Monsters have been terribly interesting to me of late. I’ve been working on a series of poems I call my Monster Poems, and have been digesting some of what Dr. Jordan Peterson has to say on the subject. The subjects of my poems are always somewhat human, and generally were once human. I think these types of monsters show us what we can become when our faults are taken to the extreme. It’s no accident that these monsters have been called damned, for they represent the hell we can fall into.
But why can we fall into them, why is there a hell?
It’s a compliant leveled at Christianity, sometimes called the problem of pain. This theological dilemma is often stated simply: God cannot be omnipotent, good, and yet allow suffering. How does this concern Hell? Well, there is a subgenre of this argument that goes along these lines: An all loving God would not damn someone.
They both suffer from the same deficiency, that of being blinded to the entire nature of God. But, even allowing for God’s holiness and justice the problem, though more complex, doesn’t disappear. God is not somewhat loving. He does not love only to the point where His justice allows Him room to love, so the problem still stands.
What does this have to do with my poetry? Dr. Jordan Peterson brings out a horrible truth, we have to be monsters, at least a little bit. There are monsters we face in life, what Dr. Peterson might call dragons, but there are the monsters that we can become. Who do you want to be? he asks. During your mother’s funeral do you want to be the person falling apart, or the one who has it together? What kind of monster wouldn’t be destroyed by the death of his mother?
The bible says that Satan and his demons are fallen angels. Do you get that? The darkest, the lowest, of creation, the things that have gone furthest from the Logos, are the things that should have been of the brightest, of the highest, they should have been that part of the creation residing in the presence of God.
There is Hell wherein we may fall so that there can be Heaven where we may rise. Every obstacle, every broken monstrous part of us, is an opportunity to ascend. It’s easy to see, really, the bigger they come the harder they fall. A weak man, by virtue of what strength he has, can do little either good or bad. He cannot oppose the strong if the strong does an evil, and he cannot oppose the strong if the strong does a good.
It is strength that can make of us heroes or monsters, and the more given the more is expected. Why is there Hell? Because the strength that can tame the wilderness and erect a walled city may also tear down the same. The genius that can make men free may also enslave them. The trust that allows us to help each other may be the door through which we are betrayed.
The divinity that allows us to become sons of God can be contorted into Hell.