There is a phantom, and its name is Liberty. Poison it brings to the heart of man. Man thought he saw her, an angel gliding through the forest under a starless night. Dark and treacherous was the forest, and man did stumble, living and dying ever in pursuit of that light.
Yet eventually the sun rose, but so blinding it was that Man didn’t know what he saw. He imagined in his ecstatic blindness that the angel of Liberty had finally come upon him, after all the eons of pursuit. He fell to his knees, rejoicing, for he knew he had found Liberty.
Yet knowledge is an idolatrous thing. Knowledge is to deem yourself a god of comparable majesty as Reality itself, blasphemously claiming sight into her very heart.
Man had thousands of thousands of instances during which he might have learned that to know is to sin, yet so great was his hope that he forgot what the darkness had taught him.
But as with all idols, Man’s knowledge of Liberty’s arrival betrayed him. Certainly not immediately; in the first moments of ecstatic joy he was blinded by redemption. However, his worship was interrupted by the mundane, manifested in the form of hunger.
It was then that the palest serpent of doubt slithered across his mind. “Might not Liberty sustain me?” he asked. But to tame his racing heart, he told himself, “No, don’t fear: at least Liberty might at least aid in finding my next meal.”
And so he opened his eyes, which until then had been pasted shut as to avoid being burnt by the fierce sun. At first, the light continued to blind him, but by forcing his eyes to remain open, his vision began adjusting to behold the world around him.
It was then that horror threatened to overwhelm him. For he had believed, no, he had even known that he had found the angel of Liberty! But alas! The light that shone upon his face was, in the end, only light. And into this light the angel had vanished.
In this light of day, he was able to see the thorns, brambles, and boulders that had obscured his journey during the night. But in that moment, his thoughts turned from Liberty, for the light of the sun granted him understanding. And in understanding he believed he found control; in control he believed he found faith; and in faith, he believed he found manna to quench his soul.
“Perhaps I need not Liberty,” he said to himself, “I have this new light, I have the sun, and everything that comes from it.”
Yet after a moment of contemplation, the understanding, control, faith, and manna all turned to dust. For though the light granted sight, all it did was illuminate the endless corruption and death that had long plagued man. What is control, if its subject is corruption? What is manna, if its dough is made from poison?
And finally Man looked to the sun and said “I thought you gave me bread, but I see you are merely an illusionist; what I thought to be manna was only death masquerading as a meal. Oh, how I long to pursue Liberty once more! I want not illusory sustenance, but rather to fall at the feet of an angel that might sanctify my soul.”
But lo! A new despair passed through man; a despair that threatened to consume his soul entirely. For Man realized that is was only in the treacherous darkness that he was able to see Liberty’s soft glow. What could he now do, with the sun’s light illuminating everything? How could he possibly move forward, when vanished was the contrast that had served as his compass?
But as God once passed by Elijah, so God passed by Man, his knees already threatened to collapse. And as with Elijah, God was not in the Maelstrom; Earthquake; or Consuming Fire. As with Elijah, he passed by in the faintest murmur of a whisper.
And God said unto Man: “Ah my beloved! Did I not tell you to worship me above all else? Didn’t I command you to not make for yourself idols? The idols of old were fashioned from wood and stone; the idols of the present are fashioned within the mind; yet idols they remain, and corruption is their only directive. Why do you worship an idol that promises despair? Why do you bow to a knowledge whose only offering is death? Ah! For so long Man imagined that it was a tyrant who command him: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.’ But what Man imagined as Tyranny was instead perhaps the most loving gift Man has ever received. For when Man misnames God, Satan rejoices; another avenue has been paved whose destination is Hell.”
And for a moment, God was quiet. And doubt passed through Man like an ocean breeze in the Sahara; this doubt was not one of fear and confusion, but rather the sort that carries the clear possibility of redemption.
And after the doubt had washed against Man’s eyes, mind, and heart, God spoke once more: “Ah, you’ve met a new Angel; the Angel of doubt. Look around! You see brambles, but how can you know what lies beyond? You fixate on the light, but can you see what’s there in the shadows? It is for God to command, yet it is for Man to obey. To you I command: take heart; pursue Liberty, beyond your fear that she is lost forever. Seek everlasting life, for that is my kingdom. Remember that when I walked among you, I spoke of food that eternally satisfies, and drink that eternally quenches. Once again do I say: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’"
And then the voice of God was gone.