The Devil's Details
The other day I heard someone recounting their recent interaction with a child adult: “...God creates, the Devil destroys. Do you want to be like the Devil?”. Child: “I don't know”. Why would he? This judgement and interrogation were directed at a 3 year old engaged in what had been deemed a “destructive activity” by the adult telling the story. Hearing this account sent ripples through my psyche like a gong. As I let to the waves pertubate, phrases began to parse in my mind:
“all the wicked will He destroy” - David (referencing God), Psalm 145:20
“I won't destroy the earth with a flood again” - God, Genesis 9:11 – because...
...next time it's fire – “and the elements will melt with a fervent heat” - 2 Peter 3:10,
“God is an all consuming fire” - Hebrews 12:29
There are many other scriptures in other "sacred texts" that echo equal sentiments, therefore it's hard to argue that the attribute of “destroyer” is not inherent to the nature of God. Many would argue that “God” only destroys that which is “unholy”, where no value is perceived – whereas the “Devil” destroys what is valued / “holy” by debasing it. However, by that metric, the destruction of the very elements would be a statement of unholiness / unworthiness contradicting the judgment in Genesis 1:31 of “God saw all he had made, and behold, it was very good”. This could easily devolve into theological dragon chasing so I'll just ask a salient question: “is anything really ever destroyed?”
A flame is only a higher state of energy evidenced because it happens to emit radiation at a frequency our senses can detect. To say a flame burns is like saying a cow makes milk from eating grass. Fire doesn't destroy – it transforms. For combustion to occur, a solid or liquid must first be converted to a gas through proximity to an existing higher energy body. Gas, a higher energy state of “matter” with more surface area and permeability, provides a greater impedance match to the oxygen in the air. This allows more efficient transfer of energy to pump the oxygen atoms till they reach a state where they must begin releasing energy. Now that the oxygen atoms are shedding radiation the reaction is sustained and will expand till all fuel it comes into contact with is transformed. When a substance combusts no mass is lost (when you consider all the byproducts) which is where the principle of “conservation of energy” was derived. So no, nothing is every destroyed – simply transmuted.
Most people would agree that a campfire or crackling logs on the hearth are good (unless you perhaps object to the felling of trees). However, what if the flames spread outside the bounds you have prescribed and set the forest or your house ablaze? They are the same flames but many would now deem them as “bad”, “destructive” or "from the Devil”. Now suppose the house belonged to a “wicked” person? Is the same event but with different characters suddenly good, or God?
“The Devil is in the details” - the details we are judging to be relevant to the matter: the details that justify our prejudices. Prejudice only means having judged something ahead of time – a road we all have taken at one point or another. Judgements are defined by our personal view of “good” and “evil” - the index and catalogue for our story of “why things are the way they are”. Once you've got the Devil's details, it's easy to ring him over for any occasion.
Many Christians mock Hindus for having so many gods despite claiming three themselves. Additionally, the Hebrew word for the Bible's monotheistic "God" credited with “let's make man in our image...” is Elohim which describes a plurality of beings and is more accurately translated as “mighty ones”. So either there are a lot of “gods” acknowledged in the Hebrew scriptures, or “GOD” hires subcontractors and takes credit for their work. Hinduism acknowledges Shiva "the destroyer" as a god because they recognize all that exists as manifestations of aspects of infinite consciousness. Infinite levels of energy relative to the frequency each of us resonate. A flame cannot harm another flame, nor is it attacking the fuel which is being transmuted. Do I vibrate at a rate which transforms my environment or do I debase my energy to maintain (fuel) the status quo? The Devil is in the details, God is ever present everywhere else.