Divine Enjoyment

“And you are?”  The old man in an elegant white and gold gown blocked Nina from entering the room.

“She’s with me,” a smooth, gentleman’s voice spoke from behind the man blocking the door.

“Of course, My God,” the old man bowed his head and stepped out of Nina’s way without hesitation. Nina walked in and found a medium-sized boardroom with a long table. Old men in white gowns sat at every seat and they all focused their attention on a younger man. He looked in his mid30s, with a smooth, clean-shaven face and a chestnut crewcut. He wore a navy blue business suit, and he was God.

“Nina had some questions about the universe and I thought it’d be helpful to bring her along for this meeting.” Nina felt slightly embarrassed at the special treatment. She was just a barista that happened to find God in an alley.

“So…,” God smiled at the room. Nina found it slightly amusing that other than her, he was the youngest-looking person in the room. “Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first. Who’s right?” he asked. Nina looked closer at the gowns. Though all the men appeared to be dressed in the same uniform, each also had a small golden logo on the collar representing their individual faith.

“None of you,” he said. He waited a moment while the men all looked at each other and him in confusion. Then, he continued, “And, all of you,” God chuckled. “It matters more to you than it does to me; I do my thing regardless of what you believe.”

“We can enter the kingdom of Heaven without belief?” An old man with a cross on his collar asked.

“Ah,” God nodded. “I knew there was a reason I brought Nina,” he said, and looked at her. “You were curious about Heaven too. The truth is, Heaven, as any of your religions imagine it, doesn’t exist.” He shook his head for effect. “Eternal paradise? That gets old mighty quick. There’s no, ‘end state’, “God used air-quotes. “There’s no permanent happiness. It’s unsustainable once boredom sets in.”

“If there’s no Heaven… then there’s no Hell,” one of the men said from the table. “Then, what happens after we die?”

“Oh, there’s a Hell,” God nodded, then, he shrugged. “But, again, it’s not what your religions have come up with. At this point, it’s little more than a name with a lot of bad stigma attached. As for what happens… there are options,” God said. “Most of the time you’ll get another life on another Earth. Do it all again with no memories except for the lessons you learned deep in your soul.”

“There are other Earths??” one of them asked. God nodded. Nina wanted to point out that God brought her to this meeting from a different universe, but she did not want to step on his toes. If he wanted to mention it to them, he would have.

“Why?” one of the men asked. “Why not have one perfect Earth? Did you make a mistake?”

“God doesn’t make mistakes!” one of the men berated the other one from across the table.

“That’s not true,” God said. “I have, in the past. But, having multiple Earths is intentional on my part. You’re asking why I didn’t make one perfect Earth, my question to you is, perfect for what? If my goal only required one Earth, I would have stopped at one.” Nina tilted her head at him. She knew she was the only one in the room brave, or at least, familiar enough with him to ask the question they all had.

“So.. then what’s your goal?” she asked. God smiled and every white gown in the room stiffened as the men all sat up straight and perked their ears up.

“I’m having fun,” he said.

Divine Entertainment

“Would I do it all again?” Pierce wondered. The translucent, holographic man sat on a holographic chair; they were the only light left. The chair floated in the center of an endless, inky abyss. He traveled the stars with the human race. Humanity explored countless new worlds and never found any trace of alien life. Pierce knew when the last of his power ran out, he’d be the last human, the last being in the universe to die. “We’re alone. What was it all for?”

Pierce floated in dark silence for several more minutes until something changed. Brilliant white light consumed the darkness around Pierce in an instant; at the same time he heard the *THUNK* of a heavy switch. Instead of the vast, dark cosmos, Pierce was suddenly in the center of glowing white room: 12′ x 12′. Another noise caught his attention and he turned in time to watch a door opening.

A rectangular section of the white wall opened inward and revealed a man. He walked in wearing a black suit with a bright yellow tie; then, stopped in his tracks when he noticed pierce.

“Awwww Hell,” the stranger mumbled to himself, then he turned around and walked out without another word. He closed the door behind himself. Pierce was puzzled, but more than that he felt excited. He had a million questions collecting in his data banks and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. He stood and paced around his holographic chair while he waited. Scanning the room didn’t show him a way out and waiting was the only thing he could do.

After fifteen minutes the door opened again. An older man in a navy blue suit with a chestnut crew cut walked in.  He walked straight to Pierce and offered a handshake.

“Pierce Henderson,” he shook Pierce’s hand with a firm grip and a broad smile. “I’m glad we get a chance to meet. What you’ve done here is amazing.”

“Thank you,” Pierce said sincerely.But, he didn’t waste any time. “Who are you? Where am I?”

“I’m someone that likes to make my own fun, Mr. Henderson,” the stranger said. “How about a little game? I can answer all your questions, but you’ll forget the answers in your next life. Or, I let the process continue as normal and let you keep what you know. See if you can guess how things work.” Pierce did not need to spend time debating; he knew his answer.

“Yes! I want to solve it myself,” he said.

“I thought so, good man,” the stranger said “Wait here.” He patted Pierce on his translucent back, waved, then walked away. He stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him. The moment the door closed the room disappeared into darkness again.  Then, several things happened at once.

Pierce felt an intense rumbling beneath his feet. By the time he looked down, he found a pair of tan legs. He was standing on rocky ground with an orange glow in the darkening purple sky. He checked his hands and found flesh instead of light. In the distance, a giant volcano erupted.

“Alright humanity,” Pierce grinned to himself. “Let’s do it again.”