“From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” This is essentially how Lucifer is said to answer in the Book of Job (1:7) when God asks him where he has been. This is one of the more fascinating books of the Bible. Now indulge me as I flaunt my ignorance.
In this exciting scene of the Bible, God sees ‘Satan’ and says, “Hey, where’ve you been? I’ve been looking for you. I want to offer you a position as my assistant.” Now, without even getting into why an omnipotent being such as God would even have to ask where someone has been (like He did in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve hid from Him), I want to look at the language of this fateful exchange. ‘Satan’ essentially turns down the position, telling God he’s seen His work and it sucks, and he, ‘Satan’, would rather rule in Hell than be God’s assistant. First off, I do believe this is Lucifer speaking to God, although most modern translations identify him here as ‘Satan.’ However, it was Lucifer to whom God offered the position of assistant (‘servant’), and the term ‘Satan’ actually means ‘accuser.’ A lot of modern (mis)translations of the Bible simplify by combining Lucifer and Satan as the same entity, which is not (always) the case.
In short, the modern Bible treats this whole God/Lucifer relationship in much the same way that Star Wars canon treats the Obi-Wan/Anakin relationship. Anakin refuses to be Obi-Wan’s Padawan (apprentice), rebels, falls, and becomes Darth Vader. Similarly, in the modern telling of the God/Lucifer relationship, Lucifer refuses to serve God, rebels, falls, and becomes Satan. Exciting, no? I believe it was filmmaker Cecile B. DeMille who said, “Give me any two pages of the Bible and I’ll give you a picture.” Lucas/Disney certainly seems to have taken that to heart.
But I digress (as I so often do). I love looking at interpretations for this exciting part of the Bible as it is very telling. If you haven’t read the Book of Job, I highly recommend it. But don’t just go by the given translation in your modern edition. Look into the etymology and the history, brush up on your Hebrew and really get in there. You may find some very curious things. And yes, a little Hebrew helps, but also why not kick in some Aramaic to really spice things up? Why? Because I said so, God damn it, now shut up and keep reading.
I do apologize for that outburst. I am drinking a large iced “nutty” latte and it gets my hubris up. Honestly, you should really look at the language of this book because, as the fine scholars at www-dot-haaretz-dot-com say, “the book is written in Hebrew, but it is very strange Hebrew indeed. It has more unique words than any other book of the Hebrew Bible. The language is archaic, which would indicate that it was very ancient: but it is also heavily influenced by Aramaic, which would make it relatively late.“
Now because the language of this fascinating and telling book is so unique, allow me to take some grand liberties with my thinking on this piece. Let’s pick up where we began, with Lucifer (the accuser, or ‘Satan’) saying, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” He is answering God, who just asked him, “From whence comest thou?” or “Where are you coming from?” I take this to mean, “Where were you?” The Hebrew word for ‘Earth’ here is בָּאָ֔רֶץ, which is also used for “land” and “world,” among other things. However, the proper word for ‘earth’ in Hebrew is ‘Adamah’ (אדמה), which can mean ‘land’ as well as ‘earth’. However, I cannot find any definitive specification as to whether there is a difference here between ‘earth’ as in ‘soil’ or ‘earth’ as in ‘the planet.’ I must assume, as there is an implied difference between the usage of בָּאָ֔רֶץ (‘Earth’ or ‘World’) and ‘ אדמה’ (‘land’ or ‘earth’), that Adamah simply means dirt, and not the lofty ‘world’ meaning of the former.
This is not the only confusing translation issue within this seemingly simple sentence. Other translations use different prepositions. For example, the King James version has “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, ‘From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.'” In the earth, walking up and down in it. This is also curious. So just what is it that I am trying to suggest with this tedious wordplay? I have no idea, but I’ll let you know as soon as I get there.
My main point here is trying to decipher the difference in etymologies and translations, and the ‘unique’ language in Job. Mainly, the difference in the words Earth and world. (I use the capitol ‘E’ Earth to mean the whole planet, of course.) If these are indeed interchangeable, I would like to look at the word ‘world,’ which in the Olde English comes from the world woruld, which actually means “human existence, the affairs of life,” also “a long period of time.” In the Old Saxon, Dutch, High German, among others, it stems from the word wereld, which is a combination of were (man, as in ‘werewolf’) and eld (age, as in ‘elder’). Hence, the word ‘world’ literally means age of man. It is a time period, not a physical place as we would understand it to be.
If we go with the older translations (which usually turn out to be the more accurate) then we have Lucifer, (‘Satan,’ the accuser) saying that he has been walking up and down in the world — the age of man, or the time when humans have been holding dominion over the Earth. Could this actually indicate that Lucifer is telling God, “Look, buddy, I’ve been touring the timeline of humanity’s existence, and let me tell you — it sucks.” Being entities from outside our frequency (see previous posts like this one regarding this use of the word ‘frequency’), could this indicate that Lucifer and other such entities can visit any point in the human timeline? Are they essentially capable of time travel? And how many possible outcomes are they capable of viewing when we consider the popular ‘multiverse’ theory (as made popular by the entirety of comic book-based franchise films)?
