I curse the Eddorians

I’ve noticed some remarkable similarities between a classic of pulp space opera and a classic of ancient religion.  If you don’t want spoilers for either Zoroastrianism or the Lensman series by “Doc” Smith, you should stop reading now.

Not every Zoroastrian would agree with every single point herein (the non-omnipotence of the Wise Lord, as you might imagine, is a particularly sticky point for many) but there are those who do.

The creation story

In (some flavors of) Zoroastrianism, the universe was originally two realms separated by a vast void: a realm of perfect light occupied by Ahura Mazda the wise lord, and a realm of perfect darkness occupied by Angra Mainyu the evil spirit.  Eventually, Angra Mainyu traveled through the void to investigate and threaten Ahura Mazda’s realm.

In Lensman, the Arisians were the sole inhabitants of the original cosmos in which they lived in a peaceful, contemplative civilization, until the Eddorians traveled between dimensions to explore and invade our universe from their home universe, which they had conquered and ruled by cruelty and mutual hatred.

A young scientist of Arisia discovered that the Eddorians had arrived in our universe.  The Arisians were not omnipotent, but were extremely wise and near-omniscient through their ability to visualize the Cosmic All, so they had long foreseen the Eddorians’ arrival, and were prepared for them.

Ahura Mazda is extremely wise and omniscient, and thus despite not being omnipotent (again, according to some scholars) he had foreseen the Evil One’s arrival and was prepared for it.

The Arisians, after a short parlay with the Eddorians, used their incredible mental powers to cause the Eddorians to forget they existed, while they (the Arisians) set about their plan: to enlist the newly-evolving sentient life forms in the universe as allies in a war that would destroy the evil ones forever.

Ahura Mazda, after a brief offering of peace, recited a mantra at Angra Mainyu which showed that the forces of good would triumph in the end.  This stunned the evil one and knocked him, powerless, back into the darkness, where he remained for a full three thousand years, while the Wise Lord set about his plan, to create free-willed sentient life and enlist the willing as allies in a war that would destroy the evil one forever.

The prophet

After millenia, one of the Wise Lord’s agents appeared in human form to the pious and virtuous Zarathushtra, and led him to the presence of the Wise Lord and the Bountiful Immortals, who taught him the Good Religion and the plan for rescuing the cosmos from the evil one.  Zarathushtra thus became the Prophet of the Good Religion.  Despite his incredible character, however, the Prophet could not vanquish evil alone, or even with the help of the Wise Lord and the Bountiful Immortals; he merely set in motion the organization and principles which would lead to the triumph of goodness.

After millions of years of evolution, an Arisian disguised in human form revealed certain technological secrets to the wise and virtuous Virgil Samms and told him to visit the planet Arisia, where the inhabitants gave him the technology and the method he needed to establish the perfect, uncompromisingly trustworthy and freedom-defending interstellar police force he hoped to build: the Galactic Patrol.  Samms thus became the First Lensman. Despite his incredible character, however, the First Lensman could not vanquish evil alone, or even with the help of the Arisians; he merely set in motion the organization and principles which would lead to the triumph of goodness.

The final battle

A descendant of Zarathushtra will one day rise as the Saoshyant, who will coordinate the works of innumerable good people of all religions and lead to the renovation of the world to a state of perfection, when a final bit of help from the Wise Lord’s minions will result in the annihilation of evil and the triumph of goodness.  Humanity will continue to evolve and flourish in a world of bounty and peace.

Descendants of Virgil Samms eventually were born as the Children of the Lens, who coordinated the mental power of millions of Lensmen of all species and defeated the Eddorians’ intergalactic crime network; then a final bit of help from Mentor, their Arisian advisor, enabled them to unite and annihilate the Eddorians themselves.  The Children of the Lens would continue to assure the survival and progress of Civilization toward ever greater heights of prosperity and peace.

So there you have it.  Zoroastrian Lensmen.