[Somewhere in a diner on the other side of the universe]…
Interviewer: Thank you so much for agreeing to this, God. I mean, this is huge. This is going to answer so many questions for so many people.
God: [holding a cloud in front of his face] Don’t mention it.
Interviewer: Why the cloud?
God: My face is so holy it would melt your face.
Interviewer: Oh, I see. Right. Well, let’s just get right down to business. [fumbles through a small stack of index cards] Here is a question sent to us from Susan, a teenager from Sector 5X. “Dear God, why is there so much suffering in the cosmos?”
God: Ah, yes. I’ve been meaning to answer this one for a while. Suffering is a result of sin. I can’t force someone to do what is right, therefore all sorts of sins must be permitted to exist. If I somehow intervened, I would not be a loving God at all.
Interviewer: Interesting. Indeed. But, doesn’t that mean Heaven would be impossible then?
God: [there is a slight pause] I would ask you what you mean, but I’m God so I already know what you mean. [clears throat] You mean to imply that I would be forced to allow sin in Heaven as well. But this would not be the case, because only the Holy shall enter into Heaven.
Interviewer: I see. So the ones who get in will be perfect? Sinless?
God: Of course not. Only Jesus and myself are perfect and sinless. They are Holy because we proclaim them to be Holy.
Interviewer: You mean to say, you “make” them Holy?
God: We transform their nature to be one with our divine will. So they have no choice but to…
Interviewer: No choice? Isn’t choice a necessity for you to be a loving God?
God: Well, yes. But only while people are alive, on their home planets.
Interviewer: Right. Okay. So, people who are not holy of their own merit must endure a world of suffering to finally reap the riches of Heaven?
God: Yes, they must prove they are worthy through suffering.
Interviewer: Prove? So they do have to earn something after all?
God: No, grace is not earned. It is a free gift of grace. It cannot be attained by good works.
Interviewer: Then who gets the grace? Why is anyone chosen?
God: Whosoever believes in me shall not perish, but have everlasting life!
Interviewer: Ah! I think we are getting somewhere. So believing is the key. If someone believes, they become saved. Am I understanding you correctly?
God: You’ve got it!
Interviewer: So the only “work” you have to do is believe.
God: [there is another pause, this time for a good twenty seconds] Well, I wouldn’t call believing in me a “work”.
Interviewer: I would.
God: I wouldn’t.
Interviewer: Do you love everyone unconditionally?
God: Of course!
Interviewer: So no conditions? You love them no matter what?
God: Yes, but unfortunately I can only save the ones who ask for my grace and believe in their heart that I am real.
Interviewer: Is that belief a “condition” for salvation?
Interviewer: [face-palm] So salvation is contingent upon their choice? Their action. A work of faith. What if all beings choose not to believe? Are you powerless? Do you lose? Did Jesus die for nothing if the Disciples simply looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and said “I don’t feel like it”?
God: Oh, that would’ve never happened.
Interviewer: But what if it did?
God: I was feeling lucky.
Interviewer: Okay, so to recap… Suffering is caused as a direct result of the free will of people to choose. Suffering remains because for you to intervene you would be taking away that same free will. But those who choose good are no more deserving of Heaven since no one is holy until they are “made to be holy” by you. And you choose which ones to make holy, not because they are good people, but because they believe in you. And in Heaven everything will be perfect because the people will be holy, but they’re only holy because you basically turn them into demigods, more or less, who no longer have free will?
God: What? Does that not make sense?
Interviewer: No. I’m afraid it doesn’t.
God: Well, my ways are higher than your ways. So, Checkmate.
Interviewer: Checkmate? You can’t just say that when things don’t add up.
God: Okay, okay. You’re right. It makes no sense.
Interviewer: Let’s try another question. Josh from Battlestar Galactica asks “Can you really do anything?”
God: Yes. Anything. It comes with the whole “God” package.
Interviewer: Not a surprising answer. But does that mean you could save everyone?
God: I could.
Interviewer: Will you?
God: Of course not.
Interviewer [getting a bit flustered] Why not?! Don’t you want everyone to be saved?
God: That is my will.
Interviewer: If it is your will, and you can do all things, why won’t you do it?
God: Because not everything deserves to be saved.
Interviewer: Who does deserve to be saved?
God: Jesus. Yeah, that’s it. Just Jesus. And you may have to ask him that one. He practically does all the “saving” these days.
[Jesus enters and sits next to his Father]
Jesus: Oh hi. Sorry for the confusion. Yes, I was the only one who deserved to be saved.
God: So proud of you, Son.
Jesus: Yeah, sure.
Interviewer: Do I sense some tension between the two of you?
Jesus: Tension? Nah. I mean, I’m such a good son that I got to be crucified by the Romans.
God: Son, it was the only way.
Jesus: BULLSHIT! YOU JUST TOLD THIS GUY YOU COULD DO ANYTHING YOU WANTED!
Interviewer: I can leave you two alone if this is a bad time.
Jesus: No. It’s okay. I think it’s about time we got all this out in the open. Dad, I specifically called and asked you that night in the garden if there was another way that whole thing could have went down without me getting my skin ripped off and me getting nailed to a block of wood. Then you tell me you’re driving through a tunnel and there was a bad connection?
God: You know we have Sprint! It’s not my fault!
Jesus: You know, Mom was right. She knew better than to get involved with you. I can’t believe she left Joseph, for… for all this!
Interviewer: You know, I think I’ve got everything I need! [signals for his check]