Thursday 13 May 1999


Pic of the day: Ascendancy.

Where is Heaven? I think that's a rather appropriate question. Today I (like most Norwegians) was having a day off from work to celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven. Me, I properly celebrated by playing Ascendancy, a space exploration game. But did Jesus ascend to interstellar space, or what happened?

Yes, yes. I know that practically all of you are godless heathen^W^W atheists, so presumably you couldn't care less where the Christ is, as long as he stays there and doesn't mess with our planet any more than he's already done. But for us Jesus fans, it would have been sort of interesting to know what happened.

I'm a long-time Jesus fan. With all due respect for Superman, the Green Lantern and the rest of the gang: Jesus was my favorite superhero. In particular the extra-dimensional powers he displayed after the resurrection: Tunnelling through space to pop up in closed rooms or disappear in front of people, changing his physical appearance so his friends couldn't recognize him unless he wanted them to. Stuff like that. I certainly wish I could do that, too.

"I've got other sheep too" said Jesus to his young followers, "who don't belong to this flock. Gotta lead them too." I wonder if He is somewhere out there now, preaching to some methane-breathing tentacled centipedes? If so, they probably see him in their own image, just like we do. On paintings in nordic churches, Jesus is blond and very European. In Africa, he's often black. I wouldn't mind if Jesus was a centipede this year.

When God created humans in his image, he created them to man and woman. How could both of them be God's image? Well, God could be plural, of course. That's the grammatical form in Genesis, as most educated people already know. If we're a bit more literal than the church bibles, it says that gods created heaven and earth. But there's another explanation that leaves this irrelevant. "God is spirit" said Jesus. He told this to a woman who was also a heretic and a descendant of immigrants, and who had had five husbands and the one she now had, was not hers. If he told it to anyone else, we've not heard about it. But she supposedly got the message. It's not the body, stupid. It's the spirit.

Not that a body isn't nice to have. There's not all that much you can do without it. But whether it's male or female or something inbetween, white or black or brown or yellow or green, whether it has hands and eyes or tentacles and antennae... that's irrelevant. The image of God, the creator, is imprinted on the creative spirit. Or at least I hope so.

If you look at the precambrian fossils from Burgess Shale, it's impossible to guess from them that the dominant lifeform on this planet would once be land-living bipedal hairy warm-blooded creatures. I don't think that intelligent life on other worlds will look even vaguely similar to us - we're after all less related to them than to the acid dream creatures of Burgess Shale. But whatever their physical size and shape, they will have much the same basic needs, much the same ethical dilemmas, and they will have curiosity and creativity more or less like us. It's not the body, it's the spirit.

So, perhaps the Truth is out there?

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