Are you there Margaret? It’s me, God.
Here’s the truth girl, you’ll be awed:
There’s no meaning to your life;
The world is filled with pain and strife;
Suffering is all too rife;
Don’t expect an afterlife;
Every hope ends in despair;
There’s no point in faith or prayer;
Margaret, are you still there?
Oh shit! don’t jump off the chair
with that rope tied ’round you neck!
I was kidding, what the heck?
Life is great! It’s all we’ve got:
Food and sex and smoking pot,
video games, TV and books,
life is better than it looks.
Finding purpose? We’ll get there –
just don’t jump off that fucking chair.
I’m not sure how I get the ideas for some of my cartoons, but this cartoon about how God created the world had a clear line of thought that led to its birth. I’m gonna tell you all about it.
The Book of Genesis tells us how God created the world. According to Judeo-Christian tradition, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Also called the Pentateuch, or the Torah) hold the actual words of God. Tradition states that they were either written by Moses through the inspiration of God, or were written by God himself and handed down to Moses together with the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. This means that the creation story, according to tradition, was given to us by God.
But if that’s the case, why is God telling us a story of creating the world in six days? It’s a story which is clearly so far from what science tells us today. How do we breach that gap?
If you’re an Atheist, it’s easy : you claim that God doesn’t exist, and the books of Genesis, along with its “how God created the world” story is plain Bronze-age mythology. Problem solved.
But I’m a cartoonist, and cartoonists let their minds wander. So let’s assume that God does exist. How come the story of creation that Our Father in Heaven gave to Moses is so far from what science tells us today?
I like the term “Our Father in Heaven”, because after all, I’m a father myself. Now if my kids came to me and asked me: “Daddy, how was the world created?”, what answer would I give them? Well, it depends of course on which kid is asking: if it’s the four-year-old, she’ll get a short, simple answer, in terms she could understand. If it’s the seven-year-old, he’ll get a longer, more complex answer. But you can be sure it won’t contain the words “Quarks” or “Leptons”. If I had an eighteen-year-old, who knew some basic Math and Physics, maybe I’d slip those terms as well. My point is: you fit the story to the crowd, because you can’t expect a four-year-old to have the same level of understanding as a seven-year-old or an eighteen-year-old.
And just as kids of various ages have different levels of understanding, so do human societies of different ages. Therefore, assuming that there is a God, and that God indeed gave the bible to Moses on Mount Sinai along with the secret of the world’s creation, to me it’s pretty clear he couldn’t have just start babbling about Quarks and Leptons and an expanding universe. The Big Bang Theory is hard to grasp even for ordinary modern day people, with all their education and sophistication. So what could you expect from Bronze-Age people, with no knowledge of physics or basic mathematics, who for the most part couldn’t even read?
God would have to explain the creation story in terms that Moses and the rest of the Bronze-Age crowd could understand.
That’s the line of thought that led to this comic.
Here’s another interesting thought: If God exists, and if he reveals himself to us again, what story will he tell us? Using the logic above, the story he’d tell us would be something similar to what the Big Bang Theory suggests, because that’s what humans are capable of understanding today. But that still doesn’t mean we’re anyway near the “Truth”, and that’s the sad part: even that story is probably very far from how the universe was actually created.
Just as many of us ridicule today the story of how God created the world told on Genesis, I’m sure 31st century scientists would ridicule the Big Bang theory and call it primitive. But that’s exactly the way human knowledge evolves – we make a theory that explains what we know about the world, and we find evidence to support it. But if we find evidence which contradicts our theory, we try and find a better theory which explains the world and for which there is less contradicting evidence. And part of that process is calling the ones who still believe in the older story idiots. That’s just the way science works!
Since our lives is basically one big dick measuring contest, it only makes sense that this was the first thing on first Man’s mind.
“In the Image of God”
Let’s get back to the scriptures. According to the Bible, Man was created in God’s own image:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)
I always wondered what does the term “in God’s own image” mean. Is the bible trying to suggest that God actually has arms and legs and kidneys like us, or are we similar to God only in spirit, behavior and our way of thinking? And if we’re similar in spirit to God, does this mean God is also competitive like us?
“Thou Shalt Not Compare”
Many people prefer the literal interpretation – “we look like God”. And this usually brings out the next question – what does God actually look like. Is God male or female? Is God white? black? Chinese? These kinds of debate are fairly common, and you can find them even in popular culture: For example, in the movie “Bruce Almighty”, God is portrayed by actor Morgan Freeman, an African American actor, who wasn’t picked for the role just because of his remarkable acting skills. And in the Broadway Musical “Avenue Queue”, Kate Monster argues with Gary Coleman on whether Jesus was black or white, until they are both reminded that Jesus was… Jewish.
I find the debate itself amusing, since its whole purpose is to prove one group’s of people superiority, due to the fact that “they look more like god”. Seriously? If God is white, does it mean that white people are better than black people? We’re back at the same point we’ve started at – man’s irresistable urge to compare himself to others – the endless dick measuring contest.
In the mood for some related comic? Here’s another comic about the long lasting debate between science and religion regarding what did first man look like.
And here’s a comic about how the serpent tempted Eve.