The Moon At My Shoulder


© Justin Peters

“I must be dreaming. I mean, you can’t be God.”

“Yes, you are dreaming and I am a manifestation of the Almighty that won’t totally blow your mind.”

Lucas Todd still felt like his mind was being blown. He’d just been accepted into UCLA’s Astronomy and Astrophysics graduate program. Ever since his Dad told him about watching Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon on television, he wanted to go there, too.

NASA’s manned space program had gotten pretty disappointing since then. His Dad always thought he’d see a permanent Lunar Base or maybe even a colony being established during his lifetime, but poor Dad died of cancer last year. Lucas didn’t want Dad’s dreams to die with him.

If either NASA or a private space agency was going to establish that Moon Base, then Lucas was determined to be a part of it

“I mean, I don’t even believe in God, well not really.”

He was standing in the middle of what looked like a giant hologram of the inner Solar System. The man who called himself “the Almighty” wasn’t particularly impressive. Morgan Freeman had played God in the movie Bruce Almighty, but this guy looked more like the weatherman on the evening news.

“For the sake of this dream Lucas you don’t have to believe, but I’ve got some really cool stuff to show you.”

“Your hologram is pretty cool all by itself. How do you do it or does that matter in a dream?”

“Glad you like it but it’s not a hologram, at least not in the way you define the term. It’s the actual Solar System. Here, see this?”

The Almighty magnified a small section of the 3D image and Lucas could see a tiny Earth being approached by an even smaller object.

“Looks like this asteroid is going to make a close flyby of the Earth.”

“Guess again. I’ll speed things up a bit.”

The image expanded again as the object (only the Almighty knew its real name) moved closer to Lucas’ home planet and as the seconds passed, he realized that it was not a close flyby.

“Wait! It’s going to…” He watched in horror as the six-mile across asteroid impacted in what would one day become the Gulf of Mexico.

“It’s going to, it has, it always will hit. From your point of view Lucas, that event happened 65 million years ago give or take. For me, it hasn’t happened yet, it’s happening right now, it already has happened all at the same time.”

“You mean you experience the entire timeline as a single event?”

“I’m the Almighty. I created timespace so naturally I exist outside of it, just like you are existing outside of it now.”

Lucas looked back up at the “weatherman’s” face. “You mean I’m not in the universe?”


“So this is Heaven. Literally, I’m standing in the heavens.” The young student waved his arms across the expanse of the Solar System around him.

“It’s more complicated than that. Right now, you are standing in part of the expression of Creation tailored for your perceptional and cognitive abilities.”

“You mean I’m too stupid to see everything as you see it.”

“I created humans to be humans, not God.”

“Okay, so you know my Dad was a Christian and Mom’s Jewish. I was raised with a really confusing mix of theologies which is why I majored in the sciences.”

“Who says the two are mutually exclusive? Do you think people have this point of view? Can you create everything you’re witnessing at this moment?”

“Good point, but since this is a dream, it’s really just my imagination.”

“You know the Bible, Lucas. I’ve revealed myself in dreams lots of times.”

“I’ve always wondered how those Prophets figured out the difference between regular dreams and visions of you.”

“You’ll find out. This isn’t over yet.”

“Now what?”

“Come over here.”

He followed the Almighty as the scene shifted and then they were looking at Mars, but it wasn’t the Mars Lucas knew.

“Oceans? Water?”

“Three-and-a-half billion years before you were born, Lucas.”

“Can I have a closer look? I want to see if there’s any life in those…”

“Hey. Somethings you’re going to have to find out for yourself. Besides, I thought you were more interested in the Moon.”

Lucas felt a sudden pang of loss and grief. “How do you know? Oh yeah. A dream.”

He’d been enjoying the experience up until that point, but now he remembered how much he missed his Dad. He wished Dad had lived long enough to see him get his doctorate.

“I know, Lucas. You want him to be proud of you. Don’t worry. He is.”

“Is? He’s alive?”

“I’m not the God of the dead Lucas, I’m the God of the living.”

“Can I see him?”

“That’s not the reason I brought you here.”

“What then?” Lucas was yelling now. Impulsively, he decided to run all over the inner Solar System. He even tried to give Venus a good push into the Sun but his hand went right through the projection.

Finally he stopped to catch his breath. “Why then?”

The Almighty walked slowly toward Lucas until he was standing just a few feet away. “I’m going to give you the opportunity of your lifetime. You want to study the Moon? You will. I’m giving you the ability to understand Lunar formation, history, and geography like no other person ever, but there’s a catch.”

“There always is with you.” Lucas had read and studied the Bible when he was younger trying to figure out a way to reconcile the beliefs of his parents. It seemed to him that God liked to play games with humans. Obey the Torah completely? Can’t ever obey Torah completely. Jesus died and rose and promised to return? Two-thousand years later, no Jesus and the world is still a mess.

“I know you’re bitter. Here’s the catch. In this dream, you’ll understand everything. When you wake up, you’ll remember almost nothing.”


“Almost nothing, Lucas. What you’ll remember is a direction, a starting place. Someday, you’ll be the world’s foremost expert on the Moon, both topically and physically.”

“I’m going…I’m going to the Moon?”

“Yes, Lucas. In fact, your theories and discoveries will make the first permanent Lunar colony possible. Interested?”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” He straightened up and God saw a big smile on the young man’s face.

Lucas had a dream. In that dream, he was sitting on a beach looking out over the ocean, but instead of the Moon rising in the east, it was sitting right next to him. He could see everything there was to see about it, past, present, and future.

The Moon had yet to be created, the Moon was being created, the Moon was progressing forward in time from the earliest prehistory, across human history, and then beyond. When he looked closely at the northern rim of Peary crater, close to the north pole, he could see construction crews in spacesuits finishing Phase One.

I wrote this for the Photo Challenge #200 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a poem, short story, or other creative work.

I’ve always imagined that God would experience the entire history of the universe from creation to ultimate conclusion as a single event. If we could see that, it would be a sort of hologram of immense complexity. Since people are designed to perceive time in a linear fashion, God would have to pick out specific details to show us, such as an asteroid hitting Earth 65 million years ago, or witnessing oceans on Mars three-and-a-half billion years ago.

I don’t believe that faith and science are mutually exclusive either, but it’s hard to explain to those who are dogmatically dedicated to one over the other.

Oh, I am a Christian (albeit a highly unusual one) and my wife is Jewish, so our children can attest to how confusing it can be growing up in an interfaith family.

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