My last two posts have parsed some of my thoughts on the meaning of just one passage from the Book of Enoch. It’s possible to write entire books on this text and its relationship to the biblical canon, but that’s already been done by scholars far more qualified than myself. What I’d like to leave you all with today is a final thought from the standpoint of a fiction writer.
Serious authors usually adopt a specific set of themes, symbols and motifs early on that manifests in their subsequent writing. Indeed, the opportunity to portray these very things is usually what draws them to the writing process. A primary theme in J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, for example is the temptation of power, expressed in the symbol of the Ring, with the recurring motif of characters’ desire to possess it. What makes these story elements so powerful is that the reader can usually discern some parallel to things in their own world. In Tolkien’s time this was largely the emergence of mechanized total war, centralized social planning, and the creation of the atom bomb (in his personal letters, he explicitly uses the “ring of power” imagery to critique these very things). This doesn’t mean that all truly meaningful stories are allegory (which Tolkien disliked), but rather they carry an enduring “applicability” to multiple types of readers, each of which can see some reflection of their own concerns and circumstances.
The same kind of multilayered symbolism can be seen in Scripture (arguably the ultimate origin of it). Just what is the significance of the “tree” motif and its connection to Life and the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Why are concepts such as “waters,” “mountains,” and “stars” so symbolically recurrent throughout the Bible? Why are certain specific things highlighted so strongly in the lives of the patriarchs, prophets and kings of old? Just what is this meant to tell us?
Those who’ve read my novel The Gevaudan Project and its associated short stories know that I make some use of the Tower of Babel as a storytelling symbol. Biblical commentators over the generations have meditated on the significance of this event – and the reasons for it – from a variety of directions, few of them mutually exclusive. My own perspective (outlined at length in Human Horizons and Morals are For Men, Not Gods) is the following: the Tower is the penultimate symbol of centralized, tyrannical power, manifesting again and again in various forms across the generations. The primary one I illustrate in my fiction is the inherently power-hungry aspirations of utopian intellectuals and ideologists – the so-called “gods of the latter age.” “Heaven on Earth” inevitably produces the opposite.
In the Book of Enoch, however, I have now found what may be a far more powerful illustration of the same concept. “Heaven on Earth” was exactly what the Watchers must have promised the human race before the Flood. The world likely greeted them with joy as sons of God supposedly sent to restore the Edenic kingdom. They surrendered their daughters, their wills, their lives and ultimately their very souls unto these beings for the sake of a false promise – and it ultimately destroyed them.
Babel are the Watchers are ultimately interconnected – for what was else was the one but an attempt to call down the other once more? What else have all of history’s tyrants sought but to reign on earth as these beings did? What else do their ideologies promise but their own form of forbidden knowledge? What is the arbitrary power of “experts” but a modern rule by magicians? As the great film director Cecile B DeMille asked at the close his of his epic The Ten Commandments:
Are men the property of the state, or are they free souls under God? The same battle continues throughout the world today.
A truly free-will being has neither need or desire for the occult wisdom of fallen angels, wizards or central planners. In their heart of hearts, all three types of beings know we do not need them – and this is why they must destroy all who oppose them by the most savage means possible. Let them try. Scripture tells us that they themselves will finally be destroyed.