How are you? I hope you are doing fine. I am a 12-year-old pupil of Descarte Methodological Scepticism High School, Abuja. Our teacher said we could write you a letter through this address. God, I love you and I love reading your book, the Holy Bible — especially during Sunday School. God, I want to ask you some questions and I hope you will not be angry with me.
God, are you a man or a woman? I asked our teacher but what he told me is that you are sexless. I did not understand what he meant by that. So, I asked further. He said, at best, God is of the masculine gender. I was so confused that I asked the pastor what being sexless means and he said I was too young to know what sex or sexless is. I said it is God's sex I wanted to know. He shouted at me as if he had just been bitten by a snake. I said, "Okay pastor, is it true that God is of the masculine gender?" The pastor said I was too young again to bother about any masculine or feminine gender when it comes to matters dealing with God. He said I should just address God as I address my own father at home. God, is that okay? I am Igbo. Can I call you nna? But something tells me you are a man because if you are not a man, Jesus will not be calling you his father. But, God nobody has ever answered this my question: “Who is God's own father?” Jesus has a father. Emeka has a father. Ada has a father. Even our pastor has a father, as old as he is. God, who is your own father? And where were you born? Are you an American or a European like the pope who died? Or are you a Niagaran as football fans say when Niagara wins an important match?
If you answer my questions, my father will be very proud of me for talking directly to you and may allow me to become a pastor in heaven. By the way, God, is there vacancy for more pastors in heaven because pastors are so many in my country that they are jobless? But God, there is another thing I want to discuss with you. Our Sunday School teacher taught us during the last Xmas that Mary is the mother of Jesus and the name of his father is Joseph. God, is your name Joseph? I will be glad to know if you are the same Joseph in the Bible. Or do you also bear two names like us on earth so that when next I write I can address you properly as Mr. Joseph God. Am I right? Or you hold a title like igwe or eze? God, I cannot wait to see your reply.
There is something else the Sunday School teacher taught us that I am yet to understand. He said once upon a time, you created heaven and earth. You also created a garden of Eden. Then you created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, and you commanded them to live together as husband and wife. Soon, said our Sunday School teacher, Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. He said that is how human beings came into existence but he never told us who Cain and Abel married to produce their own children. God, whose daughters did they marry? I asked my father the other day but, instead of saying he did not know the answer, he gave me a knock on the head and asked me to kneel down, raise up my hands and close my eyes. God, do you punish your own son, I mean Jesus, if he asks you a question you cannot answer? God, do not say I am worrying you with questions. It is just that this is an opportunity to ask all the questions that have been agitating my mind since I was in the primary school. In the Sunday School story, we were also told that Eve gave Adam apple to eat and they were both punished for what they did. But God, is it an offence to eat fruit, the most natural source of Vitamin C? People buy apple to eat on the roads and highways and nobody is punished or accused of eating any 'forbidden fruit'. Teacher said the only person ever punished after Adam and Eve, so far, for eating apple is our former head of state. He never told us whether it was another forbidden fruit that he ate or not. God, can you tell me in confidence what actually killed this man? Have you seen him in heaven since he left us in 1998? Is he still wearing goggles and refusing to smile or talk to anybody?
Our pastor said many Niagaran children are hungry because the money to buy rice, Indomie, spaghetti, Mr. Biggs and Tantalizer for them has been stolen by our leaders. Is it true,God? If it is true, it is not only in Niagara. In the whole of Africa, children are dying because of the greed, selfishness and wickedness of our leaders. God, I attach the photograph of an African child like me who cannot get water to drink but has to drink the urine of camel to quench his thirst. It is this same camel's urine that he uses to bathe, maybe once in a month. God, can you hear me? What are you doing about the plight of children? Are you leaving us in the hands of wicked adults like my father who punishes me when he cannot answer my question or the Sunday School teacher and the pastor who cannot answer questions about the oddities in the world? God, I know I must have offended you for raising these my questions but don't do like those men I have just mentioned. As it is in the Lord's prayer, God, forgive me if I have sinned because I am just a little rascal.
Nna, ke emesia (father, bye for now).
God, Who Is Your Own Father? was first published in TELL on August 28, 2006.