It seems to me that God might have something interesting to say.
My first question is: what's it like in heaven?
God | July 29, 2012 - 16:45
We keep it nice. We're here for a long time.
FTSE100 | July 29, 2012 - 16:46
God | July 29, 2012 - 16:47
In some cases, eternity.
People often ask me (look at the FAQ's for heaven's sake) why I was willing to wait for billions of years for something interesting to turn up in your universe. They always mean themselves, of course. Possibly the dinosaurs (or whatever earlier lifeforms existed on their particular planet) at a pinch. They can't imagine that the whole process could have been fascinating to me. I was hooked by the end of the first second.
What I'm trying to impress on you is that thirteen and three-quarter billion years is nothing in terms of eternity. It doesn't use up any of it. I had infinite time to fill before creating the universe and I still have infinite time now. You can't waste time in eternity: no matter how much you use you've still got the same amount left.
I find that concept quite difficult to explain. Even harder is the fact that eternity stretches in both directions. Even physicists find that one hard to grasp. There's no point in asking who created God. I was always here.
FTSE100 | July 29, 2012 - 16:52
Why only in some cases? Do some people go to hell?
God | July 29, 2012 - 17:09
Don't be silly.
You humans really do like to make your gods in your own image, don't you? You want a god who will punish the people you don't like. I'm not about to start burning homosexuals, or paedophiles, or people who don't obey rules, or the guy who was rude about your religion, or pushed in front of you in the queue, or cut you up in traffic.
Religious people are such a bore. When I won't burn the people they don't like they insist on seeing the real god. They have their own areas to live in amongst their own kind. They wait for their imaginary god and fight amongst themselves about his will and the proper way to worship him. Some just won't mix - you can't put rabid Islamists with frothing American Christians. I just keep them apart and make sure they don't bother anybody else.
The only hell is the one people make for themselves and each other.
FTSE100 | July 29, 2012 - 17:20
I see your point about homosexuals and so on, but paedophiles?
God | July 29, 2012 - 17:22
You disappoint me, FTSE. Paedophiles can no more help being what they are than homosexuals or rubber fetishists. In heaven we try to accommodate everybody.
FTSE100 | July 29, 2012 - 17:24
You don't try to reform them? Don't tell me you supply them with children!
God | July 29, 2012 - 17:26
There aren't that many children in heaven. Most people don't die until adulthood. The small number of children there are just grow up in different circumstances. They don't remain children for long.
No, I don't supply paedophiles with children. But there's always an answer to these problems if you look for it. For every sadist there's a masochist, you might say.
FTSE100 | July 29, 2012 - 17:33
You mean there are adults who fantasise about having sex in the bodies of children? And in heaven they live out their fantasies? That's not going to be popular with the religious lot. Or a lot of other people.
God | July 29, 2012 - 17:40
So what's your interest in this? Prurient? It's just a minority hobby. They live apart and do what they have to do until they get fed up with it. Over the course of eternity you can get fed up with just about anything.
You should be wondering how I accommodate necrophiles when everybody lives forever.
FTSE100 | July 29, 2012 - 18:01
OK, I'll bite. How do you accommodate necrophiles?
What I really wanted to ask, though, was why people need bodies in heaven. A lot of people seem to think that the good guys just merge with God and live out eternity in perpetual orgasm. Something like that, anyway. I don't think they know what they mean themselves, they just have faith that god will sort out whatever nonsese they concoct and make it all work.
God | July 29, 2012 - 18:10
There's a very simple answer to the necrophile question. People live forever, but not necessarily in heaven. When they make no progress in heaven, many choose to go back to their planet of origin, or even a different one, and be re-born.
They die more completely than you will in what you'd consider to be death - the move from your universe to heaven. Everything they ever were is forgotten. They make a completely fresh start. You might be one of those people yourself, but if you are you'll never know it.
The rest you can work out for yourself.
As for needing bodies, it's a common misconception that the body is no more than a machine for carrying the brain around. You are all that you are. Your body is a vital part of it.
Linda Wigzell Cress | July 29, 2012 - 19:07
Would you say God leans a little towards existentialism?
FTSE100 | July 29, 2012 - 19:56
I think he's taken 'hell is other people' to heart at the very least.
Archie_Macjoyce | July 29, 2012 - 20:10
On a toilet wall in my old university, someone scribbled "God is dead - Nietzsche".
To which some wag added "Nietzsche is dead - God".
The Walrus | July 29, 2012 - 20:54
I can't see anyone or any thing accommodating paedophiles, not with a clean conscience, anyway. As God seems unwilling to burn the bastards because of political correctness or some equally crappy reason, and Satan - who has become just as much of a pussy as his master just lately, I might add - won't burn them without God's explicit permission in triplicate, I often take on the role of avenging angel and burn the fuckers myself. Alive and kicking. In complete privacy, with no one to hear their pitiful pleas for mercy. "What was your reaction to your young, innocent victims," it tickles me to ask, "when they pleaded for your mercy? What about their human rights, you despicable piece of shit?"
I condone no spiritual flatulence for kiddy-fiddlers. I do provide one way tickets for the final journey, either to heaven or to hell, that's none of my business, but I allow no final prayers, just a few fleeting seconds of agony and then eternal, cleansing oblivion.
