In the beginning was the Darkness, a horribly destructive amoral force.i Then there was God (well, and Death), and God felt … experimental. God created Leviathan.ii Consisting of nothing but rapacious appetite, Leviathan were a relatively simple creation. However, God quickly realized he’d neglected to build in limits on their appetites. According to Death, concerned that Leviathan would devour anything else he created, God established Purgatory and imprisoned Leviathan there: the first monsters.
Having acquired some cautionary experience, God created Heaven and made angels to be his helpmates in the rest of his creation. He created each of them directly as distinct multidimensional wavelengths of celestial intenti and imbued them with purpose, starting with the injunction to obey him in all things.ii
God and his archangels – the most powerful of his angelic servants – beat back the Darkness in a terrible war. God locked the Darkness where it could do no harm, creating a Mark that served as both lock and key, and entrusted the Mark to his trusted lieutenant, Lucifer.iii
God shaped the Earth and all life on it. He crafted humans as material beings born with souls of power that would, in turn, provide that power to Heaven upon the deaths of their mortal bodies.iv God directed his angels to bow before humans and to protect and serve them as they served God.v
Possessing free will and inherent creativity, humans could act contrary to God’s wishes. Even upon death, they could refuse to cooperate with God’s plans by channeling the power of their souls to remain connected to the Earth as ghosts, rather than delivering that power to Heaven. They suffered the consequence of eventual insanity if they did that, but they were free to choose.vi
The Mark revealed itself as a curse, beginning to corrupt Lucifer and make him jealous of humanity.vii Lucifer protested against being ordered to place humans on a level with or even above God and angels. Arguing that humans were a flawed creation, Lucifer deliberately proved his point by warping and corrupting the human Lilith into the first demon.viii Lucifer also incited the first murder, passing the Mark on to Cain.ix God condemned Lucifer and those he corrupted to imprisonment in Hell.
Meanwhile, in Purgatory, the Leviathans apparently gave rise to Eve, the Mother of Monsters, who found a way to reach Earth to infect humans with monster RNA. She perverted humans into vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghouls, lamia, kami, dragons, and all other human-shaped monsters with an insatiable, Leviathan-born appetite for human blood, hearts, livers, flesh, and other organs and parts. The monsters Eve created could produce more versions of themselves either by breeding with humans or by infecting other humans through physical attacks; some could do both.x Upon death, the corrupted souls of the monsters born of Eve’s tampering were consigned to Purgatory, like the Leviathans whose character they shared.xi Eve’s descendants, the Alphas, claimed kinship with Leviathan, although Leviathan never acknowledged the relationship.xii Eve’s earthly death, exuding black slime, seemed to corroborate her link to Leviathan.xiii
The timeline is fuzzy on this point, but Eve may also have given birth to all the other non-Christian gods, at least as they are depicted by Supernatural. All the non-Christian gods, as shown in A Very Supernatural Christmas, Hammer of the Gods, Defending Your Life, Heartache, Remember the Titans, and more, partook of the Leviathan taste for eating people, strongly suggesting a common origin.xiv
In any case, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory all drew power from the souls residing there. Their borders had to be porous to allow new souls to enter; judging by the presence of demons on Earth, that porosity evidently meant some also could escape. Hell and Purgatory further drew their character from the souls consigned to them: demons in Hell tortured newly arrived souls to transform them into demons as they themselves had been transformed,xv while monsters in Purgatory engaged in a nonstop orgy of hunting and killing.xvi Angels and demons who learned to collect and tap multiple souls acquired powers far beyond their own; the souls Castiel borrowed from Crowley temporarily amped Cas up to archangelic levels,xvii and the ones he siphoned from Purgatory made him godlike.xviii Similarly, Crowley gained leadership in Hell by expanding his power base.
Somewhere along the way, God dictated his Word to the angel scribe Metatron, creating stone tablets of information intended to be interpreted by divinely-inspired human prophets to protect and benefit humankind.xix He established such tablets of knowledge defining angels, demons, Leviathan, and more. The exact number of tablets and the subjects encompassed by each have not been determined.
Over time, partially on their own and partially through deliberate temptation by demons, monsters, and corrupted angels, humans developed the principles of witchcraft, devising formulas – generally called spells – intended to warp reality to their own purposes irrespective of the designs and intent of God.xx
At some point in history, reportedly just after the advent of Jesus, God decided to leave Heaven and Earth in the custody of his angels, and vanished. He commanded his angels simply to watch and guard from a distance.xxi Over time, however, some of those angels, including Zachariah and Michael, became impatient with just watching humanity, and determined instead to accelerate the apocalypse predicted by divine scripture in order to gain angels the eventual paradise on Earth promised by God.xxii They went so far as to interfere directly in human affairs deliberately to produce genetic offspring that would fit the predetermined parameters of the principal participants: human brothers to play the parts of Michael and Lucifer. Their interference resulted in the births of Dean and Sam Winchester.xxiii
And thus our show began. We’ve been watching the Winchester Gospels ever since. And we’ve been seeing this cosmology constantly expanded and revised. Occasionally, we’ve even seen God himself taking a hand editing a chapter to adjust the outcome; God seems to have been behind all of Castiel’s various reincarnations and reputedly snatched the brothers away from Lucifer’s initial rising, not to mention allowing them access to Heaven.xxiv
The impact of individual choice has been everywhere in this story. All of God’s creations evidently possessed free will, even if he’d programmed them to believe otherwise; had angels not possessed free will, Uriel, Zachariah, Michael and Naomi couldn’t have plotted to bring about the scriptural apocalypse before its time. Without free will, Castiel couldn’t have been persuaded by contact with Dean Winchester to violate his orders from Zachariah, nor would he have been vulnerable to temptation by Crowley. Metatron couldn’t have decided to assume God’s role. Sam and Dean couldn’t have chosen, repeatedly, to screw destiny in order to save each other time and time again.
