Volume 3 Number 4


Autumn 2005

Avram Builds an Idol

by Marsha Morman

At the end of the Third Age of the Machines, there was a man named Terach, and he was a maker of things. This was a very important position for one to have in the community, for everyone wanted things -Ė as many things as possible.

Terach was very clever about his work, which is why everyone went to see him. It was said that he could take a bar of iron and make it purple, suspending it from strings. People would hang it above the cradles of their babies to amuse them. Terach and his wife made something new one day. It was a son, and they named him Avram. He was the sort of son everyone wanted to have, not the nasty kind who kicked scraps around, but the kind who was quiet and said "thank you." As Terach was getting on in years, people smiled when they saw his son and said, "He will be great, like his father."

Avram didnít want to be like his father, so Avram closed all the doors and boarded all the windows up in his shop and disappeared inside. Curious onlookers wanted a peek, camping out near the apartment and spreading rumors of what was being made.

Forty days and forty nights passed, and Avram emerged from his seclusion and led the people into the workshop. There was a tube of glass as big as a man and tinted blue. That was all. This could not be the new thing, because Terach had seen Avram bring that cylinder into the workshop.

"Where is your creation?" Terach asked.

"I have not made something," Avram said. "I have made Nothing."

"Impossible!" they shouted. "Everything is something!"

But he pointed to the tube. "I have removed from the tube everything there was to find -- all of the tiny atoms that are somethings unto themselves. Now there is Nothing in there."

"But Nothing is something!" Terach replied.

"Nothing is in that tube, and yet something is in there. God is in there, because God is everywhere, even places of Nothing. God is not something; he is Nothing!"

"Blasphemer!" they cried, throwing what they could find at him.

They did not listen to his pleas, and sent him to live in the wilderness. But even in the desert there were things -- sand, rocks, the occasional tree. And so Avram sat and thought for a long time about how to create Nothing again, this time without his tools or his workshop.

When the night passed, the people greeted him with apologetic arms. "We put your thing on display, and people wanted it. We want you to make a thousand of them, and we will put them on our mantles. The tube is a beautiful thing."

"Itís not the tube; itís the Nothing!" he said angrily. "God is Nothing!" But they turned their heads and didnít hear him. "You donít understand," they said.

"You are a great maker," said his father, wishing to calm him. "You have made something out of Nothing."

Avram turned his head and wept.