Hello. God here.
Yes, I realise that some of you chaps don’t believe that I exist. You probably weren’t expecting a visit from an Omnipotent Creator who Builds Up and Casts Down and that sort of thing, but I’m afraid you’re just going to have to get over it and succumb to some Divine Judgement. Sorry about that.
It has come to my attention, you see, that in the course of the four-and-a-half thousand or so sidereal gyrations since I spun this unit up, you’ve allowed yourselves to get a bit free and easy in your procreational activities. OK, I will concede that some of my earlier representatives got carried away with the “Go forth and multiply” thing, but come on, the same guys told you that I’d created you in my image, and you didn’t buy that for one minute, did you? You did buy it? Come on, how far would a deity get trying to create a universe with a body like yours?
Anyway, we’re going to have to depopulate the earth somewhat, and being an even-handed and forward-thinking kind of God, I’ve decided to invite humanity’s opinion on how to do it. Oh yeah, and I’m not going to listen to any crazy ideas about a world-wide flood this time. It took me six bloody days to establish biological diversity, and I am so not going through all that again.
Did I hear someone suggest war? Tried and trusted certainly, but it does have a couple of drawbacks. Right from the beginning, there was a problem with the wrong side prevailing. You see, the people who are good at war do tend to be a bit useless at establishing order afterwards. It’s not so much that they’re lazy and unimaginative and almost invariably male: the real issue is that a perpetual state of conflict actually appeals to them. They’re just not that interested in the whole peace thing. And peace, by and large, is what your God wants for us all. Let’s face it, peace is just so much less stressful all round, whether your mortal or divine.
There is a bigger problem with war as a population regulator though. It’s this brand new mess you’ve made of things, by calling into existence your Weapons of Mass Destruction, as you lot like to describe them. Such a talent for euphemism my Children have. But let’s not beat about the bush, burning or otherwise. These are Weapons of Total Annihilation. If we start a war, or at least a war big enough to make a numerical difference, we risk an outcome where the number of survivors is zero. Of human survivors at any rate. Like I said before, I am not going back to any creation-of-life rigmarole. And I am certainly not going to leave it all to evolution. What do you mean, God can’t acknowledge evolution? Don’t be bloody stupid: we all know that Darwin was right. Right but irrelevant, because his big idea was no more than the way that things would proceed without divine intervention. Like I’m going to allow that to happen. Do you have any idea how long replacing humanity that way would take?
I quite fancy disease as the solution myself. Or even better some of its self-regulating variants, mixing it up with a famine or the like. We would need to be careful not to kick off the aforementioned war scenario, but some virulent while genetically-selective plague ought to do it. Of course we’ll need to think about what genetic traits we can afford to weed out. There are quite a few superfluous ones, though, and even a few that are downright undesirable, so there’ll be no need to fret too much over that one.
Nobody seems to be volunteering suggestions here. If I were you, I’d get my ideas in first, before somebody else proposes culling you and yours. Old people, you say? A good call in some ways, that one. They aren’t very productive in the service of the race any more, are they? But then again, they’re not the ones who are perpetrating the overbreeding. And they do have useful experience and knowledge, and until they become totally decrepit they’re actually quite good at caring for other people.
But before we succumb to an outbreak of eugenics, it might be a good idea to think about why we need to regulate the population in the first place. That’s right - it’s because we’re consuming our natural resources too fast. That, plus the small matter of destabilising the climate in the process. I must admit, I didn’t see that last part coming. So in a way it’s well done humanity: we never knew you had it in you. On the other hand, it was pretty stupid behaviour that caused it all, you know what I mean? It’s not as if producing greenhouse gases actually improves the look of the old place, now does it? All that smoke and industry? And pasture instead of jungle and forest: really? All those bloody cowpats? And how many cars does your family need? Come on, get real. There’s no wonder I didn’t foresee you being quite that idiotic.
But even without climate change, the resource consumption thing was still tipping us over. It might have taken a bit longer, but humanity would just have kept getting more populous until it hit the wall. Yes, I do realise that there’d be an element of self-correction in the end, but do you actually want to be reduced to subsistence? Wouldn’t you rather enjoy life, with a bit of elbow room?
What was that? It most definitely is not my fault. I’ll have you remember that in several of my previous manifestations I’d have dismissed you with a well-aimed lightning bolt for that remark. Yes, you’d better believe I could still do it. Don’t tempt me. I’d even admit to having a bit of fun that way, back in the day.
Ah, so that’s why you’re blaming me for your woes. You’re talking about the churches’ behests to breed again. And to eschew contraception into the bargain, right. Absolutely not my doing, any of it. If you choose to venerate charlatans who pretend they’re in league with God, that’s entirely your look-out. And no, I am not prepared just to create another earth or two to compensate for the one you’ve worn out.
So what’s it to be then, humankind? Yes, you could always try to stabilise things by resorting to collective denial. Good luck with that, given the political systems you’ve created. Ah but you did create them. Who else do you imagine could have been responsible? Even if you didn’t vote for them yourself, you still tolerated them, which amounts to the same thing. And you’re quite right that I don’t seem to understand democracy. No such word has ever entered the divine vocabulary.
So now that despots are running the show, all over the world, you no longer have any chance of sorting things out by mutual sacrifice. You’ve allowed the Cult of Utter Selfishness to become established, and so you’re going to need a more radical solution. No, I am not prepared to eliminate your defective politicians. That would need a ridiculous number of thunderbolts.
How many must die, you ask? Good question. A couple of billion would give you a fighting chance of sorting all this out for good, and of establishing a sustainable civilisation. Three billion would make the place completely comfortable. I’d go for that sort of level, if I were you. Forty percent of humanity: yep, that’s pretty much what we’re talking here.
Of course it’s not going to be easy. I never said it would be. No, I’m not going to eliminate whole ethnic groups, and nor am I going to choose between faiths. You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re more faithful than anyone else. All of this earth’s creeds are roughly the same, ie mostly good, but each and every one of them has some pretty spectacular aberrations.
I don’t pick favourites. It’s down to you to sort this out. If I have to get involved, I will insist that anything I do is based on your decision and on your terms. And when I say you, I mean all of you. There is only one human race: you finally got that part right.
OK, you say that you’re going to need some time to think about this. No, you can’t have ten years. One year - that’s all I’m giving you. This time next year, to the day, I’ll be back. Then it’ll be either your common answer or my Last Judgement. Do we have a deal? Yes, of course you don't have a choice. By Godly standards, I’m being very reasonable here, but there’s still Hell to pay. No, I’m not going to tell you what that means. I’m not going to waste my time going through the niceties of Heavenly pecuniary administration with mere mortals. That would be like trying to explain all those dinosaur skeletons to you, utterly pointless.
I’ll be seeing you next year then, it would appear. Don’t even think of missing your deadline. It’s a bit of a cliché I admit, but you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
[God vanishes, albeit temporarily]
To be continued…