We are told that God had a plan for the earth and humanity right from the start.
So he made Adam, and then looked for a companion for him among the animals. When he couldn’t find one, he decided to make a woman. So the plan changed a bit, and Adam’s rib was yanked out and incorporated into the new plan but somehow men don’t have one rib less than women these days. It must be evolution that grew back his lost rib, to prevent him from walking and sitting funny. We know what happened then. The brand new woman threw another spanner in the works of the universe and changed God’s plan again by eating a fruit, something he never expected, even in his omnipotent wisdom.
So, where Eve was just going to pop babies out without as much as a groan and a grunt and a stitch of pain, she was now punished with period pains and excruciating labor. . Then there is also the part the Bible must have forgotten to tell, which is that some defiant cow or ewe must have eaten a fruit from the same tree, because the painful labor practice befell all mammals after that too. I am very curious about the original, painless plan though! How would she have known she was in labor? Would she still be climbing a tree one day to get more fruit, and POP, suddenly there is this whole new little person with very strange DNA. I mean, Adam and Eve must have had the same DNA, with Eve being fabricated from the rib and all, and yet, right according to the plan, they still managed to be a man and a woman. I am no expert on genetics but it just seems as if a man and woman with the same DNA would give birth to children of the same DNA and an indistinguishable gender. We don’t yet know exactly where it all changed, because it could not have been from the myth of evolution, so the only logical explanation is that goddidit, because these days even Christian scientists agree that all humans no longer carry the same DNA, and that there are at least two distinguishable sexes among people on earth.
Fortunately for God, this incident with the fruit is the last of the variations to the flow chart. After this, everything goes pretty much according to plan. Man has been declared sinful and would be punished for eternity; as determined by the new plan. So they sinned, as pre-determined, and God sent a carefully calculated flood as punishment. He also plans a whole lot of other things that tickle the fancy of an almighty Creator. He plans for his chosen people to be slaves in Egypt until the scheduled day of their rescue. Then he hardens the Pharaoh’s heart to refuse to let them go, to make sure he gets the opportunity to unleash a series of well-rehearsed plagues upon Egypt. Eventually God lets Pharaoh let them go and they embark on a journey to Canaan via the scenic route that would take 40 years to travel, with an itinerary that even plans their meals falling from the sky in the finest of details.
The next installment for God’s chosen people include a few wars of which he already knew the outcome and the casualties. In fact, many of the people who died in these wars were probably created and kept alive up to this point especially for that enviable role in the script, which was of course a result of another of God’s creations – free will.
For the rest of the Divine Plan of these ancient times, the avid reader can consult the infallible word of God, for I want to jump to more modern times now. And haven’t times changed! These days God no longer reveals his plan to writers that pen down the word of God. It is now mostly revealed to certain chosen individuals who God decided were righteous enough to deserve to earn millions for spreading his word and ensuring that people follow it blindly. One thing that hasn’t changed though is God’s perception of righteous – he still chooses greedy people, people who drink too much alcohol, liars and those with questionable sexual and financial morals as his “righteous” men and woman. Well, not women so much, but who, besides God and a few televangelist prophets know what the future holds?
God’s plan for his chosen people has been really interesting. It includes persecution, wars, pogroms, discrimination and a new nemesis called Adolf Hitler. For the rest of the world it also includes wars and persecution and discrimination on the grounds of various things. He throws in other things that affect the whole world negatively, such as child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, heartbreak, politics, hunger, illness, rape, droughts, economic depressions, psychiatric disorders, terrorism, gospel music, drugs, human trafficking, films starring Will Ferrell, obesity, poverty, crime, bigotry, religious intolerance, bad education, either very expensive or very poor healthcare, hell, senseless violence, the ANC, and a general lack of, or disregard for many human rights. On the positive side we pretty much have to make do with amazing technology and science, fifteen holidays a year, beautiful sunsets and waterfalls, good food, a few good restaurants and entertainment opportunities, alcohol, anti-depressants, and the odd good rock album – and these positive things are not universally accessible to all.
