In 1904, Adam (of Genesis fame) released a book called Extracts from Adam’s Diary. The book was co-written by Mark Twain.
In this memoir, Adam spends most of the time complaining about Eve. She’s this “new creature with long hair” who eats too much fruit and has a cockeyed plan to turn the Garden of Eden into a tourist attraction by naming the waterfalls “Niagara Falls.”
More than 100 years later, Adam’s creator – that’d be God – has released His own autobiography. It’s called The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. The book was co-written by David Javerbaum, a former head writer for The Daily Show and the man behind the popular twitter feed @TheTweetOfGod.
I can’t be sure, but I think the famously blasphemous Twain (who once said he didn’t want to go to heaven because he hated harp music) would have chuckled his way through Javerbaum’s book. Maybe even snorted. Because it’s very funny. Offensive to some, for sure, but very funny.
The book is a “modernized” retelling of the Good Book’s stories. A “telleth-all.” Javerbaum writes that the book idea actually came from God’s agent, who suggested, “Thou shalt ‘open up’ about [the Bible’s]events; and ‘share’ thy feelings; and ‘dish about the various public figures therein.’ ”
The jokes are legion, and a high percentage of them hit the mark, much like Javerbaum’s previous books for The Daily Show: America: The Book and Earth.
God confesses that, “in a moment of weakness,” He “banged” another universe.
He explains that Abraham argued with him over the ritual of circumcision, suggesting instead “breast augmentation” for young women.
He complains the Ten Commandments get too much attention at the expense of his other rules. “I hate the Ten Commandments, in exactly the same way Don McLean hates American Pie.”
God tells of the coming Judgment Day, and warns of the new Signs of the Apocalypse. Some example: “Extra-absorbency paper towels only perform at regular-absorbency levels.” And also, “At no point during his 16-hour drive from Cabo San Lucas to L.A. does Sammy Hagar violate the speed limit.”
The book’s most pointed parts satirize the conservative, literal interpretation of the Bible.
Javerbaum takes aim at Creationism. God explains that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, but He has planted fossils and DNA evidence showing it to be millions of years old as part of an elaborate practical joke. “Canst thou grasp the scope of my hoax, humanity? Can thy mortal minds absorb even a drop of the immense ocean constituting the thoroughness of thy punking?”
Javerbaum pokes fun at those who argue that the Bible condemns homosexuality. In fact, God writes, the original couple in the Garden of Eden were gay: Adam and Steve. But the snake – who was closeted himself (“literally on the down-low”) – convinced them their lifestyle was sinful, and God had to go with Plan B, a male and female. God regrets he didn’t instead choose two lesbians, as they would have “tended the Garden with more diligence; yea, and been a lot more outdoorsy in general.”
As I mentioned, The Last Testament won’t be everyone’s cup of lentils. It has already inspired the wrath of many observers.
Several large chains – including Wal-Mart, Costco and Target – refused to carry it. The British division of Simon & Schuster cancelled its publication after deeming the manuscript too inflammatory.
Javerbaum got conservatives even angrier with the book’s viral marketing video called It Getteth Better, a parody of the anti-bullying campaign It Gets Better. In the video, God is revealed to have a man-crush on Ryan Reynolds.
Then again, there’s always the chance that God Himself likes the book. In the words of Paul Shaffer, the great theologian and David Letterman band leader, “If God is the ultimate being, I imagine he has the ultimate sense of humour.”
A.J. Jacobs is the author most recently of My Life as an Experiment and The Year of Living Biblically.