I Met God — God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith: Collaboration
BRAD LINAWEAVER: And that’s where the God voice — I’ll call it that — turning the volume up, if you will, on the God broadcast — is that where the God voice made a crucial difference in guiding you through what was to be dropped and what was to be used?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes, and let me try to explain the process, the way that it was happening.
First of all, 9/11 happens. I am, at that point, maybe no more than three chapters, maybe four chapters, into the book. Okay, three or four chapters, right near the beginning. okay, 9/11 happens. I am up all night, writing on the book. I’m at my computer in the family room. On the couch next to me, my daughter is asleep. I have the TV on in that room, with the sound muted.
About six o’clock in the morning, I look over to the TV and I see –
BRAD LINAWEAVER: The Twin Towers?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I see the Twin Towers. I’m looking at New York live news footage as smoke is coming out of the Towers.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: They haven’t collapsed yet?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Oh, way before they collapsed. And I turned up the volume, was shocked when they talked about the second plane having hit. Okay, I watched around a half hour, went upstairs, woke up my mother, and said you’ve got to see what’s happening here.
Then around seven o’clock that morning, I called my daughter’s mother and I said, “I’m keeping her out of school today.” I said, “I don’t know, they’re talking about things hitting Washington. I don’t know what’s going to be happening here on the West Coast, if anything, but I’m keeping her out of school today.”
I then got dressed and I went to the nearest supermarket and I did the sort of shopping I had done when everybody was talking about Y2K. I got canned goods, batteries, bottled water – basically, what, living in California, we refer to as earthquake supplies. And then the towers started collapsing while I was at the supermarket. I got back into the car and heard about it on the radio.
Okay. So, I did not see that happen because I was already in emergency mode, trying to protect my family.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: You saw it with the ten million reruns.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes, that’s right.
Now, 9/11 did not stop me from writing the book. It wasn’t like I’m going to stop at this point. I knew I had to continue more than ever.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: It even increased you motivation.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: It increased my motivation. Now I really felt that I had to get this book done, and get it done quickly. And also, in the back of my mind, was sort of like a promise I had made to my father, that I was going to have this book done by his birthday, which was October 1st, which was only a few weeks away from 9/11. So I felt the pressure on me.
Now I had experienced this period of intense writing the last time in 1981 when I was writing The Rainbow Cadenza. I hadn’t had anything like it since, even working on The Frame of the Century?
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Which is your O.J. book.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right, my O.J. book. I’d had bursts of energy, where I was writing maybe 50 or 60 pages but a lot of that book was simply collecting various things and putting them together. It was, in many ways, almost more of an editing job than a writing job, from stuff I had previously written in discussion boards on the Internet, where I was arguing with people, and I was collecting pieces of data.
Writing nonfiction is, in may ways, much more about research than it is about writing.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Fiction writing and nonfiction writing are different experiences, as you and I both know.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: So this was like the first time that I was at this level of intensity of creation since 1981. Here I was, 20 years later. It had been 20 years since I’d done this. Plus, I didn’t have the chemical aids which I’d had while writing The Rainbow Cadenza, because every day, my writing formula — when writing Rainbow Cadenza — was to make myself an Irish coffee – and only one Irish coffee because — the way that I said it — the caffeine was focusing my mind and the alcohol was calming down my fear of writing.
Well, I was doing it without the Irish coffee this time, and to get to that level of intensity without it took me a while, and that’s one of the reasons it took me so long to get into the groove again.
So here I am, in the weeks following 9/11, with, of course you know, all this chaos and intensity. And of course, while I’m writing the book, I’m also writing four or five short articles about 9/11 and the impact. I couldn’t disengage from it. I tried to and couldn’t write anything for the first few days but then too much was going on that I couldn’t stay out of it.
So while I’m writing the novel I’m also tossing off these nonfiction pieces.
And then, suddenly, something strange started happening. I abandoned my outline entirely and what was happening to me was that I would write a chapter and end a chapter, having put things in that I didn’t know why I put it there. In essence, painting myself into a corner.
