The night air was humid but relatively clean and I felt my head begin to clear. The moon was bright and, of course, full, casting a grayish-white glow on the Bringer of Light as he handed me a cigar. We lit up and started walking, our cigar tips pulsing orange in the darkness.

“So there is a God,” I said.

“That’s not a good word,” he answered. “Too mechanical. Too many associations. What we call him would translate into English as something like ‘Number One.’”

“Number One?”

“You know, the First Consciousness. The Prime Mover. That sort of thing.”

“Wait… did you say ‘he’?”

“Well, this language of yours is very limited in some respects. If I say ‘it,’ that sounds like I’m talking about an object or an animal. Keep in mind that this is an infinite being of pure consciousness we’re talking about here. Number One is well beyond any idea of male or female, but to make things simple, let’s just say ‘he.’”

“He’s been around forever?”

“Yeah, he wrote the very first song.” said Lucifer. “Sorry, bad joke. Actually….” He paused thoughtfully. “It’s hard to say. He can’t remember a time when he didn’t exist, but then who can? Our best understanding is that he came into being at the same time as the universe, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.”

“So he didn’t create the universe?”

“No, he did not create the physical universe. But when he became conscious, there was no other life anywhere. He was alone with his thoughts for a very long time — in your terms, maybe millions of years, maybe billions, maybe trillions. He had no concept of time. Time belongs to limited beings like us.”

“Us?”

“I too am a limited bring. Number One created me, and should he ever wish it, I can be unmade.”

“When were you created?”

“As I said, Number One was alone… and then, somehow, he discovered that he could split off small parts of himself and turn them into other beings. Physical beings. That was when he made me and my siblings.”

“The angels,” I said.

“Mmm, that’s another bad word. You picture guys with wings flying around in the clouds. We weren’t guys. We didn’t look like human beings, not remotely. We didn’t have wings. And the place where we lived… well, he made a place for us. There’s no good way for me to describe it to you. Think of it as another dimension that was essentially inside of him, so that we were continually in contact with him.”

Lucifer’s cigar had gone out, and he stopped for a moment to relight it.

“But he made a mistake when he created us. Well, he came to think of it as a mistake. He modeled our minds after his own, and so eventually he grew bored with us. He wanted something truly different, something he wouldn’t be able to predict.

“And so he came up with an idea for an experiment. We would find a place, and he would start life there according to a set of parameters, then let it develop on its own.”

He paused to let this sink in. It took me a minute to process the implications of what he’d said, and then I realized….