Once upon a time there were four hunter gatherers named Mark, Luke, John and Matthew. Of course these weren’t their real names. This story starts a very long time ago, just before the Big Bang. I’m not talking about the Big Bang that started the universe. I’m talking about the big bang that started religion.
We don’t have any way to know the real names of these hunter gatherers because this Big Bang happened before man discovered fire and we have no records for reference. I’m using these names because we’re talking about religion and the same fictitious names are used to identify invented characters in a much later religious book called the New Testament. The names are well known and will be easy for us to remember.
I referred to these four men as hunters gatherers but way back then they were mostly gatherers. Archaeologists have not discovered any kind of a weapon that might have been used by our four heroes other than a stone they might have picked up to throw. As I said before, this was a very long time ago.
Our four gatherers were seated on a group of rocks trying to decide which direction they should go to gather today. It was a dreary rainy day but they knew they had to go gather something if they wanted to eat. They had already discovered rocks to sit on. But don’t visualize them sitting around a campfire. Fire wasn’t discovered yet. That’s when the Big Bang occurred.
A bolt of lightning crashed into a large tree just a few feet from our heroes, bringing with it a deafening clap of thunder. That was the Big Bang. The tree split, the lightning struck, and the thunder clapped all at the same time.
If this was a story intended for either testament of the Bible I would probably embellish the story with made up facts. For example I might say that the lightning created a fire in the tree and that was how man discovered fire. But that wasn’t so. The tree was thoroughly soaked by the rain and not a waiting piece of tinder to catch fire. I’m just recounting the actual facts. This is just as factual as the old and new Testaments of the Bible.
The sudden bang startled our four gatherers more than anything else they had ever experienced. Unfortunately for them they couldn’t overtly demonstrate their surprise with the use of expletives or religious phrases because they hadn’t been invented yet. They couldn’t say, “What the hell was that?” or “Goddamnit that was loud!” Religion wasn’t invented yet. They didn’t have the use of religious expressions.
Matthew looked at the other three and asked, “What was that?”
Luke replied, “I don’t know.”
John, the oldest of the gatherers looked deliberately into the eyes of each of the other three and said “Since none of us did that and none of us are capable of doing that it must have been done by God.”
Mark asked, “What’s God?”
John replied, “God is someone who can do anything that we can’t do.”
“How do you know his name is God,” asked Mark.
“I don’t know what his name is. I just called him God because it’s an easy word to remember like Kodak. If we’re going to put a label on it we might as well make it a label we won’t have to change for a long time.” John kind of liked the experience of having the other three look to him for this special information. He decided to try to take advantage of the situation. He continued, “God wants the three of you to go out and gather some food and bring back enough to share with me and God while I sit here and God tells me what else is on his mind.”
Matthew blurted out, “I don’t believe you.”
John replied ominously, “You need to believe or God will punish you.”
Matthew answered, “How am I supposed to know that’s true?”
John smiled, “You saw the bolt of fire. You heard the Big Bang. You saw the tree split. There’s your evidence. You can see what he’s capable of.”
Matthew appeared suitably awed. “But how do I know that it was God who did it?”