Friday, February 16, 2007

Who is This God Person Anyway? (Fit the Third - Exodus)

Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM."

- Exodus 3:13-15

"My name is not important."

- Slatibartfast

And so we are introduced to the architects of the Earth, first in the Bible, and then in Hitch-hikers. And, apart from that, and being suitably mysterious about their names, they have one or two other things in common. Slartibartfast, in the TV series, is every child's image of God: a kindly old gent with long white hair and matching beard. And both, having created the world, then go on to save it.

But first the creation bit, and I think Slarti inadvertently solves one of modern Christianity’s ongoing debates:
“[New Earth is] only half completed I’m afraid – we haven’t even finished
burying the artificial dinosaur skeletons in the crust yet, then we have the
Tertiary and Quaternary Periods of the Cenozoic Era to lay down, and…”
I like the image of God’s creation as a vast building project (Magrathea’s factory floor was a highlight of the so-so movie version for me too) and, well, why not? It’s gotta make as much sense as the more widely accepted theories.

Millions of years later, Slartibartfast returns to Earth and, in the absence of a scarf-wearing, jelly baby-toting saviour, single-handedly (well, Trillian and Arthur help a bit) saves the Universe from the evils of cricket. Sorry, Krikkit.

So there you have it: a creator turned saviour whose name, at least in its original form, we dare not speak.

Finally, to bring us back to the ever-so-tenuous Exodus link (you think that’s tenuous, wait till next week…) here’s Bop Ad, from Life, the Universe and Everything:

[Slartibartfast] was marching out on to the pitch with a terrible purpose in his gait, his hair, beard and robes swept behind him, looking very much as Moses would have looked if Sinai had been a well-cut lawn instead of, as it is more usually represented, a fiery smoking mountain.

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