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men . . . He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."

ENDNOTES

1All Scripture references are taken from the New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers), 1984.

2Let no reader suppose that the author believes in gods, goddesses, or the Earth-worshipping, New Age, "Gaia" cult (see "When God Was a Woman," TIME, May 6, 1991). In classical Greek, ge generally meant "the earth or world; the land in contrast to the water . . . In ancient Gk. mythology, ge and ouranos, sky, are among the oldest deities."("Earth, Land, World," The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Colin Brown, General Editor (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), 517. In this story, Gaia, Ouranos, and the other characters named after the Greek deities are the angels assigned to govern and control the planets of their same name or characteristic. For example, here Gaia is the planetary angel of earth, third planet from the sun.

Also note that this author does not believe in male or female angels, as clearly taught by Jesus Christ in Matt 22:30. However, although angels in the Scriptures consistently were spoken of in the masculine and took on the human form of men (Gen 19:1-5; Judg 13:1-21; Mk 16:5), at least one passage leaves open the possibility that angels could also be viewed as feminine (Zech 5:9-11). Thus, for fiction, The Alpha Stratagem posits unfallen, masculine and feminine angelic beings portrayed by the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, who decide in the story to join or not to join Lucifer’s rebellion.

For the classic theological treatise on this subject of angels and their relationship to physical matter, see The Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1952), 1: 269-377.

For the classic fictional presentation of planetary angels as well as the idea of masculine and feminine angelic beings, the author highly recommends C. S. Lewis’s "Space Trilogy:" Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength (all published in paperback in New York by Macmillan Publishing Co.). In the author’s opinion, this trilogy is among the most creative fiction ever written.

For the classic work on these gods and goddesses in Greek mythology, see Edith Hamilton’s Mythology (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 24-46.

3"It is related that Queen Victoria, deeply touched by a sermon of F. W. Farrar on the Lord’s Second Coming, said to him, ‘Dean Farrar, I should like to be living when Jesus comes, so that I could lay the crown of England at his feet’." Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1965), 447.

4The spirit of rebellion exhibited in the wilderness by Israel finds its very origin here in the angelic rebellion. Here I am using the literary device of allusion, used by Milton, T. S. Elliot, etc. Whereas this device normally alludes to past literature, the time of the story is eternity past, so the allusions must be to the future.

5Ezek 28:11-19

6I am indebted to Dr. S. Craig Glickman for the ideas on God’s lavish superabundance taken from his unpublished classnotes in Soteriology at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas in 1980.

7Compare Isa 66:22-24; Luke 16:23; and Rev 14:10.

8For outstanding evangelical defenses of the doctrine of hell, see C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1962), 118-28; The Great Divorce (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1946); and Norman L. Geisler The Roots of Evil (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978), 101-105. Calvin Miller has written of hell in a marvelous allegory called The Singer (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1975), 129: "‘God, can you be merciful and send me off to hell and lock me in forever?’ ‘No, Pilgrim, I will not send you there, but if you chose to go there, I could never lock you out’."

9A popular theory about how Saturn came to have its beautiful rings is that one of its moons was destroyed and the orbiting debris over time formed into rings. See Patrick Moore and David Hardy, The New Challenge of the Stars (New York: Rand McNally & Company, 1978), 28-29.

10Moore, Ibid. pp. 32-33.

In their classic work on flood geology, John C. Whitcomb, Jr. and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1961) refute this story’s premise by showing how the deluge in Noah’s day and its aftermath can handily account for all of the fossil finds and geological strata. In their cosmology, Whitcomb and Morris posit dinosaurs as co-inhabitants with man from the time of Adam to Noah and only later did the terrible lizards become extinct in the radically altered climatic and atmospheric conditions of the post-flood world.

Numerous books describe this theory of the extinction of the dinosaurs. Helpful summaries can be found in "Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs?" TIME May 6, 1985, 72-83 and "Rewriting the Book on Dinosaurs" TIME April 26, 1993, 42-49.

