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In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God sighed deeply, wondering just what he had done to deserve this. Yet another mind-numbing project dumped on him by Management. Ever since the misunderstanding about that planet in the Orion system, when He had mistakenly introduced some radical new life-forms, God had been in the dog house over his liberal interpretations of the accepted guidelines of Creationism.

As He moved out across the face of the waters He reached into his billowing sleeve and pulled out a sheaf of papers, most of which sailed away into the gloom. `Damn,’ He thought, `I had better not lose the work order. Can’t afford to make that mistake twice.’

With the proper paperwork finally in hand, He scanned the Multiple Tasking Flow Chart but was unable to read the small print in the darkness. So God said Let there be Light, and by God, there was light. A brilliant light, a white-hot phosphorescence radiating from all around.

God grimaced and shielded his eyes. No, no, He thought, too bright for creative work.

With an impatient wave of His hand, He lessened the Great Luminosity and surrounded Himself  with an ethereal, subdued light. And God saw that it was good.

And God divided the light from the darkness, because the work order listed this as an initial priority. And God called the light Day, and the darkness After-Day. Annoyed at this lack of imagination on the part of Head Office, He changed the name of darkness to Night, using white-out to change the wording on the forms. And evening came, the first day.

God arrived late the next day, having forgotten that He had already made mornings a reality. He emerged from what would soon be the firmament, breathless and sweating slightly, and a little concerned because He now had only so many hours of light in which to work.

God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

At this point, He hesitated, unsure of the correct course of action given this confusing bit of metaphysical rhetoric. He thought about it for a while but could not picture in his mind what a firmament was supposed to look like. So He consulted the Book of Rules, which was the official Manual of Creative Endeavour. After much muttering and page-turning He found the answer and jumped up in exaltation. He made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so.

It was also getting dark, so God called the firmament Heaven, and also called it a day. Evening came, the second day.

The next morning, God said, Let the waters under the Heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear. And it was so. Finally, He thought, a decent place to stand.

God called the dry land Earth and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. And God saw that he was finally getting somewhere.

Then He noticed the waters above the firmament, hovering gently in place. What to do about those? Can’t just leave them there, hanging around ready to fall on people, if there were any. He consulted the work order but found no reference to those waters. Instead, He found that a page was missing. And God smiled broadly. Missing instructions were the best possible excuse for any screw-ups. God saw that this was good.

God said, Let the Earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit, and all other manner of greenery. Warming to His task, He swept His arm out in a grand gesture thereby covering the earth with green life. And God had to move to higher ground.

Struggling through the abundant growth, His great sleeves now snagged on the dense branches, God found himself surrounded by the sudden darkness. Oh well, He thought, another day shot all to… somewhere.

Evening came, the third day.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And, thought God, with a sharp smile, for all lesser creatures of a gullible nature, let them also be for the signs of the zodiac.

And let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and to light His way home once that annoying darkness fell. For above all, God hated barking his shins on misplaced bits of celestial furniture.

God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the night and the lesser light to rule the day. And God saw that he was holding the work plan upside down. And God did swear mightily.

So God sent the two great lights into the nearest recycling bin and began yet again. This time, He placed the great light on one side of the firmament of heaven and the lesser light on the opposite side. He then spun them both in a circle, one following upon the other. He was able to jump out of the way just in time to watch the first sunrise go spinning by, followed two seconds later by the first moonrise.

God sighed deeply. The inevitable fine-tuning of the end-product, which He found so tedious, had just begun. Niggling adjustments to the nature of things which would no doubt go unnoticed and unappreciated by whichever intelligent life-form inhabited this latest project.

Returning from his daydreams, God dispensed proper activities to each part of the daily cycle. The day He made for sporting endeavours, for the practice of idleness and the making of money. And the night He made for the stirring of creeping beasts, for the widespread looting of shops and the violation of numerous commandments. And it was so.

And God saw that it was good. Or, at least acceptable.

Evening came, the fourth day.

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. At which point God decided it was time to do something about the waters above the firmament, which were still there, hovering gently in place. He could not repeat his usual practice, which was to bypass the issue by simply making all fowl into ducks. Too many complaints over that one.

