Do not disturb - I'm asleep for the next 1,000 years

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The Independent Online
MY DAY tends to last about 1,000 years of Earth time, so I got up this morning at about . . . oh, I don't know, somewhere in the ninth century AD, your time. It's been a long day and I'm getting tired. Of course, when you are God, you can save time as well. I mean, many human beings spend a lot of their lives trying to explain the origin of things, and the nature of the universe, and whether God exists or not, and I don't have to do any of that. Because I know it all already]

Well, that's not strictly true. It would be more true to say that I once knew it all. As time passes, knowing the origin of all things tends to lose its importance, and you take each millennium as it comes. Besides, being omniscient, I am incapable of speculating - and thank heaven for that, I say. The amount of time spent by human beings just wondering about things never ceases to amaze me]

By the way, one of the other things that never ceases to amaze me about humans is that they seldom follow speculation to its ultimate conclusion. One of their favourite theories is that, in the vast expanses of space (or what I think of as the vegetable garden]), the odds are heavily in favour of there being other forms of intelligent life. And of course there are.

But if there is intelligent life elsewhere, will there not also be religion elsewhere? Won't this other intelligent life also worship me? Will they not also build churches on the world of Grint? And will not missionaries one day come from the far-off planet of Grint to try to convert the people of Earth? You see, the humans do not expect this and they will not be ready for it.

Humans also assume that they are the most intelligent form of life on the planet. How they can assume that a species that kills, loots, cheats and tortures its own members - and ruins its own environment - is also the most intelligent one around never ceases to amaze me. One day the ants will rise and take over, and then we shall see some fun. Or is it the rats? I have it written down somewhere. I must look it up. The trouble is, there is so much paperwork when you are the Deity, so many files, so much data. And so much new input the whole time - why, the applications to start new religions flood in endlessly. Especially from America. I have to turn most of them down, of course, just to save time, but even sending out the rejections can take a while.

What never ceases to amaze me about human beings is the way unbelievers tend to blame me for everything. I do not blame human beings for failing to believe in me - I must admit that I find it very hard to believe in human beings] But when I hear the unbelievers say: 'How could God permit such suffering? How could an all-powerful God let there be disease and warfare?', then I begin to get impatient and tap my fingers.

Good heavens, the amount of suffering on the planet Earth is minuscule compared to some worlds - and they do not mean all suffering, they mean only human suffering] Human beings are possibly the most self-centred creatures it has been my pleasure to create. They see everything in terms of their own profit. How could a merciful God permit such suffering? I hear them cry. But I never claimed to be merciful] And what they really mean is, why doesn't God step in and wave a magic wand and do away with illness? Really, they have no idea of the way things work. . .

I see that I have not said much about my day so far. Well, it isn't much of a day. I get up, do the work, go back to sleep. Oh, yes, God sleeps. Otherwise I couldn't have a day off, could I? About every 1,000 Earth years I drop off for a while. You notice it on Earth. Things start going wrong. You have what you call a Dark Age. That's because I've decided to have a siesta. Then I come back and clear things up. Yes, I do. Not altogether, but enough to get things going again. Of course, it's never enough for the satisfaction of Earthlings but it never ceases to amaze me how unsatisfied Earthlings stay. . .

The perceptive critic will recognise that ubiquitous phrase - the one about human beings never ceasing to amaze me. But how, he will ask, can God be amazed? Not easily, I admit, but human beings always manage it. That's why I keep them going. They amuse me. They are funny. They really are. Just when you think you've got them taped, they come up with something new and ludicrous. Wonderful. Anyway, if you will excuse me, it's time for another nap. Yes, another Dark Age coming up. See you afterwards] And good luck]

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