Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A world made on Sunday?

Donna Haraway, a feminist critic of science, suggests that Coyote, the trickster deity of western Native Americans, is an appropriate god for a scientist. When you play with Coyote, she says, expect to be surprised, look out for sleight of hand, and be ready to turn a few tricks yourself.

Certainly, the more one knows about the way the world works, the more difficult it is to relate to the poker-faced God of my youth, a consistently benevolent fellow, who lays all his cards on the table and plays by the rules. Hence, the problem of evil, the untoward turn of events, the lion eating the lamb, the ball that bounces between Bill Buckner's knees.

A creation myth from the Middle East -- a variation on Genesis -- has God bring the world into being with seven laughs: ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. I like to imagine the Creator having a hell of a time, creating the universe with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, then sitting back and watching with bemusement as we try to figure it all out.