So God said, Let the surplus waters of the firmament rain down upon the earth, providing life to the herb and the fruit tree and all manner of greenery. And Let it periodically flood out great portions of the most valuable real estate, as a reminder of God’s great powers. And it was so.

God blessed the creatures of the seas and skies with a great mumbling of obscure Latin, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And, with a smile born of divine inspiration, He added, in a deeper tone of guttural Latin, Let all beasts evolve according to a process of natural selection.

And God saw that it was good He was going to get away with that last bit. He scampered out of there before anyone noticed what he had done.

Evening came, the fifth day.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his own kind, with cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth. And it was so.

As God looked down upon all these beasts he sighed deeply. Such an ugly assortment of creatures. He tucked the work order into His great sleeve and prepared to improvise.

God struggled to render unto all animals a great beauty, as a testament to His renowned creative powers. He had much success with the birds and the butterflies, moulding them into flying rainbows of colour and grace. The cats became masters of elegance and refinement. The dolphins were endowed with the comic dignity of the gods themselves. And the fish became silvered jewels darting about the waters.

But then God came up against the moose and the wildebeest, and lost his resolve. Only time and the masterful selection of natural forces could ever make them beautiful.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing upon the earth.

As God raised his hand to make it thus, He hesitated, looked again at the papers and said `What the Hell is that supposed to mean? Man in our image? Dominion over everything? They have got to be kidding.’

He reread the work order, and shook his head slowly in disbelief. Then He remembered the missing pages of the work order and smiled broadly.

God thought that the part about `Dominion over all things’ was probably OK. It would be fun to see what mankind did with it since only the most primitive of life forms believed in this piece of brazen wordiness. But making man in our own image? That, he thought, cuts too close to the bone.

And then God had an idea. A wondrous idea, a moment of true epiphany. He scooped up a handful of dirt, spat upon it and moulded it into a ball of clay. From this clay He fashioned a long, thin shape; the perfect bone. Pleased with Himself, He made more bones, trying also different shapes and sizes. Then, He began fitting the bones together, making forms and figures, to which He applied coverings of various materials. And God saw that He was making a mess.

Each attempt was rejected as unsuitable for His ideals. So He simply named each new creature and set it free to roam in the greenery of the earth. God knew that the work plan had no provisions for these extra creatures but He also knew He had the ultimate excuse of ‘missing work order papers’.

So God smiled broadly as He made all manner of new creatures: the platypus, the echidna and the rhinoceros. The dugong, the kangaroo and the bats. And then God made a creature He found both handsome and amusing. This, He decided, was close to what He wanted, but not quite. So He told the creature, You shall be a monkey, and He set it free to play in the greenery of the earth.

This monkey became His template for all the creatures which followed, each one slightly different than the one before. Less hair, more upright, a larger brain, smaller eyebrows.

Just before the great light of Day gave over to the lesser light of Night, God stood and looked down upon a pitiful, naked creature and said, You shall be known as Man.

As He turned to go, God decided to try one last time. With the pile of bones depleted, He took a rib from Man and fashioned another creature, in the likeness of Man. To this creature He gave a softer look, with more curves, less body hair and longer eyelashes. And God saw that it was good.

As a compliment to this, his best achievement, God also gave this creature the ultimate gift: the ability to bring forth Great Life. To this creature He said, You shall be known as Woman. He then pointed to Man and said, He shall be your servant, to protect you and your offspring, and make your life well and good.

As God made the appropriate revisions to the work order, Man did notice that some of the pages were missing. And Man saw that it was good.

Evening came and the arguing began. The sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished. And on the seventh day God rested from all His work which He had made.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because it was the least He could do, considering the mess He had made of things. He did not envy those who were to live in this place.

As He moved out across the face of the waters He sighed deeply. Already the signs of impending problems were many and widespread. He reached into His billowing sleeve, pulled out the work order and made a note that someone should return one day to check on things.

As God entered the void beyond the earth He looked back one last time. Despite His advice, it was unlikely that Management would approve the work order for a second coming.

This world was on its own.