by Nicholas P. Snoek
"No more be grieved at that which thou hadst done
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense,
Thy adverse party is thy advocate,
And 'gainst myself a lawful plea commence:
Such civil war is in my love and hate,
That I an accessary needs must be
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me."
Notes to a diary for a foundling...
18 December 1940
Today was born in the hamlet of Sombe a male;
A male of the order primate and the genus homo,
But hairy and furry to an unprecedented degree.
Wrapped in swaddling clothes as a god can be,
But eating and crying and wetting like any baby.
21 December 1940
Brother Cyprios is walking in the square, thinking ...
A package, a deliverance, a visitation has come,
A little bundle of joy as they say. But wait,
Who brought him here? Something is very wrong...
The parents are nowhere in evidence. No one affirms
With name and honored line the patronage, the lineage,
The heir. The heir to what, we wonder. What story
Lies behind this foundling, what origin?
What secret shame, this covert way to orphan him;
To leave him at our gate in anonymity.
What father sin, implied in this dark fur?
But put aside all this imagining;
Although we have some doubts about this bundle,
We must remember that he is also part
Of God's creation. And whether or no he can
Become a Son of God will be revealed
In the warp of time, and this may well depend
To some extent upon our efforts. Our loving
Care, focusing and channelling the love of God,
May bring this little creature to spirit life.
All things are possible to God. All things.
The child seems human; it has a human form,
Its limbs, the size and shape of head, the chin,
All these are man: no question that the voice
Is strong and modulated as a human voice would be.
But oh, so furry and so hairy; we know not
What to make of that. So we declare he is
A human child by default, by decree.
And now, we are assigned to find a name;
The onomastic exercise, a challenge.
There are two ways to choose a name. We name
A child to lead him, to guide him with a constant
Goal of emulation, to live a life
That would be worthy of that name, chosen
From the roster of the Holy Saints.
The other way.
A name should be that name
As suits the character, the personality and style,
In short, the essence of a man. But here
We know but what we see, and what we see
Is worrisome. We have no knowledge whatsoever
Of family, of background, of heritage or language...
And even race is questionable here:
Even humanness is open to a question here.
But no, we cannot stray into that fog
Of doubt and fear. The battle cry must be
An Onward Christian Soldiers! A confident and
Hearty optimistic stand against all denigration,
And let the Devil take the hindmost. Alright!
What sort of name. If we call him for a saint
What might that do? Would he appropriately
Confirm the goal and mission of our Brotherhood,
Wrapped in the warm accepting comfort of a Peter,
Or an Andrew. A James, a Simon or a Luke? A Judas?
Yes, we must reflect on that as well. A Judas.
What if this shagginess persists, and what
If, failing all my love and all my care,
This little one does not respond; becomes,
Remains, persists intractable. What then?
What if he comes to be in deed, what now
He only looks like... a little monster!
What shame to carry then the name of blessed
Alright, the other way; how best
Can we reflect the little that we know
About this orphan? We cannot call him Harry!
But some such neutral type of name would be
The safest; some common and generic name
Like John or Jack. Yes, Jack. Jacko, me boy!
Good enough. Jack it shall be.
Jack the Ripper.
Now stop that! You cannot play that foolish game.
Keep it pure and do it well.
What else is here for our concern. A Jack
Will be just fine within our monastery, but monks
Have names for politic and legal matters; our Jack
Must have a surname, and here we have some scope
To be a little more inventive.
Let's see. A hairy babe.
A hairy man. A Yeti, an Almas, or a Mi-Go. That's it!
Jack Migo. A perfect name! Only a person with
Some perspicuity, with knowledge of our backdrop here,
Would follow that connection. That's settled.
The boy will have a name that serves him here and
Will be perfectly acceptable abroad, if
He should leave to see the outside world.
Lord, give me grace and strength to do my best
For this young charge. Open my mind to Your guidance
And let him be responsive to our lead.
22 December 1940
Brother Cyprios is standing in the yard...
Today we baptized little Jack. A good day.
A ceremony fine and meet, two quiet
Hooded monks for witnesses, myself as godfather,
The priest our Brother Andre epitome of competence,
Performing the ablutionary requisites.
Almost no notice has yet been taken of Jacko's
Furry physiognomy. It's only when
We bathe or change him that he wholly comes
To view, and then there's no one in the cell
To comment or observe. We always check;
So far, the cloths we use have not revealed
Much evidence of shedding hair, but there
Is time; perhaps this hairiness will wash.
Please God this hairiness will wash away.
Perhaps he will become what we so fondly
Deem him now, a fully human Jack.
