Sunday, 2 July 2017

"The Living God!"

Poul Anderson, "Requiem For A Universe." See here.

Rhys Davis, holothete, consciously runs a self-evolving computer simulation of the entire history of the universe. Because Davis becomes visibly distressed, a "linker," who is in circuit although not participating in the program, cancels the operation and Davis goes catatonic.

The explanation comes at the end of the story. However, Anderson plants a clue earlier. Davis is not overtly religious but was taken to church as a boy by his parents and says that he walks in awe. It seems that he became distressed while experiencing the heat death of the universe but also saw something that made him cry out, "'"The living God!"'" (p. 40)

In the darkness after the universe, a smiling and loving spirit, appearing as a flame, refers to us as "' forebears...'" (p. 46) So this "living God" is not our Father but - the Son of Man. I do not use this phrase lightly but I do know that this was not its original meaning. See here. A "son of man" is a man but "one like a son of man" is supernatural humanoid being whereas the "God" encountered by Davis is literally our descendant.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Or perhaps Davis exclaimed "The Living God" not because the Great Flame he saw was God, but from awe at what God's creation had become?

Or was this Flame indeed am appearance in glory of the Second Person of the Trinity, Christ, both God and Man? If so, it would be quite natural for Christ to refer to his HUMAN ancestors, indeed all mankind, as "my forebears."