This section encompasses Jewish folklore, The Bible
and The Qur'an
, plus deuterocanon
Let us begin with a preface: Nobody, with the possible exception of Hinduism and Buddhism, does the supernatural Eldritch Entity quite like the Western world's favourite religious tradition. The concept of monotheism, combined with the Platonic Theory of Forms (a direct and heavy influence on modern "Pauline" Christianity and a less direct influence on both Rabbinic Judaism and Islam) and taken to both ideas' extremes is a fantastically alien experience. All the major Abrahamic religions and apologetics emphasize how the true form of God (and all the other "higher" celestial beings, but especially God) is beyond logic, causality, physics and comprehension of the human mind, because of His Transcendent nature, and so, atheists trying to apply logic to these entities are just trying to exercise in complete futility
. So, with that said let us truly start:
He was an All-in-One
of limitless being and self — not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence's whole unbounded sweep — the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. It was perhaps that which the religion and philosophy of Christianity of earth have referred to indirectly by the common noun God
, and which has been a deity under other names; that which the Muslims worship as Allah
, and by which the Rabbis of Judaism whisper by a cryptic arcane Tetragrammaton that only appears in Latin transliteration as "YHVH"
. Most people think it would have been pronounced "Jehovah", "Yahowah", "Yahuh", or "Yahweh",
but no one can really be sure
. It was theorized that properly pronouncing the name of God will only result in insanity
, hence why it is a blasphemy in Ancient Jewish folklore to attempt it
" we represent in our art is, in fact, just one of many forms
and may in fact have both female and male traits. In fact God existing on such a vaster plane of existence than humanity might think of a mortal form as laughably inconvenient and beneath the dignity of His Omnipotent status. The Bible rarely even gives any description that could let one picture a physical appearance, typically calling God a spirit, and the few times it does it's made clear this is only a form He chose for that occasion. In Kings 19:12 He comes as a simple whisper in the wind but in Ezekiel 1:27...
"...[H]igh above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord."
...and even He shows Himself in this form and speaks through it to Ezekiel His Spirit is not limited to it and continues on with other tasks. He can never die
and could likely claim that it had been around since the dawn of eternity, and with strange aeons even Death itself will
die and be thrown into Hell. He has existed before time itself began and will exist long after the fabric of space and time itself has died
, is literally the beginning and the end of all things and thus has seen the beginning of history, and will usher in the end of history as well. On top of that, He never changes and is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever, despite changing His ideas every chapter and then,
and... My brain already hurts
from the potential self-contradictory paradoxes
this entity could incur, but that's actually just a very tiny part
of theological wild mass guessing
on what the nature of God really
is—of which St. Thomas Aquinas' proposal that He is Existence itself
—not the Universe, but Existence
—is the least
incomprehensible. There's a reason why some people can only sum Him and all the contradicting descriptions of Him up as "God works in mysterious ways".
Basically, Cthulhu is a cute little cutie
compared to God. A related postulation is that His true form will Mind Rape
you with its sheer eldritch glory and completely annihilate free will forever. Worst of all, He completely controls our destiny whether we like it or not
. He literally did everything. Unlike other Outer Gods
, however, God at least provides love as long as you worship and revere Him
, and He has the decency to either (depending on your point of view) work through slightly less eldritch intermediaries
like the Archangel Gabriel
or, if you're Christian, take A Form You Are Comfortable With
(one we all love named Jesus
) (then again, Outer Gods communicate with us through Nyarlathotep and considering Jesus' true form in Revelation...), but then again, He can and will perform many nasty acts like smite and punish thee
for the tiniest amounts of Thought Crime
. He might be forgiving, but if anybody else
, even the most powerful of the Angels
, are stupid enough to think of themselves Above the Most High
, then he's definitely screwed
His omnipotence, combined with pretty extreme measures
when dealing with heresy, still makes Him a force to be reckoned with. He's overall trying to be nice
, but He is harsh. Even our best theologians and philosophers don't help in describing His Mind Screw
-like nature, with interpretations so contradicting it ends up inspiring War, Madness and Terror
on both sides.
- Islam takes this bit particularly seriously; being the omnipotent, omnipresent being who created the Universe, it is forbidden to portray Him in pictures, partly, at least, because You Cannot Grasp the True Form.note
- In fact, just looking at Him causes you to explode. The Kabbalist philosophy is that a Seraph burns by consequence of being smart enough to understand the most high's glory better than anything else. In Exodus 33, Moses had to cower behind a rock to look at the back of God!
