Tuesday, October 12, 2010
“If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?”
“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”
“Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”
It’s not going to end well for you, you know. I have a whole big thing planned. The skies are going to split open and all kinds of crazy shit is going to happen. The seas will turn to blood. The dead will rise from their graves. I even hired these four guys to ride down and do some major massacre work for me; I have them on retainer as we speak.
So no, not a good time for you Earth-bounds. Most of you, anyway. A small handful of you will be okay. You’ll get to hang out with me for all eternity when all is said and done. A very small handful. Let’s just say, overcrowding won’t be an issue. The rest of you? Hellfire. Burning for eternity. Cursing yourself for denying me. And it’s not as if I never gave you a chance, so there’s no use bitching about it.
But all that’s a ways off. I’m more or less retired these days, if you haven’t noticed. I’ll peek in from time to time, just to see how much you’ve all managed to screw up without me—never fails to make me laugh—but for the most part I’ve washed my hands of it. You apes are on your own for now. But soon… soon I’ll open up the can of Glorious Whup-Ass and serve it out. Just remember: when you least expect it, expect it.
Gabriel (you know, Gabriel, the arch-angel? Didn’t you go to Sunday school?) has been pressing me to get the show on the road, wrap it up post-haste. A little blood-thirsty, that guy. Sometimes he creeps me out. He knocks on my chamber door at all hours, mumbling something about how the other angels are talking and they’re worried about me and maybe I should get out and cause some havoc, but I just ignore him.
I’m tired, you know. Can’t they let a deity relax for a little while?
They say I got bored. Maybe that’s true. Let’s face it. Your whole universe came into being because I got bored. Even the angels; they wouldn’t be around at all if I hadn’t gotten tired of twiddling my thumbs and talking to myself. Boredom. That’s all it was. That’s all it is.
But yeah, I got tired. And disappointed. You’ve all been an amazing let-down for me, since we’re being all honest and open here. The entire universe did exactly what I expected it to do, and… well, do you have any idea how depressing that is?
Soon, though. Soon, instead of having the rare God-fearing person shed his mortal coil and come over to my place for all eternity, I’m going to destroy it all and move in with you. The Kingdom of Heaven, on Earth, like it says in the Book.
Soon. But for now, I’m just too tired, and too sick of it all.
In the beginning… well, in the beginning, there was me.
It was dark. Nice and dark. A little moist, because I’d never bothered to separate water from earth from sky, etcetera. It was comfortable. You’ve had a little taste of it, but you probably don’t remember—the womb, that’s what it was like, in the beginning.
And there was only me. Me, floating through the black, thinking. Thinking, thinking, thinking.
That’s what I’d been doing for a long, long time. Before that, it never occurred to me to think at all—existing was enough. You understand, we’re talking about eternity here. Eternity, right? Long time. There’s no such thing as a human who truly understands that concept, and there is no metaphor or analogy I can use to make you understand it. But eternity is where I make my home; I am eternity. I have no beginning and no end.
For a long time that was fine. I existed. I was a concept created by no one, at peace within my own incorporeal self, although self isn’t really the right word. I was nothing within a greater nothing, moving toward something. And no, I didn’t evolve, smart-ass.
But eventually my slumber started to become dotted with moments of thought. Or something like thought. Vague rumblings from the pit of my core. Notions, you know. Ideas. Ideas about creating change.
The ideas fomented for a long time. And there was only me, like I said, me and my thoughts, taking on strange shapes, needling away at me, disturbing my eons of calm non-thought.
I began to give myself a shape. I didn’t really do it on purpose. But the thoughts were becoming so overwhelming that I needed something tangible to separate myself from them, something I could see and feel. A head. Hands and feet. Other stuff. And once I had shape, eternity became a void and I was floating through it naked and cold.
This was my turning point. I had become conscious of myself.
To be a deity gaining awareness is a remarkable thing. You realize very suddenly that you are all and everything, and that unlimited power is the only thing that defines you. I knew very quickly who I was, I knew the eternity that stretched out behind me and I knew everything that could possibly happen until the end of time, based on the choices I made. There was no happy or sad attached to that; it was only a truth, and truth doesn’t mean anything.
For some time I only contemplated my own existence. I marveled at it. I studied my remarkable form, I dwelled on my remarkable thoughts.
And I wished that I wasn’t alone. I wished there was someone else to see me and feel me and marvel along with me.
But the choices. There were many of them to be made. The first one: Time. Should I create time? If I did, there would be no turning back; imposing linear progression is like getting a tattoo.
My mind reeled with the possibilities.
