On a recent Sunday, God rested, just as he had when he created the universe. He recalled his very first day of rest when the universe was new and Earth, his special project, was teeming with light and life and promise. He smiled at the excitement, the optimism, he had felt then.
But, as his reverie carried him across the intervening eons, his smile began to fade.
There had been worrisome times before, when war and hatred prevailed. But the world seemed to progress, as diseases were conquered, growing populations fed, and other living things, and the land and waters they depended on, protected.
Now, however, the very conditions that had sustained life were threatening it. Humans, to whom he had entrusted Earth’s future, were imperiled by their own greed and blindness.
God did not want his wonderful experiment to end, but he was uncertain what to do.
He thought of sending a messenger who could persuade humans to right these wrongs. But, considering the mixed success of previous efforts — Christians hating Muslims hating Jews — he rejected the idea.
At the other extreme, he thought about abandoning his Earth experiment entirely and trying his luck elsewhere in the universe. But he saw that, if he were to create new beings and endow a select group with rational thought, as he felt he must, that paradise, too, might turn to hell.
In a most un-God-like moment, he even thought of killing off the human race, and leaving the Earth to its inanimate resources and those life-forms that had not yet died off. But a loving Father does not kill his children, at least not until he has exhausted all other options.
Instead, he saw that he must send humankind a warning or, if necessary, a series of warnings. He would not destroy anyone or anything to make his point. He would simply suspend humans’ perception of an element of his creation, one at a time, as if he had actually destroyed it.
To drive home the point, he would choose six items and, on the same day of the week he had created it, he would remove it from human perception. Humans needed to understand that what was made in six days could be unmade in six days.
Thus, on the first day, he made the darkness of night seem to disappear. But, since most humans lived in brightly-lit cities and suburbs, and seldom ventured out into the dangers of the night, they did not notice.
Then, on the second day, he made the distinction between the water and the sky seem to vanish. But, since water and sky were mostly bluish, that change, too, was lost on them.
On the third day, he made the trees seem to disappear. But, except for those few humans who lived where deforestation, wildfire, desertification, and/or Dutch elm disease had not wrought their havoc, no one perceived the difference.
On the fourth day, he made the stars seem no longer to shine. But no one had seen a star since a couple days ago, when God made the darkness seem to disappear, so they perceived no change. (God later acknowledged his timing error.)
On the fifth day, he made the birds seem to disappear. But, with pollution obscuring people’s vision, almost no one had seen a bird in ages, and that move, too, fell flat.
Tired and discouraged, God faced the sixth-and-final day reluctantly. Nonetheless, he summoned enough energy to bethink himself of that without which humankind would be utterly devastated and, he hoped, susceptible to his message of repentance and reform.
He recalled that, on the sixth day of creation, he had given life to the animals of the land. The temptation was great, but he could not bring himself to remove all animals from human perception. After all, the cow produced important sustenance (especially ice cream) and the horse and the ox were still vital to agriculture in many places.
To ease his strain, God took a short break. He pictured a lovely park with verdant lawns and gently curving paths. As, in his mind’s eye, he looked more closely, he noticed that every lawn and every path was filled with dogs — chasing tennis balls, playing with children, tugging at leashes.
At last, he had his answer and, on that sixth day, he made all dogs seem to disappear. Where, once, there were Pugs sitting on laps, Yorkies yapping incessantly, Border Collies herding small children, there was now, as far as people could apprehend, nothing.
The outcry was instantaneous and universal. God saw people weeping, he heard them wailing. Listening carefully, he also heard the quiet gnashing of teeth.
Nonetheless, he held off until he could see that mankind understood his message, that they regretted their misdeeds, and that they were committed to reversing the suicidal choices that spelled their own, and their beloved planet’s, doom.
God understood and he acted. He returned to them the darkness of night, the distinction between water and sky. He allowed them again to see the trees, the stars, the birds (at least insofar as any could be seen through the pollution), and, finally, he reunited them with their beloved dogs.
Cheering — and barking — resounded throughout the world.
God was pleased and, once again, on the seventh day, he rested.