11This paraphrase of Jesus’ words from Matthew 10:39 is the advise given to Gaia by Gabriel in Part 1. For a human, Jesus’ words mean giving up your life in discipleship in return for eternal rewards. For the angels, this meant having their planets destroyed, only to be recreated in the future (Gen 1 and Rev 21).

12Isa 42:1-4.

13Heb 10:5-7.

14Luke 22:42.

15Heb 1:5-6; 8-9; 13.

16John 17:1-3, 5, 24.

17Matt 3:17.

18One of the most helpful books this author has found to illustrate the tri-unity of God is the classic work written before the turn of the century by Nathan R. Wood, The Trinity in the Universe (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978).

192 Thess 2:3. The conflict between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, between Christ and the antichrist can be traced through Scripture from Gen 3:15 through Rev 20:10.

20The founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, Lewis Sperry Chafer, in Systematic Theology, 1:376-77 has written the following about the incarnation of Christ as it relates to the universe and not just to humanity: "It is too often assumed that the coming of Christ into the world was an unprepared and abrupt visitation . . . The extent of Christ’s estate which was His before He came into the world is well described by Dr. Samuel Harris: ‘Thus in the knowledge of Christ we are lifted above the ‘provincialism of this planet’ and brought into fellowship with angels and archangels, with finite spirits of all orders and all worlds. God, in that eternal mode of his being called the Logos, the Word, the Son, existed and was working out great ends of eternal wisdom and love before his advent in Christ on earth . . . In ways unknown to us, he may have revealed himself to the rational inhabitants of other worlds in his likeness to them as personal Spirit. He may have been trusted and adored by innumerable myriads of finite persons from other worlds before he revealed himself on earth in the son of Mary. . .’(God the Creator and Lord of All, I, 413). Another has suggested that this earth might be ‘the Bethlehem of the universe’. . . There are those, Dr. I. A. Dorner in particular, who hold, and with much reason and some Scripture, that the first advent was not alone a mission related to the cure of sin, but that it was required in the progress of divine self-revelation. He maintains that to see God revealed in Christ Jesus is an essential experience for any and all who will reach the realms of glory, whether they have sinned or not. What deep and hidden meaning is contained in the words that Christ while here on earth was ‘seen of angels’?"

21Gen 1:1-3.

22This story depends theologically upon a widely held evangelical interpretation of Gen 1:1-3 which is popularly known as the "Gap Theory." Proponents of this view have included Arno C. Gaebelein in The Annotated Bible (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., 1970), 16-18; Clarence Larkin in Dispensational Truth (Philadelphia: Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, 1920), 22-24; William MacDonald in The Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), 32; Allen P. Ross "Genesis," in The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 28; Eric Sauer in From Eternity to Eternity , trans. by G. H. Lang (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), 17-19; C. I. Scofield in The New Scofield Study Bible 1989 Edition (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), 1-2. In fairness, it is important to note that the majority of Jewish, Christian, and Catholic-Protestant interpreters, both traditionally and in modern times, have not held to this view, preferring to interpret Gen 1 as an account of God’s creation in the absolute beginning.

Bruce K. Waltke, in his Creation and Chaos (Portland: Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1974), 18-39, argues convincingly that a "gap" is impossible exegetically and linguistically within Gen 1:1-3. However, Waltke, following suggestions made by Merrill F. Unger in Unger’s Bible Handbook (Chicago: Moody press, 1966), 37-38, leaves the door open for a gap of undetermined length between Gen 1:1 and God’s original creation. What is crucial to this "modified" gap theory is that both Gen 1 and 3 are parallel in structure and theological presuppositions. Gen 1 describes the circumstances of God’s re-creation of the Earth, but does not give us any information about how or why the Earth was ‘without form and void.’ Gen 3 describes the circumstances of the fall of Man, but does not give us any information about how or where the serpent came from. In this interpretation, the unity of Gen 1:1-3 as a narrative is preserved, while the theological presuppositions of a ruined earth and the existence of Satan must be derived from other texts.

23Gen 1:3.

24John 1:1-4, 10-12. The whole story of the angels is a leadup to this point—the earth recreated, a type of man’s salvation, predestined by the Trinity. The angels are merely fictional tools to portray the same decision for salvation we all must make.

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