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The Fallen

Christianity presumes the existence of a prelapsarian creation, an idyllic Eden before the Fall of Adam wrenched humanity out of infancy into the harsh ordeals of the present world.  But the disturbing reality surrounding us is not merely of human existence ejected from a mythic paradise, but part of a larger decline suffered, according to Milton's interpretation of the Bible, by one-third of heaven stricken with rebellion and hurled into the confines and unpleasantries of the earthly realm.  This view confronts the troubling aspects of suffering and evil in a universe created by a supposed all-powerful and benevolent God.


The denizens of this realm are steeped in their own private responses to the hells ensnaring them. Abandoned by the loss of divine perfection, they must contend with constant reminders of their personal desperation, as revealed in this description by Marlowe's Mephistopheles fielding questions put forth from Faustus, that Hell is on Earth, or more particularly, Earth itself is Hell, and thus everywhere where God is not: “Why this is hell, nor am I out of it. Think’st thou that I that saw the face of God, And tasted the eternal joys of heaven Am not tormented with ten thousand hells, In being deprived of everlasting bliss? . . . Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed In one self place, but where we are is hell, And where hell is, there must we ever be." 

As part of a universe devoid of God, these images peer into some of the more fantastic corners of this Fallen world and those inhabitants stewing and suffering enmeshed by demonic images of their own creations.  The more carefully one observes, the more one recognizes those Fallen and imprisoned within this broken world are often versions of ourselves.  "Hell is other people," declares Jean-Paul Sartre in his existential play "No Exit."  But an authentic hell is empty even of other souls to share misery.  Instead, it is where a claustrophobic atmosphere pervades the expressions of the private traps of the consciousnesses of these beings, and the viewer here touches upon the experiences of those witnessed confined in their enclosed self-reflective chambers. 

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