I’m a father of two, the Honey Badger and The Boy. If you’ve had kids, seen kids, or have been a kid (which I think accounts for about 97% of the population), you know they have a hate-hate relationship with rules. As I’m writing this, one child can’t understand why his offensive actions are unacceptable and the other believes she’s entitled to whatever her 11-year-old heart desires. You can imagine, in both instances, my parental tutelage and guidance isn’t going over so well. No one appreciates the word “No!”
Not even angels.
One of the main themes in the Heaven Falls series is the idea of disobedience. Disobedience. The intentional understanding and disregard of an expressed command. For my kids, disobedience means taking that second Honey Bun or forgetting to come in when the street lights come on. In adults, disobedience renders you unemployed or incarcerated. But in biblical terms, disobedience has greater consequences—eating the forbidden fruit means original sin for all humanity, looking back turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, not letting the chosen people go culminates in the death of all the firstborn boys in Egypt. Disobedience in God’s terms carries quite the consequence.
Disobedience at face value is easy to write and easy to explore. Lucifer was disobedient, became proud, tried to be like God and was banished from Heaven. Look at that, 15 words and I told the whole story. There had to be more. What I wanted to look at was disobedience for a reason. Justifiable disobedience. Is there such a thing? Should there be? And how should we look at it?
One of my favorite passages in The Road to Hell, is Lucifer and Azazel discussing making the Man and whether obedience is best:
“’We?’ So you’re asking me to defy the Father?” Azazel’s hands ignited. “You know how that ends, Lucifer. Painfully.”
“Think for yourself, Azazel! Free yourself like the rest of us. Know the Father for what He is: He’s a child who wants what He wants when He wants it. But you know that, don’t you? You remember what He said when He made you: for you to be wiser than Him. Be wiser now. This is a mistake.”
“The Father doesn’t make mistakes!”
Anger laced my emotions, deepened my voice and sent flames wicking up my arms. “No? We both know better than that. The Father made you because He made a mistake. Don’t you remember that?”
Azazel spoke through clenched teeth now, “The Father made me to remind you of the cost of your disobedience and the wrath you stirred in Him.”
“And what is the cost of obedience? Have you thought about that? Simply following His ridiculous edicts has you babysitting these animals and serving a child. Obedience will have you kneeling to a pile of dust on a garbage planet that Sela made. Is it worth it?” I started to laugh at him now. “The truth is the mighty Azazel is scared. The Father is wrong. I know it, they know it, and you know it too. He’s using the boy to lie to us all. Disobedience is wise, Azazel, disobedience is just.”
You know Lucifer’s role—to undermine God and His commands, right? But he says two things—a question and statement—that have merit. That deserve both discussion and answers: What is the cost of obedience? And then, disobedience is just.
On face value it is easy to dismiss his point of view, isn’t it? Our faith precludes us from indulging the Father of Lies, right? But how can we ignore these points? What if he’s right? There are times this perspective is right and best, aren’t there? In a world reeling from the Arab Spring, when Syrian rebels rise up against a regime that is using chemical weapons upon them, disobedience is just. The cost of obedience is too high. As Americans, we have to accept that our very nation was founded on these ideas: What if the cost of obedience (to England) is too great? Our Revolution, our disobedience, was just, wasn’t it?
So, class, your assignment is to discuss these ideas. Can disobedience ever be just? For angels? For man? The concept of justifiable disobedience is central to Come Hell or High Water and it’s an idea that doesn’t come with easy answers. Drop your thoughts below.