Note from the author: I don’t really believe that there is going to be a Judgment Day at the end of the world where we all come back as zombies to stand trial. However, I have always tried to hedge my bets. In the unlikely event that I am wrong, I have drafted a legal brief in hope of securing an injunction against eternal torment as the default punishment for mankind. If I prevail, it not only gets me off the hook, but rescues all of the other lost souls that Christian dogma abandons at the gates of Hell. Unfortunately, I am not licensed to practice before the bar, so I am currently shopping for a sleazy lawyer to argue this brief for me on Judgment Day. Any takers?
A Legal Brief in Defense of Mankind to be Litigated on Judgment Day
Adam & Eve, et al. v. God
Adam and Eve, and all of their descendants,
Plaintiffs and Petitioners,
Defendant and Respondent
The petitioners acknowledge the deity’s sovereign immunity from the legal action initiated by this brief. The petitioners call on the deity to waive said sovereign immunity in the interest of fairness and justice. The right to face and cross examine one’s accuser is a cornerstone of English common law and Roman law, and conforms to the universal law of fairness. Since it was the deity who initiated the cause of action against mankind with regard to original sin, the petitioners trust that a perfect deity would honor his own basic law of fairness and afford them rights of due process at least on par with those codified in the legal procedures of the unholy. The petitioners maintain that a hearing of this legal brief is vital to the integrity of their defense on Judgment Day and is fundamental to their right to a fair trial.
Motion for Recusal
The petitioners claim that the deity’s appointment as presiding judge on Judgment Day constitutes a clear conflict of interest since the deity is alleged to also be the injured party with regard to original sin and its resulting indictments. For this reason, mindful of the deity’s reputation for fairness and justice, and in the interest of avoiding the appearance of impropriety, the petitioners call on the deity to recuse himself from his judicial appointment on Judgment Day due to said conflict of interest.
Motion to Dismiss
Having pointed out the impropriety of the deity’s judicial role on Judgment Day due to conflict of interest, the petitioners further maintain that it is not possible to secure a suitable replacement upon recusal. Since there is no soul on either side of Heaven who has not received favors from the deity, nor any inhabitant of the underworld who does not bear him an eternal grudge, nor is it possible to effect a change of venue that would produce jurors who do not share conflicts of interest equal to the deity’s, the petitioners question how they can get a fair hearing. For this reason, the petitioners move that the Eden indictments against mankind that are responsible for this countersuit be dismissed with prejudice.
Should the above motions be denied, the petitioners are prepared to proceed with their argument as follows:
Motion for Class Action Status
It is the request of the petitioners that this case be granted class action status, to include all descendants of the original plaintiffs, Adam and Eve. The petitioners acknowledge the fact that class action status is granted in civil rather than capital cases, but base their request on grounds of the universal nature of the indictments.
The defendant, God, told the plaintiffs, Adam and Eve, that they could eat fruit from any tree in the Garden of Eden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for eating the forbidden fruit was death. The plaintiffs, tempted by a walking, talking snake, ate from the forbidden tree, whereupon they realized they were naked and sought to clothe themselves. This act of disobedience brought about the fall of man, a condition that corrupted human nature to make it impossible for the plaintiffs’ descendants to resist the temptation to sin. Upon discovering the plaintiffs’ infraction, the defendant became extremely angry and cursed the plaintiffs, the snake, and the ground on which they stood, muted and crippled the snake such that it and its descendants could no longer walk upright, promptly expelled the plaintiffs from their home, took away their welfare subsidies, genetically predisposed the woman and all of her female descendants to a painful childbirth process that included the curse of monthly menstrual cramps, sentenced the man and all of his descendants to a lifetime of hard labor, and imposed the death sentence not only on the plaintiffs and all of their descendants, but also on all animal life and vegetation in creation. After approximately four thousand years, Jesus of Nazareth and Paul of Tarsus, agents of the defendant, changed the penalty of the plaintiffs from death to a life sentence of eternal torment. During the fourth century CE, St. Augustine of Hippo, agent of the defendant, further extended the penalty of the plaintiffs to include all of their descendants, through a concept known as original sin, a condition of collective guilt that is incurred apart from any personal guilt the offending human acquires on his own.
