Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Surface Of The Sun

Cerebus #289/290 (April/May 2003)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from The Blog & Mail, 20 February 2007)
...I was rather pleased with myself when I came up with the idea that for life on planet Earth, the ultimate hell is our sun beside which the interior of the earth is just a mere blob by comparison. As a God-fearing person you obviously picked up on that right away. But it's another example of how those who aren't "rightly guided" can't be "rightly guided". The earth's molten core or the convection systems on the sun: what's the difference? There is simply no sense of proportion, no sense of the enormity of what it is going to be like for tiny little souls like us to be vacuumed up by the gravitational enormity of the sun and to be trapped within it while it goes through hundreds of millions of years of excruciating contortions before ultimately collapsing in on itself. I mean, to combine that fate with the sure knowledge that at any point in the millions-of-year histories of each of our souls (taking it as a given that each soul is immortal) we had every opportunity to escape that fate and return to God and that we essentially made the wrong choices, intentionally, for those millions of years…

…and then to be blithely philosophical about that as if anything that far in the future just doesn't apply to us - what WE need to do is to win the lottery or get laid or find a way to buy a nicer car. It's like so many escalating layers of compounded misery that the mind literally can't encompass Just How Bad The Whole Thing is Going to Get. As with everything else that involves the enormous unfolding of God's plan, the God-fearing mind just fairly boggles even trying to grasp the sketchy outlines and the atheistic mind sees nothing there at all.

You know I ran across my original two-page spread of the surface of the sun that I ultimately rejected from The Last Day just a while ago. I had rejected it because it was just too chaotic and over the top. I think I've changed my mind and I'll be reworking it and plugging it into the next printing. Of course it's over the top. It's HELL! I can still feel the frisson of horror that I first experienced when I put the pieces together: My soul is immortal. Whether my soul ends up sleeping in the earth or whirling around in earth's atmosphere or restlessly (and inexplicably) haunting the garden implements section at the local Home Depot, my soul is still going to be here in some proximity to this planet and consciously aware when the sun begins to swell into a Red Giant and basically cracks the earth open like an eggshell and devours everything that ever was upon or within the earth. I'll be right there experiencing it. No escape possible.


David Birdsong said...

I was having a discussion with a few atheists online. Actually I was having a discussion and they were telling me how stupid I was when I decided to take a new approach and offered them a digital copy of Cerebus 289/290. Not one of them read it. Dave Sim has a unique view on this subject, but he is absolutely spot on about the fact that most folks don't even bother to consider the fate of their immortal soul. That includes more than a few Christians. You can be a member of every church in town and still not know the way to Heaven.

Jim Sheridan said...

What intrigues me about this passage is how it reads like Jonathan Edwards's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Consider this passage from Edwards: There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God's restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them. The souls of the wicked are in scripture compared to the troubled sea, Isa. 57:20. For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;" but if God should withdraw that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God's restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone.

Gabriel McCann said...

Gabriel McCann

Michael A Battaglia said...

@ Dave Sim -- Looking back on this, it was hugely cathartic for me to see that you had had a similar realization of the sun as 'the physical outpouring of the spiritual Hell' (for lack of a better term). When I was in my mid twenties it (the sun as Hell) caused my soul to ache in a dreadful fashion, and it persisted into my thirties. Not surprisingly, the aching stopped when I started dedicating myself to having a pure inner life (opting to practice Sikhism as a tool to adhere to that commitment), which was around the time I had this correspondence with you. It (the aching) crops up now and again when I start deviating, kind of like a leash going taut against my neck when I stray too far. What's that bit from the Torah... "Woe unto they who do what they know to be wrong, and oh the woe..."? Something like that. It's not fun, exactly, but I'm thankful for those reminders. I'll never forget your description of fasting on Ramadan -- accessing that state of innocence -- that's the place I strive to be as much as possible, but find it difficult without fasting or getting into a spiritual state of mind via meditation or yoga, etc.

Mike Battaglia said...

... By the way... "frisson of horror" is a 'hell' of a lot better than "dreadfully aching soul", in terms of describing the experience of the realization (or even the thought of it; the mere idea).