Sometimes I am amazed when I repeatedly stumble upon similar profound thoughts in unexpected places. One recent example is my stumbling yesterday upon the song “Hatred (A Duet)” by the Kinks, and then today something that Frederick Buechner wrote in his novel “On the Road With the Archangel.”
The chorus of “Hatred (A Duet)” is wonderfully catchy and invites our nihilistic heartfelt accompaniment:
Is the only thing that lasts forever
In “On the Road With the Archangel,” the angel Raphael enters into a meditation upon why God allows demons like Asmodeus “the Destroyer” to exist, saying
I do not know why the Holy One permits such creatures to exist because I have never spoken of them in the Presence for fear that his forgiveness of my bad taste would consume me like fire. Perhaps the light of his glory casts shadows whose very darkness bears witness to its brilliance although the demons themselves would put it the other way round, of course, and claim that it is the darkness that is from everlasting to everlasting and the light of glory only the flash of a tear in the eyes of the eternally doomed. (p. 20)
So the “tongue in cheek” question raised by the Kinks via “Hatred”, and the serious question raised by Buechner via “the Archangel,” is whether love or the light of glory are the ultimate “kink” in the universe of “hatred”. What is norm and what is aberration, in the everlasting existence?
I think that humanity naturally recoils at the suggestion, which may provide some sort of an answer in itself, namely that if such oft morally depraved creatures as humans can conceive otherwise, that there is an otherwise. But the fact that “light dispels darkness before it” does not explain the existence of the “demonic” evils we experience. What then is the answer to Raphael’s question of God’s “permission” of Asmodeus? I’ll let Buechner answer via Raphael, who of his own question says,
But such mysteries as these are not to be solved by clever words. Even the angels can only stand dumb before them.
We can only stand dumb before them because essentially, we can only stand dumb before the Holy One.
I am Raphael, one of the seven archangels who pass in and out of the presence of the Holy One, blessed be he. I bring him the prayers of all who pray and of those who don’t even know that they’re praying.
Perhaps it is “hatred” that is the ultimate kink. I think that the Kinks hope so.
Comments, questions, are always welcome!
Original Content © Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity, 2014. Excerpts, links, and reblogging may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.