The primary issue is whether the plaintiffs should be held accountable for their actions due to mitigating circumstances presented in the Argument section. A secondary issue is whether the plaintiffs’ descendants should be held accountable for conditions that resulted from the original plaintiffs’ actions.
Decision of the Court
Originally, the Court decided that the penalty imposed on the plaintiffs would be death. In approximately 30 CE, the defendant, acting through his alter ego and agent, Jesus Christ, dropped the bombshell that the penalty was in fact not death, but life everlasting in Hell. In 529, the Second Council of Orange, agent of the defendant, confirmed Augustine of Hippo’s doctrine of original sin, establishing collective guilt for the plaintiffs’ descendants.
Augustine’s concept of original sin was denied by Pelagius, who held that original sin did not taint human nature, and that the plaintiffs’ descendants are capable of choosing between good and evil without special divine aid. Pelagius was declared a heretic by the Council of Carthage.
The petitioners claim that the plaintiffs should not be held accountable for disobeying the defendant in the Garden of Eden due to the following mitigating circumstances:
- The plaintiffs did not know the difference between good and evil until after they ate the forbidden fruit. Therefore, they should not be held accountable for their act of disobedience, since they did not know any better at the time. It was only after the act of disobedience that they developed the moral competence to become aware of the error of their ways. The petitioners claim that without the means to discriminate good from evil, it was inevitable that the plaintiffs would eventually eat the forbidden fruit.
- The plaintiffs had no way of appreciating the penalty for their disobedience. The penalty for eating the forbidden fruit was death. Before there was sin, there was no death, since death came into the world as a result of sin. Therefore, when the defendant told the plaintiffs that they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit, they could not fully realize what the defendant meant since death had not been invented yet.
- The penalty for disobedience was changed from death in the Book of Genesis to a life sentence of eternal damnation in the Gospel of Matthew. The penalty was expanded to include all of the plaintiffs’ descendants by St. Augustine of Hippo in the fourth century CE through his invention of original sin. In legal terms, this escalation of punishment after commission of the crime constitutes an ex post facto law, illegal in civilized societies that embrace the pagan concepts of democracy and freedom. Since this ex post facto law violates the universal standard of fairness, and since no one is more civilized than God, these facts should constitute grounds for rendering the penalty null and void.
- Since original sin, as defined by Augustine, is a condition of collective guilt passed on to all of the plaintiffs’ descendants, Jesus Christ would have inherited the stain of original sin through a human ancestor, the unscriptural and post-Augustinian fabrication of Mary’s immaculate conception notwithstanding. Even if Jesus lived a perfect life on his own, the stain of sin he inherited through his mother’s lineage constitutes baggage that should disqualify him from being mankind’s savior, assuming the job description required absolute perfection. Further, the divine court must reason that if Jesus is God, then the doctrine of original sin contaminates the Godhead by allowing the stain of collective guilt to infiltrate God’s character via its inheritance through Jesus’ human ancestry. Following this line of reasoning, God would share mankind’s fate of eternal damnation, if sin demands eternal punishment. It is the petitioners’ position that the doctrine of Augustine, agent of the defendant, impeaches the defendant and the plaintiffs alike. For this reason, the court may want to consider abolishing the penalty of eternal damnation which, if imposed without bias, would mandate that the defendant join the plaintiffs in Hell.
- The petitioners maintain that Adam et ux were victims of entrapment and breach of contract. The defendant placed the forbidden tree conspicuously in the middle of the garden and made its fruit appealing to the eye, causing it to be an attractive nuisance under tort law. After promising the human couple dominion over every living creature, the defendant breached said promise by endowing the serpent with cunning, intelligence superior to humans, the gift of speech, keen insight into human psychology, and a knowledge of good and evil forbidden the humans. In her innocence, the first woman lacked the tools necessary to judge the veracity of what the serpent said. The petitioners acknowledge the Christian revisionist claim that the serpent was in fact Satan in disguise as an undisclosed principal, though this claim is absent from the Genesis account, which infers that the serpent was beguiling in its own right, and is disputed by logic inherent in the fact that the defendant punished the snake and all its descendants by rescinding their ability to talk and walk upright. The petitioners point out that if Satan was the instrument of deceit, then the serpent was as much an innocent victim as the plaintiffs, and Satan should have been the one cursed to crawl on his belly and eat dirt rather than being rewarded with rulership over his own kingdom. Taking the claim of Satan’s complicity at face value, the petitioners maintain that it adds weight to an entrapment defense in that the defendant had advance knowledge of Satan’s invasion of paradise, but failed to bar his entrance or warn the plaintiffs of the danger. The plaintiffs maintain that these circumstances merit a reversal of the Eden condemnation.