I thought it over for what you might consider millions of years, but of course there was no such thing as time so millions of years isn’t exactly right. But you get the point, yes? I examined it up and down and back and front. It occupied my mind incessantly. I understood that, unless I created time, I would be alone, always.
I didn’t want to be alone.
Finally, I just did it. Bang-o. Time existed.
Almost immediately—that is, after a few billion years—loneliness and boredom set in. That’s the downside of time, isn’t it? It passes. It passes, and you’re all alone with your thoughts and the things that before were open and full of space suddenly start pressing down on you. I let a lot of time pass, savoring the feel of my loneliness, examining it thoroughly because it was a new feeling for me. Before time, my desire to have a companion was a small and fleeting thing, of no real consequence, but now, now that the eternity of my existence loomed behind and before me, it became an urgent need in my gut. It twisted and writhed and wouldn’t leave me alone. It turned bitter, it turned sweet, it turned wistful and hateful and desperate.
I realize now that I wasn’t lonely after all. I was bored. I was bored nearly to the point of madness.
And so I committed myself and went whole-hog. Time means nothing without a universe to measure it in, so I created the universe. I was in a fever of creative energy, coming up with one beautiful concept after another, willing it all into being with a wave of my hand or a flash of my eyes.
I created a lot of things that you don’t know about, of course, things that the Book doesn’t mention just because it’s not relevant to you and your existence. I created and destroyed entire worlds in the blink of an eye, worlds that you might consider practice. Universes devoid of life or meaning, black holes and exploding suns and molten oceans of star stuff. Some of it was quite beautiful, but really it was all just prelude. I wiped it all away over and over again before finally calming down and getting to the all-important task of making the world as you know it.
This world was meant for my companions, the ones who really understood me, and I knew I had to make it a world of ease and beauty. So I rolled up my sleeves (did I mention that I created the suit, just so I’d have sleeves to roll up? A very nice suit, too) and got to work.
I really did have the best of intentions. It was you lot who messed it all up for me.
In the beginning.
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. Bam.
Heaven was first, of course, but the Book doesn’t go into that too much because, again, it doesn’t concern you. I willed the angels into being, just a handful of them, let them float around with me for awhile. We all just sort of stared at each other for a few millenia, smiling uncomfortably and not saying much until finally I created the Silver City and plopped them down in it. Very quickly, they managed to get their own little thing going there, making rules and creating a shaky social strata. I knew that, if I needed them, they’d drop whatever they were doing, but I pretty much left them to themselves while they spent all day making up praiseful songs to my glory and punishing themselves severely any time any thought occurred to them that wasn’t directly related to me.
They bored me to tears. The less said about them, the better.
I realized my mistake with the angels—no free will. Free will would wind up being amazingly important to my Big Plan. Honestly, it would make all the difference. If you were to ask me now what all of Creation hinged on, I would tell you: free goddamn will.
I’ll tell you more about the angels later, since obviously they played a part in your story. And I’m sure you all know about Lucifer and how he acted like he was my best buddy and then tried to screw me over. Yeah, later.
So I created Heaven and Earth and it was pretty good. Pretty good, but more than a little pointless since there was no such thing as light and you couldn’t see a damn thing. So I created light—I popped a few trillion stars in the heavens above the Earth, sprinkled like shiny confetti against the inky void. I created the phrase “inky void” just so I’d know where to put them all. One star, your Sun, I set especially close to the Earth. Then I put a little spin on the Earth, so that the darkness and the light would travel along it, depending on which side was facing the Sun.
It sounds pretty elementary when I lay it out like this, but come on. You never would have thought of it.
I called the light “day”. I called the dark “night”. And since “day” finally existed, I decided to wrap it up for a little while.
That night I couldn’t relax. You know how it is, yes? You start a project that really seems to have some potential, you can’t stop thinking about it. Little ideas occur to you while you’re laying there, and you keep having to get up to jot them down before you forget them. I really felt like I was on to something with this Earth business, and interesting concepts kept coming to me all night.
Very early, I got up and had some coffee and started back to work, feeling better than I’d felt in a long, long time.
It turned out to be a disappointing day. I didn’t complete even close to what I had in mind that day. All I accomplished was the firmament—the sky, basically. Separated the waters. It took awhile, because I couldn’t get it exactly like I wanted it. It’s not easy, working with water. There’s free will, and then there’s water, you understand? By the end of the day I threw up my hands and said okay, fine, that’s just fine, whatever. I went to bed that night angry.
But the third day turned out a little better. Actually, a lot better. I managed to get the waters together, and voila, dry land appeared. I called all the gathered water “sea”. I called the dry land “earth”, with a small “e”, not a large one, because I couldn’t think of what else to call it.
