The Plan, Part 1: In the Beginning
Approximately six thousand years ago, a magical being called “God” set a plan into motion. He’d been waiting and doing very little for several googols of googols of years, so this was a very important time. All that brain power had just been sitting around, formulating the most perfect and holy way to do the most beautiful and loving thing ever done in the history of the universe. (Of course, since nothing had ever been done in the universe, the bar wasn’t set very high, but I digress.)
God began by creating everything that we can see, and a lot more things that we cannot see. The universe is extraordinarily immense. If it were 95% smaller than it is, it would still be immense. It’s so huge that it’s really hard for us to imagine just how huge it is. It’s so huge that there’s no way for us to even imagine seeing everything in our own galaxy, much less ever making it to even one of the billions of other galaxies to see even one thing.
In one tiny corner of the universe, God made a planet and called it “Earth.” It’s a small planet, as planets go, but it’s perfect for humans. You see, God had made the whole universe for humans. Oh, he could have made the universe quite small, since the physical laws he created would prevent humans from ever seeing virtually any of the universe beyond earth’s solar system firsthand. He could have just made it big enough for earth, but that wouldn’t do. He wanted the humans to know just how incredibly powerful he was, so he made a universe so large that when people discovered its true size, they’d stop and say, “Wow. God is really friggin’ powerful. You know? Like… he made all of this for us.”
God, in his infinite mercy and wisdom, decided trillions and trillions of years ago that he wasn’t going to just parade himself in front of humans like some pompous dictator. No. God revealed himself to people through mysteries, puzzles, and downright trickery. To begin with, he didn’t give humans any kind of a user’s manual. He just left them on earth without any knowledge of… well… anything. He wanted them to figure out things for themselves. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
To begin with, there weren’t a lot of humans. There were only two — Adam and Eve. God knew that Adam and Eve were cheeky little bastards, and prone to gullibility. So he put them in a magical garden with a talking snake and a magic tree. He only told them one thing — “Don’t eat the fruit from that tree. Even though it’s really pretty, and looks like it would be awesome… and even though I put it right there in the center where you have to look at it all the time and think… wow… that would be awesome…”
The talking snake was evil. God knew that, but he put the snake in the garden anyway, because it was all part of the most perfect loving plan ever conceived in the whole universe. In due time, the snake played his part and told the woman that she ought to eat the fruit. Being gullible and having no knowledge of good and evil, she said, “What the hell.” (Ironic, don’t you think?)
So God got his panties in a bunch about that act of civil disobedience and kicked Adam and Eve out of the magic garden. He was particularly mad at Eve, so he cursed every human being that would ever live — billions and billions of them — with aging and death. Because women are nasty and evil, he put an especially bad curse on them. He made it so that their vaginas would get badly torn up when they had children, and some of the unluckiest ones would die because their birth canals and other internal plumbing simply weren’t designed well enough to let babies pass through without incident.
And this was all part of the most loving and wonderful thing that had ever been done in the universe. Just wait. It’ll all make sense later. (God’s very smart that way.)
The Plan, Part 2: Dead Bulls
After cursing the man and the woman for being the way they were made, God set the next part of the plan in motion. He continued to ignore 95% of the earth’s population because he didn’t care about them yet. (God had magically populated the whole earth in just a few years to make it look like Adam and Eve weren’t really the first humans. This was one of God’s clever tricks.) God really cared about this one group of people who were all descendants of a goat herder with a fetish for handmaidens. He showed them how much he cared by taking them out into the desert and starving them for 40 years, and giving them Ten Commandments, most of which urged them to tell God how awesome he is and not look at pictures of other gods.
During this time, God gave that tiny part of the earth’s population a way to avoid his wrath, which had proved to be considerable. (He turned one woman into salt for the crime of catching a parting glance at her hometown, which God had just turned into a pile of nuclear rubble.)
Here’s what they needed to do. Whenever they did something bad like touching a woman while she was menstruating, they needed to take some of what they owned and either burn it, kill it, or otherwise destroy it. When they did this, God felt self-actualized, and managed to stave off his desire to fry them like so much wheat toast in a brick oven.
To reward his followers for sometimes killing bulls properly, he sent them into centuries of slavery at the hands of the Egyptians and Babylonians. They were both very nasty masters, and treated God’s chosen people very poorly.
But God had a better plan, and was only using this one for a while. Maybe it occurred to him that his loving kindness would be better served if all the people in the world knew about it. Maybe he felt sorry for the bulls and goats. Who can understand the mind of God?