I was laying out problems for myself, putting things in there, and asking myself, “Why is that there?”
Let me give you some concrete examples.
Two things, in particular. I’ll just mention two of them because I think it makes the case very adequately. One of them is that I have Lucifer’s press conference in Heaven, when — having successfully won her coup to take over Heaven and driven God and God’s palace out of Heaven — and by the way, the image of God’s palace being missing from Heaven was directly taken from seeing the Twin Towers gone.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I think it’s one of the most powerful images in the novel. Please go on.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: So after she has driven God and God’s palace out of Heaven itself, Lucifer holds a press conference and I say, in describing her, here she was about to announce her victory but she looked sad, as if she had just been defeated.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: And what you mean by that was?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I had no idea why I wrote that. Why is that there? Why am I writing that, that she looks defeated even though she is announcing her victory?
Why? I had no idea when I wrote that.
Then, later on, a couple of chapters later, the explanation is given to me as if I’m a reader and I’m reading along and then suddenly I’m reading the answer. And the answer was, it was because — having made an arrangement with God to hold elections on Earth to determine who is going to rule Earth — she had to go back to God, humbly, hat in hand, and say, “Can you help me set up the election? I can’t figure out a way to get the votes of everybody on Earth. Can you solve that problem for me?”
The way that I describe it in the novel, it’s like a rebellious teenager who — having decided to move out in a huff — has to go back to Daddy and say, “Can I borrow your van to move?”
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right, Right.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: And that’s why she looked so defeated. But I had no idea, when I wrote that sentence, about why she looked defeated, when she was about to announce her victory at the press conference, I had no idea. That’s one example.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: It came to you later?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: It came to me later.
Another example. I have Duj Pepperman, when the council forms around him — and again, I took that direct language of “A circle will form around you” and I put it into the novel and gave it to Duj Pepperman —
BRAD LINAWEAVER: It had been Pulpless.Com before and now it’s in the novel?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Now it’s in the novel, right. And, by the way, I wasn’t even sure, at the time, whether that was the circle or whether that was simply part of a circle. I wasn’t really sure again what “A circle will form around you” actually meant, and still, to this day, I’m not really sure.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: It has multiple meanings. In an occult practice there are circles that have certain arcane meanings as well.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right. I have Duj Pepperman have all these famous dead people who become sort of his cabinet – the circle around him —
BRAD LINAWEAVER: H.L. Mencken and everybody else?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right, everybody. Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, and that sort of thing.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Even Charles Lindbergh?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: And it is about Charles Lindbergh that this happens. Because I say, at a certain point, Duj had a special mission for Charles Lindbergh. But that doesn’t come into the story yet.
Now when I wrote that I had no idea what the special mission for Charles Lindbergh was going to be. Not a clue. Why am I writing this? Why am I creating this problem? I’m trying to get this novel done and I’m putting things in there that I have no clue why. How am I going to pay that off? I don’t how I’m going to pay that off.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: And yet, again, a few chapters later it turns out that what Charles Lindbergh’s mission was, was to go into the tunnel, connecting Earth and Heaven, and basically slip in there, to be able to open it up at will when Duj needs to be able to get Jesus to Earth.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: But I had no idea that that was going to happen. I didn’t know what that mission was. But it works out so perfectly when it happens.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Now this was what was starting to give me the idea that God was active within me again, that the volume was up again. Because I was getting all these things and it was just coming through full force with such high pressure that it essentially carried me to the point where, in essence, I think I wrote the last ten chapters of the book in about four days.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Writer to writer, that’s impressive.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I couldn’t sleep. I was only able to sleep a couple of hours a night while this was going on. I was, you know, at full intensity. But unlike what had happened with The Rainbow Cadenza when it was a fearful experience, this time I was ready for it and I was able to handle it. It was pleasurable this time just like it was scary the first time.
