In His Image

by dbdevilliers

One of my first real attempts at writing poetry took the form of a lengthy personal indictment of God called “In His Image.” I recently elected to revisit it:


Now I can’t say for certain
whether God exists or not
because I don’t know
but if the tales are true
and He’s floating around someplace
judging, flooding things
and so forth
then it sure seems like God
doesn’t like me much:
He’s gone and given me
all anyone could need
to put together a decent life
but somehow neglected
to bestow upon me
any sort of capacity
to join all of those pieces
I take issue with this
though it’s a triviality
in comparison with the
greater crimes of a
in His creation.

An Irish Catholic born—
as a child I endeavored to become a priest
in order to serve God.
Taking holy orders, I figured, would probably
reserve me parking in heaven.
But now, as a man—
if He indeed created man
in His image
and not the other way around—
then I know Him
and He is no captain
whose sinking ship
I’d ever board.

If God does exist
and His workings
are beyond the scope
of my mortal mind
and this endless void
which I perceive through the
meager faculties of a mere mortal man
is His creation
then I have no desire at all
to ever fathom
the cruel mechanics
of His labyrinth.
I hope to never understand
the depraved motivations of
the torturer.
I hope to never grow so cold
so twisted
as to recognize as valid His reasons
for the screams of infants born with
blood borne cancer
born to die in anguish
without ever even having lived.
I refuse to accept that there could be a reason—
no reason no matter its profundity
could ever justify such cruelty.
I refuse to accept
any possibility
that there could ever be a reason.
I fucking
refuse to
accept that.

It has been written
in the holiest words by the holiest men
that God hath sent
His only Son
to Earth
for mankind—
that He made right our wrongs
while we mocked Him
and beat Him
while we laughed and drove nails
through His hands and feet—
that He soon would return
to deliver us from evil
for all time
but twenty centuries have
since then.

In those two thousand years
we’ve seen rise new nations
and fall vast empires.
In two thousand years, we’ve wondered,
we’ve discovered and dissected.
We’ve experimented, we’ve calculated
we’ve found and explained.
In two thousand years
we’ve asked and we’ve answered.
In two thousand years
we’ve mounted rockets to slip the surly bonds of Earth
and found no one hiding
behind the sky.
In two thousand years
we’ve beaten the plagues of God’s creation
and today we poke at them beneath
electron microscopes.
With the sharpness of our ingenuity
by the might of our industry
in two thousand years we’ve wrought hell upon earth
where Eden once stood—
we’ve set surrogate suns
just beneath the horizon
turning everything to ashes
and we’ve done it again and again
and again.

In two thousand years
we’ve led children, smiling
five hundred at a time
into purpose-built rooms, barred the doors
and with chemical agents
murdered them all
buried their bodies by the thousands
in great pits shoveled out by their fathers and mothers.
In two thousand years we’ve learned to set fire to continents
learned to kill the whole world
in the space of an hour
but in two thousand years,
it seems like the only thing we haven’t seen
is that which was promised us twenty centuries past
by our loving and omniscient God:
the return of the Christ
to abolish all pain
and deliver us from evil

Am I to believe?
Am I to accept that our benevolent patron,
a God whose affection
for those whom He created
in His own image
is infinite and all-powerful,
could ever be
so impossibly, immeasurably cruel?

In this,
I cannot believe.

In this,
I will never believe.