Corruption and perversion allowing no individual choice have also featured. Disproving early lore,xxv we’ve learned demons can possess anyone; something evidently due to demons having once been human themselves, fully able to exercise their own free will to bully others. We’ve been shown that a possessed soul can fight back and sometimes win,xxvi but no one can prevent possession in the first place without using spell symbols or magic. Humans also can’t resist most monster infections; they may be able to resist behaving as a monster – witness individual vampires and werewolves choosing to subsist on animal blood and hearts instead of killing humans,xxvii or lore about a rugaru in the know deliberately avoiding human bloodxxviii – but they often have no ability to avoid being transformed physically into a monster and thus being doomed to Purgatory upon death.
Demons, being warped human souls, could possess other humans without their consent most likely because humans had free will and could bully others. Angels, by God’s specific directive, were required to obtain the consent of a human in order to inhabit a host body.xxix Once they inhabited it, however, they could, if they so chose, experience every physical sensation available to a human, including sex – even breeding an angel/human hybrid.xxx They could also prevent their host from evicting them by locking away their human host’s conscious awareness.xxxi
I am curious to see where the show’s cosmology will go from here, although I’ll freely confess all the rewrites since the beginning have stressed the limits of my credulity. I particularly loathe the absolute deference the show currently pays to the powers of witches and witchcraft. I’ll confess my personal distaste for that whole aspect of the show; I tend to believe the writers – especially my acknowledged absolute least favorites, Eugenie Ross-Leming and her script partner Brad Buckner – use witchcraft as a shortcut to achieve anything they want to do, irrespective of logic, reason, or any intellectual rigor. That was reflected in my critiques of such episodes as Man’s Best Friend With Benefits.xxxii Because of that, I don’t care at all for or about Rowena and her relationship with Crowley and the Winchesters. Rowena and the Darkness will obviously play major roles in season 11; to my mind, both of them are Johnny-Come-Latelies and thus don’t matter to me.
But Sam and Dean matter to me, and always will.
Because of that, I’ll always read and watch Supernatural: the Winchester Gospels.
i10.23, Brother’s Keeper, 2015
ii7.01, Meet the New Boss, 2011
i6.03, The Third Man, 2010
ii4.10, Heaven and Hell, 2008
iiiSee footnote i.
iv6.17, My Heart Will Go On, 2011
v5.04, The End, 2009
vi 2.01, In My Time of Dying, 2006; 4.15, Death Takes a Holiday, 2009; 7.10, Death’s Door, 2011
viiSee footnote i.
viii4.21, When the Levee Breaks, 2009
ix9.11, First Born, 2014
x6.16, And Then There Were None, 2011; 6.19, Mommy Dearest, 2011
xi 8.01, We Need to Talk About Kevin, 2012
xii 7.22 There Will Be Blood, 2012
xiii 6.19, Mommy Dearest, 2011
xiv 3.08, A Very Supernatural Christmas, 2007; 5.19, Hammer of the Gods, 2010; 7.04, Defending Your Life, 2011; 8.03, Heartache, 2012; 8.16, Remember the Titans, 2013
xv 3.09, Malleus Maleficarum, 2008; 4.10, Heaven and Hell, 2008
xvi 8.05, Blood Brother, 2012
xvii 6.20, The Man Who Would Be King, 2011
xviii 6.22, The Man Who Knew Too Much, 2011
xix7.21, Reading Is Fundamental, 2012; 8.02, What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?, 2012; 8.07, A Little Slice of Kevin, 2012; 8.17, Goodbye Stranger, 2013
xx3.09, Malleus Maleficarum, 2008; 5.07, The Curious Case of Dean Winchester, 2009; 7.05, Shut Up, Dr Phil, 2011; 8.15, Man’s Best Friend With Benefits, 2013;
xxi See footnote iv.
xxii 4.22, Lucifer Rising, 2009
xxiii 5.14, My Bloody Valentine, 2010
xxiv 5.16, Dark Side of the Moon, 2010
xxv 1.04, Phantom Traveler, 2005
xxvi 5.01, Sympathy for the Devil, 2009; 5.06, I Believe the Children Are Our Future, 2009; 5.22, Swan Song, 2010
xxvii 2.03, Bloodlust, 2006; 6.05, Live Free or TwiHard, 2010; 8.04, Bitten, 2012; 8.05, Blood Brother, 2012; 9.12, Sharp Teeth, 2014
xxviii 4.04, Metamorphosis, 2008
xxix 4.20, The Rapture, 2009; 5.01, Sympathy for the Devil, 2009
xxx 6.03, The Third Man, 2010; 8.23, Sacrifice, 2013; 9.01, I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here, 2013
xxxi 9.10, Road Trip, 2014