God and the Sparrows

William Loader

Long ago before there was anything at all, God existed alone with two angels. One day the three of them were sitting together in contemplative mood.

The first angel spoke: ‘Why don’t you make something, God? Why don’t you create, set up some new reality beside yourself? Let there be a universe of expanding stars and galaxies, planets and an earth, where life’s energy can evolve miracles of shape and size and colour: plants and trees, birds and reptiles, beings of all sorts, beings who might one day look to you as their companion, who might enjoy all you are and all you have done.’

God sat back and contemplated.

Then the other angel spoke: ‘No,’ it said, ‘don’t embark on such a plan. You have no idea what could come of it. Just imagine such things moving about, crashing into one another, combining to all kinds of evil: disease, tiny organisms to destroy, landscapes to buckle and crack, weather patterns to play havoc, beings to fight each other, and who knows there may evolve out of all this mess your own worst enemies who will despise you and all you have done!’

God sat back and contemplated, weighing the dangers and the opportunities.

Love welled up in God’s being and suddenly it happened. There was an enormous explosion. Out of nothing in a split second had come a scattering newness, fragments of beginning racing into the unknown, creating their own space, burning with possibility. Galaxies evolved, stars, solar systems and there among the planets began the miracles of life. Slimy primordial life made its upward way. From chaos emerged the shapes and forms that struggled for survival, the grasses, the plants, the trees, the reptiles, the birds, the kangaroos and all living mammals; and evolving over hundreds of millions of years the upright figure of humankind, people who dreamed dreams and thought thoughts and imagined God.

So it began and so it continued for many, many years.

Then one day outside a bustling city just before dusk on a deserted skull shaped hill there was a return to primordial silence. The crowds who had thronged that place had gone. On the hill was a cross and there were two sparrows. One was busy with the pickings of the day, flies drawn to spilt blood and to torn shreds of clothing. Soon it was off with the beginnings of a new nest. The other remained motionless for a long time. Then finally it flew up and perched on the cross bar. Turning to heaven it said: ‘I told you. I told you.’

From heaven came a deeply sad and yet determined reply: ‘I know. I know.’

I published this story originally in Dear Kim, This is what I believe ... , published in 1993 by Uniting Ed., Melbourne, now out of print and appearing in revised form on-line on this website.