The place of Jesus in a universe where God is slowly dying
Posted Sunday, December 29 2013 at 02:00
...God is in serious trouble. They say pride goes before a fall. His animated self-portrait, Adam, turned out to be a disaster. Blame Eve, the snake or even the tree if you want; the bottom line is that (this) God’s ultimate vanity project, Adam, was a defective design. Man could not gain knowledge and simultaneously remain an idiot.
I see two Gods, both with a capital G. One is a gargantuan operator with instant magical powers. With a stupendous sleight of hand, He invented Himself. He has an ego the size of a whale and flaunts his abilities. He is dictatorial. He is ruthless. You refuse to lick his boots at your peril. He loves big bloody battles and mass executions.
But He is also a petty micro-manager. On this small scale, He is a stickler for private morality, personal hygiene and dress codes. He is like a very powerful emperor who can neither stand bad body smells nor resist the allure of women’s legs.
When He made the universe in a set of impulsive decrees, He included peculiar features; like earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. He also made glaring mistakes, for which He often unfairly holds man responsible. Where he does not shift responsibility, He says it is just to show his idiosyncratic power.
Naturally, earthly rulers love His guts. Some, like Gen Museveni, say they are “next to Him”.
The second God is a passive “field” that exists because the universe exists. He knows, does and influences nothing. He created nothing. He wants and judges nothing. He has neither malice nor compassion. He does not need to be worshipped. The difference between the fortunes of those who worship Him and those who don’t is statistically insignificant.
He is exactly in tandem with what the universe does; in its chaos and its laws.
To this God, man was not made; man “arose”, just like any other entity in and beyond our universe. And man’s imperfections and his fate are a matter of total indifference to Him.
If someone says or does something in this God’s name, it will be a lie, the command a product of their imagination.
Those, roughly, are the two Gods.
Now, the second God is secure, precisely because He is essentially a shadow of the universe, and the universe is not going anywhere in a hurry. Man will become extinct long before the universe has evolved into something else.
But the first God is in serious trouble. They say pride goes before a fall. His animated self-portrait, Adam, turned out to be a disaster. Blame Eve, the snake or even the tree if you want; the bottom line is that (this) God’s ultimate vanity project, Adam, was a defective design. Man could not gain knowledge and simultaneously remain an idiot.
The rational approach would be to redesign man. If you made something, you can redesign it. Instead, God continued making replicas of the old form. Then, surprisingly, He turned to the already discredited pagan ritual of human sacrifice (offering a son) to sort out a design problem.
It is all too elaborate and absurd, except perhaps as an excuse for identifying candidates who will fuel the apocalyptic fire of hell.
Give Judaism its due credit. The Jews said: Um, there is something fishy about this Messiah thing. A patient believer might as well wait for a more credible divine arrangement.
The first God is therefore on trial. Once the central pillars of His works get seriously questioned, very little is left standing; I mean, indisputably standing.
Take the Adam and Eve creation myth. It is in fact an extraordinarily poetic allegory. At the Kings College (Cambridge) carol service broadcast this Christmas, I listened to a lady reading the portion where God pursues the two sinners and flushes them out of hiding in the Garden of Eden. The sonority in the reader’s voice lent to the narrative a haunting beauty. However, even though the power and beauty of a traditional fiction enrich us in so many ways, they do not bestow on it historical truth.
The first God is entangled in this ancient story, the failure of whose hero and heroine (Adam and Eve) makes a Messiah desirable. And it is the inadequacy of Jesus as a solution that makes an apocalyptic fire necessary!
You now know why the first God is slowly dying. But can Jesus survive into a future where his Father is excluded?
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator email@example.com.