The Modern Prometheus
In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, there is a passage that (were it true) claws at the soul until it is left open and raw with spiritual bleeding. In a black paroxysm of despair, Victor Frankenstein’s monster compares his lot to Satan’s: “The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am quite alone”.
Shelley’s book originally carried the subtitle “Modern Prometheus.” In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. The subtitle, therefore, refers to the novel’s theme, whereby modern man is reaching into dangerous areas of knowledge.
Victor Frankenstein used corpses to create his biped, which wanted to become the god of a new race. He intends for it to be beautiful, seemingly a reference to God’s creation of the angelic choirs. But when it comes to life, he is revolted by its gargoyle-like deformities, its shocking ugliness. After taking murderous revenge on various people for his hopeless plight, the grotesque beast commits suicide.
This seems to be a metaphor for some recent news.
On September 5, 2007, in England, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Agency (HFEA) made the decision to allow science to create human-animal hybrids. A bill is soon to be decided that will “make this a positive right … But even if the bill doesn’t pass, the administrative interpretation of the HFEA will permit creation of human-animal hybrids to go forward … Two teams of scientists have already applied to HFEA to create human-animal hybrids”.
In a sense, this was bound to happen, because science today does not believe in the human soul. As the authors of The Spiritual Brain – A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul point out:
“Most scientists today are materialists who believe that the physical world is the only reality. Absolutely everything else – including thought, feeling, mind, and will – can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena … The discipline of neuroscience today is materialist. That is, it assumes that the mind is quite simply the physical workings of the brain”.
Having been created by a human, Frankenstein’s monster had no soul. But having a brain he could think, a process alleged to be “quite simply the physical workings of the brain.” In any case, not having a soul, he is left off the hook of eternal damnation for his murders and suicide. But humans do have souls. So, the grafting of a human with an animal brings up an interesting, albeit a macabre question, as to whether or not the new hybrids will have souls
For anyone who has seen the hideous movie The Fly, this question is accentuated. The story is about a scientist who experiments with a teleportation device. During his testing, his atoms get scrambled together with those of the fly, creating a half-man, half-fly hybrid. One can speculate that the human part of this hybrid retained its soul, so, like the Frankenstein tale, the audience can leave the scene knowing that hell has not overridden God’s creation, but abusively tampered with it.
It is interesting to note that when Our Lady in Fatima showed the children Hell, both animals and humans were seen:
“Submerged in that fire were demons and souls in human shapes who resembled red-hot coals, black and bronze-colored embers that floated about in the blaze … The devils stood out like frightful and unknown animals with horrible and disgusting shapes, but transparent like black coals that have become red-hot”.
The souls had “human shapes,” while the devils appeared as “unknown animals with horrible and disgusting shapes.” Since this vision came directly from Our Lady, the fact that animal forms were given to devils is not adventitious. This leads me to a theory.
Not being a doctor of either positive or speculative theology, I will hypothesize as a Catholic layman, that the human part of the soon-to-be-created hybrids will have souls. Thus these creatures will be similar to the man-fly hybrid in the movie. Similar but not the same, because the man-fly hybrid resulted from an accident, not intentionally – in the teleportation instrument of the movie, the fly had not been seen. The new hybrids will be intentional, creatures that defy thought. God created us in His image, but the new hybrids will be metaphysical monstrosities, something out of Greek mythology. If the hybrids are females, perhaps they will be like Echidna, half-woman, half-snake. Or a harpy, half-bird and half-woman. If masculine, a half-man and half-animal could be like a Centaur. Presently the unbaptized have Limbo as an option, but will the new hybrids have this option?
It was said of Hitler’s Germany, “How could it be that a cultured people at the heart of Europe ever allow such a man and the Nazi party he led to power?” A fortiori, this same question can be asked of present day England regarding its decision to allow animal/human hyrid experimentation to go forward. The insane power of the Nazi quest operated on a kind of presupposition that human thinking had gone mad. But the quest to biologically combine the human world with the animal world goes beyond madness, penetrating into the mind of Satan. It is the roar of Lucifer, “I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14: 14).
St. Michael’s reply to Lucifer will always be repeated by God’s troupes:
“Unable to countenance the impudence of a creature thinking he were equal to God, [St. Michael] courageously stood up in the divine assembly to defend the rights of God with a rebuke that issued from the depths of his being as a question something like: ‘And just who could possibly claim to be like God?’ …”
Then Michael cast Lucifer out of Heaven with all his rebellious companions”.
After showing the three children the relentlessly horrific vision mentioned above, Our Lady said to them, “You have seen Hell…” Now, as the bio-technological Prometheus reaches its nadir in the land of St. Thomas More, the vision seems to be repeated: We could shortly be seeing an image and likeness of hell.
May Our Lady send St. Michael to assist us as the Revolution in the Church and the world spin out of control, trying to “ascend above the height of the clouds.”