Jacob and the eternal unchanging law, second go
07 Jun 2010
There was a final blast of hot air, and Jacob fainted, and fainting, died.
He woke to the sound of distant lyres, and an angelic voice rising and falling following some alien rhythm he had never before heard, yet immediately loved.
He found himself standing in the middle of a green field, bounded by up-billowing white clouds through which the sun shone from below. The sky above was light blue and cloudless; the other end of the field held a palace that could have swallowed any palace of Padua, or all of Padua, without a hiccup. It rose in waves of white marble, and then stabbed upwards in a pale shaft a thousand paces wide; and looking up, Jacob realized with vertiginous terror it was just one support of a still greater palace, one whose lamps were suns, whose immense statues of angels in flight held softly glowing moons instead of mirrors; and this impossible structure seemed to be a mere brick in a still more immense building, holding up something which glowed golden in eye-watering distance --- but Jacob had to look away. The surprising sight of it all was too much.
Especially considering this was not at all where he had thought he had been destined to go.
"Welcome", a voice said from behind him, much the same as the source of the angelic song that he now noticed had ceased as he gawped at the structure above. The voice came from a young woman with an angelic face, and angelic wings delicately folded on her back --- and with a rising panicky feeling Jacob Bonaventura Cellini, a dead sinner, realized this was no woman, but an angel of the Lord.
"Be not afraid", the angel said, and stepped closer.
This quite failed to comfort Jacob, who without a second thought fell to his knees and appealed to the she-angel's womanly mercy, if any, and begged to not be sent to the flames of Hell he so well deserved; begged to not be sent at all, as he was an inconsequential being; and begged, if that was not possible, to be flung to Limbo instead, or given a brief while to repent before the endless lurid tortures, if at all possible.
After much wailing, the angel seemed more puzzled than pitying, but there was no gap in the ground to flames below to be seen anywhere, so Jacob was not altogether despondent as he rose, still trembling, to hear the judgment due to him. He had no appeals left to voice; and it was easier to run from a standing position if things came to that hopeless extremity.
"Your concern is misplaced", the angel said with smile and shrug of its shoulders. "The law of the Lord is eternal and unchanging, and the image you mortals had of it was in some aspects erroneous."
"What?" Jacob said.
"Contrary to the common belief of your time, homosexuality such as yours is no sin. The powers of Heaven shall give no man nor woman over to the torment of Hell for expressing their inborn sexual inclinations with consenting adult others."
"Er, so", Jacob muttered, "you know I'm a s-sodomite... and I'm not going to be sent to Hell?"
The angel nodded. "Not you; and not anyone else. But the wicked men that judged you and killed you for this imaginary sin, they shall be bound to Hell when their time comes."
Jacob fought to keep his face expressionless, as whatever the differences of Heaven were, gloating surely was no virtue in this altered state, either. "How... how, er, sorry, your... your angelic excellence---"
"Titles are not necessary", the angel said. "You may call me Zadkiel, or you may call me a friend. Either will do, for Heaven is not a place of formality."
"How... Zadkiel, how far... how much wrong was what I was taught about Heaven? If sodomy is not a sin, then what else isn't, and what is?"
"The laws of mankind change only slowly, reluctantly, but three millennia after the crucifixion of Our Lord they will have attained a near shape of the divine law. As you already know, homosexuality is no sin, and neither is a breaking of the vows of marriage, for in that distant year marriage itself is no more, and all who believe are married to each other, as they are to the Christ. That is as it should be; and so it shall always be judged, not according to the whims of mortals, but by the will of the Lord. Furthermore, it is no sin for any to lie with any other, be they of the same sex, or of same blood, or even added to with parts of metal, or parts of animals, or if they be wholly of animal origin---"
"What? You mean incest is not sinful in the eyes of the Lord?" Jacob cried, taking a step back, suddenly all alert for the fiery pit again.
The angel shrugged. "Why should it be, between those that can consent to it and do, and do so out of love?"
"And what's this talk of animal parts?"
"In time there will be animals that have the intelligence of human beings; and sexual congress with those beings, consenting and understanding, shall be no sin either."
"Th-that's blasphemy! There's no way dunking a cow will ever be to God's liking no matter how smart such a beast may be! It's wrong and terrible of you, monster, to claim Our Lord and Savior would ever approve the sin of bestiality!"
For a few moments they stood there, the angel unmoved and somehow sad, and Jacob tense, angry, full of suspicion and righteous, clean, pure rage.
The angel said: "What you think is not correct. Do you suppose the Lord should change his ways with the changing of human laws, and rescue from Hell those condemned under the newly outdated commandments? Do you think your temporal whims should indicate similar fluctuations in the judgments of the Lord of All? No, the laws of the Lord are eternal and unchanging, and your mortal intimations merely slowly evolve towards a picture of their image. Come now with me; I shall show you all the pleasures there are to be had in the fields of Heaven."
"I do not believe you", Jacob shouted, "you tempter! You cruel deceiver! This is no Heaven, and you are a devil of Hell!"