Chapters From the New Apocrypha/In the Beginning

Published in the August 24, 1893 edition of The Open Court.

Satan, having knowledge of the purpose of the Lord concerning creation, waxed curious thereupon.
So he gat him straightway to heaven, and having entered therein, he sat him down, as well as he could, poor devil, because of his tail.
Tell me now, O Lord, said he, what is this that I have heard with my ears concerning thy purpose?
Then the Lord explained unto Satan.
And Satan harkened politely till the explanation was overpast.
Which is more than can be said for some of the righteous who hear my words.
For they harken but a brief space, and lo! then wax they of a sudden wroth.
And shy names at me, and get up quickly and hie them hence.
Vexed am I, and sad for their wroth waxing and their name shying.
But verily am I joyous at their hence hieing.
For it is better to dwell alone eternally than to be in the company of fools who comprehend you not.
Which may account in some measure for the facts, though not quite satisfactorily for the Lord's civility.
Satan also was civil, yet was he filled with all manner of incredulity.
This is a big contract that thou hast undertaken, O Lord, said he.
And the Lord admitted that it was.
I can see, said Satan, that thou canst mix chaos like dough, and spin worlds like tops.
But when it comes to making a man in thine own image, O Lord, thou wilt get badly left.
With that Satan gat him upon his feet, and chuckled, and said good day, and went forth unto his own place.
Not many ages after that,—to wit, in the Azoic age, Satan came again to heaven, quite early.
And rang, and was let in.
O Lord, said he; but thou art getting on finely with thy creation.
And the Lord admitted that he was.
Thou hast mixed thy chaos like dough, and spun thy worlds like tops.
But where is thy man that thou didst brag of aforetime?
Then did the Lord not kick Satan out of heaven because of his incredulity.
As the manner of so many who pass for his disciples now is.
No, not a bit of it, but he sent one of his angels out into the back yard for a morsel of protoplasm.
Which when Satan saw he could make nothing of but mud, or, at most, that it was like unto jelly.
Then thought he that the Lord had been too previous.
So he smiled and said, Is this thy man?
And the Lord answered and said unto him, It hath the makings of one.
But, and if it be made in thine image, O Lord, said Satan, this protoplasm is a mighty poor likeness.
Then would Satan have gone: but the Lord told him not to be in a hurry, but, if he must go, to call later on.

The next morning, therefore, Satan called around again, when he found the jelly had become a moneron.
At which he only smiled and went his way.
But nevertheless,—for he was a persistent devil,—Satan called the following day about noon.
Then had the moneron grown into a tadpole.
And the tadpole wiggled.
And Satan, perceived the wiggling, and was frank and said, It wiggleth.
And the Lord admitted that it did.
But thy man, O Lord, said Satan, ought he not to more than wiggle?
And the Lord admitted that he ought.
Shall I call again? said Satan.
And the Lord answered and said unto him, Call again.
So Satan did call yet other times.
And the mud which was like unto jelly, and became a moneron, and a tadpole.
Yea, verily the same grew fins and was a fish, and scales and was a turtle, and wings and was a bird, and hind legs and was a pterodactyl, and four hands and was an ape.
When Satan saw the fish he chirruped unto it that it leave the Lord and come to him.
But the fish took no notice of Satan whatsoever.
And the same was the case with the turtle and the bird and the pterodactyl and the ape; for neither had regard unto Satan.
Neither for his chirruping nor any beguiling, for they were of this world and wiser in their generation than the children of light.
But about the going down of the sun on the sixth age came Satan yet again.
And as he looked over the picket fence of the garden he saw and beheld the ape, that he had lost his tail and had grown a thumb.
And Satan was confounded, and communed among himself, and concluded that this did, after all, begin to look like business.
So Satan tried his old trick and chirruped.
And lo! the man, pricking up his ears, spoke saying, Who said apples?
When Satan knew that it was of a truth a man who had thus spoken.
And then was he frank once more, and said unto the Lord that he owned up.
For verily thou hast mixed thy chaos like dough and spun thy worlds like tops, and now I perceive that thou hast made thy man.
And I perceive also that he is made in thine image, not because of any strong personal resemblance, nor yet by a strawberry mark.
But because when I chirruped unto him he harkened, now know I that he hath the power to choose between thee and me.
So Satan went away, and communed yet again among himself.
And bethought him that the Lord had not invited him,—as he had aforetime cordially,—to call again.
Yet did Satan resolve that he would call again.
And he has called again,—many times, for he is a persistent devil,—even unto this day.