My first time where God is directly encountering me, He’s putting His hand on my heart and saying I can kill you now. The second time, it’s this benevolent mind sharing, totally different experience. And here again, I wasn’t fully ready or understanding what was happening the first time. The second time it’s a gas.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: We talked about this earlier, it’s pain into pleasure.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right, because I am becoming more the sort of person who is able to handle it. I’m being made into a person who’s able to tolerate it and who actually enjoys it.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Yes.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I’m the one who’s changing, God isn’t changing. I’m changing.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I will want to ask about the screenplay. But I’ll wait until we finish talking about the novel. This sets up my first question about the screenplay please continue.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I started finding out, piece by piece, that there were things put into the novel, great important central symbols, which my religious education had never told me anything about and why was I putting them in there?
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Kabbalistic symbology?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right, two things in particular I have as a central part of the book that God has a wife and that that wife was also the mother of Jesus. In other words, and this I took in essence from the mythology of The Book of the Holy Grail, which J.R. Ploughman brought to Pulpless.Com.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I’ve read it.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Okay, the idea that you have God who is Erebus, and His wife who is Yse, and that is the god and goddess who are the mother and father of the human race. In fact, they are also the mother and father of Jesus, because they come down and meld their spirits into two human beings. One of them Joseph, who God goes into — who Erebus goes into — and the other one Mary, who Yse goes into, and then as both gods and human beings they procreate and their son becomes Jesus — Yeshua — and that is how God and man, the bloodline is formed on Earth which they then go off — and here is where I become a heretic to The Book of the Holy Grail — they say at that point that the whole point was so this bloodline could be created and therefore Jesus is never crucified and it’s a trick. I want no part of that! But nonetheless, here’s the thing in meeting with J.R. Ploughman in the Summer of 1999, to meet with him and experience his presence, he is saying that he recognizes my God experience as real.
And other people who I met around my sister said they recognized my experience as real, they had a sense that this had happened. And also I started doing some things which almost came to the point of being miraculous. I sat with one of my sister’s friends who is very, very psychic, and she would put a pebble in my hand and suddenly I was getting a flash of where the rocks were from. And this was a collection of rocks which she had taken from all over the place and she told me I was getting one hundred percent. “Yes, this is from there, yes this is from there” and it’s like it was a total psychic connection.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I remember you and Soleil talking about feeling somebody’s heartbeat at a distance.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: One of my sister’s friends — a man named Art Barteldt — who was close to being a full blooded, I think, Apache — I’m not sure that that was his tribe. But he was able to do something, in which he would stand across the room from me — at least eight or ten feet away — put up his hand, and say, “Put up your hand, I’m going to send you my heartbeat.” And then I would feel his heartbeat in my hand. Then I could feel his heartbeat thumping in my hand. And that was my first experience with actual magic.
So, in other words I knew that there were more things in Heaven and earth than even I had experienced. In other words I’d had some profound things happen to me, but this was also remarkable.
Okay. So all of this is going on during this period, and then I find out that I have these symbols, and this is post publication.
After the book is already published, after Escape from Heaven is in print, that’s when I start discovering what I put into the book. What God has revealed to me without my even knowing it.
And two things in particular. One is that I got ahold of Leonard Nimoy’s photographic book, Shekhina, and I had never heard the word Shekhina before then. But this is what was interesting to me, and here is the sequence of knowledge and learning here.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Back to kabbalah…
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right. Leonard Nimoy was raised Jewish, in Boston, and when he was taken to the Orthodox synagogue, you had the ritual of everybody turns their back so they can’t see the Holy of Holies and I guess the Rabbi holds up his hands and does the Vulcan greeting, as we know, with the two fingers separated into a “V” in the middle.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: “Live long and prosper!”
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: The “Live long and prosper” symbol, which is a representation, Nimoy explains in his book Shekhina, of the Hebrew letter “shin,” if I’m not mistaken, which is the representation of Shekhina. Shekhina being the Holy Spirit, the feminine aspect of God.
And I am learning, when I start now researching this — having learned about it — that it’s God’s wife, the female aspect of God. And here’s the important part: the advocate of man to God.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I have to ask you a question.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: But let me, before you ask me the question. I can’t let this go by without emphasizing it too strongly.