Anyway, he sent some men called prophets to go to the big cities and shout poems. These poems were very vague, but it was important for them to be shouted because thousands of years later, they would be proof that God knew what he was doing before he did it. Some of the poems said things about a savior. That was all part of the plan. But it was also very important that these “prophecies” were not clear enough for everyone to agree on what they meant. So some people expected a ruler and conquering hero as a savior. But that’s not what God was going to give them. Because he loved them, and knew that there were going to be plenty of gas chambers and persecution to come. (Seriously… hang with me. This is all going to make sense later.)
For several centuries, God made his favorite people wait while they built pyramids for the evil Egyptians, and toiled away for those nasty Babylonians. Very soon, his super-awesome plan for the most loving thing ever done in the entire universe would come to fruition…
Getting Himself Killed
All the pieces of the puzzle were in place, and God was happy.
- Create enormous universe for humans… check.
- Man, woman, talking snake, tree with evil fruit… check.
- Chosen people… check.
- Slaughtered goats, burnt wheat, no touchy the vagina blood… check.
- Centuries of slavery and captivity under evil “not the real god” worshipers… check.
- Crazed prophets giving everybody the wrong idea about the savior… check.
Yes. Things were falling into place just as he knew they would. It was time for the cleverest thing anyone had ever done. When the time was right, God split himself into three pieces, but by using god-magic, he made it so that he really wasn’t three pieces. He was one. But three. All at the same time. And through the magic of being himself, he also made it so that he had always been that way, even though he hadn’t always been that way. (It’s nice to be God.)
Next, he decided to call himself his own son, even though there was only one God, and no Goddess for him to have sex with. Maybe it was because he liked sex so much he thought it would be nice to imagine having it, since he could never have it himself… unless it was with himself, which wouldn’t be sex, but masturbation. Anyway, it’s impossible to know the mind of God, so we can only imagine why he used a term that didn’t apply to himself. He’s God, so he can do what he wants, and it is good and holy.
When the time was right, God magically teleported to earth and went into the uterus of a young woman named Mary, who might never have had sex, but also might have, and might have just been known as a “young woman.” Or a prostitute. We can’t really tell these days because God knew (in his ultimate loving wisdom) that for his plan to work perfectly, no original copies of his holiest of holy books could survive long enough for anyone to know what they really said. And sometimes words have different meanings. But I digress.
God spent the normal nine months as a fetus in Mary’s uterus, and then came into the world very unceremoniously, being deposited in a hay trough, since neither Mary nor her long-suffering husband, Joseph, could afford proper lodging. You see, God knew that it was very important for him to go through all the motions of being poor and outcast, even though he could have saved a lot of trouble for a lot of people by coming out of Mary’s vagina holding a magical pot of endless gold and a vial of endless cancer preventer medicine.
Instead, God — the part of him that was still in heaven, not the part laying about in afterbirth — told one of his magical servants to go fly down to some rich men and send them traipsing across the desert with gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give the little baby. He also had another magical servant tell some herdsmen to go look at the baby. It was all very pretty, and God knew that it was important to do these things so that in another two thousand years, Hallmark wouldn’t have to recall several million nativity sets for lack of historical accuracy.
After the birthing was over, God, who was now known as Jesus, did regular human things until he got to be thirty years old, at which time he got twelve men together and went about performing god-magic and generally upsetting the status quo.
Remember that part of God’s magnificent plan involved giving lots of people the wrong idea about what the savior would be like. He needed to do this because it was very important that the Hebrews (or Jews, if you prefer), would do the most loving thing possible and kill the God who had bestowed so much loving and mercy on them for the past several hundred years of slavery and desert wandering. (I know… it sounds odd, but it will all make sense in the end. I promise.)
So Jesus, (or God, if you prefer) spent three years upsetting the Jewish holy men, who were still under the impression that God was in his Goat Blood Fetish Stage. You see, God was not really into memos. He always preferred telling the most important things in the universe to prophets and preachers, who then told everybody else. Perhaps he thought it garish to just tell everybody plainly what he wanted. Perhaps it amused him to watch such a small percentage of the human population cause so much confusion for so many people. Who can know the mind of God? In any case, the holy men had had it up to here and took advantage of a legal loophole in the Roman justice system. They convinced Pontius Pilate, who honestly didn’t give a rat’s ass, into ordering Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.
This was just what Jesus wanted to happen, but it was still pretty upsetting because being crucified hurts very badly. So Jesus made a big show of being distraught, and performed one last magic trick which consisted of reading the mind of Judas, who was fed up with the whole affair and was planning on turning state’s evidence. Then he went up to a hill where he knew the feds were waiting for him.
