A New Creation
No one had seen or heard from Lucifer for a while after he left, although many had a feeling that no one had ever experienced before, a kind of discontent and nervousness. God however, became cheerful again, despite the rumours that had been circulating around the city. No one had dared ask God about it. Because only a few had seen what had happened, dozens of stories had been made up, and the real truth had been diluted and poisoned so much. Absolutely no one knew why Lucifer had gone, and many greatly missed his humour and power – in a similar way as God, one always felt somehow greater when in his presence. There was a small element of fear about it. Most had the notion that Lucifer had been thrown out of Heaven, but they did not know why; and feared that God had just decided that He didn't like some people any more. Some believed that Lucifer had left of his own accord; others that God had sent him on a mission. Seth wasn't sure if he was allowed to tell anyone what he saw, but he did, as did the others who saw; but naturally people added their own spin on things. Some who believed that God had thrown Lucifer out were not happy about it, and quite angry with God. Seth sometimes saw small groups of people standing mumbling to each other. There were whispers of discontent and Seth thought he heard someone say that he trusted Lucifer more than God, because he didn't think God was supposed to hurt people. Seth was sure that no one would actually say that, so he ignored it at the time, but what he thought he heard kept nagging at him.
Surely you can always trust God, can't you? If you don't have that, you have nothing.
A few angels, however, did know exactly what had happened; and after a while one angel was determined to find out everything, after being fed up not knowing. Seth was present when Michael approached Him to ask. Michael was commander of the army, a little self-important, and - Seth thought – felt like he deserved to know everything. God was quite cryptic sometimes; not to be annoying, although that was usually the end result. That was just His nature. As a general rule He told people what they asked to know. Some things, He wanted to let them figure out for themselves, so He would only give them a hint; and some things, He said they simply could not know, at least not yet.
Seth was on guard duty again in the throne room while God was playing chess with Gabriel. The throne room was long and thin, with the throne at the opposite end to the door. Made of a shining light grey, it was not bright like silver, but not dull, just a pleasant neutral colour. The ceiling was so high it was not even visible, but rather it looked like there was no ceiling, and that it was open to the sky. The doors leading into it were large and wooden, encrusted with jewels and gold. The guards stood by the door on either side but nowhere else. Around the side of the room were columns, straight and fluted; and in front of each column was a fiery seraph, singing praises to the Lord. Behind the rows of columns were tall windows, letting in the light from outside, not that the throne room needed it. Seth wondered how much of Heaven's design was actually needed, and how much God just put in for aesthetic pleasure. Draped down every second column was a piece of scarlet silk with golden images of those creatures that could also be seen carved into the columns on the outside of the palace. Along the length of the hall were two wooden tables, one on each side of the throne, with chairs by them. They left a corridor down the middle of them leading from the door to the throne. The throne itself was placed on a circular platform a few steps high. On this occasion there was a chess table to the side of the throne, accompanied by two chairs. The throne itself was large, with a back that rose a few metres into the air. The armrests were padded with scarlet fabric, as was the seat.
There was a knock on the doors and the Lord said to come. Michael pushed open the doors and walked towards the throne with such authority and command it was impressive to watch. When an Archangel like Michael walked past a guard on duty, it was customary to place one's right hand in a fist over one's chest, and bow one's head slightly in respect. Seth did so. Michael arrived at the throne and dropped to one knee, bowing before the Lord.
"My God and my King!" he said.
The Lord rose from the chess table and picked Michael up gently and warmly from the floor, smiling at him.
"What is it Michael?"
Michael breathed deep and heavy, as if preparing to do something that frightened him.
"Lord, why did you do that to Lucifer?"
Silence. Michael never did beat around the bush. All the guards on duty tried their best to hide their interest in the conversation and not turn their heads towards them. God's smile fell a little, and He walked over to the throne and sat down. Gabriel, still sitting, looked at his friend Michael and tried to smile, but fearful of the question – and the answer, then turning back to God, appearing very interested.
"Why did you turn him into that disgusting… thing!? You cast him out of Heaven, to the desolation!" Michael's voice began to rise and get progressively angrier, "Could you not have just talked some sense into him? I don't want to question you Lord but it was so brutal, so cold! Do you not love him?"
"That's enough, Michael!" said the Lord, quietly, and very solemn.
His eyes were fierce while His posture was low. Michael immediately stop talking, and stood, no longer powerful and angry, but somewhat weak and vulnerable before the voice of God. He seemed very unsure of himself suddenly.
"I know you're upset, and I know you have doubts, but before I say anything else you must believe that I will always love you, no matter what you do, and I will always love Lucifer, no matter what he does."
God's voice was calm and loving, but firm.
"Please don't automatically assume that because that happened to Lucifer, that I wanted it to happen. I am broken with sorrow because of it!" He went silent for a moment, looking away, taking a deep breath, and then speaking again, "I wish it didn't have to happen that way, but it did. Lucifer sinned, and sin must be punished. Would I prefer to have Lucifer back? Yes, most definitely, but he made his choice. He chose to live outside of my grace, to live in sin, and that is what sin does! I was very reluctant for that to happen to Lucifer, but that is what happens. Maybe someday you will have to make a choice that isn't easy. Someday you will be torn between two options, where part of you wants one thing, and another part wants the opposite. You have to do the right thing."
