by Hayden Hobby
Long after the great song which set into motion the music of the cosmos; after the Earth coalesced into a great sphere of rock and dust and clay; after eons and eons of slow and methodical stages of evolution, at last, there came to exist a creature possessing reason and self-awareness. One who could relate to others of its kind, forming relationships of mutual trust and cooperation which grew into small communities and tribes. The divine light — the Three Radiant Lovers — sustained the song from which these creatures and all other things sprang. They knew all that lived, all that grew and bloomed and breathed, but all did not yet know its Creator.
In those days, before the divine light touched heart or mind, the great animal we now know as the “human” was birthed from the sands of time and the waters of life. Humans then were not yet the creatures we know and call “human” today, in fact, if you saw this wild creature in those earliest days, you might not recognize it all. You might say that to call such a wild creature a human is a disgrace to humanity and, in a way, you would not be wrong. The most crucial element was not yet breathed into their being — that ingredient which gives every human being light behind their eyes and love in their heart: the divine spirit of God. In those days, these not-yet-divine humans were known — in their own tongue — as the Virendra, the most fierce and powerful warriors in all the animal kingdom.
The Virendra roamed as scavengers in pride-like, tribal packs before the divine encounter, hunting and gathering any and all types of food that they could find from fruits and roots to fish and small, ground-dwelling animals. They were the first creatures to build their own shelters and the first to learn how to make and tend fire which, they learned, served as a very helpful and multifaceted tool. Meat took on a whole new appearance when held next to the flames, transforming its texture and taste, all of which was a delightful change. The fire also struck fear into the hearts of all the other creatures — no matter how big and fearsome — who were themselves incapable of wielding and controlling the dancing flames.
One particular Virendra, known as Hansin, the great lord and leader of his pride, held a special affinity for fire. At times, he wondered if the fire — in all its dancing and crackling and popping — tried to communicate with him. On cool, crisp evenings, quietly on guard over the sleeping tribe, he would stare deeply into the flickering flames, entranced by their bright and mesmerizing magic. Looking into the fire, Hansin felt as he did when looking up at the vast, black night sky, glowing brilliantly bright with white light. The feeling made is his arm hairs rise as they do in the presence of fierce and terrible creatures, but this feeling was not fear. What it was he could not say, and he wasn’t sure he liked it, but he was drawn to it in the same way his eyes were drawn to the yellow light of the fire.
One night, as Hansin kept watch over his pride, again staring deeply into the flames, he heard a voice softly whisper his name from the tongues of fire,
Startled, Hansin leapt to his feet, grabbing his spear and peering out into the darkness, his back turned to the fire, when he heard the voice again, louder this time and unmistakably behind him where the fire lay.
“Hey!” Hansin yelled, turning around, “Show your face, coward! I will not fall prey to your taunts!” Again, the same soft yet thunderous voice spoke his name, this time at his feet. Hansin looked down at the fire, utterly baffled as that feeling crashed over him again, more powerfully than the greatest gust of wind. He sat with quivering legs and stared into the fire, wondering if he was severely ill, when that voice — that great and terrible voice — spoke again from the flames.
“I am here,” Hansin croaked in a shaky and barely audible voice. The fire did not reply, and just before Hansin gave in to believing that his sleepless mind played a trick on him, something even more incredible happened: a large spark leapt from the fire and rose above his head, growing larger and larger as it rose up just above the tree-tops, so close you could climb up and touch it. The star began to move slowly towards the great river whose banks were surrounded by the lushest, most green, and fruitful tundra in all the land. Hansin, compelled by curiosity and wonder, followed the low-hanging star without thought or question into the depths of the garden-like greenery near the great river, when at last the star stopped over a grand and towering tree. A tree of the likes which had never been seen by Virendra eyes, towering over the others but with branches so close to the ground a child could jump and swing from its sturdy, wooden arms.
The star stopped here, above this great tree, and suddenly fell into its canopy of branches and, in an instant, the whole tree was alight in flames. Yet, to Hansin’s surprise, the great tree did not burn, and the flames consumed neither leaf nor bark nor flower. Hansin, staring at this unthinkable tree on fire, felt the urge to laugh and dance and weep for joy, all feelings that we are familiar with but that Hansin had not experienced until this very moment. At last, when he could take it no longer, a being stepped forth from that burning tree, itself more bright and brilliant than any star or fire imaginable, and began walking towards him. Overcome by this fearful, joyful, awesome terror, Hansin fell to his knees and covered his face with his hands, unable to look upon the being. He feared that he himself might cease to exist in the presence of something, or someone, whose mere existence caused all other things to fade — as the light of fire fades in the presence of the sun. But Hansin did not cease to be. In fact, although yet unaware, he had just now begun to be and would soon exist in a manner that would dramatically alter his life and the life of every present and future Virendra for the rest of time.
The story of Hansin, the first true human, the first to bear the divine imprint of the Maker, would be told and retold for the rest of time, paralleled only by the embodied advent of the Divine itself. His name, however, would be lost to the great maw of time and translation until he was known only as The Man or…
Hayden Hobby is a Christian writer and musician studying Theopoetics and Writing at Bethany Seminary, and his writing ranges from liturgy and song lyrics to short stories, devotionals, prayers, and poems. With a deep passion for creativity and the Church, Hayden especially loves writing about deep, theological topics in creative, interesting, and approachable ways. He currently lives with his wife in Richmond, Virginia.