Author: David Barber

Transmissions from the Heaven Probe sizzled with white noise. In a moment of high drama, a shadowy figure had approached the lens, speaking in tones both measured and incomprehensible.

Dr Helen Forster smiled for the media. “Here is that first image from Heaven, cleaned up.”

Bishop Vaughan interrupted. This had always been his moment.

“We prefer the term deistic space.”

Did we expect angels to look human?

The discovery of deistic space has seen theology expand from its theoretical beginnings to the experimental discipline it is today. Observations suggest our universe is the shadow cast by that numinous dimension.

Compared to the worship-contaminated environment of Earth, the Mare Orientalis on the moon’s far side has proved a superior site for astrotheological observatories, and staffed by atheists, is entirely litany-free.

“This is Professor Jamshidi,” said Helen Forster afterwards.

Bishop Vaughan inclined his head.

“The Iranian linguist,” she added. Off-camera, her smile was perfunctory. Under the makeup, her eyes were bruised by long hours and ambition.

The bishop took Dr Forster aside. “A Muslim—”

“The only scholar with the necessary expertise.”

The bishop turned and held out his hand. “Welcome, Professor.”

Neurons in the human cortex form a unique fractal array, and without the distraction of a heartbeat, it opens to the universe like an aerial. Before being brutally awoken by doctors, those who undergo Near Death Experiences sense this.

Modelled on the brain, the Large Prayon Array will let us overhear the primordial divine Word commanding the Big Bang. Soon it will be too late for God to have secrets.

“I watch like everybody else,” said Professor Jamshidi. “I hear the voice and I think, I know this.”

He took the bishop’s silence as scepticism. “Aramaic is my study. At the University of Tehran for thirty years.”

“They speak Aramaic in Heaven… in deistic space?”

Jamshidi shrugged. “Perhaps they think we still speak it here.”

On the laptop video, the angel stared, its eyes much too large.

“First, it announes itself with the honorific, Morning Star.”

Jamshidi paused the video. “You will say Aramaic lacked this word. But the prefix royal, added to fight?”

The bishop cleared his throat.

“Translates as war,” concluded Jamshidi. “It says the war in heaven goes badly.”

Supported by a counterweight in geostationary orbit, Project Babel was to extend beyond the atmosphere. Cutting-edge theology would unite nations in this colossal enterprise, searching for the prayon, the smallest, indivisible word of God.

Sadly, Big Theology overreached itself. Cost overruns, unnoticed differences in units of measurement, and mistranslation of the word hubris, halted construction.

Dr Forster shepherded Jamshidi to the rear of the building. The bishop thought the involvement of Muslims needn’t be advertised.

“Your cab, Professor,” said Dr Forster, her thoughts already elsewhere.

Jamshidi was not one of the fanatics. He overlooked the fact that Dr Forster flaunted herself like an immodest woman. He knew it was her, not the appalling clergyman he must convince.

As his ride pulled away, he looked back, but she had already gone.

There were subtleties only a scholar able as himself could appreciate, how in Aramaic, the word losing could imply falling, as a coin is lost falling from a purse.

How the one calling itself Lucifer warned they would soon be falling from Heaven.

A host of high-divinity sources have been detected approaching Earth. Attempts to make contact are under way, despite those who say we should not be meddling with god-like entities we do not understand.

Before astrotheology, such attitudes were common, but if we were meant to remain ignorant of Him, God would have made us all atheists.