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02.09.2019 Feature Article

Pope’s Elevator Experience and Improbability of a Christian God

Pope Francis has apologised for arriving late for his weekly prayer in St Peter's Square, saying he was stuck in a lift in the Vatican.
SEP 2, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE
Pope Francis has apologised for arriving late for his weekly prayer in St Peter's Square, saying he was stuck in a lift in the Vatican.

The recent case where firefighters intervened and rescued the pope after he was trapped in a lift should perturb Christians and others who strongly believe in a deity. This is because such an experience put into question the existence of God, the efficacy of the divine power especially the assumed saving power of the Christian God, Jesus.

On September 1, the catholic pontiff arrived late for his weekly morning prayer because a power outage at the Vatican caused the elevator to stop. And the pope spent 25 minutes in the lift waiting for help. It took the intervention of the firefighters who came and fixed the problem before the pope was able to get off the lift. The crowd applauded after the pope thanked the firefighters for intervening. But on a second thought, the crowd should not have cheered if they really understood the implications of the elevator experience. The incident did not reflect positively on what the pope and the catholic churched represented. This is because this incident presented an excellent opportunity for God to prove his existence, but he didn't. Jesus could not demonstrate his alleged saving power.

Imagine, the pope, a man who is said to be an alter Christus, (another Jesus Christ) was trapped in an elevator, waiting for the earthly saviors to rescue him. The pope is a person who is believed to embody the saving power of Jesus. So it boggles the mind to hear that an alter Christus was trapped in a lift, in a human-made device due to a power outage. As if that was not enough in terms of ridiculing the status of the pope, the pontiff had to wait in the elevator for 25 minutes as the firefighters fixed the machine. He waited, not for 2 minutes, not for 5 minutes but for 25 minutes. So where was God when the pope was stuck in a lift? Was he sleeping? Did he go on a journey? Or was God distracted? Was looking elsewhere as his earthly representative languished in an elevator?

What was going on in the mind of the pope when he noticed that the lift was no longer functioning? Did he try contacting God for a miraculous fix? The pope was going for his weekly prayer and had a direct line to God. Did he pray and tried to alert God that things were not okay at the Vatican? Where is the divine dimension of the elevator experience? Where did god come in or tried coming into it?

If the pope prayed, why didn’t God respond immediately, and made sure that his earthly representative did not suffer this embarrassment? Why didn’t god directly intervene before the arrival of mortal firefighters? Why didn’t the pope use his official divine powers to command the lift to start working? After all, he was going for a prayer session where he was expected to directly communicate with God. Was there a communication failure when the lift stopped working? It is either that the pope was a man of little faith or the pope had no faith at all, or the God idea was a make-belief.

The elevator experience put God to the test and God woefully failed. God once again was unable to prove his existence at the global stage, at the Vatican City where many Christians believe to be the city of God. So believers, Christian believers, in particular, need seriously rethink the idea of God. They need to ask themselves this pertinent question: If God, the Christian god existed, why was the pope trapped for 25 minutes in an elevator at the Vatican?

Leo Igwe
Leo Igwe, © 2019

This author has authored 240 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: LeoIgwe

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