Gabriel was a learned man. He knew all that there was to know about everything and everything. He did not advertise this, but some thought he did.
One of those persons was Lucifer. Lucifer had always been a bright lad, but often acted first and thought later. So it was with this attitude that Lucifer approached Gabriel, intending to prove that this golden boy was nothing but a pompous, opulent rich kid with nothing better to do than to strut about pretending like he was the bee’s knees.
So, Lucifer approached Gabriel at a park bench, in the middle of a shady square downtown, and asked him his questions.
“Tell me, Gabriel, you are wise, are you not?” said Lucifer.
“Some consider me wise.” said Gabriel.
“Then, if you are so wise,” said Lucifer, “Tell me about the nature of truth?”
“You ask a difficult question.” Replied Gabriel. “Please, take a seat.”
Lucifer took a seat on an adjoining park bench, and listened carefully to what kind of hogwash response he would get out of Gabriel.
“Truth, is something that is hard to find.” He began. “Some search for it their entire lives, and are never able to find it. Some believe that they have found it, and some know that they have not yet found it. They, and all other people, struggle to turn what they experience into what they believe, and then what they believe into truth. Therefore, to find truth, one must experience life, and then think about what it makes them believe, and finally take what they believe to search for their personal truth. Some do this through religion, like Buddhism or Christianity, and some through travelling or writing of poetry, or other pursuits that engage our souls. There is a method for every single person.”
Lucifer, slightly impressed, continued, “How do I find my method?”
Gabriel replied, “That is up to you. No one can tell you how to find your truth. They can tell you how they found theirs, and then you can think about what that makes you believe, and be inspired to find your path, but no one can find it for you. That is the failure of many religions, which is what makes them imperfect. They assume that there is a universal path, a divine way which all of mankind should follow. This is not the case. Just as I wear an undershirt and jeans, and you wear your jeans with a red shirt, tie, black jacket and black coat, your method will be different from mine.”
Searching far a last stab at duping him, Lucifer asked, “What is truth?”
Gabriel sat for a moment, and thought for a long time. Lucifer took off his coat, which shimmered as he placed it on the bench beside him. Dawn was on its way, the sky was beginning to light up.
Gabriel then replied. “Truth is constant. It is always there. It never changes, never wavers, and never falters. Do we know anything that is like this? Only two: The only constant in the universe is change. Two: The way in which each of us adapts differently to those changes. So really, everything is different because everything is always changing.”
Seeing that this line of questioning had come to an end, Lucifer switched topics. He asked another question.
“What is the soul?” He asked.
Gabriel quickly replied this time. “Think of the soul like a new computer that you buy. The computer comes with preset specifications and abilities, as determined by the manufacturer. The computer is made unique by its user, what software the user installs, what hardware the user adds, and what the computer is used for. Our souls are exactly like computers. We come with a previously set up configuration that helps determines who we are to begin with, but then we can grow and evolve as a result of how we are changed.”
Lucifer noticed the sun rising, and took off his black jacket, and took a moment to bask in the fresh rays that heralded spring’s arrival. He was satisfied with Gabriel’s answer, but still had his doubts. He chose his next question carefully.
“What is morality?” Asked Lucifer.
Gabriel closed his eyes, his face drinking in the warm sun beams that lit up his face. He smiled, and then replied after careful thought.
“Nothing is right or wrong.” Said Gabriel, “Why? Because right and wrong are universal truths. And as we discussed earlier, the only universal truth is that universal truths are always changing. Certainly, there are many things that many people believe to be wrong and right, but there will always be one person who believes differently, because everyone is different from each other. Even if these people turn these beliefs into their truth, which does not make it apply to everyone. In short, morality is a false truth created by humans to make us all the same.”
Again impressed, Lucifer sat a while, trying to think of another question. He undid his tie and set it on the bench beside him, and then un-tucked his shirt. The sun was getting hot overhead, and he asked another question to Gabriel.
“How should we treat other people then, if there is no such thing as morality?” Lucifer asked.
“Because everything is always changing,” said Gabriel in reply, “We should continue changing just as much. We should share our knowledge with others. We should experience as much as we can, think about it, and form as many beliefs as we can. We should let ourselves be different. We should live in inharmonious harmony with others until the day we die. We should cherish every change that comes our way, because that is the constant of the universe, the one thing that we can rely upon.”
Comfortably warm in the heat of the sun, Lucifer removed his red shirt to reveal an undershirt not at all unlike that of Gabriel’s underneath. He felt content, at peace, almost. He had one more question.
“In a word, how would you describe life?”
Gabriel pondered this for a long time. He sat on his bench, left arm on one leg, supporting his head, and right arm dangling down towards the ground. He shifted positions, to his back, to his side, standing, squatting, stretching, walking, running, all while pondering. The sun was beginning to set, and Lucifer sat like a statue, intently gazing at Gabriel and following his every move, knowing that his next words would be profound.
Then, Gabriel spoke.
“In life, there are many opposites. There is birth, and death. There are boys and girls. There is heaven and earth. There hard things, and soft things. Black things, white things. All in equal measure. Life is where they all combine, swirl into a mixture of emotion and experience.”
He stopped. Then, looking at Lucifer, his grey eyes staring into the ice blue of Lucifer’s, he said a single word:
The sun cast its golden rays onto the pair on the pair of benches. From a distance, they both looked the same.