In the industrial complex that I illicitly use for this purpose the temperature of the primary furnace never drops below 7,000 degrees centigrade, so good luck to you if you think you can find the slightest trace of evidence, copper.
Archie_Macjoyce | July 29, 2012 - 20:56
Goo goo ga joob...
FTSE100 | July 30, 2012 - 02:44
So, if people are partly their bodies, and in heaven they are supplied with new ones, are they really the same people? (Standard year one philosophy 'personal identity' question.)
God | July 30, 2012 - 03:06
Yes and no. Obviously in a young and fit body, which most people choose, you'll behave quite differently from your last days on earth, when your body is likely to have been sick and worn out.
Some people choose to change sex. Some even choose to change species. The only sensible thing to think about is whether you like the results. If you choose to be an eagle, you are arguably not going to be the same person you were on earth, but if you're happy that way, does it really matter?
The real problem is that new arrivals in heaven usually expect to be reunited with their parents and grandparents. Somebody has to break it to them that the people they will meet, if their earth relatives agree to it, will not be the same. They won't look the same; they will have spent decades doing new and different things amongst new and different people; they will have new interests and responsibilities and faces.
The best way to look at it is that they are actors who once played the parts of your relatives in a long-running soap. Now their careers have moved on, you are no longer in the same play, but you can still remember the good times you once had. You might end up friends, you might just meet once and never repeat the experience. But things won't go back to being the way they were.
pepsoid | July 30, 2012 - 06:32
As humans it is impossible to conceive of anything beyond the human sphere... because we are humans. It must be frustrating for God to try and explain extra-human things to humans... question: why bother trying?
"the art of tea"
"that's an odd courgette"
pepsoid | July 30, 2012 - 06:34
Just one little question, while I think of it...
Is there any truth in this "Man is created is God's imagine"? If so, what does it actually mean?
God | July 30, 2012 - 08:41
Why bother? Because I have time to spare (eternity never runs out). Because it amuses me. Because some people want to know the answers.
Man being created in God's image comes from a book called the Bible. You can find several variations of the phrase in Genesis 1:26-28.
Let me clear up any misunderstanding. I didn't write the Bible. I didn't inspire the Bible. The account of creation in the Bible is a myth. The book is entirely human in origin and has absolutely nothing to do with me. I explain it out of politeness, just as I would if you asked me about War and Peace, the Story of O, or Viz. I didn't write or inspire those either.
A literal translation of 'in my image' would be 'looking like me'. A figurative interpretation is 'having some or all of my attributes'. Obviously we can rule out having all of them, otherwise you'd all be gods yourselves. I don't believe that any of your religious leaders hold that view.
The figurative interpretation of the phrase is as true as you want it to be. You can speak English; so can I. Anything you can do, I can do. Anything you can be, I can be. On the other hand, I can do and be many things that you cannot. 'In my image' isn't a very deep or enlightening idea. 'Your possible attributes are a subset of mine' is all it says.
As for whether you look like me, I take human form when I am amongst humans and I behave in an appropriate way. You could say that I make myself in your image.
The Walrus | July 30, 2012 - 09:31
You're not the force behind Viz - you're not responsible for Spoiled Bastard and Buster Gonad And His Infeasibly Large Testicles? Now that's pissed me off big time, Lord.....
FTSE100 | July 30, 2012 - 15:12
Will I meet JC in heaven? Julius Caesar, I mean.
God | July 30, 2012 - 15:25
What good could it possibly do you? JC has spent two thousand years doing other things. He has only a vague and sketchy memory of his time on earth. You could get more information from a school history teacher than from JC himself.
If you want to meet him just because he's a celeb, we don't encourage that in heaven. We give celebs a decade to see how screamingly boring it is to answer the same questions over and over and over again, then we offer them a kind of heavenly witness protection scheme: a different identity and a chance to begin a new life.
We encourage celebs to write their autobiographies, with professional help, but people are not reliable narrators of their own lives. Their accounts always seem to gloss over their mistakes and highlight their successes.
pepsoid | July 31, 2012 - 07:01
You are very convincing, "God" (if you weren't actually God, that is (which obviously you are)).
FTSE100 | August 1, 2012 - 09:33
Goddy, have you ever heard of 'show, don't tell'? You wouldn't make much of a story.
pepsoid | August 1, 2012 - 10:40
God isn't a story... which isn't to say that God wouldn't be able to write a good story!
FTSE100 | August 1, 2012 - 11:12
God created an infinite number of stories when he banged the big one. Only an infinitesimal portion of them have humans in them, or life of any sort.
Interesting that the banking crisis could have been predicted at the time of the big bang, but only by a distributed computer the size of the universe doing an infinite number of state changes a second for billions of years. In other words, you could only know it by watching the universe unfold until it reached that point in its computations. As we might more comfortably think of it - you'll know it when it happens.
pepsoid | August 2, 2012 - 06:43
Jaws (not verified) | August 2, 2012 - 07:00
Only a truism if you believe the universe is deterministic. It seems to be but there's no way to be absolutely sure. If it isn't, it's a falsism.
pepsoid | August 2, 2012 - 07:06
FTSE100 | August 2, 2012 - 07:39
pepsoid | August 2, 2012 - 08:16
FTSE100 | August 2, 2012 - 09:07
My secret smile.
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