- The plaintiffs maintain that they were victims of failure to disclose; specifically, they were given insufficient advance warning of the calamitous results of their disobedience by the defendant. They were told that disobedience would result in death. They were not told of the more sweeping consequences, that their infraction would genetically predispose their descendants to sin, that death would infect the entire plant and animal kingdoms, that the animal kingdom would be plunged into a chaotic struggle for survival that would require animals to feed off each other, that pain and suffering would wrack the entire creation, that parasites and diseases would arise to plague all living creatures, that natural disasters would strike indiscriminately and kill tens of thousands, or that mankind would later be condemned to spend a torturous eternity in Hell for the first couple’s infraction.
- The petitioners argue that Adam and Eve had no legal counsel at the time of their judgment in Eden, but were instead assigned a mediator. 1 Timothy 2:5 casts Jesus Christ in the role of mediator between God and man, a court-appointed assignment that the petitioners claim constitutes a conflict of interest. The record does not reflect that Adam and Eve’s mediator presented arguments, such as those outlined in this brief, in their defense, or that he was even present at their sentencing in Eden, omissions that the petitioners speculate arose from the aforementioned conflict of interest. The plaintiffs point out that, in a related case stemming directly from the failure to prevent the Eden charges from sticking, the plaintiffs’ mediator was himself condemned to die by the defendant. The record reflects that the plaintiffs’ mediator tried unsuccessfully on no less than three occasions to talk his way out of his own execution, but the defendant was unmoved. The plaintiffs point out that, had the plaintiffs’ mediator vigorously pressed their case in Eden, perhaps he would not have been placed on trial for his own life.
- The ultimate responsibility for the failure of a product lies not with the product itself, but with the manufacturer. If the manufacturer was able to foresee a design flaw in advance, but put the product on the market anyway without correcting the flaw, then he is that much more culpable. Thus, if a perfect angel, Lucifer, malfunctioned, and caused the plaintiffs, Adam and Eve, to malfunction, the ultimate fault lies with the defendant, architect of the universe. If the defendant is not willing to share the punishment for his contribution to the state of depravity that exists in mankind, then the punishment should be abolished for the plaintiffs.
- Free will is the vehicle used by apologists to exonerate the defendant from responsibility for failure of his creation. However, free will does not give the plaintiffs’ descendants the option of becoming sinners or nonsinners. All are sinners because of their nature, which they did not create. The petitioners point out that, although the plaintiffs disobeyed the defendant in Eden, it was the defendant who engineered a perfect universe so that it would fall apart with the first human blunder, and it was the defendant who structured human nature to cause the propensity to sin, once established, to be passed on to all of the original plaintiffs’ descendants. Since this propensity to sin is universal and unavoidable, and since the plaintiffs’ descendants did not create their own nature, the plaintiffs’ descendants argue for a defense against eternal damnation based on duress of circumstances as provided by English common law. (See statement on higher laws, next section.) Since free will does not give man the option to live without sin, it should neither be used to condemn the plaintiffs to Hell, nor to exonerate the defendant from his responsibility for the actions of his creation.
- In determining punishment for a crime, it is customary to assess the damage done to the victim of the crime. All sin is ultimately committed against God, which makes him the victim. The plaintiffs argue that it is not possible to inflict damage on an omnipotent being, any more than it is possible to pinch a bruise on Superman. For this reason, the plaintiffs argue that it is not reasonable to impose infinite punishment on the plaintiffs when no damage was done to the defendant.
