(Continued from previous post)

As each word emanated from him, she found herself taking a step backwards. She turned away, wanting to throw her face in her hands, but would not let herself do it. How to respond to this? everything depended on it!

She took a breath, then turned toward him. “Let me ask you this – does a cow long to kill a deer and eat it?”

“What? Of course not!”

“Why not?”

“Because it is not in the cow’s nature to eat meat.”

Time for a follow-up: “Does a robin burrow beneath the ground to make a nest?”

“No. That also would be against the robin’s nature.”

She had her composure back, and so she added a dramatic pause, then said: “Then why do people seek the secrets to the universe?”

God’s eyes widened and she thought she saw him stumble slightly backward. He was quiet for what seemed a long time. Then, He suddenly brightened and said: “Because of his arrogance!”

“It’s in people’s nature to be arrogant?”

“Yes!” He said, then thought better of it, and recanted. “Well, no. But a lot of them are,” His looked indicated that He considered her in that company.

“Why? Either we’re arrogant because you made us that way and wanted to, or we are arrogant because you made us that way by accident. Which one is it?”

“I did not make man arrogant,” God replied. But I did give him free will.”

“Ahh – so there is non-determinism in your design.”

“Excuse me?”

“If there were no free will, it would be pointless to judge mankind. If everything that we did and said and thought were determined before we were born, judging our actions would be like blaming lightning for hitting a house – it would be pointless.”

This seemed to cheer God up quite a bit. “Exactly!”

“So man has free will?”

“Yes.”

“Then tell me: do you always know what will happen before it happens?”

God drew himself up, deepened His voice, and increased its volume, as though He were addressing a freshman physics class. “I live outside of time; I see things as they happen – but without the limitation of time.”

“Then you know what we will do before we do it?”

“No, I see what you do at every moment of your existence – but constantly.”

“I don’t understand.”

God scoffed. “Of course not! But I’ll try to explain: Imagine if you could peer into the past. You would see an event – Booth shooting Lincoln, for instance. But the fact that you witnessed it doesn’t mean that you had any effect on it.”

“Yes, but that event has already happened.”

“To me, every event in the universe has already happened.”

“But isn’t that like reading the last page of a mystery novel first? What interest is there in a creation for which you already perceive the ending?”

A look of sadness washed over him. “Very little. But it’s even worse than you imagine.”

“How so?”

“Because, not only do I perceive the beginning and end of this creation – I also perceive the beginning and end of an infinite number of creations!”

“Oh, my God!” she gasped.

“Exactly.”

She paused, trying to wrap her head around that. Finally, she asked: “All at once?”

God started to answer, then paused, then started again. “The phrase ‘at once’ is a problem. It assumes that time exists; it doesn’t of course.”

“Time doesn’t exist?”

“No of course not. You – humans – made it up.”

“If time doesn’t exist, then why do we perceive it?”

“It is a trick of your mind – because you have a memory, you think that things exist which do not.”

“What things?”

“Those things which you perceive to be ‘in the past.’ Since you remember them, you think that they exist.”

“Then the past doesn’t exist?”

“No – only now exists. The past is an illusion, as is the future.”

“We have no future?”

God chuckled. “Well, you certainly don’t! Next!”

She stood, frozen in place.

He regarded her for a moment. “I’ve changed my mind, though – go to heaven.”

But she continued to stand there, thinking things over.

“Well,” He bellowed, “what are you waiting for? You won! Go on to heaven!”

“No. I mean, I’d rather not just yet.”

God raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean? Why not?”

“I still have one more question.”

“You don’t need the answers to your little questions – just run along to heaven and be happy!”

“I will never be happy without the answers to my questions.”

“Is it that important to know?”

“Yes. Understanding is more important than anything else.”

“More important than heaven?”

“Yes.”

And God said: “So – if I answer your question, you will go to hell gladly?”

She paused a long time. “Not gladly, but I will go.”

Coming soon, Part 3!

IMAGE SOURCE:
 commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Justice-OldSupremeCourtBuilding-Singapore-20071013.jpg
ATTRIBUTION:
 Kok Leng Yeo from Singapore. [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]