We go back to 1988 where I had that dream, the dream that changes my life, where my attorney — my advocate — is God and she is a woman. God was a woman in my dream, okay?
I put that in Escape from Heaven and now I find out that Shekhina, the Holy Spirit in Judaism, is a central part of the hidden kabbalistic doctrines, and I’ve met her in my dream in 1988, and put her in a novel? And only now I find out who she is? That the defender of humanity before God, in essence, represented me?
This is — I’m starting to think — this is a central part of Judaism which I never knew about.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I always thought it was a hidden part of Judaism.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Hidden, but you know it’s not something I was taught in the year of Hebrew School.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: That’s what I mean, I always thought it was kind of like secretive.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: It is. It’s secretive. It is deliberately secretive.
Here is Leonard Nimoy doing a book about it, telling me about it, starting me researching about it, and what I find out is that who Shekhina is, the Holy Spirit, the defender of man before God, was in my dream, defending me in 1988, after I had the experience where I had God — the male God — having His hand on my heart.
I’m blown away when I learn this.
Then something else.
In writing Escape from Heaven, I have the image of God’s palace. Remember the palace that Duj is invited to, so he can have this conversation with God, and be sent back to Earth.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Yes.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: And I describe as a giant diamond, two pyramids — one the apex pointing up, the other the apex pointing down — and joined at the middle.
I then start doing a little research and here’s what I find out. That symbol — if you just overlap it a little bit so that the bottom pyramid’s base is sticking out a little bit –
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Star of David!
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: It’s the Tree of Life symbol, and that, when flattened, becomes the two triangles of the Star of David.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right!
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: That’s where the Star of David comes from, the three-dimensional representation of the two pyramids opposing each other, and that is the central image of Judaism. Now actually some would argue, some would say it’s the Menorah, but nonetheless, I don’t think we can discount the Star of David as being a powerful symbol, identified with Judaism, and certainly a kabbalistic symbol.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Yes.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Okay, now why did I put that in there? I didn’t know anything about that when I wrote that. One of the things that Sam Konkin, that actually impressed him about my description of my experience, is that he knew how little I knew about any of this stuff. That I was never interested in reading about Judaism or theology or any of this sort of stuff. No interest in it.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: In fact Sam and I discussed that on a number of occasions.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: What did he say?
BRAD LINAWEAVER: What you just said, I’m providing you a third party witness.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Okay. So, in other words, it’s not like I’m trying to say, “Well this was in there and I was taught it in Hebrew School” or had read up a lot of it. I wasn’t interested, never knew any of this stuff, and here it is, it’s ending up in my book and I’m discovering that it’s there after the fact, after it’s written.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: No, you have me convinced that you did not have any of this kabbalistic background and yet work these images into your book. You did not have the background. You have me convinced of that.
Let me know when I can ask my next question. It does tie in to this.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I think we’re at that point right now.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Okay, here’s my next question, why is it Christianity has been criticized for really being polytheistic by having the Trinity? Remember, there was a God view from various dimensional aspects.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: And also the sentence that I did want to get out, and that is that I really think it doesn’t matter whether, in my conception, God creates the other two parts of the Trinity, so that there’s three personalities, or since He is fissioning Himself — and what they are are aspects that have always been God and been with God. As Saint John says in his gospel “And The Word was God and the Word was with God.” He’s saying both, so in essence what I’m saying is, is that my view may appear to be heretical to Orthodox Christianity, but I don’t think it really is.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: My question is, why is Christianity criticized for sneaking polytheism back into a monotheistic religion if the original Hebrew religion has a God and a Goddess, the same as Zeus and Hera on Mount Olympus? That is my question.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Sure. Very good. And more than that, going back to Genesis, God never says He’s the only God, and speaks as if there are other gods. He’s almost talking as if some of the angels are gods.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: May I ask you something about the screenplay?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes, I think we can go to that point.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: When you were writing the screenplay for Escape from Heaven, was it purely your technical skill as a scriptwriter that elaborated certain sections? Dropped certain parts of the novel, then put in new material that’s more dramatic cinematically? Was that just J. Neil Schulman the technician or did — to stick with the earlier metaphor — did the volume turn up again and were you hearing the God voice again, at any point during the screenplay, the way you were during the novel?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: The volume was turned up again, and particularly in certain things coming together.
