god's dissatisfaction

God breathed in deeply, looked at the mist around Him and murmured in the hushed tones of someone who has just made an unexpected and curious discovery, It would never have occurred to Me, but this is just like being in the desert. He turned his eyes towards Jesus, paused awhile and then, like someone resigning himself to the inevitable, began speaking, Dissatisfaction, My son, has been put into the heart of men by God who created them, I'm referring to Myself, of course, but this dissatisfaction which like all the other traits which I made in my image and likeness, I Myself pursued in My own heart and rather than diminish with time it has grown stronger, more pressing and insistent.

The scene is God, Jesus and the Devil in a rowboat. The book is 'The Gospel According to Jesus Christ' by the late José Saramago.

(For some reason Saramago did away with all but the most basic punctuation, which makes dialogues hard to follow at times. At the same time, though, it makes the holy capitalization of "I'm referring to Myself, of course" stand out in blasphemic irony.)

God continues:

For the last four thousand years and four years I have been the God of the Jews, a quarrelsome and difficult race by nature, but on the whole, I have got along fairly well with them because they now take Me seriously and are likely to go on doing so for the forseeable future, So, You are satisfied, said Jesus, I am and I'm not, or rather, I would be were it not for this restless heart of mine which is forever telling Me, Well now, a fine destiny You've arranged after four thousand years of trials and tribulations which no amount of sacrifices on the altars will ever be able to recompense, for You continue to be the god of a tiny population which occupies a minute part of this world You created with everything that's in it, so tell Me, My son, if I can derive any satisfaction from this depressing sight which is constantly before My eyes, Never having created a world, I'm in no position to judge, replied Jesus...

After which God lays out his expansionist plan...

Update: An unlikely but predictably controversial homage to Saramago and his novel 'The Gospel According to Jesus Christ' was created by the Portuguese Playboy, showing Jesus with assorted Mary Magdalenes in various states of undress. The result would have had Saramago chuckle: the magazine was shut down by its American parent company.

Recommended for further reading:

the year of the death of ricardo reis

José Saramago 's novel ' The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis ' ('O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis') is a classic example of intertextuality , blurring the line between fact and fiction. Ricardo Reis was one of Fernando Pessoa 's… Read the full post »

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