- Speaking of the Kabbalah, the demons range from angry, ravenous crows that spread like fire, to enormous, black giants covered with serpents, to disembodied, veiled heads with glimpses of horrifying eyes. The angels of sacred prostitution are much more humanoid looking though allowing them to have the Most Common Super Power.
- Our Angels Are Different. How different? Let's take a look.
- The ancient depictions of angels are more like traditional Eldritch Abominations than the fluffy cloud angels we see nowadays on Christmas decorations. The cherubim (Yes, those cuties we all know today) have four faces - a lion on the right, an ox on the left, a human forward, and an eagle backward. They have four wings, with HANDS under the wings, their legs described as simply "straight", and they have hooves. Also, the eyes. Everywhere. Even in the spaces between the eyes. Furthermore, the exact meaning of "Cherubim" has been lost to time but upon observing a group of abnormal "Chayyot", "living creatures", Ezekiel is surprised by the revelation of them being Cherubim. This means, in the eyes of the Hebrews, their most outstanding characteristic amongst the other orders of angels was that they are alive. Not so cute anymore, is it?
- Contrast the Seraphim, basically cherubim with extra wings that are on fire, whose name means "Fiery Ones", and the Ophanim that take this to the extreme, being wheels intersecting themselves while turning, also flying with six wings, somehow attached while they're turning, whose name means "Wheels". Remember, neither of these were understood to be alive by the Hebrews. Add to all this that God's guard for the Garden of Eden was a cherub armed with a flaming sword that turned in all directions. There's a reason angels would address humans with "be not afraid" or just come in human form. That they are so nice takes the abomination out, even if they are eldritch.
- Though some sources, the Book of Revelation being particularly notable, imply that there are angels so powerful and evil that God locked them up in a bottomless pit because He didn't want to bother with them. An infinite containment; even the infinite curvature of spacetime itself would probably be not enough to contain these monstrosities. And they will come out one day, at The End of the World as We Know It. The scarier implication is why God didn't use His Reality Warper abilities to eradicate these monstrosities, instead locking them up in an infinite void. Perhaps they're just as eternal as He is. The not canon to many Enoch suggests God, in a particular case of wrath (or perhaps strong parenting), filled the pit with stars to burn away their sin. But keep in mind, there are still some angels not confined to the pit that are still worrisome enough (see the revelation section below).
- Some interpretations of Seraphim hold that their divine fire radiates a light so ineffably potent that it will SEAR FROM EXISTENCE anything that approaches too close, including, presumably, lesser angels. That's still nothing compared to God Himself, for whom the Seraphim are the mundane equivalent of matches, basically shining as tokens of His glory.
- Seraphim are also described as dragon/serpent like (which led some experts to believe that they are loosely based on the goddess Wadjet from Egyptian Mythology, which is also a fiery snake). They consistently have six wings, and one of them is used to cover their feet. In spite of the fact that they are snake-like. Try figuring that one out. Note: "feet" is often used in biblical Hebrew as a euphemism for the genitals.
- Thomist philosophy's angels aren't weird-looking because they have no appearance, being pure ideas. This concept was pretty much borrowed from Plato's Theory of Forms (Theory of Ideas). But the Platonic Ideas still definitely fit the "weird psychology" part. They have no need to reason or learn, because they know and are everything that they can know, simply as a function of their self-awareness. They are timeless and infinite and have no feelings; though they have enormous power to influence the world, it isn't by "action", as humans would understand it. The Real World as we see it is, in fact, just a shadow of these Forms, whom You Cannot Grasp the True Form. The perfect Idea of blueness "is projected" on what we "perceive" as a blue object. It's like The Matrix, only the Real World is not this real world but instead is mind screwy. Also, the most powerful of all angels, the supreme created entity, second only to God/The Form of the Good Himself? Satan, the Idea Of Evil.
- Islam also holds the "Eldritch Abomination" view of angels. The Prophet Muhammad was terrified when he saw Gabriel in his true form; God, through Gabriel, spends the first few verses of the Sura (chapter) Al-Muddathir calming him down.
- This is why every time an angel appears to a mortal, the first thing it says is always "be not afraid".
- Behemoth and Leviathan are also worthy of mention. It is to the world's great benefit that these two great beasts are mortal enemies, since it is said that their offspring would be the end of the world.