“I declare this good,” I said to no one.
That would’ve been enough work for anyone to get done in one day, but I was on a roll now. I stood on this barren orb of water and dirt, and I waved my hands and said, “Grass. Gimme grass,” and grass appeared. I was barefoot at the time, and the grass tickled the soles of my feet as it sprouted up out of the dry earth and I felt downright giddy.
“Trees,” I said. “Fruit trees and maple trees and oaks and elms.”
I was making the names up off the top of my head, but it didn’t matter. I spoke their new names, and they came forth heaving from the breast of the earth, beautiful and creaking, spewing dirt everywhere as they emerged like monoliths from the deep, stretching skyward, and the blooms exploded on them, all white and purple and green and tears came to my eyes, it was so impossibly lovely.
It was me. I was doing this. I laughed and laughed, tears streaming down my face. I laughed until I started feeling dizzy—one side effect I hadn’t counted on was oxygen. A happy accident, that.
“I declare this awesome!” I said.
That was the third day. An absolutely terrific day. I still remember every detail of it, it was so fantastic.
The next morning, I looked upon all the work of the previous three days and a dark depression came over me. It was no good at all, none of it. What had I been thinking? The trees just sort of… sat there, breathing weird chemicals into the air. The seas just lapped pointlessly at the shores. Clover and wild violets had already started choking the life out of the grass I’d created.
I sat down on a hill that overlooked a wide swath of forest, gazing at the treetops as they swayed mockingly in the breeze. The Sun beat down upon my creation.
The air smelled suddenly like patchouli, and Gabriel and Lucifer appeared next to me. I didn’t look at them. I just sat there, frowning down at the forest below.
“It’s… interesting so far, Creator,” Gabriel said. “I’m… curious… to see where you’re going with it.”
“I didn’t ask your opinion,” I said.
“No, Creator, of course not. I beg your pardon.”
Lucifer said, “It’s beautiful,” and his voice was husky with emotion.
I glanced up at him. His smooth, flawless face glowed with something strange, something I couldn’t identify. His eyes were wet.
“What?” I said.
“I’m sorry, Father,” he said, still not looking at me. It bugged me that he was addressing me without looking at me. “I know you didn’t ask, but… it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. How wonderful it would be to… to live here.”
I stood up, annoyed, brushed the dirt off my hands. “Yeah, well, you’re right, I didn’t ask you.”
Lucifer finally tore his gaze away from the forest and met my eyes. “No, Father. I’m sorry.”
I scowled. “Forget it. Both of you, get lost.”
They bowed, backing away from me, mumbling stuff about praising my name, exhalting my glory, and in a flurry of wings they flew off, back into the heavens.
I didn’t know what had brought them down to my new creation, and I didn’t care. Probably wondering why they hadn’t seen me for a few days, probably wondering if I was lavishing attention on something other than them. Jealous bastards, the angels.
“Live here, “ I said to myself. “Right. Like I’d let them live here,” and that, of course, was when it occurred to me what the missing piece was.
Life. I needed something to live here.
Lucifer was always good for that sort of thing. He had a way of… inspiring everyone around him, even when he didn’t mean to. Or at least, I assume he didn’t mean to. You probably already know that he was my favorite, and it was just for reasons like that he was always on my A-list. And there was something else besides, some strange will he had that the others lacked. The angels were created without free will, but Lucifer, sometimes, seemed to have it anyway. I made them all to do nothing but praise me and stand around looking awesome, but Lucifer… well, I don’t know. There was a hint of something else in his eyes, even in the earliest days, that set him apart from his brethren.
And he always called me “Father”, too, while the other angels addressed me as “Creator”. I liked that. I don’t know why.
But I have no intention of getting into all that Lucifer business right now. It’s a sore subject, if you want to know the truth, and I’m a little preoccupied with telling you about bigger things.
So, where was I? Life, yes. Life, I decided, life was what this rock needed.
The next morning, I started with the seas. Whales, they were the first creatures I created, and they’re still one of my favorites. I followed that up with a sprinkling of sparkling fish and crawling crustaceans, a liberal dose of microscopic life-forms to start the food chain rolling, plankton and algae and what-not; the seas became my own personal seafood gumbo.
The skies above: birds. Hundreds, thousands of varieties of them, fluttering and cawing and chirping and screeching. Big birds like hawks and eagles. Little birds like finches and warblers. The sky was alive with them by the time I was done.
I said to them, “Go. Go and have fun, and make little birdies.”
It was good. Or at least, it was a good start. I went to bed that night knowing exactly what I needed to do the next day.