- The petitioners maintain that the complaint against them should be dismissed due to insufficient service of process. By national and international law, which is rooted in the universal law of fairness, a copy of the summons and complaint must be personally delivered to the defendant. The petitioners point out that the bulk of mankind throughout history received no notification of the charges against them.
- The requirement that one must convert to Christianity to avoid eternal torment in Hell violates the legal concept of what is expected of the reasonable man. In converting to Christianity, the infidel must condemn all of his ancestors, whom he worships, to eternal torment as unbelievers, if he is to “accept Christ.” It is not reasonable to expect that someone who happens to be born into the wrong religion must condemn the inhabitants of his entire culture to eternal punishment in order to escape this extreme penalty himself. This situation should be grounds to abolish or modify the punishment.
- The plaintiffs question how the defendant’s plan of salvation can balance the scales of justice when the defendant received a refund on his gift to mankind three days after he made it. Since the defendant got his son back after a thirty-six-hour time lapse, and in considerably better shape than he was when he went to the cross, the plaintiffs argue that the crucifixion presents only the appearance of sacrifice. While acknowledging that the defendant and his son had a bad weekend, the plaintiffs point out that, in the long run, the defendant lost nothing. The plaintiffs claim that the Resurrection constitutes a return of consideration that renders the contract between the defendant and plaintiffs null and void.
- The defendant’s plan of salvation is rooted in human sacrifice, a barbaric custom with pagan origins that the petitioners argue does not do justice to a Supreme Deity. The plaintiffs argue that the act of taking one life, human or animal, to expiate the sins of another, is an inherently evil undertaking that generates its own burden of guilt.
- The defendant’s plan of salvation is not evenly and fairly administered. Imposing physical death as the deadline by which a person must accept the Christian religion does not do justice to millions who never heard the message. Those who were born into the Christian religion have an unfair advantage over those born into other religions with regard to ease of accepting the plan. Likewise, those who were born in an age of ignorance have an advantage over those who were born in an age of scientific enlightenment. The petitioners also point out that in light of the fact that man appeared on the planet one hundred thousand years ago, while Jesus Christ appeared on the planet two thousand years ago, the proffered remedy from the Christian church was not available until the last two percent of human history, thus depriving much of mankind equal protection under the law.
- Hell is a doctrine invented by heathens and appropriated by Christians and Muslims, who turned it into an insidious recruitment tool. Decisions made under threats of duress are generally acknowledged to be null and void, which is one reason legal documents require the signature of a witness. The plaintiffs ask that conversions to any religion made under threat of duress be declared illegal. Since Hell is the ultimate threat of duress, the petitioners ask that it be outlawed.
- The petitioners claim that in 324 CE, the Council of Nicaea diagnosed God with multiple personality disorder, an affliction recently renamed dissociative identity disorder in deference to political correctness. To qualify for this diagnosis under DSM-5, the patient must exhibit at least two distinct personalities. The Council of Nicaea identified three. dissociative identity disorder has legal precedent for exonerating afflicted patients of responsibility for their actions. The plaintiffs maintain that since the defendant has a legal claim of immunity from responsibility for his actions under the M’naghten rules, the penalty of eternal damnation imposed on them by the defendant should be null and void due to implied impairment that logically derives from the Council of Nicaea diagnosis.
- The petitioners argue that the defendant is responsible for the plaintiffs’ infractions in Eden under the legal doctrines of respondeat superior and vicarious liability, which hold that the superior is legally responsible for the actions of the subordinate.
- The plaintiffs maintain that they had no choice but to accept the conditions imposed on them by the defendant in Eden, with no opportunity for negotiation. For this reason, they hold that the punishment of eternal damnation should be voided because it derives from a contract of adhesion, which was unfairly balanced in the defendant’s favor.
- Under consumer protection laws, it is decreed that patrons who are billed for unsolicited gifts are under no obligation to pay for them. The plaintiffs claim that since neither they nor their descendants asked to be born, they should be under no obligation to pay the penalty imposed on them by the defendant.