In three more days it will be Christmas, a feast
To celebrate another birth, two thousand
Years ago. Another seeming human
Birth: heaven reaching down to earth;
A God as man, declining pow'r on high,
Relinquishing imperial might.
Our struggle here, seems more to be a fight
To go from animal to man; from dimmer
Glow to brighter; a climb to spirit life.
Dear Lord, give me the will to do my best
For this young charge. Open my heart to Your guidance
And let him be responsive to our lead.
29 December 1940
Brother Cyprios is at a window, looking out...
A Holy Night! How bright the shining stars!
The heavens are all aglow and crystal clear;
What beauty, in a simple sky. A simple sky!
How can I talk about a simple sky!
Worlds upon worlds, galaxy after galaxy
Stretching endlessly through eternal universe...
And what are we, to even look at them.
How small we are! What ants or worms are we
To question God's sobriety of purpose when
He created us; when He re-creates us.
What is out there? What who is out there,
Looking up here asking, What is out there?
And if life lives among the stars, how can it,
How can they, worship? Is there a Christ on every
World? Or if He is unique to ours,
Then what or who inspires religious goals
And aspirations in other-worldish beings?
And what might they be like? Humanoid?
Oh little Jack! You're not yet two weeks old
And you have caused in me more steep anxiety,
More search of soul, more deep disquiet and anguished
Prayer, than my own children did in all
Their many days. Are you a human... boy?
Yes I know I must still treat you so.
But can you be? Can you be truly human?
Can Homo Sapiens be so pelted, be so furry?
Our kind priest Andre said lanugo would be
Gone by now. So is this something else?
Are you part Almas-ape or Bigfoot bear, a
Man o'Woods orang-utang? What are you Jack?
Are you a hybrid sport, a freak of nature?
A throwback atavistic hopeless monster?
Oh God my Jesus, to what am I subjected here?
Cyprios! Are you insane? Have you indeed so
Lost your mind and all your solid sense?
Is this the Jesus thing to do, to question
God's ordaining? Come, brace yourself,
You foolish man, it would not be your fault
If this your charge is not a human child.
No one will think you are the natural father!
Your task is clear, straightforward and defined;
You are to raise this babe assuming its humanity.
Hair or no hair, fur or no.
In any case,
What is there in some hairiness to cause you all
This aching grief? What do you fear, good Cyprios?
Remember now, a man upsets himself
When he beholds in others what's in himself
Reprehensible. What is it in your nature or in
Your past, that now disturbs you so. Are you
Alright? Are you all clear and clean yourself?
Is it the beast inside of you, you fear?
And think it through with care. This child,
Although he may not seem a child of man
Is yet a child of God. Remember that!
Consider too, what you are doing here;
You easy promised with glad words to love
And care for this young creature, as if it were
Your own. Your son, remember? Without condition.
"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds."
A mother's love would be a stronger love;
A mother would accept a son in spite
Of his appearance -- and should a father's love
Oh Lord my God forgive my weak
And selfish fickleness, and help me find
It in my heart to be a better father!
Brother Cyprios is fast asleep, and dreaming...
/// "Brother Cyprios, I would speak with you."
A stately robed figure is standing at the foot of the bed, leaning on a staff. A Moses, an Elijah, an emissary of dignity.
Rubbing his eyes, "Who are you? What do you want?"
"Who do you think I am?"
"You look like Moses."
"You are right. Come, get up. We have some things to attend to."
"Alright, I'm coming. But what about little Jack? I can't just go away and leave him here, with no one to watch over him."
"Were you watching him before I came?"
"I was sleeping, but I was here. If anything happened I would wake up."
"Well, look at the bed."
"What! Is that me? But I am standing here!"
"Jack is as he was. Shall we go?"
"Ah... yes. Of course. Who are you? What are we doing?"
Turning to leave, "You may call me Moses, and I will try to lead you out of this world of dark delusion for a moment and show you just a gleam of light."
Cyprios follows, anxious and confused. They cross the courtyard and go out through the gate. Up the road and into the woods, without speaking. Cyprios is curiously unafraid, but not confident enough to question this imposing visitor any further.
They turn off the path and head for the high bluff that overlooks the monastery. He finds it strange that rocks and roots don't catch his feet; the moon is bright, but not so bright his progress in the underbrush would be unhindered by vines and limbs. And he makes the climb without a change in his breathing. Is this how it was when he was young? No, he was awkward, young.
They come out onto the cliff in a clear area and pointing, `Moses' says "Let us sit on that fallen tree."
Cyprios complies, sitting several feet away.
