Aziz & the Crimson Cup

❧ in which Moe finally arrives at a beginning, yet finds it impossible to say what he means ❧

He Is What He Is - He Did What He Did

He Is What He Is

Moe realized he couldn’t possibly define the nebulous conception of Deity he had in mind. He decided therefore to make his God so contradictory — sometimes kind and sometimes bloodthirsty, sometimes merciful and sometimes genocidal — that people could only conclude that any conception of God was absolutely and forever impossible. Like Nature or Fate. 

His good friend Aziz, with whom he drank many a cup of celestial wine at The Persian Tavern, understood this point very well. Aziz even suggested that there was no point trying to engrave the names of God into clay. There were too many of them. And all of them weren't nearly as true as the feeling he got in the pit of his stomach when he peered into the bottom of his empty cup.

Aziz asked Moe, “Why not just say, God is what God is? I mean, you can get all poetic about roses and cosmic Love. But about God, what can we really say except that He is what He is?” 

Aziz added, “I’m not even sure we can say that. Can we really say that God has a beard?”

In defining God, Moe realized the enormity of the task he had set for himself. For how could he define something that he could never see, and at whose attributes he could only guess? But how could his people worship a God if they didn’t have even the slightest concept of who or what God was?

Mosaics in Classe (Ravenna) -- photo RYC

Mosaics in Classe (Ravenna) -- photo RYC


He Did What He Did

His people needed explanations. They had a right to know where their invisible, omnipotent, eternal Deity came from. 

Yet the more he thought about it, the more it seemed a never-ending puzzle. Everything he imagined might be a beginning seemed to have some earlier thing that caused it. How did the One True God get there in the first place? What was the ultimate cause? Did He create Something out of Nothing, or More Things out of Something? Perhaps it would just be better to say He did what He did, and leave it at that.

Several months ago he included an Indian quote in his ill-fated ecumenical edition of The Holy Mountain. The Sanskrit poet wrote, Only the god in the highest heaven knows how everything was first created. And then the poet added, Or maybe he doesn't know.

In Moe's version, God knew. 

Moe picked up a blank slab. He began this time with a statement that no one could get wrong: In the beginning God said, Let there be Life!