God the Comedian
God is a good natured deity, fond of the odd joke. The earliest example of this can be found in Genesis:
"And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?"
Adam is at this point, as any good Christian will know, hiding in the trees. Students of the Bible have argued that this is proof that God is not the omniscient entity that many hold Him to be, their case being that an omniscient creature by definition knows all things - including where Adam is, was and will be at any given point. Sadly this argument doesn't take into account the fact that God was simply having a bit of a laugh here, similar to the way that people amuse themselves by pretending they don't know where things are when in fact they do. I often joke with my teapot that I have no idea where it is, while all the time chuckling to myself that it is in the cupboard where I left it. I'm sure many readers will be familiar with this rich vein of humour.
Another example of God's ready wit can be seen in Exodus. During Moses' discussions with Him on top of Mount Sinai, the merry LORD instructs Moses to carry messages up and down the mountain several times. It's truly comical to think of poor old Moses hurrying up and down the treacherous paths when the LORD already knows what the outcome of the entire universe will be, let alone this three way discussion between Him, His people and His Prophet. One would imagine there would have been much laughter and backslapping when Moses later discussed the episode with God in Heaven.
The LORD's humour is as varied as it is wonderful; He enjoys good old 'Buster Keaton' style slapstick:
"The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed."
And He also amuses Himself with more subtle ironic japery, such as would make Oscar Wilde gasp with awe:
"Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them."
Oh, truly He is the most funny and clever LORD we could ever wish to have watching over us, making sure we all get sent to Hell if we don't do what we're told. (Incidentally, hell is certainly where Oscar Wilde ended up.)
God the Quizmaster
When He is not splitting our sides with laughter, God also likes to set us puzzles and test our resourcefulness. After all, if He had wanted us to be stupid, He would have created us to be a race of aggressive pack animals that ran about slaughtering each other all over the place. He wouldn't have made us the intelligent, considered, thoughtful creatures that our history and society demonstrates we clearly are.
So, having let loose a bunch of budding Einsteins into His creation the LORD proceeded to set challenges for us in the Bible, similar to the way an agnostic scientist would infect a baby rabbit with a horrible disease and carefully write down everything that happens. Of course, that is where any similarity ends as - unlike agnostic scientists - God has a fine head of hair and doesn't need glasses.
But challenges and tests He sets His people nonetheless! A fine example is found in Exodus:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth"
For many years this was taken at face value. It took a keen mind and a Christian education to realise what God really meant here was:
"Make statues of Me in great abundance and bow down before them, also make statues and images of My Prophets in great abundance and exalt those images."
Looking at the two statements nowadays it's easy to see how they match up, but you must remember that we are benefiting from hundreds of years of Christian scholarship that was not available to early followers of the one true faith.
Exodus also displays another instance of a 'Godly riddle':
"And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it."
It took some years before we understood that this passage should be translated as:
"Construct Me grand and intricate altars in temples and cathedrals using hewn stone, and adorn these temples with images carved into and out of the very stone itself using various tools."
Brain bending mega conundrums to be sure - but could we expect anything less from the Almighty? This is a being who has always known everything there is or will ever be to know. Imagine Him on 'Mastermind' for God's sake! He would get every question right with no passes - before He was even asked them!
God the Boss
The most important thing we can take from the Bible concerning the nature of God is that He's in charge and He likes us to remind Him of that as often as possible. Not doing anything right this moment? Good, get on your God damn knees and worship the Almighty you miserable sinner! Tell Him how great He is again! I don't care if you did it yesterday! God's a very busy deity and He might have missed your tiny offering in the great clamour of the millions He gets every moment.
While being so completely above and beyond mere mortals such as us, in some ways the LORD is quite similar - we are made in His image after all. For example, you know how we like to show off by having a better car, a bigger house or more expensive clothes and stuff than our fellow man? Well God likes to do that too; this is why He has such huge great cathedrals built for Him. Take a look at this one for example; much better than your house isn't it? Ha ha!
Of course these are rare similarities. They are not equalities, and it's important we remember that it's one rule for us and another for Him. This point is superbly illustrated by the commandment "Thou shalt not kill." The truly important word in this commandment is "Thou". God can kill as many people as he likes, and in fact He usually does. We need look no further than the righteous massacre of every first born child in Egypt:
"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle."
And God is being extra thorough here, having already killed all the cattle earlier:
"And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died"
And then again:
"And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field."
So I think it's fair to assume that by the time God was through with the Egyptians they didn't have any livestock left at all. This is something any historian will tell you is completely unrecorded in the history of their culture: proof surely (if any were needed) that History is a vague discipline and not to be trusted.
So while God works tirelessly on a daily basis to ensure that millions of souls writhe in the agonies of Hellfire for breaking His commandment about killing, He also slays multitudes of babies and creatures all over the place with gay abandon. Some thinkers have postulated that this contradiction is just one of many 'flaws' in the Judeo Christian mythology and suggest that the entire idea may be a load of badly thought out 'mumbo jumbo'. But I laugh off these assertions as those of the feeble minded. Why should God have to maintain the standards He asks of His creations? Is He not in charge here or did I miss something?
This is the real world we are living in, after all. Take the police force. They will quite happily arrest people all day for speeding and drink driving, but during their free time many like nothing better than to drink vast amounts of Whisky and speed around looking for pedestrians to crash into. They don't need to obey the rules because they enforce the rules. And the same is true of God - even more so in fact, because He doesn’t just make the rules and enforce them, He made everything else too.