I see no reason why these ‘higher’ entities would not be capable of doing this very thing. And if this is indeed the case, then obviously, Lucifer was not impressed with God’s favorite creation. If you recall your Sunday school dogma, you will know that Lucifer was jealous of humans, that he thought God favored us mud-people — his word, not mine. The Book of Genesis literally says we are made from dirt. As noted earlier, the name Adam likely derives from Adamah, which literally means ‘dirt.’ Anyway, Lucifer did not like that God seemed to prefer mere humans (mehumes) to higher entities like himself, and thus the tiff began. My only issue with my reasoning is that Hebrew predates all of those other English-root languages by at least a thousand years or so. But then, from where do these other languages take their own etymologies? That’s right — from the older human languages like Aramaic and Hebrew.
Am I stretching here? Fine. So let’s move on. Why am I bringing up the concept that Lucifer/Satan moved up and down, “going back and forth,” over the human timeline and came away feeling unimpressed? Because there is a common practice in pop psychology today that tells us we alone are to blame for our unhappy predicaments. I myself often proclaim that I only blame myself for the sad condition of my current life. It is purely the result of choices I have made. But who is responsible for giving me the choices I have had to make? Was everything already cast in the timeline, if that is indeed what Lucifer had been examining before he rejected God’s apprenticeship? Are we to blame ourselves for being seeds cast upon stone? And from whence were we cast?
I have often heard people (usually teenagers screaming at their parents) say, “I didn’t ask to be born!” How do you know that? Who among us has any memory of what they were asking for before they were born? Perhaps we did ask to be born, and perhaps we even chose the specific conditions into which we wanted to be born because they offered the desired learning experiences we felt we needed. Or perhaps it was a higher authority that deemed the learning experiences we needed, and we acquiesced like students following the direction of our academic advisor as we enrolled in the specific courses we need to graduate? No one wants to take Introduction to Calculus, but sometimes you have to take the assigned course to get the necessary credits. And no matter what we do, odds are we will be disappointed with the results, just as Lucifer was.
Lucifer examined the curriculum, examined the university, and when God, the president of that university, offered him a job, Lucifer said, “No f–in’ way, man!” And he then tried to take control of the school and ended up in a ventilator suit after getting his ass kicked by Obi-Wan Kenobi on the fiery furnace planet of Mustafar. Wait, I’m getting my canons confused. But you get the idea.
My point is this: What if this is a set curriculum, that this ‘were-eld’ is, as I have always maintained, a sort of school, and we enroll for the learning experiences we have chosen? So perhaps I am to blame for the life that I have chosen, or perhaps my life was thrust upon me by set requirements of a pre-established academic curriculum. I am tortured by dreams of grandeur just as any other mortal, but I elected to struggle as a seed cast upon stone. The choices I have made have defined my life, but the choices given to me were pre-ordained, and were limited by my chosen pursuits. I did not fail. My surroundings failed me. But this is what they were meant to do. That is how it was meant to be.
My own life choices have been limited to those of a middle-class kid growing up in a tiny little Pennsylvania town. I went to university to pursue those dreams of gandeur, but only racked up an insurmountable amount of debt — debt that has forced me into a life of solitude and exile in a foreign land. I don’t care if the U.S. government ever forgives student loan debt. I know that they won’t. It’s all a part of that government’s “War on the Poor.” They can spend trillions of dollars to bomb the shit out of other poor people on the other side of the globe, but they can’t bomb their own. But they surely won’t spend the money on them that they are so quick to spend on bombing others. So they starve them. They withhold life-saving health care. And they keep them suppressed with crushing debt. $2 trillion wasted over the last twenty years just to see Afghanistan fall to the Taliban, and yet we can’t be afforded a simple human right such as health care? In regard to the so-called “student loan crisis,” I would only say this: The next time some stupid kid applies for loans to pay for a course of study that lacks any reasonable marketability, JUST SAY NO. Unless, of course, you want to crush them with insurmountable debt and… oh, wait. Yeah. “War on the Poor.”
You knew it was a bad investment, and you made it anyway. It’s true, I grew up in what was once the “middle-class,” but I still had no money for college. And the middle class died as I grew, thanks to Reaganomics. So now, I am one of the poor with which the Globalists are at war, one of those that Henry Kissinger deemed “useless eaters.” And for my part, it is indeed a losing battle.
Such is the existence of a seed cast onto stone. But this is the life I chose. Or so I choose to believe.
I hope Lucifer was wrong. I hope this ‘were-eld’ is actually a good academic program. I hope there are opportunities to pursue true grandeur when it’s all over and done. I hope the adage ‘as above, so below’ has exceptions. Because if I die (graduate) and find out the afterlife also has me exiled and alone with crushing debt, I’m gonna be pissed. I’m gonna join Lucifer and be an accuser, raging against this system. If this is indeed the system, then Lucifer was right: It sucks.
Speaking of sucks, this blog post may suck. I don’t know. I just write ’em and post ’em. Here is something that doesn’t suck, if you are keen to pursue a study of the Book of Job. It is a paper entitled Christo: The Battle Between God and Satan in Job from the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society. Most people only know the Book of Job for the bit about God abusing some poor bastard named Job (“the trials of Job”) over a bet with Lucifer, and that is very telling in itself. Job stuck to his guns and defended the program. I hope, when he graduated (died), he found a ripe field of opportunity and grandeur. If he ended up struggling with insurmountable debt and no prospects, then he certainly has a right to be angry. I hope he started a class action lawsuit. I might like to get in on that.
Wildflower seed on the sand and stone
May the four winds blow you safely home
-The Grateful Dead, “Franklin’s Tower”