I live inside my little world, where knowledge is imbibed, inscribed from alchemist to man, and I read my big Book of Human Bodies with a keen and able heart. I glance at the pages, as my childhood companion turns them over, one by one. The crisp, clean paper makes noiseless progress as it evokes efficiency and imparts the knowledge printed on its white pages. I’m eager for every word I read. I especially love those pages ripe with information on the body and on medicine.
We pore over the text, chatting as we do. There are images of the human anatomy on many of the pages. Some pages illustrate surgeries. Others tell of medicine. Still more detail the surgical tools used in treating the various ailments a person can have. A few explain the difference between humans and animals and the disprove souls and eternity.
I point at drawings as we read the paragraphs explaining everything, word by word. I take notes in my mind, trying to impress everything I read here in hopes of never forgetting it. It tells me of the human situation. And yet, there are also many pages explaining and defying the existence of the soul. The soul must choose between everlasting peace in heaven or never-ending anguish and pain in hell. That is what the Bible tells us. The decision is made by the will of the human whilst alive. The soul will carry the person into eternity while the body rots in its final resting place on Earth. At last, the book decries this age-old philosophy as “unlikely” and “impossible”. We must not forget the distinction between the philosophical and the Biological. I think as we read, “the soul cannot perish with the body because it does not exist. There is no place of eternal bliss or damnation for Earthly souls to find their just deserts. When we die, we are simply that: dead.” This Book of Human Anatomy agrees with me, I find, as we read on.
My friend, less educated than myself, murmurs her disapproval. “The priest tells us of the beauty of Heaven and warns against the pitfalls that lead us to Hell. He must know more than us?”
“But does he know more than T. G. Hollis?” I ask, glancing at the name of the author of the book we are reading. “T. G. Hollis tells us that souls cannot exist – there is no room on Earth for billions of souls to reside forever in Heaven and Hell’s. When the body dies the person is dead. Look here, he illustrates how the human anatomy dies and explains the process of death. If you read these lines you will see what I mean.”
Agnes reads, “as the human nears his demise, his lungs desist in breathing and his heart pulsates its final beats within the rib cage that has ere long protected it from elements and premature death. No medicine can keep us from death. The man will pass into death as every man does. Studies have been made using mirrors covering the mouth to prove that no soul exists inside the body and nothing imparts from it’s Earthly confines whence the man is dead. By placing the mirror over the mouth, we see no increase in fog dampening the mirror’s glass as the man ceases to breath. In fact, the mist reduces and a few minutes on, ceases completely. Should a soul have passed the mirror would have detected it.”
“There, you see!” I cry, happy in this discovery.
“Yes, but the Bible has many explanations that it says are true.”
“The Bible gives no proof! It just tells us this or that is true with no reason why. This Book of Bodies and Medicine tells us what and why and how.” I shout outraged.
“Shh,” she beckons me. “The Matron will hear.”
“If you insist on believing without proofs, then I have nothing to say to you. This book shows case studies and experiments and proofs of this or that.”
“Yes, this or that may be proven here, but is it worth eternal Hell if it ends up untrue?”
“I will not let the Bible control me the promises that they might never be held accountable for. That is just foolish,” I say, proudly.
“Don’t call the words of that Holy Book of books foolish. It has the greatest author known to man,” she is ashamed.
“But that author has no foundation in his theory. He tells us that it is because it is and because he says so. It doesn’t give the proof of anatomically correct drawings and diagrams, like T. G. Hollis. How can you believe him?”
“He is the Son of God and God Himself. His word is truth itself – He needs no reason and needs not justify Himself to people like us, who are unworthy of the question.”
“Look here, in this paragraph, T. G. Hollis questions Him. He says, “There is no Earthly or biological proof of souls, God, Heaven and Hell as we have of the human body, Botany and the physical Earthly realms. We have no diagrams of God or souls. No pictures of the Heavens and Hells.” I read aloud.
Our bottoms become stiff on our chairs, cramped by the position we must use to accommodate the heavy book by T. G. Hollis.
I turn another page over and read: “We have by means of diagrams and autopsy, proven the many functions of the human body. We know that arteries pump blood from one side of the body to the other and back again. That medicine can cure most ailments. It details the many uses of cyanide, penecillan and other medicinal drugs. The heart is the major blood vessel of the body. The brain enables us to think, while we are living. Our lungs force us to breathe. When all these things, called organs, are in working order, the body is alive. It can move, think and speak. It is capable of some of the major thoughts of our era.”
“What thought can be greater than the Soul and eternity?” My friend asks, stupidly.
“If it were proven, I grant you it would be great. But there are no proofs. No diagrams, only a few several subjective paintings in oil on canvas. These are not proofs, so much as Divine Propaganda.”
“Well if the Lord is not real, why is everyone trying to propagate Him in writing and in Art? We have so many books telling us that He is real, so many portraits of His son, so many landscapes of the Heavens.”
“I cannot explain His propaganda. We can, however, trace the reasons of the authors: they have the ambition to vouchsafe Him because it – not He – gives them power. This man, T. G. Hollis, goes against the great doctrine espoused and investigates the truths of this Earth. I feel the point of the Bible is power, not truth. The point of Biology and this book by Hollis, is the real truth of this physical world. This book does not go against the Bible for means of power but because it doesn’t believe in the what the Bible says. There is no power to be gained here, rather the dissolution of power will be made instead.”
“Power and truth are much the same. People would not believe it if it were not true. It would have no power then,” My young friend argues.
“People frequently believe in things which aren’t true. That is no justification. And, merely believing gives all the power some of these men desire,” I claim.
“The Bible tells us what we should believe because it is right.” It uses those words.
“Right is different to correct,” I say.
“It is the reader who misuses the word. That is not God’s fault,” she continues.
“People abuse right as interchangeable with what should be and what is correct. The truth is that Holy Book has nothing to do with what is what, or what is proven,” I reiterate.
The Matron, who it seemed had heard our conversation in its entirety, interrupts us here, with this adnomination, “If you put as much time into reading the Good Lord’s Bible as you did that book of yours, you would benefit from the wisdom that is God’s words.”
“And forget the truth as it is proven for the sake of following the footsteps iterated by the laziest of men who only want their power and their ease,” I complain at this injustice with the only tools I have power over – my thoughts and near silent pronunciation.
“Hush, she will hear,” argues my friend, as she moves to shut the book that we had laid open on our laps.
We go to place the book back in its proper place on the library shelf and then go back to our work, wiping clean the floors in the kitchen and scrubbing every surface that can be seen, before assisting with the other chores of that great household. The book is forgotten for now, as we complete our duties for the day, but, on a similar shelf lies the Bible, also forgotten – one with the proofs the other with the philosophy: both exploring what is right from two glaringly different angles of what right is. The book of the anatomy tells us of right as in what is accurate fact, in accordance with the author, T. G. Hollis, whereas the Bible discusses right in the milieu of what should be, according to God. It is up to us which we follow.