Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Beckett. Better at chess than Toad. Not hard, though.

Took the Gods for their morning walk and pondered the subject of Divine Intervention. Well, why not?
It seems eight Jesuits survived the Hiroshima bomb in 1945 by what can only be described as a miracle.
Apparently, they were the only survivors in the immediate blast area. God stepped in and suspended the law of physics relating to atomic blasts in their case alone. This being so, what can His reasons have been?
Were they the only Catholics in the area? Were they the only good people in the area? Were they the only deserving people in the area? We will never know for sure. But saved they were.

This seems to me rather quirky behaviour on God's part. It's as if He is playing a game of chess with Himself (well, who else could He play with?) and, finding Himself in a tricky situation, moves the Rook diagonally and checkmates.

Let's suppose an onlooker, Toad, and a dialogue.

TOAD: "You can't make that move, it's against the rules."

GOD: "No it's not. I decide the rules and in this case, moving the Rook diagonally is within the rules.

TOAD: " So I can do that from now on?"

GOD: "No, because if you do, it will be against the rules. I make the rules. They are my rules. I can break them. You can't."

TOAD: But then the game is meaningless."

GOD: "What do you care, Toad? You're an Existentialist. You think everything's meaningless anyway. What difference is there, for you, between everyday meaningless meaninglessness and Divine Intervention meaninglessness?
Anyway, nothing is 'meaningless.' If I say it's meaningful then it's meaningful. No matter how meaningless it seems to other people. Like these floods in Pakistan right now. Worst in history. Full of meaning if you know where to look."

TOAD: "How will I know where to look?"

GOD: "Sorry, can't tell you that. It's against the rules. Catholics only, Jesuits preferably. They know what it all means."

(The above foolishness reminds me that Beckett wrote a play called Endgame. More meaningful than this, no doubt.)


Buzz said...

Every blooming thing is a miracle, (as are all the non-blooming things). It's so easy to forget this, or even not see it to start with.

You seem to think a miracle is when God does the will of man...

The real miracles occur when man, generously, does the will of God.

It's all to do with the Greater Glory of God, onwards and upwards, you see.

I must buzz off now, in B♭.

JoyfulPapist said...

I imagine a different conversation.

Jesuit: "Can I come home yet?"

God: "Not yet."

Jesuit: "Not to complain, but I see you've taken lots of other people home - all those women and children."

God: "I'm glad you are not complaining. I'll be sure to let you know when it is time for you to come home. Now get back to the work I've set for you to do."

JoyfulPapist said...

And this quote for Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett seems apt:

“God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of the players, (ie everybody), to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.”

Patrick O'Gara said...

As a one-time poker player, love the quote, Joyful.Do you know who said it? It is not clear to me.

JoyfulPapist said...

It is from the book 'Good Omens' by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. If you're not familiar with the book, do try to find a copy. It is an irreverent and very funny account of the coming of the AntiChrist - who is 11 and would rather play with his dog.

Tracy Saunders. said...

You see, this is why the Gnostic cosmogony makes so much sense to me. One God who is perfect, all knowing, all seeing creates a perfect being but then endows it with the capacity to do evil? Not very nice. Much more sensible Samael the Blind One - our creator god - who believes himself to be all perfect, but isn´t. Meantime "he" expects us to accept the absurd on sheer faith alone.