"Now, compose yourself, my son, and let me show you how you came to be. It is an interesting story. We first will consider the questions in your mind when you were gazing at the sky before, and then we'll work towards the present."
"But Brother Moses, how can you know what I was thinking?"
"Cyprios, ever the scholar. May it please your analytic mind: an attitude of worshipful contemplation is never missed or lost in the greater scheme of things. A genuine and questioning humility will always have its just reward and be completely satisfied. Now, shall we proceed?"
"Good. About 987 billion years ago a report was received at Uversa that conditions in this sector were favorable for the undertaking of a new material creation. Accordingly, a permit was issued authorizing a force organizer and staff to proceed, and 875 billion years since, the Andronover nebula was underway."
"Excuse me. What is... Uversa?"
"It is the headquarters of this superuniverse. There are seven superuniverses. We are in the seventh, named Orvonton. Let me continue.
The first Andronover sun broke forth 500 billion years ago, but some of the older inhabited planets date from the more stable era around 200 billion years back."
"Brother Moses, are you saying there are other inhabited worlds?"
Laughing quietly, Moses shakes his head, "Oh, yes my son, there are millions of them. But, to go on..."
"No, please. Astronomers talk about the age of our planet in terms of something like six billion years. How can they be so far wrong? Are they wrong about that?"
"Hhrrumph. I see this may take some time. Your astronomers have been looking at the expansion, or as they think of it, the explosion of the heavenly bodies, from so close up, they have become quite fascinated by it. But that is only a local phenomenon, so to speak. Elsewhere there is a corresponding contraction taking place, something like a big soft beach ball, or a bean bag chair; you push in the top and the sides go out, you squeeze in the sides and the top rises.
The six billion years is their calculation for the beginning of this particular cycle. But it did not start from time zero, or from an infinitely compact point of contraction, but rather from the peaking of the last revolution or, more fittingly, respiration. You see? A sleeping whale, breathing.
Once again, to get back to Andronover.
The final breakup of that nebula took place some six billion years ago, and that is when your sun burst forth. So that is another reason for the six billion, another local observation.
A massive solar eruption occurred 4.5 billion years ago when the Angona system got too close. The solar gas column, or sheaf, thick in the middle and thin at both ends, gave rise to the twelve planets. Saturn and Jupiter from the middle, you see. And they captured some material from Angona, resulting in the retrograde motion of several of their moons.
So the planets did not originate from solar revolution but from a near collision, and that is why the plane of their rotation is at an angle to the sun's equator.
The planets were much smaller then; they have all captured tremendous quantities of lesser bodies. Even 2.5 billion years ago, this earth had just one tenth of its present mass, so the vast preponderance of its material, including all of the heavier elements, came from meteors and asteroids.
As the earth stabilized, this foreign material no longer sank to the center, so the outer mantle is of more recent origin. The result is that much of the radioactive dating of materials is relatively too short, since what is being measured has but recently arrived.
One billion years ago your planet was developed to the point that its existence was recognized and registered, and it was named Urantia. The grand universe number is 5,342,482,337,666. That is its registration number as an inhabited world. The last three digits are familiar to you, no doubt. The result of imperfect revelatory transmissions."
"Brother Moses! Please forgive me for calling you that. You're drowning me. My mind is swimming! No, drowning!
Look. You are not Moses. Moses was a man. A godly man, no doubt, but a man. I'm sure he did not know the things that you are telling me. So who, or what, are you? And what are you doing with me, TO me!"
"Relax, good Cyprios. There is nothing sinister at work here. I'm trying to give you some perspective on the way things really are. Do not alarm yourself. If it's any comfort to you, you and anyone else will be able to read for yourself some of what I'm telling you in a book which is even now in preparation, called The Urantia Book. It will be published sometime in the early 1950s, I should think.
Now, it's true I am not Moses. I thought you might be more comfortable, thinking of me as Moses, you see. That is no great matter -- my name or station is of no consequence, just now. But it does seem I may have carried this too far too fast, so perhaps I should find a more gradual way. Revelation is seldom simple. Please bear with me. For now, rather than confuse you further, we should return you to your Jack."
"But how will I be tomorrow? With this overwhelming knowledge, how can I ever be the same? What will I say to the others? They will think I am insane!"
"Cyprios, please. Now tell me, do you remember speaking with me before?"
"I should say not! Are you suggesting I did?"
"Yes, and more than once. You see, I respond, as I said at the beginning of our talk, to the questioning and the searching that you struggle with in your more spiritual moments. For instance, we had some contact when you were deeply troubled over losing your family. And you now are very concerned about your little Jack."