For example, in the novel, I have the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” as the song which the angels sing as they take Duj to be transitioned over to Heaven. That’s in the novel, that’s written September 2001. So now I transfer that song into the screenplay for the same scene.
Then at a later point in the book, you see, the way that I structured the novel was not dramatically structured enough to be a screenplay. Too much of it is Duj, his narration, his exposition, his telling things at a distance of what happened. He’s telling it like a storyteller, of events that have happened in the past, and really it’s all in flashback, because he’s a narrator.
So I have to make everything present and open it up and externalize it and make it… and Duj is still the viewpoint character but really, maybe from the standpoint of the novel, I don’t have to have Duj’s personal problems be at the center of it, but I do have to focus it so that we know what the central dramatic conflict is much more sharply in the screenplay than in the novel, and that’s why I decided as a concept in essence to make it a buddy movie between Duj and Jesus.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: But why isn’t that all Neil the technician?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Because we haven’t gotten to what I’m talking about yet. That is all Neil the technician. What isn’t Neil the technician is things coalescing around November, 1966, when suddenly things start happening. I suddenly find out that the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” came out in November of 1966. When I find out that there was an Elvis Presley recording from his movie Spinout, which came out in 1966, and the song is called “Adam and Evil.” Then I found out that Howard Hughes moved into the Desert Inn, in November 1966.
Suddenly these all points start focusing in on November, 1966, so that I have a sequence in the screenplay of Duj having to time travel back to November 1966, as a centerpoint of the film, and all these sorts of things which become central plot points in the screenplay, particularly having to do with Howard Hughes and the Desert Inn and the song, “Adam and Evil,” which really explicates and motivates the plot moving forward to the second-act climax, and setting us up for the resolution in the third act.
All this started coming together much more elegantly than I was ever able to plan it out.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: When did you write the screenplay, Neil?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I wrote the screenplay probably just about a year ago now.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Okay. See, I view them as different works, and in a few ways I like the screenplay better than the novel, if only because it seems to answer a few more questions. Yet I don’t think it would work as well if you ever tried to rewrite the novel to incorporate the new material from the screenplay. They’re different media and there are certain things you can do in one medium better than another medium.
But I think some of the extra scenes you added to Escape from Heaven, the screenplay — especially some of the scenes in Vegas — and we’re not that far from Vegas now. We’re doing this interview in Pahrump, Nevada. We’re about an hour away from Las Vegas, as I ask this question: did you do it all by yourself or did God give you a little help on the Las Vegas scenes in the screenplay?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Well, as I say, I was guided toward November, 1966, as the spacetime conclusion for this. For some reason, the idea of Las Vegas on the day Howard Hughes is moving into the Desert Inn, I seemed to be guided there and ended up there with the song “Adam and Evil” as a crucial plot point.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right. So do you feel that you now have expressed the full potential of the Escape from Heaven story concept between the novel and the screenplay? And yet there is a possibility of other stories, drawn from these same sources, in the future? This is a question for both Neil the novelist, Neil the screenwriter, and Neil, receiving these experiences.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I keep on getting flashes of additional imagery and different plot lines.
I think I know what the first line would be for the sequel to Escape from Heaven, which I list in the forthcoming books in the novel Escape from Heaven, itself, in the front pages, in which I say that the title is Raising Hell. I believe that the first line of that novel is, “Everyone in Heaven smokes.”
