The following is a chapter from the novel A Stone’s Throw, Orvie’s Stories by Mort Mather. A great book: funny and philosophical.
Who Made Satan?
Perry and me are sitting on the bridge by Gabovich’s fishin’. It’s easy ’cause all ya have to do is drop the hook in the water and the current takes it downstream, and then ya just pull on the line every so often to make it more interesting for the fish. I got a cork on my line, which keeps the hook a little off the bottom. Perry’s got a real bobber made outta red-and-white plastic. Whenever the cork or the bobber goes underwater we pull on our line and hope the fish took the hook. Sometimes the cork will just bob a little bit and if you pull you don’t get anything ’cause the fish was just nibbling at the worm and hadn’t got a good bite at it. I’m pretty good at knowing when the fish is just fooling around and when it’s taken the hook.
Perry says that God is good and loves everybody and that he made the earth and everything, so I ask him if he made Hell and he says no, that Satan made Hell. Now, ya see, right off there’s something wrong. If God made everything then he must have made Hell, or he didn’t make everything. Take your pick. So then I think, God didn’t make the brooder house. Dad and I built that, so it’s OK that Satan made Hell, but when I ask Perry if God made Satan he says no again. So we’re back to God didn’t make everything.
Perry explains that Satan and God and some other angels were already around when God created Earth. I ask him what they were doing.
“I don’t know. Like us, I guess, just sittin’ around.”
“What, were they just watching God create Earth, then?”
“So, then Satan says, ‘I’m going to create Hell,’ or what?”
“Yeah. I think he was jealous because God created this swell universe with animals and stars and people and everything and Satan couldn’t do it so he made Hell.”
“What were the angels doing? Do they ever come to Earth?”
“Sometimes, I think, to give God’s messages and stuff.”
“So they’re messengers?”
“Yeah, pretty much, I think. I think they sing sometimes.”
Perry gets a bite but the fish gets away. He pulls in the line and puts another worm on the hook and just then the same thing happens to me. As I put on a fresh worm I ask him what Satan does.
“Oh, he comes down to earth a lot. He is the one who tempts us to do wrong things because if he can get us to sin and we don’t confess to the priest then Satan gets us and we go to Hell.”
“Does God come down to earth?”
“No. He sent his son Jesus but he never came himself.”
“Why not? Why doesn’t he come down like Satan and tempt us to do the right thing?”
“I don’t know.”
“Seems like it’d be a good plan.”
It starts getting hot, so we go under the bridge to get out of the sun.