"You mean this is like counselling? Psychiatry? But if I don't remember talking with you before, I suppose I won't after this either, so what's the point? Why are we doing this, if I will not remember it?"
"The comparison with psychiatry is valid, although I hope we may accomplish more than that would imply. In psychiatry the usual objective is to bring into consciousness what is buried in the unconscious, and by re-evaluating that, incorporate it into one's daily life in a better integration.
What we are about here is almost the reverse. What I convey to you will be in your mind henceforth. It likely will not be available for recall, but it will be there nevertheless and that may help, when next you are troubled and go to search your soul."
Brother Cyprios thinks about this for a moment.
"But how can stars and planets help with Jack?"
"A good point. I do expect Jack will be asking you about stars and planets before long. But more immediately, this is about you. You need some perspective. We shall broach your problems relative to Jack in a minute. You have more and more yielded to a temptation to immerse yourself in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, ignoring the larger questions of meaning, and purpose, and value.
You well know, deeper down, that erudition in and of itself is sterile. The accumulation of recondite knowledge has a present fascination to be sure, but it can easily become a slavery to pride of place. A man can disorient himself that way, so he loses his bearings, and wakes up one day wondering what this world is all about, and where and how his life has any meaning.
Mistake me not, your work has worth beyond immediate reckoning. But human effort first of all must fit a human life. The time has come to tend to your foundations. Do you understand? You're wobbling, Cyprios."
"Brother Moses, if I may be so bold, what can I do?"
"You've made a start with Jack, and that is good. But I see you sitting on a fence of indecision. Why can you not adopt him as your son? What is preventing you?"
"It troubles me that he seems... less than human. I don't know if I could handle being father to an apechild. How do you love a monster?"
"Hmmnn... He does have a somewhat primitive appearance, doesn't he? An apechild, you say.
Tell me, Cyprios. How do you think that human animals like yourself would seem to more exalted beings? Even to inhabitants of three dimension worlds that are much older than Urantia, you yourself would seem somewhat rudimentary. Perhaps hardly human in their eyes. A clever type of worm, by all accounts. It's all relative, isn't it?
You need not worry; although Jack may look disturbingly primitive to you just now, he will improve, His birth was unusual; his life will be unusual. But he is human.
Think how low you go yourself, compared to spiritual entities. And yet your Father loves you. Loves you like a son. Consider, Jesus chose this poor benighted orb for his ensovereign incarnation, in a body much like your own."
"I see I have been selfish."
"It is fear, good Cyprios, it is fear. A fear of loss, a fear of hurt, a fear of feeling foolish. Banish that fear. You are a son of God and have a right to be here. And so does Jack."
"You said Jack's birth was unusual. What about that? How was it unusual?"
"His father is an apeman."
"What? An apeman? Well then Jack is not human, is he? If his father is an apeman, he is an apechild. Isn't he?"
"No, Cyprios. The father is biologically close enough to a human being to have a child by a human woman. And Jack is fully human, every bit as much as his mother."
"My goodness! And tomorrow, will I remember this part?"
"It's possible. The deeper your dedication and the firmer your faith and love, the better you will see inside yourself."
"I feel like a child. What should I do about Jack?"
"Treat him essentially the same way you did your own children. What else? Show some courage, my son."
"Are you my father in some way?"
Chuckling, "No, I cannot say that. I've been asked to try to help you. Think of me as a friend from far away, who loves you like a father."
"I am grateful. Thank you."
"Farewell Cyprios." \\\
Brother Cyprios wakes up with a throbbing headache.
15 January 1941
Oh joy and happiness! A child is born. My Jack's
Integument has shed its furry covering, and now
He is quite human. Jacko is now a homely sap.
He is no beauty; his nose a pug nose, his ears
A little pointy. But he looks human now.
The nose and ears come well within the normal
Variation; one could expect this anywhere.
No longer do I feel at sea when I
Behold him sleeping; my fear has gone away.
He is a human child, and I a human
Father; we are a family. A tiny family!
The only element missing now is femininity.
My brothers will all have to join with me
To try to fill that gap. We cannot be a mother,
But hopefully the necessary talent will
Be found within the group; there are a few
Who seem to have a good admixture of
Some female hormones. This unexpected role
Might be of mutual benefit. And so, my Jack,
You may in God's good wisdom fill a new and
Multivarious purpose here; you may
Thus stimulate development of our softer
Side and draw us more together in a joint
Concern for your wellbeing.
Dear God, let all
Our efforts be a blessing to our Jack.
And Jack a blessing to us all.