In a dream, I once saw a dreadful beast prowling. At least, I couldn’t see much of the beast itself, owing to the darkness surrounding it, but its bulk crashed against the undergrowth, and its teeth ground noisily.
It was terrifying – although not surprising – to hear the beast break out into a hideous roar. It sounded hungry. My fear however left me as I felt a kindly presence behind me: protecting me from the anger of the beast. The beast continued its fruitless search close to where I was: but my protector would not let it find me, and I knew myself to be safe.
“Why is that beast there?” I asked my protector. “Why are there beasts at all? Didn’t God make all things good?”
“He did – in the beginning.” my protector answered from behind. “Even Satan was once an angel of light. Before he fell.”
“Is that beast then Satan?” I asked.
“Many think that that beast is Satan. Indeed, Satan does roam like a lion, seeking someone to devour.” came the answer. “But no, that beast is not Satan.”
I waited, but nothing more explanation was offered. So I asked, “So what is the beast? Where did it come from?”
There was a pause. I wondered whether I would get a reply. Finally, my protector answered.
“That beast was once a human being. In fact, the beast is what all humans will become, one day – apart from God’s grace. For everyone outside of God separates themselves from God’s sustenance: and they must gather what food they may. In rejecting God’s wholesome food, they will have no choice but to consume the fruits of darkness.”
“So instead of feasting upon God’s love, they must fill themselves up with hate. Instead of becoming replete with God’s joy – they must consume misery. Instead of drinking peace – they will drain the full draught of despair. And what they eat and drink is what they shall become: living personifications of un-God – or evil. And so it will be that all who forsake God will become a beast akin to that one.”
There was another pause. But only a brief one.
“That beast is what you would have become, in time: were it not for the intervention of God’s love.”
And still am waking.