Michael was silent. Everyone was silent. Seth still didn't fully understand. God could have done whatever He wanted; perhaps it wasn't so much what God did, but what Lucifer did. Perhaps God didn't turn Lucifer into that beast, but that is just what he was without God.
"What exactly did Lucifer do?" spoke Gabriel, plucking up the courage to ask.
The Lord sighed and spoke.
"Lucifer was proud."
"We all know that, Lord, he was the highest of all Heaven next to you! Who wouldn't be proud?" asked Michael.
"That's exactly the point. He was proud because he was the highest. He would not be happy with being second best."
"What do you mean? Was he not any more?"
"No, and neither are either of you."
There was a brief silence while Gabriel and Michael, now the two highest angels in Heaven, looked at each other in confusion and then back at the Lord.
"We don't understand Lord," said Gabriel.
"Your kind have always been very special to me, and you always will; but there is more that I wish to do. All of you live in direct communion to me, but soon there will be a new race that will not. I will prepare a place for them to live, where my presence will be only in spirit, not like you see me now. This race will love me in a way you will never understand, as they will not know me as you do. They will govern themselves, I will not rule them as I rule you, although I will still be Lord of their land! You will not commune with them, or they with you. They will be my favourite children!"
Gabriel and Michael were a little stunned by this. The angels had always been God's children, now they were to have more?
"Why Lord?" asked Gabriel.
"Because I want to," said the Lord, "if you trust me, that is all the reason you need."
Silence from Gabriel and Michael. They trusted God surely, but were not fully satisfied by this response. Truth be told, they felt a little bit like Lucifer did, as did some of the guards in the room.
"You love me because you know me, you see me," continued the Lord, "Humans will not. They will have only a taste of my presence, for that is how I wish to be loved: by faith. You love me because I am here, but they will love me because of what I will do for them. I will love them differently, but that does not mean I love you less. You will be their protectors where they live, serving me while they live."
"And these… humans, will be greater than us, if we must protect them?" said Michael, with a scathe in his voice.
"Yes Michael, and you will protect them because you love me."
There was another silence, and Michael seemed to be discussing the matter with himself in his head. Gabriel sat silently, looking at the floor with a strange, not completely happy smile on his face.
"I love you Lord," said Michael finally, squaring his shoulders before his Master.
"Lucifer loved me," said the Lord.
"I will love you still Lord, until the other end of infinity. I will stay by your side, and go where you say I must go. I remain your servant, and the servant of your new children!"
"Thank you Michael," said God, smiling, "And you Gabe?"
Gabriel's sad smile turned joyful when the Lord looked at him the way He did. Gabriel said nothing, but no words were needed, he and God knew what was thought.
"Do you not think Heaven needs to know about this Lord?" asked Michael.
"Yes, Michael, and they will. Gabriel, send word around the city for everyone to be in the square."
"Can we finish the game first?" Gabriel asked, hopefully.
"Of course!" the Lord laughed.
At that moment the doors of the throne room opened, and there entered in eight angels armed with spear, sword and shield. It was the changing of the guard. Seth greeted Matthias with a handshake and a smile, for they had always been best friends. Darrius came with the new guards also and stood opposite where Seth was standing. Darrius was somewhat like Seth's brother in that they had first opened their eyes at the same time, right beside each other. Being created at exactly the same time made them brothers in Heaven, and they had been close friends ever since. Darrius grinned cheekily at Seth and winked, as he always did. Seth could never help but smile back. Some of the other guards who were leaving did not seem at all happy, and Seth knew it was because of what they had learnt about why Lucifer left. Seth trusted God, but was now not so sure about some of the others, who stormed out ahead of him.
"Lucifer left because he did not want to exist with my new children," said the Lord, "and would not change his mind. He would not see reason, and felt I was not fit to rule Heaven. He tried to usurp me, and he will try again, and he will have followers."
The Lord sat down at the chess table opposite Gabriel, and Michael stood and watched.
They played for a time longer until, while both were concentrating very hard, Gabriel moved his Knight into position.
"Well Gabe I guess you win," sighed God, sitting back in his chair.
"Woohoo!" exclaimed Gabriel, throwing his hands up in the air, standing up and performing a short victory dance, "I can't believe I won!"
"Lord," Michael began, shocked, "we all know you have infinite wisdom, and know exactly what moves Gabe would make. How did you possibly lose?"
"Ahh, but if I let myself win all the time, there would be no fun in the game would there?"
"So you let me win?" asked Gabriel indignantly, very quickly ceasing his ridiculous dance.
"No no no! Well, sort of. Just because I can know what moves you will make, does not mean that for the fun of this game, I'm going to choose to know. I am playing at a skill level that will be a challenge for us both. If I can't lose then it is a very hollow victory, do you understand?" He began to smile cheekily at Gabriel, "And, anyway, I wouldn't want you to cry like some sissy because you never win!"
Gabriel pushed the Lord on the shoulder playfully but it was so hard and that he fell off his chair. There was a tense silence as Gabriel stepped back in fear and Michael stood perfectly still, both terrified of what God might do after the incident with Lucifer. God stared at Gabriel, and then grinned once more. With a quick thrust of his leg he tripped Gabriel and had him on the floor as well. All three, and all the guards, began to laugh.