Saint Peter is waiting at the gates of heaven. He keeps checking his watch. There’s no getting away from it: the end is nigh and getting nigher with every passing moment. From his vantage point he can see and all the people rushing about below like headless chickens. Billions of them. The only large animals that still outnumber the human race are the rats.

He and Gabriel had booked a holiday for the second half of the twenty-first century. He’s going to have to cancel that. As soon as the proverbial brown stuff hits the whirly thing, he is going to be busy. And that is bound to happen any year now.

God Almighty is probably laughing up His sleeve. Nobody knows exactly, on account of His eternal veil, but loud chuckling thunder has been heard coming from His throne room, and young Lucifer has a permanent smug grin on his face, having placed a massive CFD short trade on the outcome of the human experiment sometime during the early Jurassic.

The switch from farming to ranching might have been sustainable – if a tad inconsiderate to the animals – if the human population had remained at reasonable levels. And God knows He did His best to keep the dampers on it with lots of famines, plagues and the occasional world war. But from the moment that Stephenson chap invented his first steam engine, the writing was on the wall. The discovery of black gold and the invention of the internal combustion engine didn’t help, and when Henry Ford started producing motor cars for the masses, the whole process began to accelerate like a runaway train. Next came the building of huge electricity generating stations fuelled by coal and oil, and the destruction of the forests to create – you’ve guessed it – more land for farming to support the ever-burgeoning population.

Talk about a vicious circle!

Their pathetic attempts to recover the situation were painful to watch. A feeble Climate Accord set up at the eleventh hour and then abandoned by the president of one of the worst offenders, protests by schoolchildren, and lots of pie-in-the sky plans: electric cars, solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, nuclear power plants, carbon taxes and the final craziness: a rocket to take rich folks to Mars.


The only question remaining is who to blame. It’s not called Judgment Day for nothing. Someone has to sit in judgment and someone has to take the blame. I’m calling this meeting to order.

We can’t blame historical figures like Robert Stephenson or Robert Street, the Wright brothers or Wernher von Braun; they thought they were contributing towards ‘progress’, and they were. The problem was that all this progress was leading, like a runaway train, to a man-made mass extinction event.

Without further ado, I propose that we turn the spotlight of blame on He who conceived the whole experiment in the first place. You could argue that He really should have foreseen the final outcome. Omniscience has its own inherent obligations, after all.

His first mistake was to give them curiosity. That led to Science and the ‘scientific method’. Think how much better off the world would be if it had been left in the hands of the shamans, the religious zealots, the magicians, the sorcerers, the alchemists, and the astrologists. No atomic weapons, for a start. No weapons of any kind, peace and enlightenment all round, with the Leos in charge.

His second mistake was giving them intelligence. Those big brains gave them ideas way beyond their station and fuelled their insatiable curiosity. There’s nothing worse than a know-it-all ape with attitude and an ego to go with it.

His third mistake was those opposable thumbs. Think how little ‘progress’ they would have made if all they had was horses’ hooves or dolphin flippers.

His fourth mistake was teaching them to talk. The tower of Babel was a pretty ineffective attempt to set that to rights. Of course giving them lots of languages so that they could only communicate within their own tribes led to conflict at first. Inevitably, this stumbling block to progress was overcome.

His fifth mistake was making the males physically stronger than the females. All that testosterone was bound to cause problems. A world dominated by women probably would have gone the same way in the long run, but there would have been a lot more fun, great art and music sloshing around in the world before the end.

His worst mistake was giving them Free Will. Michael and the rest of us tried to warn Him against that, but would He listen? Does He ever? Michael has been heard to say that the Garden of Eden event was the greatest deal breaker. Edengate, he calls it. Perhaps we should concede the point now, in hindsight, the only thing more tempting than temptation is temptation in the hands of a woman.

With hindsight, ecology was a bad joke; nothing but a spiralling food chain, perched precariously on the capricious whims of unregulated evolution. How on earth could that have worked? As long as the whole system was in balance it was fine, but the slightest upset, like the loss of a link in the chain, was bound to bring the whole edifice crashing down like a house of cards.

So, no need for a judge or jury. I think we are all agreed. The guilty party is clearly identified by His deeds, ill-conceived, badly managed and poorly executed, starting with that ridiculous Big Bang!

All in favour of a guilty verdict raise your tentacles.

(C) Copyright JJ Toner