The whole crucifixion thing took quite a while, and was very gruesome. The Romans who were in charge of killing God were well versed in the art of making the experience as painful as possible. They spit on him, gave him vinegar to drink, skewered him like a piglet, and made light of his political misdeeds. When the whole thing was over, several concerned fans took his body and put it in a small cave, then sealed the door with a big rock.
Everybody thought that was the end of it, but there was much more ahead. Much, much more.
What was God to do now? For the last seventy trillion years, he’d been thinking. Thinking. Thinking. There wasn’t really much else to do. He hadn’t invented time and space yet, so it didn’t feel like it had been all that long, but it had. And the question that had been burning in his mind for at least 69.475 trillion years was this:
“After I piss off the religious leadership of my enslaved chosen people and get myself killed at the hands of a minor Roman bureaucrat, how will I then inspire and command the love and worship of billions of humans who will inhabit the earth for the next two thousand years?”
The answer was simple and obvious. Here’s what he did.
For three days, Jesus lay dead in the cave. Well, he wasn’t really dead since God can’t die. He doesn’t have a heart or lungs or anything like that, and you have to have something living to be able to die. But the part of him that was temporarily very much like a human wasn’t alive. It was just laying there, but not decomposing, because that would be gross. You’ll see why in just a second.
After three days, Jesus decided he was tired of being dead so he got up and left. (See?! If God had let himself decompose, everyone would have thought he was a zombie, and would have swung shovels at his face.) On his way out, he showed himself to a hooker with a foot fetish. This was the highlight of her morning, and she ran into town to tell everybody that she’d just been with Jesus. Several of the townsfolk thought it daft that she was trying to wring a shekel out of a dead guy, but they averred that as long as she didn’t start bringing corpses to the Monday afternoon massage session, things would be ok.
For several days, Jesus went about the land appearing and disappearing. He also got a good poke in the side from a guy named Thomas who had a hard time believing in walking stiffs. To reward the doubter for his skepticism, Jesus made sure his book didn’t get published.
When he was done with his little lark about town, Jesus got together with a couple of his best friends from back in the Goat Fetish Days, had a chat on top of a hill, and then used god-magic to levitate up into the sky. It was a very neat trick, and gave a lot of people the idea that heaven was in the sky, but it’s not. Once you get out of the earth’s atmosphere, it’s not very heavenly at all.
And that’s the story of how God did the most amazing and loving thing in the history of the universe. But that’s not the end of the Easter story. Actually, there’s much more. Here’s what happened.
Jesus knew that killing goats and bulls would get to be really troublesome when the earth’s population grew to six billion. There’s just no way to dispose of that much dead meat in a sanitary way, especially when Indians won’t eat cow meat. (One has to wonder why God let them get so caught up in the whole cow worship thing if he was going to need people to eat so many burgers, but God’s ways are not our ways, and it isn’t good to try to reason these things out.)
Anyway, God had already worked all of this out nine trillion trillion trillion years before. The whole reason he paraded around as a human was so that he could take the place of a billion billion farm animals. Since he made the rules in the first place, it was no big deal for him to make the following proclamation:
“I sacrificed myself to myself in order that you don’t have to sacrifice goats and bulls to me anymore. I don’t want any more dead animals on my front steps. Understand?”
Because he was God, he left a symbolic reminder to all the people of the world so they would remember the time when it was appropriate to decapitate animals and leave them on the front steps of the temple to appease the overlord. The symbolic reminder is known as a “house cat.” But I digress.
Anyway, sacrificing himself to himself to stop all the bull sacrificing was not the full extent of “The Most Loving and Wonderful Thing Anyone Has Ever Done.” No, not indeed. We should think God to be quite dull if that had been the only thing. God wanted everyone who ever lived to know what he had done, and to believe he had done it. After all, if a trillion humans never heard about The Most Loving and Wonderful Thing Anyone Has Ever Done, what was the point in doing it in the first place?
So God waited thirty or so years and then told a fledgling scribe to write down the story of his life. Then he waited another couple of decades and told a couple more beat writers to copy that book, but to add some important details that had been left out. He also found a government flunky and told him to write down all the stuff about how churches ought to be run, and how women ought not say very much in church.
There wasn’t much in the way of printing presses in those days, and UPS wasn’t shipping worldwide. God wasn’t about to break the Prime Directive and introduce such dangerous technology to the Romulans… err… Romans. Instead, he decided that he would let things simmer for three hundred years. Better to spread the word of his deeds orally. After all, that’s the best way to make sure things don’t get muddled.
