“__________ is proof that God exists, and that He has a sense of humor.”
You’ve probably heard that before, with the blank filled in with ‘Sex’, or ‘The differences between men and women’ or ‘The duck-billed platypus’. And for my money, all these statements are true.
Or are they?
I’ve always assumed that God must have an unimaginable sense of humor. After all, He created everything – certainly everything good, anyway – and given humor’s power to bring joy and even wisdom, humor is undeniably a good thing.
Therefore, He must be the author of humor like He’s the author of music and color and art, and therefore, He must be funny.
But on the other hand, humor relies quite heavily on the element of surprise.
A joke is much less funny if you see it coming. And since God knows everything that ever has or will happen, He can’t be surprised, can He?
As I quoted in God Knows Everything a couple years ago, ‘Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?’
Assuming that God has always known everything, He knew every punch line of every joke before every joke teller was a twinkle in her daddy’s eye. If that’s the case, does that mean God is the author of humor, but He doesn’t connect with it?
If that’s the case, could it be that the linear and fleeting nature of human existence that makes humor possible, makes life a little better on this side of heaven (in this area, at least)?
“The gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment may be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” – Achilles (Brad Pitt) in the 2004 film Troy
I think not.
Aside from the fact that for heaven to be heaven, it must, ipso-facto, be unimaginably better in every conceivable (and inconceivable) way than mortal life is, I suspect that God’s timelessness and omniscience are actually a huge advantage when it comes to hilarity.
And He can presumably empathize with, or maybe even experience, the surprise and delight of everyone who has ever heard or will ever hear that joke – both consecutively AND concurrently. The fact that He already knew the punch line, therefore, is not relevant to the question of whether it’s funny or not.
‘I’ve seen The Exorcist about 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it!’ – Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) in the 1988 film Beetlejuice
A few weeks ago, we Imagined an existence in which there’s no country, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too.
Today, I want to challenge you imagine a heaven where jokes never get old.
For my money, that alone would be worth the price of admission.
I think the joy that comes to us from humor is but a snippet and a glimpse of what joy is like for God. The bliss He constantly enjoys completely encapsulates that humor-joy, and then some. And then some. And then some more!
The joy of knowing every punch line before the joke even occurs to the teller somehow makes the humor better in heaven.
Therefore, I think God is infinitely funny, in the same way He’s infinitely loving, infinitely patient, infinitely holy and infinitely righteous.
For me, the platypus, the giraffe, the Horse’s Head Nebula, the differences between men and women and the absurdity of sex are indeed all evidence of God’s sense of humor.
I suspect that as humanity continues to explore and understand the universe, we’ll come across many other astounding wisecracks, barbs and tricks that are hard-wired into the fabric of Creation – and our infinitely patient God will be only too happy to congratulate and laugh along with us, once we finally get the joke.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit walk into a bar…
… Nah, we’re probably not ready for that one yet.
Peace be with you.
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