By Donald P. Ames
Recently I was asked my opinion of the movie currently making the rounds entitled “Oh, God!” The movie is being widely proclaimed as “divinely funny” and a “very clever satire.” Since I had not seen the movie, I was in no position to comment. However the querest had a copy of the book (by Avery Corman-Bantaam Books) and loaned it to me for my examination.
Realizing the book was designed as a satire and after pointing out that we know God does not make persona( appearances today (Heb. 1:1-2), I agreed to read it as open-mindedly as possible and also determined to make every allowance for “poetic license” that could -reasonably be made. I did not wish to condemn it merely because it alleged God made a personal appearance to men if it had a good moral to it, nor did I wish to excuse it simply because it starred George Burns and John Denver, who happen to be two popular movie stars. A judgment was going to have to be fair and based on the contents of the book itself.
However, upon reading the book, I must frankly admit I was very disgusted with the whole thing. True, it was a clever satire on human reactions to the idea God might appear today to refute the charges that He never existed or was dead. But, upon finishing the book, I honestly wondered if the satire was being directed toward mankind or toward God Himself! There is a fine line between satire and mockery (or even blasphemy) and, in this case, the mockery seems as much directed at God as anything else.
God is portrayed as a little old man who took that form so He might be seen by men (possibly excusable as “poetic license”), but who is also fond of TV, His cigars, and likes His “cold beer and clams” (p. 70, 141). He is portrayed as a confused person, who knew the past and present because He had witnessed it, but had absolutely no plan or concept of what lay in the future-“I don’t know anything from what’s going to be. . .not even what’s going to happen for dinner” (p. 139). This is completely unbiblical and a mockery (cf. Eph. 3:11; 1 Pet. 1:10-12, etc.). His total lack of planning and purpose is also seen in such statements as “I came up with the concepts, the big ideas-the details can take care of themselves” (p. 11).
That He is not portrayed anywhere close to the God of the Bible (all-knowing, everywhere-present and concerned) is seen by such statements as: “Looking back, of course I made a few mistakes. Giraffes. It was a good thought, but it really didn’t work out. Avocados-on that I made the pit too big” (p. 11). Compare this with Gen. 1:31. He next quibbles with Moses over the number of commandments to be given from Mt. Sinai. Originally thinking of about 5,000, He finally works it down to 15. Moses demands only 8, so after quibbling and compromising, they finally agree on 10 (p. 12). When asked if He really listened and heard the prays of all men, He replied, “Who says I listen? I only said I’m there. After while, who can listen?” (p. 10). Compare that to Matt. 10:29-31 ! And, when asked what was in store for man, His confusion and lack of direction is openly manifested in seeking the answer to that as much as others were because “I couldn’t tell you. . .I don’t get into that” (p. 11). Compare that with Matt. 10 or Paul’s sermon in Acts 17:24ff.
Next we note God had no proof or evidence to present that He was God, and such requests were simply dismissed with “I don’t do proof” (p. 6). Can anyone imagine Moses going to face Pharoah with such a flimsy statement, or the apostles going forth to preach with no evidences that they were backed by God Himself (Mark 16:17-20; Heb. 2:1-4)? In fact, God even goes so far as to say, “I don’t do miracles. . . The last miracle I did was the 1969 Mets and before that the 1914 Boston Braves and before that I think you have to go back to the Red Sea” (p. 11-12). Imagine that! Nothing since the Red Sea! What about the conquest of Canaan, Elijah at Mt. Carmel, Daniel in the lion’s den, the raising of Lazarus, or even the resurrection of Jesus Christ? All these are simply dismissed — or forgotten by an extremely forgetful God who can’t keep track of things very well.
Other examples of the mockery of God are included in His statement about His holy word — “Not that the Bible is such a bargain — talk about inaccurate” (p. 126). How is that for confidence in His inspired word? God also mocks the idea of the Final Judgment and thinks it silly He would think of wasting His time sitting on a throne while mankind passed before Him as if in some parade- a- s if He did not have anything better to do (p. 62).
Jesus Christ is totally ignored as the means of our salvation in the movie, and the idea of doctrine being important (John 12:48) is held up to ridicule. Jesus is mentioned one time, when God is asked if He is His son. “Well, the thing is, people who want to believe that Jesus was my son can go ahead and believe it. It’s what they want to think and I don’t get into that . . . .Jesus was my son. Buddha was my son. Confucius. Mohammed. Moses. All the fellas” (p. 61). Thus, the deity of Christ is mocked and disavowed by God as unimportant. Christ is placed on a level with man and false prophets (cf. John 3:16; 1:1-3, 2 Thess. 2:11-12). When pressed further on this point with the question of which of tTie world’s religions were really the closest to the Divine Truth, God cleverly slides around it with the comment, “All of them are cute” (p. 61). Thus God, per the book, does not really care what you believe-just as long as you do not conclude He never was or is dead!
God further selected a Jew to carry His message of existence to the people. No do not conclude I am antiJewish, but since the Jews rejected Christ and His saving gospel, if God desired to save mankind and bring a message to them, it would not be in the hands of an unbelieving Jew today (Luke 10:16). Nor would he be so foolish as to send a man forth with no evidence He had actually spoken to Him to try to prove He existed. Nor would He select an indifferent, non-religious man who wrote one good article, was full of dreams of getting rich and famous, made frequent use of profanity, admitted to a variety of sexual sins in the past, and relied on a publicity agent (his wife) to get popularity.
Vulgar language and profanity appear throughout the book; one chapter dealing with a nude girl desiring sexual relations seems to have been inserted for no other purpose than to spice up the book with sex (especially when the rest of it deals with mankind’s reaction as a whole to the idea of the appearance of God today).
As I said, I found it disgusting! I hope this exposure will assist in warning others of the trash and mockery it contains so you do not waste your money on it and may answer intelligently when asked about it.
Truth Magazine XXII: 6, pp. 104-105
February 9, 1978