Monday, September 1, 2008

Who is this God Character Anyway?

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 16:25)

The late Douglas Adams is probably best remembered for “The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy”; the book in which the Babel Fish appeared. The name is a reference to the story recounted in Chapter 11 of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, in which God is said to have confounded mankind's rebellious nature by introducing lots of languages, so as to make communication between tribes and nations much harder.

However, in Adams' comic masterpiece, if you stuck a Babel Fish in your ear, you were instantly enabled to understand anything said to you, in any language, anywhere in the Universe (hence Here's what the "Hitch-Hikers Guide" has to say about the Babel Fish...

'Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

'The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

'But”, says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by you own arguments, you don’t.”

'Oh dear”, says God, “I hadn’t thought of that”, and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

'Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

It seems likely that Adams was not seeking to do God any favours here, but the fact remains that there is some truth in what he says (which is partly what makes it funny). After all, the Bible does say “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists…” (Hebrews 11:6).

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