As the result of several weeks of work on a collaborative writing effort with Daniel, I was thinking about a Bible passage this morning:
“You will be hearing
of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those
things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”
Matthew 24:6. And what I was thinking, specifically, was how valuable that specific anti-prophecy was, because pretty much all of our end-times myths, from every culture, culminate in a final battle style of thing. Armageddon, Ragnarok, wars of that nature.
But then, even as I was congratulating Jesus on predicting that particular misunderstanding and setting his followers straight, my thoughts jumped to another passage, which sort of does the opposite.
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor
does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the
trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When
the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
I Corinthians 15:50-54. Okay, well, I’m not one of those who remembers every verse of the Bible in perfect numerical order, so I got the wording mixed up a little. I was actually thinking of only the second verse in that selection, the “not all of us shall sleep” bit, and I sort of mixed it up with some other verse where Jesus was speaking, saying something to the effect of, “it could be any minute now.”
Anyway, anyway. I was mainly thinking of the wording from Corinthians, “not all of us shall sleep,” taking it in the literal sense (and, as I said, thinking that it was Jesus saying, “not all of you shall sleep,” implying the second coming within one generation.
And, y’know, clearly that wasn’t what the prophecy meant, and the “us” was a bigger crowd than just those present at the sermon’s initial delivery, but I thought another fun interpretation would be if, in that pronouncement, Jesus had made the Apostles immortal (or, since it was Corinthians, Paul admitted that Jesus had previously made the Apostles immortal) .
So, then, the story idea was for a superhero-type story about the immortal Apostles. I’m thinking probably not as Christian missionaries, because they got that business taken care of a long time ago (and it doesn’t make for a very interesting story). Also, both of those passages I referenced had context before or after talking about lawlessness as a bad thing, so I’m thinking typical superhero as defender of law and order fits within the demand of the characters….
I was also thinking maybe this one group of immortals made up the clusters of genius that we see throughout history (Renaissance artists, for one example).
Also, for the actual mechanism of their immortality, I was thinking a cool way to write it would be to take the vampire theme — not for their behavior day-to-day, but just in the temporary death sense. Then, from temporary death (and this already being a Jesus-story inspired idea, I think a fun way to handle it would be to just have them never stay dead for more than 3 days. They all rise on the third day, always. And, over time, this could get pretty inconvenient with mausoleums and vaults and whatnot, so they get in the habit of checking up on each other from time to time, and performing prison-break style rescues when one or another of them ends up getting buried somewhere he can’t escape from.
I dunno. Could be fun. Maybe for a lark sometime.