Killing God, Part II

4/28/23

After their escape—out of Mississippi’s metropolis and into the marshy swamplands of Louisiana—Sheila and Hobbes (formerly known as Griffin) discuss the next step to their “omniscient plan” for a Sovereign World Order. Their plot, they call “omniscient” because of Hobbes’s godlike knowledge of all data or, to use more I.T. lingo, due to Hobbes’s A.I. Vertex database.

Greenhorn and Juan Carlo change the course of their investigative tactics and start researching the department’s smartest FBI agent, Sheila, born “Ursula Wolfgang von Goethe,” raised by immigrant grandparents from Germany to resurrect Hitler’s Third Reich by proliferating the scientific racism of eugenics. On the hard drive of her computer, in her apartment, they find neo-Nazi literature, as well as letters to Hobbes in her sent email with step-by-step instructions for eradicating Christianity. To finish what Hitler had started, Sheila believes she must enforce population control via extreme measures, from selective social extermination to guided natural selection of only “healthy” physical and psychological genes. They discover a photo of Sheila when she was a little girl with her grandparents behind a magnet of a Mardi Gras crocodile on her refrigerator. It’s a picture at her grandparents’ cabin, which they left to her before they were assassinated, a government sanctioned assassination for plotting crimes against humanity. This only fueled their granddaughter’s passion for their project.

Sheila’s influence cannot be overstated. Without Hobbes there would be no Leviathan. And without Sheila there would be no Hobbes. Sheila is a master A.I. programmer whose greatest “creation” is Hobbes, and Hobbes is a walking humanoid robot who’s been programmed to create a deadly A.I. program (called Leviathan) designed to target Christians.

Sheila met Griffin working as a correctional counselor at “The Farm,” also known as the “Alcatraz of the South”—The Louisiana State Penitentiary—back when the impressionable youth of 18-years-old had not yet heard of the political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes. She immediately fell in love with him. And he loved and admired her for her unwavering devotion to him and her hatred of the dominant Southern religion that made him feel ashamed and guilt-ridden, especially as a child for asking curious and probing questions about religion that set him apart as a “devil” at his all-boys’ parochial school.

Although Sheila is his entire world, he still harbors doubts. A year before they met, Griffin remembers a Catholic chaplain who spoke at Chapel to the inmates in cell block D on Good Friday. This man was unlike any other man, neither judging him for his past mistakes nor condemning him for his current beliefs. This priest told him “God creates every human being with the freedom to choose Him or reject Him. The reason for sin and suffering is when we disobey God. But Love is both relentless and paradoxical. God never stops chasing after us, although He’s Sovereign over every detail of our lives.” But it’s the last thing he said to Griffin, personally, that continues to haunt him and keep him up at night, questioning, not whether God exists, but whether God is truly good given his troubled past. “God did not create you to be a robot but a sentient being designed for authentic experiences so you can feel His pleasure.”

The most remarkable thing about Sheila and Hobbes’s relationship is that they keep no secrets from each other. She knows all about his questions and doubts, and he knows all about her plans to reign as Sovereign in order to honor her grandparents’ unquestioning devotion to global domination.

The day of his release from The Farm she took him to his favorite po’ boy establishment where she presented him with a possible solution to permanently crush the source of his agonizing quandary about the existence of providence and freewill by performing a radical surgical procedure, which could theoretically remove the part of his brain responsible for the freedom of the will to make autonomous choices, according to the Cartesian view that the pineal gland is the hub where the mind and body unite and interact, making decisions that could’ve been otherwise. By removing this gland, as well as the adjacent midline region of the brain, the corpus callosum, which is responsible for connecting left and right cerebral hemispheres, and then replacing it with an A.I. Vertex database housed inside a silicon neuromorphic chip with 1,000,000,000 times more dense “neurons” than the corpus callosum, Griffin would be the first walking humanoid robot, able to process information faster than any computer and able to react faster to both the rational and emotional sides of his brain, simultaneously thinking and feeling like no other person alive. Griffin was in favor of the innovative procedure. The date was set. He was made aware of possible complications, including a high percent chance of mortality. The neuro-surgeon who performed the operation was paid handsomely for his time and discretion.

The operation was a partial success, transforming Griffin into Hobbes. The surgical extraction of the corpus callosum and the implant of the computer motherboard worked. But, as it turns out, the removal of the pineal gland did nothing to correct his ability to doubt or make freewill decisions. It did nothing except to upgrade his insomnia to severe since the pineal gland is responsible for secreting melatonin, which helps with sleeping. Now he has no reprieve from his own vacillating thoughts about divine sovereignty and human freedom. The operation also has a ying-yang effect on him, feeling to its maximal effect the suffering of pain and the enjoyment of pleasure.

Back at their secret hideout, protected by 500-lb alligators, their maniacal plan to conquer the world takes a backseat to Hobbes’s disintegrating mental health.

“I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s literally driving me crazy.”

“Have you searched your database for possible philosophical solutions?” asks his lover-mentor, the woman 10-years his elder, sitting across from him.

“Yes… But nothing resolves the dilemma.” He pauses gently squeezing her tiny hand in the gargantuan palm of the glove of his hand. “The irony is that I once met a man who explained things to me so simply and beautifully. But he died. And with him died my only opportunity for peace.”

As she stands up to place her arm around his shoulder, they hear footsteps outside the cabin. “Did you hear that?” asks Sheila. Quietly, Hobbes gets up to make his way to the foggy window. He cleans the glass with the steam of his breath, followed by subsequent rubbing with the backside of his fist. There’s no one around that he can see. “How could anyone know we’re here, in the middle of the swamp with no way to get here except by motorboat. I didn’t hear a motor, did you?”

