God starts to design a human being

by Lorna Salzman

(with special thanks to Brian Keith Dalton, creator of Mr. Deity).

Memo to all employees: The Lord demands your presence in the auditorium at 12 noon today.

Joe: I hear that Gabe and Lucy aren’t happy campers. They’ve been kept in the dark about the meeting, as usual. Wonder what’s up…

Maria: L. always plays it close to the vest…he’s a real control freak and wants to take credit for everything….but when the shit hits the fan he just shrugs his shoulders and says: shit happens, Not My Fault. And no one blames him!

Bud: I’ve heard that L. is planning a one-deity show, something like a stand-up comedian routine, but more complicated. Anyway, let’s get going.

L: As your Intelligent Designer, I’d like to welcome you all to the announcement of an important new project. You’ll find a printed form in front of you to be signed; it mandates complete secrecy and silence about the plan. OK, let’s start.

I’ll give it to you straight so you can grasp the cosmological significance: I am planning to create a complete living human being, which will take precedence over the rest of my creations. However, it is far more complex in its physical make=up and I will need the expertise of many disciplines to make it function. Most important of all is the requirement that the finished product manifest the all-powerful character of my design genius. I do not want anyone else taking the credit.

The first decision I need to make is this: where do I start? Which organs or systems should come first? Don’t forget that there are basic functions that define a living human being: ingestion, metabolism, self-regulating systems and replication. In keeping with these fundamental principles, I think that creating self-regulating systems should come first to provide stability and predictability. After that we can fiddle around with the other things like sensory apparatus, excretion, detoxification and good fashion sense.Can I have some suggestions about what kinds of self-regulating organs we will need?

Joe: Well, you’ve got to find a way to nourish all the organs and limbs of the body, so I think a heart that can pump the nourishment to the rest of the body should come first.It needs to be tough and long-lasting but aside from that it shouldn’t be very difficult to construct.

Dr. Atomic: Hey, slow down. You guys are jumping the gun. What are all these things made of and where do you get the stuff? And how do you know that they will actually function?

L: I see your point. So maybe we need a chemist and an astrophysicist to explore all that stuff out in space that we know is there but can’t see, and see if can be used for building materials.

Max: But if it is out there floating around in tiny fragments that are really far apart, how can we gather them together in sufficient quantities and then what do we do when we have them here?

L: You guys are just deity deniers. Just take my word for it…I can deal with it all. I’ll have the stuff here whenever we want to start.

Becky: It’s always the guys who don’t get it. We girls are all on board. We know where our bread is buttered or whatever.

Joe: I’ve got a heart specialist I can call. The Greeks call him a cardiologist. I’ll bet he can design something.

L: Hey, I am the designer, not him. He can proofread later.

Joe: Well, I actually brought him to the meeting. Dr. Mensch, won’t you say a few words?

Dr. Mensch: Thanks, Joe. I am honored to be here today and appreciate the opportunity to assist in this cosmically great effort. The most important thing of all is to understand the incredible complexity that will be the result of this design effort. It will require a complete accurate understanding of one basic fact: all of the organs and systems of this body will function as a unit and the integrity of each one is dependent on the integrity of all the others. It’s a kind of biological intersectionality.

There is one other concern, however, and that is the fact that the human body must start out small and then grow into maturity.

For L. to continually, 24/7, forever into the infinite future, oversee and regulate the proper functioning of each individual human being would be prohibitively expensive and time -consuming, and would leave little or no time for L. to perform his other duties or have any kind of recreation or entertainment. However, I do have a possible solution: create some kind of self-regulating program for the necessary bodily functions that can be inserted early on into each body, after which L. can retire from the scene and play golf or launch lightning strikes or whatever.

L: With all due respect for your learning, Dr. Mensch, what you propose is heresy of the first order! There is no god but I. There is no possibility of any kind of life aside from what I design and create. This creed is in fact what underlies this whole effort. I will not permit any kind of diversion or doubt about my existence and my powers. To relegate such an operation to an independent autonomous plan is not only risky but maliciously dares to suggest that my existence is not needed. Your proposal is therefore rejected.

Dr. Mensch: My apologies for any offense. However, I must warn you that there is no guarantee that in the future your involvement will not be challenged by others. To deal with this situation I counsel you to prepare for such a challenge by building up your argument and forces in an Office of Faith and Propaganda empowered to defend your position to the death. If this office can demonstrate that it was personally legitimized by you to enforce your will and punish the doubters, you will prevail indefinitely though not necessarily without some resistance.

L: I appreciate your foresight. What it seems to suggest is the creation of some authoritative body that other human beings will readily believe and support, even when it works against their personal interests. Furthermore, this office must be structured so that it continues to be credible and even feared throughout the eons indefinitely, with a built-in resilience that can withstand and dismiss dissent and all possible rational arguments. I say this because the complex human brain I plan to invent may be capable of raising serious doubts about my existence and powers. So I will create a committee to develop such an Office and insure its indefinite power and resistance to heresy. May I modestly suggest that the concept of blasphemy be addressed and characterized quickly before mischief makers can make their move?

That is all for today. Thank you for your confidence and blind faith. I will need these badly to deal with the potential conflicts that will inevitably arise from the complexity of the human brain. Actually I had given serious consideration to designing a mechanism that would limit the attributes and abilities of the brain but in the end I decided that allowing it to develop its full potential might lead to serious social conflicts in the future, which in turn would lead to prayer and greater dependence on my intervention, and thus enhance my own powers.

© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.