January 29th, 2009


A Bit of Divine Intervention

While going through old papers today – the penultimate day at my old job – I came across an article I’ve hung onto since I first saw it in a 1995 issue of The Journal of Irreproducible Results. It was originally published as a letter to the editor of Nature in 1986. It is credited to the pen of the late British wit Ralph Estling, a very clever man who passed away about a year ago. I say that it is “credited to” Mr. Estling, but it is quite apparently a letter from God to the editor of Nature:

“Sir—On the subject of My Divine Essence, Character, Attributes, Inclinations, Motives, Philosophy, Politics, and modus operandi, especially as regards what is vulgarly referred to as miracles, speculations about which have recently been appearing in this magazine, and even more especially as regards My hypothesized role in Universe construction where, so it has been alleged, I, in the form of a bipedal primate outwardly resembling an elderly and bearded male Home sapiens sapiens, created the Universe for the amusement and edification of men, I should like to state: (1) I am not a very good Member of the Church of England. (2) When I come to think of it, I am not even a bad Member of the Church of England. (3) When I really pause to consider the matter, I fear (if that is the word) I am not even a Christian, having been around an eternity before that particular creed was organized, and consequently, am Supremely indifferent to its beliefs, dogmas, and convictions.

I am, therefore, rather inclined to take a dim view of all people of whatever persuasion voicing opinions on Me, this for the simple reason that, as I am Ineffable and exist beyond all human comprehension in no particular spatio-temporal relation to the physical cosmos, all opinions about Me are meaningless, when not actually insulting and, what is worse, tiresomely predictable, especially to one Who knows all things, reflecting as they do only the outlooks and attitudes of these, My unsolicited and intellectually and imaginatively limited interpreters who, if ever they really thought about Me, would be more inclined to keep silent.

You will understand that, while I am not in the habit of presenting My views on theology in the correspondence columns of periodicals (except as occasionally in the past to The Times), I am taking this opportunity to do so because, though as is well attested, My Patience is infinite, it is not that infinite. Nor, may I remind your contributors, does being omniscient and omnipotent of necessity compel One to be All-benevolent.

I, in parting, hope that this correspondence can now be closed.

(As revealed to Ralph Estling)”
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