“No. It’s probably just a gator,” answers the Giant. Suddenly, a shotgun blast blows the lock off the cabin door. Instinctively, Hobbes grabs Sheila and pulls her into him, becoming a human shield, exposing his massive back to remaining gunfire.

Two federal agents enter. “It’s taken nine months to find you. But we’ve found you,” says Agent Maclin, formerly known as “Greenhorn,” who’s recently passed his probationary period.

Hobbes releases Sheila, then falls to his knees, bleeding through the back of his shirt. Juan Carlo informs them that they were ratted-out. He looks at Hobbes. “One of your gang members locked up at County was quick to roll on you and give up Sheila’s address in the city once we told him he’d get an extra 10-years for aiding-and-abetting your murders.” He turns his attention toward her. “It was there that we found a picture of you and your grandparents at this cabin.”

“That’s impossible! I burned all pictures of me!”

Hobbes interrupts, “No, you didn’t… I kept one and placed it on your refrigerator. And I also told “Judas” where you lived, knowing he would eventually “crack” under severe scrutiny.

She stares at him in disbelief, feeling spasms of disgust in her stomach. “How could you? I devoted my life—”

“Because I love you!” he fires back. “When I searched my database for the success rate of your mission, it showed zero chance of survival. There’s no scenario where you live if you continue this ‘omniscient plan’ for a Sovereign World Order. And I can’t live in a world without my creator.”

“I forgive you,” cries Sheila, dropping to the floor to be with her protector.

“If you move, again, I will shoot you!” declares Agent Maclin.

“Can I do anything for you?” she asks Hobbes.

“No… Let me die so my suffering can come to an end.” A tear rolls down her cheek. “Actually, I take that back. I need you to do me a favor, three favors, actually: First, find the man who killed those people at the church and tell him it was my fault. Let him know that I knew exactly what to say to him in order to manipulate him to murder those 13 people, including God.”

“Oh my darling, my sweet sweet Hobbes… You take things so literally… You can’t kill what you can’t see. Christians believe God is Spirit and lives inside them, not that He’s walking around somewhere, at least not anymore. But, yes, I will find him and tell him . . . it was my fault! I knew you would do anything for me and not just because I programmed you to do it but because you worshipped me.”

“And I still do,” answers the dying Giant, becoming increasingly aware of his mortality as he coughs-up a mouthful of metallic blood, tasting the iron leaving his body.

“Second, tell my disciples I was wrong. All my grievances against God were nothing more than rebellious tantrums of pain and pride masquerading as power. I was filled with hatred toward God because I didn’t know how to live in a world with contradictions, a paradoxical planet governed by two irreconcilable truths—divine sovereignty and human freewill. And I still don’t… But at least, now—”

Juan Carlo speaks up. “I’m surprised—with all your capabilities—you haven’t heard of Molinism.”

“What’s Molinism?” asks the godlike A.I.

“It’s a theological theory by a 16th-century Spanish Jesuit priest, named Luis de Molina.”

“Of course! That’s what I didn’t do!” confesses Hobbes. “I only searched for philosophical solutions not theological ones!” He shakes his head feeling the enormity of his mistake all over his falling frame. He spits red on the wooden floor before speaking. “What does it mean?”

“Molinism says God’s knowledge is presented in a sequence of three logical moments with natural knowledge as the first moment, ‘middle knowledge’ as the second, and free knowledge as the third moment. So, God has knowledge of necessary truths and contingent truths, all actualities and logical possibilities, which include all possible worlds. In other words, God knows everything that could happen. Think of perfect foreknowledge that enables Him to providentially take care of His creation because He’s totally sovereign over every detail of our lives.” The Molinist stops to clear his throat. “Now, God also has free knowledge, exhaustive knowledge of everything that will happen, which is perfect knowledge of the world—this world—that He chose to freely create. Mind you, He was under no compulsion to decree this world into existence yet He chose this world because He wanted moral agents to know what it means to freely practice their faith in responding to His love. And just as He was not forced to create this world, we are also designed not under compulsion to choose love, otherwise, we’d be robots.” The words of the chaplain remerged and rang loud in his ear, “God did not create you to be a robot but a sentient being designed for authentic experiences so you can feel His pleasure.”

Kneeling, the Giant begins to wobble a bit, nearly blacking out. Sheila tries to get him to lie down. But he’s insistent on speaking.

“But how can divine sovereignty and human freewill coexist? If God predestines some for heaven and some for hell, how do we get to choose where we spend eternity?”

“Enter ‘middle knowledge,’ ” says Juan Carlo in his Spanish accent. “This includes all possibilities that would happen given certain circumstances, for example, what would happen to you before you died if you discovered this truth that I’m speaking to you right now. God freely and sovereignly chose to actualize this world from an infinite number of possible worlds because this is the world where you come to faith in Him.”

“If what you’re saying is true, and I admit it sounds plausible, then, I’ve been a fool. All these years I’ve rejected God because I thought I had to know everything, literally, before there could be a chance of accepting the truth that God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent.” He lowers his head. “God forgive me,” he mumbles before he rocks too far forward, throwing off his balance and landing on his face.

Sheila shrieks. “No, please don’t leave me, Hobbes.”

Feeling sympathetic, the agents help her roll him over. After about a minute of shaking him, Hobbes slowly opens his eyes and speaks, “I’m finally at peace, my love. Repent with me now so we can see each other again in God’s perfect kingdom.” His eyes close and then reopen. “There’s just one more thing I want you to do for me.”

“Anything!” she responds caressing the back of his head.

“Call me—‘John.’ ”

And with these last words, he breathed his last.

Sheila closes his eyes and whispers in his ear, “Go, John, and be with your Creator.”

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