Why did I answer the door? I broke the cardinal rule of people who are at home during the day, which is ‘don’t answer the door’. No-one you want to see ever knocks on your door during the day.”
But they were a lovely, smiling couple of young people holding what could only be a Bible; they were Asians, although I don’t know why I make a point of that, no reason that I can think of but it added a bit of a challenge; the facial expressions and body language differ from the ginger-haired, glazed eye people who normally bring you the ‘GOOD NEWS’.
They were from a Bible study group up in Roslyn, so they informed me (from which I concluded that I was being assessed for my potential to join their group to help defray the cost of hiring the hall and to take my turn at bringing supper). Then they asked if I knew there was also a female god? Points for originality in an opening gambit, where was this going, I wondered. They might just be weird enough to be interesting. “Why no, I didn’t’ know that”, I replied. Two delighted Asian beams told me I had given just the answer they wanted. Step 2, ‘now we have three question for you, ok?’
‘Ok, give me your three best questions; game-on.’
They produce an electronic tablet of some sort, not an i–pad (although I am not a brandist so I don’t know why I said that) which has a question 1 written on it: ‘do you believe in GOD (in red and underlined).
“Well I replied, that depends on your definition of God, doesn’t it?” Confucius reigned on the young faces before me. Not the expected response at all. It was supposed to be yes/no from which they had two pre-planned paths to lead me to the good news about this female god (they should have said goddess, but I can overlook that with English being a second language).
“The person who created you and us and all thing on earth and star in heaven” they countered, tag-teaming to recover their composure.
That was their big mistake. When some stranger answers a fundamental question of faith with an even more fundamental question of faith, and all you wanted out of this meeting is to get a new member for the Bible study group to help defray costs and take a supper turn, then the red flag should go up on their electronic tablet. It should say to them: ‘this is the moment to cut your losses and exit stage right.’ I am sure an i-pad would have had that function.
“Well”, I continued, “if you are talking about god as a person, a him or her in the sense that you and I are hims and hers and you think that this him or her or both, if that’s where you are leading with your opening gender-specific gambit, created humans and animals and all things in heaven and on earth from nothing but dust, then no I do not believe that such a gender-specific person exists.
So they switched; so God was now a spirit not a him or her. Ok now we are getting somewhere even though it seemed to have drifted away from the ‘female God’ opening gambit, but I let it go, for now.
Then they showed me the references to the plural ‘us’ when God talked about creation in Genesis. I am totally with them on all that. There were lots of highlighted underlined verses bouncing between different books in their Bible to continue references to multiple gods; they had done their homework. Yes I quite understand all the Biblical pluralities in reference to multiple gods and have no argument with that although a little surprised that a Biblical study group that normally sticks rigidly to the monotheistic creed would keep pointing it out; normally it would be me who would use it to counter the monotheistic claims and thus send you scampering from my door.
I thought of inviting them into my parlour to see where this was all leading, as their body language suggested would be welcome, but I actually decided against that for their sake. They would find escape much more awkward and they actually did seem genuinely nice people, so I cut them a break and left them on the doorstep. Then I switched them to Genesis 6, that usually sends door-knocking, good news salespeople away quickly. You know the one? ‘the sons of god resorted to the daughters of man and bore children by them’.
Interestingly they also had that passage underlined, presumably as part of their female god theory, although the rationale was lost on me. Then, before we could clarify that, he quickly shifted back to his plan, backing up to the start of the Bible, Genesis. Then with excitement he points out ” Look Adam and Eve have two son, Cain and Abel, but Cain kill Abel then Cain have wife!!! Where come from Cain wife?’ He gibbers with frothy excitement. ‘Then Adam is not first man, just first man who know God!’
Amen, young brother I am with you, the Bible is full of weird anomalies. So I reeled him in with ‘so who do you think wrote all this stuff in the Bible? It is, after all, only two or three thousand years old.’ Confucius again reigned briefly in his eyes. Then he replied, “No no, Moses write of course. Moses write five book of Torah” (‘you silly old man’ said his eyes‘). “Well there is some dispute with that, with Moses having been dead before some of the incidents in later books of the Torah, but setting that aside, even if it was written by Moses, that was still only 3,400 years ago and humans have been on earth some 200,000 years, the earth has been around nearly 5 billion years and the sun is 15 billion years old; so, if Moses was the author, then he was writing about stuff that happened a long, long time before he was born’. (‘You annoying bastard old man’ said his eyes).
“So anyhow lets get back to Genesis 6” I suggested. The frustrated young man asked “why? why, when he was explaining things for me, did I keep jumping back to Genesis 6 and making Confucius?” For the simple reason my friend, that until you can explain what it means by ‘the sons of Gods resorted to the daughters of men and bore children by them’, we can go no further. That is a brick wall, you do not pass go, you do not collect two hundred dollars, until this is resolved between us.
Again he switches back to the plan. “Look Genesis say, day 1 God create the light make day that is sun made, ok?” (yes my enthusiastic young friend, that would be the sun), “then day 4 God create two light, sun and moon ok?” (Yes that is what it says). “BUT (he leaped with joy at having sprung his trap) how can be two sun? first sun make day 1 and day 4 make number two sun. How can be?”?
Ok, I am weary of this now, I step it up a bit. So, now that we are talking about suns, there are not just two but many hundreds of billions of stars. We are a small planet in a solar system located in the far corner of a Galaxy, the Milky Way which is only one galaxy in the universe correct and God created all this?” He seemed a little bit annoyed at this topic shift, but he agreed. “So Magellan got in a boat early in the 16th century” I continued, “and sailed continuously to the horizon not knowing whether he would fall off the edge of the planet or hit the sky like a brick wall but, in fact, he came back to where he started. So if you and I, John, (I had extracted his name by now as John) set off in a space ship travelling faster than the speed of light and kept going would we eventually hit a wall, fall off the end of space or come back to where we started?”
In my peripheral vision I see the young woman moving discreetly stage right, this shouldn’t take long now. The young man is slumping, “I don’t know too many big, too many headache.” Of course my young friends, the universe is huge and we are but one planet in the solar system of what is known as a dwarf sun, a minute speck in the far flung corner of an unspectacular galaxy containing tens of billions of stars, which itself is just one galaxy among a hundred billion galaxies (give or take) so answer me this: would the God who created all those hundreds of billions of suns and trillions of planets only put life on one planet? Ours?
“Yes?” he whimpered. No, no, no my little Good News friend. God would have created more life than us somewhere in the universe, surely? And so is it not possible that we were visited by a far more intellectual species in the past and those alien visitors were in fact the sons of god mentioned in Genesis 6?
At the mention of the ‘alien’ word there was horror and fear in his eyes. I was clearly a lunatic. Asians don’t seem to run, not in the classic Greco style, but a very quick shuffle probably covers it. Exit Stage Right.
“Y’all come back real soon now y’hear? We didn’t even get past question one.”
What I would give to be at next week’s Bible Study meeting in Roslyn. “We meet this crazy guy, he say God make other life is somewhere else in universe. He crazy, scary guy; nobody must visit this man again”.