Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Gods Dead Or Withdrawn?

"'...the Gods of Ys are dead!' Gratillonius exclaimed. 'They brought Their city down on Themselves -' down and down into the deeps of the sea."
-Poul and Karen Anderson, The Dog And The Wolf (London, 1989), Chapter I, section 2, pp. 30-31.

I thought that they had merely ended their Pact and withdrawn. After all, Taranis is in the sky and Lir is in the sea. Neither was in the city. However, in this kind of context, people say different things and whatever makes sense to them. For Alan Moore's and Neil Gaiman's fictional accounts of what happens to former deities, see here.

Is there any practical difference between a God dying and merely withdrawing? James Blish's Satan says that God is dead:

"'Indeed our God is dead; or dead to us.'"
-James Blish, After Such Knowledge (London, 1991), p. 518.

- or maybe withdrawn:

"'Perhaps indeed Jehovah is not dead,
"'But mere retir'd, withdrawn or otherwise
"'Contracted hath, as Zohar subtle saith,
"'His Essence Infinite...'" (p. 519)

Satan has to quote a human document!

Wherever the Gods have gone, Corentinus says:

"'...we have come to the end of an Age, and everything is changed, and naught have we to cling to in this world unless it be our duty towards our fellow mortals.'"
-The Dog And The Wolf, p. 29.

Blish's white magicians face their new Age. Father Vance says:

"'Little that is in the New Testament, the teachings of the Church or the Arcana seems very relevant to the present situation.'"
-After Such Knowledge, p. 467.

They must abandon their monastic isolation, return to the world to work and witness and do it in the name of Christ even if hope is now all that they have. Father Boucher says:

"'I think it is all we ever had.'" (p. 468)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Darn! And I've started reading GO TELL THE SPARTANS, by Pournelle/Stirling! Now I want to reread THE KING OF YS and Blish's books. (Smiles)