CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)
God can make whatever life he has a mind to
sc: Nemo came over to my house for supper the other night. I was trying a new recipe – pan-roasted sardines with fennel and onion relish. Sandi had gone to a movie with my daughter-in-law.
Gertrude Stein, the Rev. Bubba Voltaire, and Lit Turgy were also invited. (Gertrude, I might add, declined to join us in this epitome of epicurean delights. She did sit at the table, however, sipping on a Diet Coke. The rest of us ate with gluttonous gusto.)
“Absolutely delicious,” said Lit, wiping a bit of olive oil from his lower lip.
Gertrude turned up her nose and said, “I’d rather eat garbage myself. I can’t tell you how vile that stuff smells.”
“Jesus ate fish,” said Voltaire.
“Not those slimy things,” she said.
“He even had them for breakfast,” said Lit. “He grilled them on charcoal fire. John 21.”
“Is that why we always had fish to eat at school every Friday?” asked Nemo.
“That was because Friday was a fast day,” explained Lit. “On fast days you didn’t eat food. At least certain foods.”
“The fish, of course,” added Voltaire, “was an early symbol for Christ.”
“Really?” Nemo asked.
Voltaire sucked in a whole sardine, wiped his mouth with his thumb and index finger, then said, “It’s because of the Greek word for fish. It formed an acrostic with Christ’s name and titles.”
“But that’s not why people didn’t eat fish on Friday,” said Gertrude. She was holding her nose now.
“No,” said Lit. “It was because early Christians fasted on Friday in order to reflect on the death and love of Christ since he died on a Friday. Every Friday became a Good Friday.”
“Where did the fish come in?” asked Nemo.
“I think the Friday fast eventually became a time when you didn’t eat meat,” Lit said. “And so, fish was substitued.”
“It’s a good thing, really, to have reminders of Christ’s love,” said Voltaire. He scooped two more fat sardines onto his plate. “It’s easy to forget.”
“I don’t see how smelly fish could remind anyone of anything,” said Gertrude. “Yuck.”
Lit smiled. “Actually, I think this repast is quite out of this world.”
“Hey!” said Nemo. “What do y’all think about them finding life on Mars?”
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Lit.
“I hardly think you could term what they found as life,” said Voltaire.
“Exactly what does this do to your theology?” Gertrude asked Voltaire with a smirk on her face.
“What?” he asked.
“Don’t you believe all people came from Adam and Eve?”
“These were hardly people,” Voltaire said.
“Maybe God made more people than just Adam and Eve,” offered Lit. “Remember Cain’s wife?”
Gertrude rolled her eyes.
“The Bible doesn’t say where he got his wife,” continued Lit. “God made Adam and Eve and they had two little boys, Cain and Abel, and then Cain killed Abel and had to leave home, of course, and went to the land of Nod and got a wife. So, God must have made some more people beside Adam and Eve.”
Everybody stared at him for a moment or two. Then, Nemo said, “I reckon God can make as many people in as many places as he’s got a mind to.”
“Even Mars,” I said.
“Or over a long period of time,” said Gertrude.
Voltaire seemed to be thinking about this for a bit. Then, he said, “You know, in John 3:16 where it says ‘For God so loved the world …?’”
We nodded our heads.
He went on. “Well, the word translated world in the Greek New Testament is kosmos.”
“Like universe,” said Lit, grinning.
“Has everyone had enough?” I asked, “or, should I put on some more sardines in the pan?”
John Armistead is Daily Journal religion editor.