This is an excerpt from “God’s Devil” written by John Warwick Montgomery (1517 Publishing, 2020).
Scene 1: Heaven, in a magnificent courtroom, with a fine judge’s throne.
St Peter to God Almighty: Really impressive. I especially like how well it invokes a nineteenth century Gothic/Romantic feeling. It’s definitely Burne-Jones.
God: We modeled it after the Royal Courts of Justice in London. But we’ve also assembled a modern courtroom, in Scandinavian IKEA style, though the angels had a terrible time putting it together from the kit. That one’s for candidates who suffer from historical chauvinism and think that nothing is worth bothering with prior to the twentieth century. What’s on today’s agenda?
St-P:The Concorde air crash. A slew of candidates, most of them obviously well-off and well-educated, representing a variety of belief systems.
G: That crash is a real tragedy—and not the fault of the Concorde at all. Some careless mechanic at another airline left a metal part on the runway and it led to the loss of all those lives. And based on my omniscience, it will be the end of the Concorde—the most advanced aircraft humans have ever developed. Previously, the best everyday reminder of original sin seemed to be the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses wake people up early Saturday mornings, on the one day they have to sleep in; now, it may well be the Concorde disaster.
St-P: In any event, I’ll need to interview the entire passenger list.
G: But as usual, the candidates can be grouped into categories, reducing the total from the 110-passenger capacity of the plane to a workable number.
St-P: Indeed. It would appear that some twenty interviews will handle the situation.
G: Good luck—or rather, God bless. Have your report on my desk by the end of the week.
Scene 2: The Interview with the Child
St-P: You are our youngest arrival today. How old are you?
The Child: I’d be thirteen on my next birthday, but now, I guess I’ll always be twelve.
St-P: Not necessarily, but we’ll leave that one for another day. Were your parents also on the plane?
C: No. They traveled ahead by ship and were to meet me when the plane landed.
St-P: Do they go to church?
C: Christmas and Easter and once-in-a-while in between.
St-P: What do you like to do?
C: I love building model airplanes and robots. My first idea was to become an engineer.
St-P: You changed your mind?
C: I got to thinking about becoming a pastor. My grandmother got me into reading the Bible. I did a chart of those family trees in the Book of Genesis and then I began wondering where the story was going. In the New Testament, I got taken by Jesus. Don’t know quite what happened, but everything changed. The leaves on the trees became brighter and things made sense.
St-P: What was it about Jesus that grabbed you?
C: Well, some people who heard him when he was on earth said that nobody ever spoke as he did. He taught me that though I am full of myself, there’s a way out of that. He didn’t have to die for me, but he did. I’m going to miss things down below, but he taught that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to little kids like me. Can I see him now?
This is an excerpt from “God’s Devil,” written by John Warwick Montgomery (1517 Publishing, 2020), pgs 111-114. Used by Permission.