Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Limits of Omnipotence

“And you need my help?” I asked incredulously.  They both nodded.  “Aren’t you supposed to be omnipotent?  You know, all-powerful?”

“Well,” God blustered humbly, “I mean, sure, I’m pretty powerful, but I can’t exactly operate outside of the rules of my own universe.”

“That’s true,” Lucifer confirmed.  “I can build four-dimensional objects in theory, but if I tried it here, most of it wouldn’t exist because this universe doesn’t have a fourth dimension.  What I built would be entirely useless.”

“Thanks,” I said.  “That’s very illuminating.  It’s all so much clearer now.”  Either my fear of Lucifer was waning or I was just getting stupider.

Lucifer’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.  God grinned and shook his head.  “I guess it comes down to this:  the way this issue has been tied up, the loopholes that have been used to block off the routine entries to Heaven from Hell are such that the only way I can think of to solve the problem myself is to destroy the universe and start over.  But that just seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so I’ve opted to be patient instead.”

Very patient,” Lucifer emphasized gravely.

“Yes,” God agreed.  “We’ve waited millennia for the right opportunity and here you are!”  He gestured toward me joyfully, as though he were about to scoop me up into his arms and give me a big wet kiss on both cheeks.

I shrank from him.  “I don’t understand how this happened,” I said.  “How can a god lose control of his own universe?”

Lucifer rolled his eyes and leaned back in the booth.  With a heavy sigh, he said, “And there it is.  The most embarrassing question of all.”

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