IF GOD HAD HAD NINE DAYS

Sespe1975-3

11 May 2020

  When God started thinking about creating our World, he only had a rough idea of how it would all work out. (I mean, we’ve always assumed that this was his first really big job, right?) The one thing he was most concerned about was his legacy – how would the historians look at what he had accomplished? He needed to set it all up so that, not only could there be no perception that anything had gone wrong, it would also be said that he did everything just the way he had planned from the start. So he made a deal with himself  (there wasn’t anybody else to make a deal with, yet) that he would get everything done in just one week. If he could pull that off, with all the uncertainties, he would certainly be remembered as – well, as a god.

   And here came his big mistake. You see, his idea of a “week” was pretty fluid: one day was pretty much the same as a thousand years, to him, so one week could be – what? He needed something that the history books would get right. So, because he is omniscient, he looked into the future to see what his (not yet created) humans would consider “a week.”  The honors went to the Babylonians who,  based on the seven planets they could see with their naked eyes, decided that a week should have seven days. (Yes, we know – and God clearly knew, because he would eventually be creating them – that the sun and the moon were not “planets,” but if that’s what humans would believe…) So, he set out to create the World in seven days.

   It went pretty well, at first. Day One, making light and dark different; check. Day Two, creating “heaven” above the Earth; he guessed that was a “check,” but he was a little concerned that  the people he hadn’t yet created would understand that he was kind of referring to Space, not to some specific place. Anyway, Day Two: check.

   Day Three: some land, some water. Check. Also, on the same day: vegetation. Check. Day Four: Sun and Moon; check (although we know what the Babylonians would think about that. Go figure.) Day Five: birds and sea creatures; check (although, was a whale going to be a mammal or a fish?) Day Six: all kinds of land creatures, finishing up with a special one – Man – who he thought he would put in charge of all the other stuff he had created. Check… But wait a bit on that. He wanted to make Man in his own image, but that was tough for two reasons: one, because he was kind of over everything, he didn’t have a “shape” in the same sense as the things he had created; and two, he didn’t have a mirror, so he didn’t really know what his “image” was. As he had made more creatures, he thought he was getting better at it, and he kind of liked what he’d come up with for those things that Man would eventually call “apes.” He didn’t like their all-over dark hair, but otherwise… So, that was Man. Check.

   And then it was Day Seven. God was feeling pretty tired – it had been a big job, but, overall, he thought it had been gone well. There were a few things he could have done better. He worried about the whale thing: fish or mammal? That was going to be a confusion at some time, he was pretty sure. Then there was the question of drinking: he’d made it so that all land creatures needed water, but how they actually got it wasn’t always great. Most mammals had to lap it up with their tongues – pretty inefficient. Birds were even worse, he thought: a bird had to stick its beak in the water, then tip its head back to let a few drops slide down its throat. What had he been thinking about when he came up with that?

   More significant, he was a little worried about naming his special creature Man. He’d planned it so these creatures needed a mate to reproduce themselves, and he’d come up with “man” and “woman” to identify the two sexes. But was it right to have the species name (Man) the same as one of the sex partners (“man”)? He had a funny feeling this decision might come back to bite him one of these days.

   But time was running out, and he couldn’t do much about that kind of stuff if he was to meet his one-week deadline. What really bothered him – what he was afraid could make a big difference in the future - was that he had a lot more work he had planned to do with Man. Presumably, that species was going to oversee all the fishes and birds and plants and mammals and air and water and everything else that had been created. To be able to do that, God had envisioned two attributes that the other creations didn’t have: conscience, and vision.

   God had endowed Man with the same instincts he had given the other animals for finding food, anticipating danger, and recognizing a mate.  He had planned something more than the basic survival skills – something that might help Man go beyond just “live” or “die,” to “do the right thing.” That kind of perception might have helped Man develop as a Community Species, not just a “survival of the fittest” animal. He’d worked a little on this “conscience” idea, but he was afraid he hadn’t taken it far enough to overpower some of the baser instincts in his creation.

   Inability to Look Ahead might be an even bigger problem. God was sure that each type of creature he had developed was a little better than the ones before, and he had no doubt that Man had the most skills, was going to be the most innovative, and - frankly – could probably do anything it ever dreamed of doing. The nagging doubt God had was if he had given Man the ability to discern the difference between being able to do something and actually doing it – to see that for every action there is a reaction, and that the reaction might not be the best thing for the individual, the species, or the World. He hoped that the little bit of Conscience he had instilled might help with the bigger issue of Judgment, but he doubted it would be enough.

    He really needed two more days, but his legacy was in jeopardy. So, on the Seventh Day, God took a nap.


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© Sanford Wilbur 2020