ReligionWeek: How an atheist imagines heaven

God stands in the black complete cold of the lab watching ten thousand angels scurry about.

Behind him Angel 104 shimmers past carrying a tray of energy tubes, in each tube a galaxy of a few hundred billion stars or so. 104 will place them in the universe tray. There are already 300 quadrillion galaxy tubes in that universe tray, and there a billion trays arrayed in time racks around the lab.

Angel 906 asked him an eon or two ago when he planned to stop making these darn things. He shrugged. He knows of course because he knows everything. But he does not answer to angels. “When I stop” is the answer he gave her. She nodded and backed away, anxious not to piss him off, end up recycled into the energy matrix for a blue dwarf and stuck in a tray—what the angels call being put on the head of a pin. He believes if he let them, angels would pester him to death with questions and thoughts. Recycling a few every time-end or so keeps the interruptions to a minimum.

He knows because he knows everything. Correct that. He could know everything. It is simply a matter of folding time and space back upon itself. Well, it’s not simple. It is four dimensional. Folding four dimensions takes some considerable heavenly origami. But he chooses not to know everything. That is the reason for the experiments.

The experiments are all about free will. There is no point experimenting about anything else. Put a planet in motion around a star and watch that to see what happens? B-o-r-i-n-g. It will eventually slow down and fall in, if it doesn’t get hit by some piece of space junk and explode before that. But anyway, all of that is just physics with a little statistics thrown in. Suns and planets and space debris follow rules. He knows what they will do and when they will do it because they are his rules.

But free will? Now that is something else. He finds free will fascinating.

Now, some organism-types never achieve free will, no matter how much intelligence you give them. Stimuli-response, stimuli-response. They end up able to calculate the curve of space but with as much personality as a hydrogen atom. Complete waste of his time.

Others go crazy with free will.

The experiments go like this: Take a test tube and put a planet or two or three around each of those stars. Give that planet a life system of some sort. Carbon tends to work well, although silicon is almost as handy. And on that planet put a few billion organisms. What kind doesn’t much matter as long as they have enough critical mass of cognition to achieve consciousness. Then non-randomize events, presenting them with different problems to see what they do. He finds it a hoot.

In one of those test tubes up near the front is a little speck called Earth. It’s nothing special, just a little experiment in a little system in a little galaxy. But do those organisms have free will! Between all six billion of them they don’t have enough cognition units to understand simple galactic arithmetic and they believe in foolish ideas like infinity, but they are crazy good at free will. If you put those organisms in an energy box with only two portals out, they would look for a third.

Or more correctly, they would drop to their knees (No, no, don’t ask what knees are. It would take too long to explain.) and beg him to give them a third. They talk to him all the time. They’re pretty much the only ones that do that. Not that it does any good. They are experiments, not pets. Not to mention that the things they ask him to do are usually pretty stupid. Anyway, if he started poking around in the experiments and changing things just for the heck of it, that would kind of ruin the whole point of the experiment, wouldn’t it?

8 replies »

  1. Only one small flaw in the hypothesis: On this particular “experiment,” I think the number of organisms on this particular “experiment” would be more in the “quintillion” (10 to the 18th power) range. Now, those organisms enjoying “free will” would be in the billions–but that’s merely a subset of the category “organisms.” (A real scientist wouldn’t be quite so shoddy in his terminology.)

    • Really? You have no comments on the idea that we are nothing but a scientist, but want to quibble with the arithmetic? OK, thanks, I guess.

    • I’m used to comments that go out of the way to miss the point, but this is one of the more pedantic that I think we’ve ever seen here. Come on, Joseph, seriously? You read this and thought hey, the math ain’t right?

  2. Reminds me of a story I read long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away where an alien crossed a body of water in the middle east on a nearly invisible levitating disk. Caused quite a stir as I recall. Don’t remember much more and I may have some of that wrong but it was 40 years ago. Same voice though; same perspective.

  3. I find this intriguing because of how it contests so many prevalent ideas about an all-mighty Creator. I think it’s especially interesting that though this God clearly has free will, curiosity, a sense of authority, and other human-like traits, He considers those that he seems to have made in His likeness–i.e. humans–to be “nothing special.” It’s refreshing, to read something that picks at the arrogance of the humanity and blatantly refuses to acknowledge us as significant. I like it a lot.

  4. I’ve always wondered why the majority seems blind to what seems an obvious truth. That we’ve created our gods in our own image and that this is heaven and hell, right here right now. As infinite an infinity as a recirculating torroidal mobius strip can be.