Was God bored?
In the beginning, God created the world. This was a good idea. Then he put humans in it. This was not such a good idea. He then added Satan in the guise of a deceitful, cunning serpent to crawl in and “tempt” Eve with some forbidden fruit. TEMPT. Now, “tempt” to me suggests a Krispy Kreme waved in your face when you’re on a sugar, dairy and gluten–free diet. “Tempt” suggests lifetime free beer when you’re struggling to maintain sobriety. What Satan did was offer to Eve the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the opportunity to become like God. Actually, gods, because in the beginning, God wasn’t a lone wolf. He was a plural.
So how does Eve respond to this “temptation”? She protests, of course. She says to Satan the Serpent “God told us not to eat of that tree because we will die”. Then Satan/Serpent ups the ante. “No”, he says, “You will not die. You will become gods.” So she eats it. So does Adam.
Now Adam was obviously a really wimpy dude. He doesn’t even have the balls to refuse. He just takes the fruit from Eve and devours it. But somehow, Eve ends up being the bloody manipulative harpy that cursed all humankind for eternity (until the Jews came along a few thousand years later but we’ll come to that).
God is omnipotent and infallible. God knows everything and everyone. God knows what people are going to do before they even think it. Not only does he know ahead of time that Satan Serpent will crawl in and make this offer, he knows the foolish humans will fall for it. And it’s not all that hard to predict what happens next. The sorry and naked humans are banished from this paradise of Eden and go off to sweat and toil and procreate incestuously in pain and misery until such time as they return to the dust from whence they came. (Or at least until God decides he’s sorry he made humans and sends a flood to destroy all but Noah, Noah’s family, several thousand species of widely geographically and biologically diverse fauna, and then sends a rainbow to show he will be merciful in the future). All in accordance with God’s plan, because after all, he foresaw this whole episode. Right?
I won’t presume to question God’s infinite wisdom and ability to the predict the future, nor question his motives for this seemingly incomprehensible behavior. On second thought, yes-I will presume. God seems to me a sadistic and petulant little boy. Why would anyone create something bound for failure? I know Christians think it wasn’t so much his failure as much as Adam and Eve’s (mostly Eve’s). The whole point of this exercise was to show God’s infinite benevolence and forgiveness despite the atrocious sinful nature of humans. He, after all, gifted us with “free will”.
God loves unconditionally. But does he? Basically, if you obey him, never question his judgment and don’t fall for his deceitful little tricks (i.e., Satan as Snake), he will bless you forever. Otherwise, if you only have the knowledge God gave you but fuck up anyway, off you go to burn in hell forever. Free will? Unconditional love? That doesn’t sound very free and unconditional to me. That doesn’t sound like a father who dotes on his children despite their flaws. What it sounds like is a father who intentionally places grape juice within grabbing distance of his toddler, knowing full well how risky this would be, and then goes into a vengeful rage when the kid predictably behaves irresponsibly and spills grape juice all over dad’s nice cream Berber carpet.
Now in my family, we kids weren’t allowed to be kids. Spilling milk, let alone grape juice, was frowned upon as a sin tantamount to farting, which wasn’t allowed either. We were prohibited from even uttering the word “fart” as adjective; never mind engaging in the act as noun. All bodily functions were looked upon as horrors to be fought against, silenced and certainly never mentioned aloud. I didn’t fart until I was 22 years old. Was this unique to my family? Hardly. I’m sure it was just the residual Victorian generational modesty which produced my parents’ timidity. Or maybe it was one of the few things they actually had control over. Parents, like most people (and God), like to have control.
Making too much noise, splashing in the bathtub and coloring outside the lines was also not allowed. As far as my parents were concerned, perfection wasn’t all that difficult to aspire to. That we continually fell short of attaining perfection was fodder for resentment and pretty unabashed contempt. Once, when I was about 7, I was trying to help my dad build a deck in our backyard. He sent me into the garage for some 16 penny nails. I didn’t know from 16 penny-I just guessed that since pennies were small denomination coins, the smallest nails must be what he was looking for. If I had murdered the next door neighbor’s cat, I couldn’t have committed a worse crime. He looked with disgust at the the handful of nails clutched in my tiny little fist, made a sarcastic remark about the subterranean level of my intelligence and went off to fetch the correct nails. I did threaten to murder the next door neighbor’s cat, by the way. I was pretty sure kitty had eaten Charlie, our pet box turtle.
When I question God about all these things, I get no reply. So I ask Satan instead. Satan answers me. He says people were given free will and the choice of living a good life or an evil one but I argue that God told him to tell me that. He says no, we really do have choices. If we follow him (Satan), we will have a profitable and charmed life on earth but eventually we’ll have to follow him to his bargain basement below street level abode where the environment would be tropical and rather noisy. God made Satan, he tells me. But God is good, I counter. Yes, says Satan. But God knows people can’t follow rules and do the right thing no matter what consequences there might be and so he made Satan as a not-so-subtle reminder of what awaits them after this earthly life is finished.
“Who is responsible for all this politically correct, New Age bullshit – you or God?” Strictly a human construct, Satan tells me. Why would I give a rat’s ass if you are offended by another person’s words or actions? “What about God? Doesn’t he have a stake in this Universal paradigm and how people interact within it?”
God told Neale Donald Walsch there is no right and wrong, at least according to Neale Donald Walsch. Charles Manson told his “family” the same thing, at least according to some members of his “family”. Satan says right and wrong are relative; killing isn’t always wrong. Sometimes it’s justified. Like beheading Saudi women for driving cars and being unfaithful.
“Why is it this right and wrong thing only seems to happen in the US”, I ask Satan. “Don’t people in Muslim countries have a sense of right and wrong, too?” Satan laughs. I think he thinks I’m a hopeless case.
Whether you live in the US or Iran or China or Rwanda or South Africa, or places where no one ever engages in evil like Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and Norway, evil is everywhere and in everyone. God knows this; God made you, after all. He knows you have a weak nature and have trouble resisting evil. By the same token, he knows you have a propensity for pretending otherwise; that you are strong and always do the righteous thing, and denigrate others for not being more like you (Jesus-like).
I personally can’t deal with all this cognitive dissonance. So I guess I’m doomed.
OK, non sequitur (sort of):
Just today I read that Austrian scientists find 86 percent of Holy Water contains fecal matter and high bacteria levels. Which I happen to find appropriate.