Written by: Alicia Hooper
My name is God. I have many names. I have many faiths. I am everything that is good and perfect. I am the world’s grand designer, experimenter, and father.
In the beginning, I created light. With light, came the universe. And with the universe, came earth.
All life, every living creature I designed from nothing, is unimportant in the face of my greatest creation, humanity. Two humans were all I needed to make me happy; a man and a woman, Adam and Eve.
My creations were precious; my love for them was so great that I gave them a lush slice of Paradise I had reserved for myself. I allowed them to inhabit it, but only under one condition: they were forbidden from pursuing knowledge, for knowledge was ordained only for me. I understand that to hold knowledge means to suffer; I promised them they would remain free from the world’s ills so long as they obeyed me.
Alas, I should have known more about the nature of my own creation. Man is flawed and woman is more so. I gave them mouths to speak and they used them to ask “why”, to question, to explore. For Eve, she used her feet to wander to my prized apple tree, used her hands to pick its fruit, and used her teeth to tear into its flesh. Endowed with forbidden knowledge, she raced off to Adam to share her bounty.
I am loving and I am most merciful, but I could not forgive her disobedience. I tried and in the end, I cast them both out of Paradise, leaving them with the promise that they may join me again after a lifetime of suffering and servitude to me.
I fell into depression. My experiment had failed and I turned away from humanity for a time, leaving them to inherit the earth and develop it according to their own devices.
The world I cast them into was a wild place, full of danger and temptation for my flawed creations. As they multiplied, they continued to pursue knowledge against my wishes. They sewed crops and mastered the earth’s waterways. They constructed villages out of straw, wood, and stone. They flourished in splendid cities, where they lived awash in gold and spices.
By the time I snapped out of my depression, I looked down on them to see that they thrived in civilizations across the globe. However, in spite of all the knowledge they developed, they still couldn’t articulate it correctly. And to explain the remaining mysteries of the world they lived in, they created gods of their own, gods that they looked to in my prolonged absence.
At first, their behavior amused me. They had constructed sprawling empires and rich cultures in the name of their gods. As I continued to examine them, I found that their behavior disgusted me. They filled me with jealously as they used their bodies for pleasure, continued to amass the knowledge I possess, and refused to worship my image.
I concluded that something had to be done. After all, what direction would the world spiral into without my guidance?
And so I arrived at a solution; I would send a series of manifestations in human form to earth. They would educate the world about my existence and explain my wishes in a way my creations could understand. From the start, my efforts resulted in legions of followers and I succumbed to greed. Surely, I could get the world to worship me. However, the bolder I got in my tactics, the more I learned that humans are reluctant to change their ways. They eventually struck back at me, where they killed my son in an ultimate act of disobedience.
My wrath is cruel, but righteous. After they killed my last manifestation, I punished my creations by plunging their world into a period of long suffering. I liked to think that I was teaching them a lesson, like a father does to his disobedient child. But once I saw how my actions willed my creations to destroy centuries of priceless knowledge in the wake of plaque, war, and famine, my rage dissolved into waves of satisfaction.
Humans are a fearful bunch; they dread their own annihilation above all. Aware of my ire, they changed their ways in a bid to earn my forgiveness at last. Their world revolved around the church and living in accordance to my word. Every aspect of my creations’ lives was devoted to glorifying me. Even through their suffering, it greatest time in my life. And for the first time, I considered forgiving them for the knowledge they possessed.
I considered it until I took a step back and realized how unhappy I remained. I thought about all the cities and celebrations my creations built in the name of their heathen gods. Although full of devotion, the Middle Ages had none of the splendor I wanted for myself. And if I wanted them to thrive like in Antiquity, it meant I had to end humanities’ suffering and allow them to pursue knowledge once more.
Perhaps I overlooked something in my anger. The lifespan of a human is nothing but a blink in my eyes. And because their lives are so short, they believe in making the most out of what little time they have. It was too late by the time I considered this and it was too late to consider giving them the forgiveness I promised in the past. As a result, I fear that humanity has begun removing me and my wishes from the center of their lives.
The humans have begun a remarkable shift in the way they interact with each other, as they have created something called the nation-state. It’s an ingenious little invention, built under the concept that people are led under one ruling body. These ruling bodies conduct trade, establish military alliances, and insure that their inhabitants are allowed to live in safety and security. Leaders are being elected instead anointed by my hand. And my rules no longer govern their thinking.
In the end, I understand that I could not cull humanity’s quest for knowledge. I fear it will be my undoing.
It drives them forward. It gives them the will to live. Knowledge has provided them with more meaning than I ever could. They gain it from their wars – massive globalized conflicts that have given birth to technological advancements and the realization that they can control each other with their own hands. They gain it through science – they vanquish the diseases and famine I once used to punish them. They gain it through culture – the ability to express themselves through writing, art, and music grants them more clarity and happiness than I could ever provide.
No one seems to pray to me anymore. The reverberations of my many names grow fainter with every passing century. I fear that knowledge has replaced me, for it provides more and more of the answers they seek. They derive meaning from them, not from me. And even as their science, technology, and culture makes their suffering more great, they no longer turn to me.
I fear I am becoming irrelevant.
Sometimes I wonder if the problem was me all along.
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Alicia Hooper is a freelance writer and indie author. With a Master’s degree in Political Science, she enjoys weaving contemporary narratives into shocking fictional tales. When not writing, she can be found drawing, hiking, and playing piano. She currently resides in Virginia.