And that’s exactly what his followers did. It worked like a charm. Three hundred years later, Rome got on board with the program. Within a thousand years, most of Europe had heard all about it.
(It’s always best to take one’s time when doing something this important. And really, there wasn’t much of a rush. Those damnable Asians hadn’t been sacrificing bulls to him at all, and there weren’t even boats seaworthy enough to get to the Aztecs to tell them they ought to be sacrificing bulls instead of enemy warriors. All those people could wait.)
Johannes Gutenberg finally figured out how to print lots of copies of the same book about fourteen hundred years later. That was all God had been waiting for. (Well… that and the internet, but that would come much later.) Since God gave himself his first mass distribution deal, six hundred years have passed since then, and there’s only one major continent where most people haven’t got Bibles in all the hotel rooms.
The Magic of Faith
As you’ve probably already gathered, God is very fond of using god-magic. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. If he didn’t use god-magic, and just obeyed the laws he’d created, he wouldn’t be much of a god, would he? Well, if that makes sense to you, then this is where things really start to get good.
God wanted everyone on the whole planet to hear about what he’d done, and believe that he’d done it. But it was also very important to him that people also believe in his god-magic. Even more important, he didn’t want anybody to be forced into believing. So he made sure there were lots of chances for people not to believe.
To start with, he planted lots of rocks that look like animals. He planted them all over the world. Some of them he put in mountains, and some in riverbeds. He knew that these rocks would fool the smartest people in the world into thinking the earth was really billions and billions of years old.
Next, he made a very, very small thing called DNA and put it in every living thing on the planet. He also put little atomic clocks in the DNA and set them wrong so that it would look very much like DNA was older than the earth. What a clever trick!
Finally… and this is the best trick of all… he stopped doing magic except for very rare circumstances when there would be no way for anybody to prove it.
Now, everything was in place. God told all of his followers to make very tall steeples and put them on top of churches, and to tell everyone the good news: ”Believe that God sacrificed himself to himself so that you don’t have to leave dead bulls on our doorsteps! If you do this, you will go to a happy place when you die. If you don’t, you’ll experience the love of the most merciful and loving being in the universe while roasting on a spit in the most horrific torture chamber ever invented… FOREVER!”
The Chosen People
God had a special plan in mind for his chosen people that he loved more than anyone else on earth. First, he took away their country and didn’t give it back to them for almost two thousand years. Second, he made sure that everyone on earth hated them more than anyone else, so much so that one of God’s special servants, Adolph Hitler, did them the favor of killing at least six million of them.
He also made sure that a whole new religion would start up in the same part of the world, and that its followers would hate the Jews so much that they would blow themselves up anytime they could take a few Jews with them. But God knew that there would be a country called America, and that a protector would emerge from the ranks of the Christians to protect the chosen people. That man was John Ashcroft, and even to this day, he works to demonstrate the love of God for his chosen people by trying to start World War III.
Bunnies and Eggs
Since God is very fond of holidays, he also told his followers: ”Celebrate my wonderful deeds with colorful eggs and bunnies. Give chocolate to the children, and warn them against believing in animal shaped rocks. That way, your children won’t spend eighty trillion years in a torture chamber with worms made of fire crawling in and out of their eyesockets!”
Oh, and he said one other thing, too. He had omitted this from his holy book, but it was ok because it wouldn’t be important until the French invented Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama. Why did the Jews need to know about Mobile? (God is always thinking ahead.) Anyway, God said, “Also, in addition to celebrating with bunnies and eggs, I want you to call the forty days before my holiday ‘Lent.’ During Lent, I want you to give up something you like so that you will remember how much I love you. Also, it’s ok for you to have a big naked orgy the day before Lent.”
And that is the story of how God did The Most Loving and Wonderful Thing That Anyone Has Ever Done in the History of the Universe. Today, we have the privilege of believing that God did all of that stuff for us so that we wouldn’t have to kill bulls. And believe me, if you’ve never killed a bull before, it’s remarkably difficult. Without proper equipment, it’s almost impossible. I mean, have you ever seen a bull fight? You can stick those damnable creatures with dozens of spears and it just makes them mad.
So when you’re breaking out the Paas Easter Egg kit this Easter, remember to say a magic chant to Jesus and thank him for letting you color eggs instead of killing bulls. Or goats. And remember to tell your children how much God loves them, because if you don’t, they will BURN IN HELL FOR A BILLION BILLION YEARS AND WON’T YOU BE SORRY THEN!!!!!