- In the original Jewish lore, they form a trio with the Ziz, a gryphon-like bird whose wingspan would block out the sun. The Ziz once threw away a rotten egg, and thirty cities were flooded by the liquid of it, and 300 cedars were broken by the shock of the falling egg. If the Ziz would stand in the middle of the ocean, the water would only reach his knees. Eldritch enough.
- Leviathan is also said to be 300 miles long, and that is on top of breathing fire, having impenetrable scales, and glowing eyes. Behemoth is described so vaguely that all that is clear is that it is a (possibly mammalian) herbivore, incredibly strong, and invulnerable to anything that is not omnipotent (i.e. God). Not being able to describe it properly is a sure sign of an eldritch abomination.
- The "agon" model of Genesis interprets Leviathan to be the closest equivalent of The Anti-God infesting the primordial seas before God created universal order. And if God above was already weird for being completely outside of time, without beginning or end, then think of an entity that preceded the beginning God Himself.
- Some scholars believe Leviathan to be based on Tiamat from Babylonian Mythology, and the Hebrew creation myth supposedly goes back to a primordial battle between God and the ocean-dwelling chaos monster. Thus, the mention of Leviathan in Psalm 104 would be a Retcon emphasizing God's complete omnipotence (possibly not, Tiamat had more mammalian traits, Genesis's opening does not describe violence and Leviathon looks a lot more similar to figures actually originating out of Semite culture like Lotan but tehom, the Hebrew word for incomplete creation, resembles Tiamat)
- There's also a theory that the Leviathan is a manifestation of Satan...
- It gets better. Part of the prophecies concerning the End of Days is that these two beasts will kill each other... and afterwards the righteous will eat them in a great feast. Did You Just Eat Cthulhu?
- One of the strangest parts of Revelation is its descriptions of Jesus. These include a man with a head and hair that is pure, snow white, eyes of fire, and feet of brass, with stars in his hands and a sword from his mouth who shines like the sun, and a lamb with a slit throat, seven horns, and seven eyes. Either Jesus becomes a Humanoid Abomination, or he's unlocked the ability to turn Super-Saiyan.
- Some Christians have interpreted several verses, such as many in Corinthians 15, as that Yahweh changed mankind's original shape into that we have now, and that we will regain the original form when we meet Jesus again. Judging by the two forms Jesus takes in Revelation, we will most definitely become those eldritch beings that caused Instrumentality. A rarely used trait of eldritch abominations is the ability to mutate surrounding lifeforms by its very presence.
- Revelation is full of them. The Beast, with its seven heads and ten horns, is one well known example.
- Satan becomes one in Revelation as well; he is described as a "great red dragon" with seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns, so powerful that a single swipe of his tail sends one-third of the stars falling out of the sky. This is from the description of the War in Heaven between Satan and Michael, each with their own army of angels. A common interpretation is that the fallen stars are the fallen angels that sided with Satan. So a third of all angels fell.
- Remember, the Book of Revelation (and indeed, the entire New Testament) was originally written in Greek. The Greek word "aster" does not mean, "naturally occurring nuclear fusion reactor." Rather, it means "celestial body." "Angel," by contrast, means "messenger." Thus, "aster" is a physical description, whereas "angel" is a job description.
- Though they're generally agreed to not be physical beings so much as metaphorically-described human empires, the four beasts seen by the eponymous prophet in chapter 7 of Daniel probably deserve mention here. They dominate the world one after another; the first resembling a winged lion with the heart of a human, the second a colossal bear that feeds on human flesh, the third a leopard with four heads and four wings (and in some interpretations, draws on a variety of big cats, as well), but the most eldritch of them all is the last one, which is notably not described as looking like any Earthly animal. It is described as having enormous claws, teeth made of iron, and ten horns which are the ten kings that rule the empire that the whole beast represents. In addition, the creature's smallest and most innocuous horn is strongly implied to be the most powerful and evil world leader the Earth will ever know. This thing is prophesied to singlehandedly rip the planet to shreds, and it ultimately takes God Himself to finally kill it at the end of the world.
- Jewish folklore names the little known Rahab as the "demonic angel of the sea" representing the primordial abyss, the water-dragon of darkness and chaos. Often associated with the above Leviathan, Rahab was a primordial entity that God slew at the beginning of Creation. He's mentioned so sparsely in Biblical accounts that you have to know where to look to find any mention or discussion about him, but this thing was around BEFORE God got to creating the world. In other words, out of all the things in Creation, Rahab was the one thing God did not create.