BRAD LINAWEAVER: That’s a great line.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Because, obviously, once you’re in Heaven smoking isn’t going to be damaging to your health anymore. How you can object to tobacco and people smoking, because it’s bad for your health, when you’re an immortal? That’s pretty funny.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Yes, it is.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: So “Everybody in Heaven smokes” is a really funny first line for that novel.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I agree.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Now I sort of indicate what the plot of Raising Hell would be, and to give just a little foreshadowing of it here.
It would be that the great divorce is over and Jesus, and Jesus’ ex-wife Satan, are back together again — and are Adam and Eve again. And, in essence, Duj Pepperman has been the Jewish Messiah who is bringing Eden back on Earth by opening up the gates. So that Earth is now in full communication with God again and God can walk freely on the Earth again, not having been frozen out anymore during this great interregnum when Satan was able to keep God at bay.
That’s the cosmology and the history I’m giving in the novel, the revisionist mythology. Now that Earth is Edenized again —
BRAD LINAWEAVER: That’s the whole planet?
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: The whole planet, in fact I say: and Earth was returned to its original name, Eden.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Oh, so you’re arguing Eden was the whole world, not just the garden.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: People wandering around, trying to find the location for the Garden of Eden, are missing the point that Earth was Eden.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Earth was Eden, but then there was the Garden of Eden. But the Garden of Eden was a specific place on planet Eden.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: Beautiful, beautiful.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Now, the sequel to that, now that that problem is solved and Jesus and His ex-wife are back together again, and she is not in rebellion anymore, she has apologized, she has, in essence, rejoined the team. You still have the problem of what to do with this fallen planet that she has created. Where she, as a demiurge, to basically take the Gnostic heresy and turn it on its head, that in fact the really imperfect god who creates this really imperfect world — which is called Hell — is Satan. Now that she’s good again, she has the job of saving her planet from its misery.
And who does she go to? She goes to her husband, Jesus, who is going to go with her to that planet, and now they have the job of saving Hell, of “Raising Hell.”
Now, who do they call upon to help them? The same crew from the first book, starting with Duj Pepperman.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: I like it. Not everybody listening to this audio book may know, if I may have your permission to explain this.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Go ahead.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: The demiurge is the idea that Jehovah in the Old Testament is so wicked and evil He can’t possibly be the God who is the father of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. It’s basically trying to say the Jehovah is really another manifestation of the devil or Satan. That is one of the original Gnostic heresies
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: And of course, it’s the Gnostic heresy that Robert Heinlein explicitly plays with in Job: A Comedy of Justice.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: There are other very famous people in recent times who are into it as well.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes. But you see people are always coming at me with various different books before mine —
BRAD LINAWEAVER: The books are endless.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes. Dante’s trilogy, Milton’s Paradise Lost, C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, Robert Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice, The Last Temptation of Christ by Kazantzakis. All these sorts of previous books. And they try to figure out, well, did I take this from this and this from that? And of course that wasn’t my approach at all.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: No, it was not.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: My approach wasn’t even to try to make my book kabbalistic or Gnostic.
BRAD LINAWEAVER: No, not at all.
J. NEIL SCHULMAN: The logic of my story — not any of these other things — were what told me that Adam had to redeem his own sin, that the best loved of God would in fact be like an ex spouse. All of these sorts of things and then coming together and saying that would mean that, if Adam has to redeem his own sin, then Adam is Jesus.
And that means that there is this continual spirit that runs through the story, more than we know.
That in fact it makes sense for Eve, the fallen, to, in essence, be redeemed and that could mean that, after her disappointment with Earth, then she becomes Satan, and foments the rebellion because of her profound objection to Creation.
That she has been promised that there’s going to be meaning coming out of it, and she hasn’t found the meaning, and she thinks that God has basically sold her a bill of goods and is a liar.
That’s the rebellion. It is looking at your parents and saying, “You’re not perfect!” And what child hasn’t done that?
When you get to the point where you realize that your parents — as great as you think they are – aren’t perfect. And remember, I worshiped my father — but he wasn’t perfect.
And I’m sure that I’m not perfect to my daughter.
Next in I Met God — God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith is Chapter X: Heresies
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.
My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!