Now, when I think of plans, any plans, they exist to bring us to a certain outcome. The reason why we plan to get to this preferred outcome is to make things run smooth along the way. Plans have a logical order; the conclusion of one part of the plan leads to another part of the plan, which ultimately brings you closer to the outcome. In everyday terms, if the plan is to drive from Jo’burg to Cape Town, there is a logical order in the plan – first you need a vehicle; then you need a driver, then you need fuel and oil. You also need to know where you are going; a map or a gps. Then you have to stick to another logical order as the road goes. You simply can’t drive to Bloemfontein or Kimberley and skip the entire Free State portion; you can’t change the succession of towns you have to go through, you can’t avoid stopping for fuel, maybe something to eat and drink, etc, or you will simply never get to your destination. Each of these portions of your plan brings you closer to the end plan though.
So this brings me to extensive pondering about God’s plan. What is his plan? What has it always been? Did he create Adam and Eve simply to live in paradise, make little weird-DNA babies and then one day take all of them up to heaven to praise him for being so wonderful? And if this was so important to him, why did he allow a mere man, woman, and a talking snake to change it all? He is God, for God’s sake. Although, the thought alone that he needs humans to tell him incessantly how wonderful he is, doesn’t sound very godly.
If it wasn’t that important to him, well, then why did he bother at all, especially since he already knew how it would turn out? Why follow such long and intricate steps to reach the end plan? Why did he not just make a bunch of Christians, took them to heaven and had them sing gospel songs to praise his name all day long? Why the whole sin thing, the killings, the suffering?
Why all these strange, random events that does absolutely nothing to take the plan forward, to lead to an outcome closer to where he finally wants to get to? How did the enslaving Pharaoh, and thousands of years later, Hitler, contribute to getting his chosen people to heaven to praise him? What hope is there for the rest of the world? Apparently, according to Christianity, the Jews are the chosen people, but they have suffered just like any other nation, and more than some, and still the same two ultimate fates – heaven or hell - already await everyone, Jewish or not, and to top it off, God has always known who will end up in heaven in who will go to hell.
The plan just seems incredibly pointless and futile! Not to mention the little sub-plans to get to the ultimate outcome… With an omniscient, omnipotent God, I would imagine that each part of the plan could at least lead to something better than before, something that would not make it all look so futile. I mean, if we had to go through a global economic crisis so that people could learn from their mistakes and change the entire economic system so that none of that ever happens again, and that poverty simply stops existing, then maybe I could see something divine in that sequence of events. Then I could see progress – then I could see evidence of a plan. But it doesn’t happen. The plans simply don’t take us anywhere. Has any religious war ever solved anything in the bigger scheme of things? Has the fact that millions of children die of hunger in Africa lead Africa or the world to find a way to stop it from happening? Six million chosen Jews die under Hitler, and where does it leave humanity? Does it lead to something better? No, all that these random events ever do is to leave millions suffering, millions dead and millions more to handle their own pain and their grief.
Maybe it is just my Western upbringing that has made me too results orientated, but if I were God, I would be very frustrated by now. I mean really, after say, 4 billion years – or even six thousand years - of planning and micro-managing a universe to the extent that I even knew everything about everybody’s sex life, I would want to see RESULTS!
It would also be the time to change the strategy if you don’t see results!!! I would want to see my plan working and changing the world for the better so that I at least deserved all the praise and worship that is the ultimate outcome of my plan!
It is here where Christians will jump in and explain that God works in mysterious ways. Yes, I can see that you would have to say this if you believe in him. To me it is not the mysterious ways of any God; it is simply the random events that happen to a species that are still infants in their emotional evolution. Some of these things we create, some we don’t. Some things just happen because there is a natural cause and effect, and others happen because we can’t always foresee the outcome of our own plans, and we also can’t necessarily control it. A lot of these things happen because of religion, but not a single one happens because of God. If humans as a species keep thinking this life is part of a divine plan, and you are happy with that plan, there is no hope for the species!