Which came first–the joke or the laugh? … September 14, 2012


I need a God who laughs.

I’m afraid it’s kind of a deal breaker. If somebody came back from the dead, it’s probably the first thing I would ask. “Did you find the Almighty to be festive?”

I don’t know what I would do if He was serious. For truthfully, prayer makes me sleepy, singing hymns makes me hoarse, and fasting? Well, it makes me hungry. I certainly hope that’s not the best He has to offer.

I think there is good evidence for the contention that God is a rejoicer. Whether it’s a He or a She, you can certainly tell by many of the processes taken by the Heavenly Being–there is a giggle in there somewhere.

That is why I think that the laugh came before the joke.

I think God was laughing when He came up with the joke of humanity. I think it tickled His fancy to create a creature who was endowed with such tremendous potential and spirituality, but also flawed with a predilection towards mediocrity and infested with foibles.

You might ask where I get the idea that God came into this thing laughing. Let me start by asking you, “What was the purpose for creating the heavens and the earth?”  You might make the case that He was bored, but boredom is so boring. I think He was playful. I think He wanted to expand His own horizons by opening the door to new possibilities. I also feel He had a youthful spirit, because after creating the heavens and the earth, He got distracted and didn’t come back again for quite some time.

When He did make His way back to the earth, He found it pretty dormant–and pretty ugly. So He started to work, and after a full season of pouring His energy into the project, He closed out the endeavor with, “It is good.”

Honestly, can you say it is good with a frown on your face? Can you proclaim it is good with a nod and a yawn? How pleased He must have been the first time He saw mitosis, and one cell divided into two. It would make me laugh–watching that little blob of nothing wiggle and squirm until the one became twain. Great fun.

There are so many strange things He made that you have to believe there was an element of tongue-in-cheek involved in the decision. Please, someone explain a platypus to me. And how much knee slapping did He do over including a pouch on the kangaroo?

Yes, I believe laughter came before the joke–and candidly, I am much more comfortable with the notion that God finds us funny than I am with thinking that He is some sort of schoolmaster, looking for opportunities to flunk us out. For I have no problem with the Book of Proverbs citing that God laughs at our calamities. I would be frightened to death if every time we did something stupid God rolled His eyes or marked something down on a chart, or removed some of the furniture from my heavenly mansion. He can feel free to laugh at what I do–and hopefully, by and large, I can follow His example and laugh at myself.

I think we live in a generation when we want people to tell jokes because we know we need to laugh, but because we have forgotten how to laugh at ourselves, we need professionals to bring us comedy, relieving our tension through the experience. I like jokes, but I have much more fun laughing at life.

There’s so much that makes me laugh:

  • Politicians arguing with each other? I’m sorry, it sends me into a giggle fest.
  • Watching religious people do very religious things, hoping to achieve an immense religious result will just take me to a world of hilarity.
  • And how the arts and entertainment community insists on finding the most obtuse story lines and pushing them to the forefront as examples of normal life is enough to make me fall off my chair in uncontrollable good cheer.

I need to know that God laughs. I certainly see plenty of proof that He has manufactured many practical jokes. Take romance, for instance. Was this ever supposed to actually have a flow, or even a rhyme and reason? The humor of our body parts, our interactions, our attempts to be sexy and just the general forced warfare between the sexes–it’s enough to make me (and I think maybe even God) sit back and smile away.

Which came first, the joke or the laugh?

I like to believe that the first time God said, “Let there be … ” it was preceded by a bit of a chortle. After all, if He wasn’t thrilled about what He made, how can he expect me to appreciate it? Yes, I believe the laugh came first, and then God, on the sixth day, created the joke.

And ever since, we human beings have gladly been providing the punch line.

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