- The plaintiffs hold that the punishment of eternal torture in Hell should be abolished because it constitutes a hate crime rooted in religious bigotry and violates the following national and international hate crime laws: Article 4 of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief; the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Other Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act; crimes against humanity as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; article 6c of the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (crimes against humanity); the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (concerning cruel and unusual punishment); and a plethora of other national and international laws. (See statement on higher laws, next section.)
- The penalties derived from original sin should be abolished because the passing of guilt from one generation to the next due to infractions committed by the original plaintiffs, Adam and Eve, constitutes debt bondage, a condition that has been described by the United Nations as “modern day slavery,” and that is prohibited by article 1(a) of the United Nations 1956 Supplementary Convention of the Abolition of Slavery. (See statement on higher laws, next section.)
- The penalty of eternal damnation should be voided because it derives from guilt established by monitoring each individual plaintiff’s every thought, word, and action through totalitarian surveillance that is arbitrary, all-seeing, and invasive, and that violates national and international laws against illegal search and seizure, compromising safeguards for the reasonable expectation of privacy as a basic human right. Further, the plaintiffs claim that the requirement that each human must give an account of his earthly deeds on Judgment Day violates the right to remain silent when questioned and protection against self-incrimination as enshrined in national and international laws and English common law. (See statement on higher laws, next section.)
- The death sentence imposed by the defendant in Eden should be voided under the theory of contra proferentem, which states that an ambiguous term in a contract shall be construed against the party imposing the term. The plaintiffs point out that they were given permission to eat from every tree in the Garden of Eden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This provision granted them implied license to eat from the tree of life. The plaintiffs point out that God claims that he can neither lie nor change his mind. (God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind—Numbers 23:19 NIV). This means that God cannot rescind the right of the plaintiffs to eat from the tree of life, thus reneging on a promise, and remain true to his character. For this reason, the plaintiffs maintain that their denial of access to the tree of life was an illegal act. Further, the plaintiffs point out that the implied license granted to them to eat from the tree of life conflicts with the death sentence imposed on them for eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, creating a condition of ambiguity and providing grounds to be addressed under contra proferentem. The reasoning behind the theory of contra proferentem is to encourage the drafter of a contract to be clear and specific and to anticipate as many foreseeable circumstances as possible, which should be standard fare for an omniscient being.
- The plaintiffs claim that their lapse of compliance in Eden was a nonviolent act of civil disobedience in response to censorship and denial of educational enlightenment imposed on them by the defendant, and as such, hardly merits the harsh punishment decreed. The plaintiffs hold that learning is a basic human right codified in many local and international laws, including Article 26 of the landmark 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (See statement on higher laws, next section.)
- Apologists for the defendant justify the institution of eternal punishment by stating that God is love, but that God’s holiness demands perfect justice. Taken to its logical conclusion, this argument leads to the absurd position that God is so good that he is evil. The petitioners maintain that trying to torture one’s way to holiness is as ludicrous as trying to copulate one’s way to virginity. The petitioners further maintain that the penalty of eternal damnation should be abolished because it serves no corrective, rehabilitative, or reformative function, but instead serves as a vehicle for vengeance and retaliation against billions of mostly nonviolent inmates who are overrepresented by Middle Eastern, Asian, and African populations, all serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, all constituting a colossal waste of human potential, and all who would have been willing to embrace the correct theology had it been directly and personally revealed to them by the defendant. The petitioners ask that if the plaintiffs’ descendants, as evil as they are, temper their judicial systems with due process safeguards, Miranda warnings, probation and parole systems, rehabilitative efforts, lethal injections, and petitions and laws against capital punishment, how is it that the perfect deity shows less compassion than the unholy?
- The penalty of eternal damnation should be abolished because it derives from a codependent abusive relationship between the deity and his creation marked by alternating actions of kindness and cruelty on the part of the deity, and in which the worship and adulation heaped on the deity by his creation under the onus of shame and guilt—and under threats of punishment—bear evidence of Stockholm syndrome and battered persons syndrome.
- Information about the plan of salvation comes to us as hearsay evidence from a book that, studied from a historical-critical approach, is seen to be replete with contradictions and inconsistencies, has many authors presenting varying and inconsistent points of view, as the original texts are all lost and their copies have been altered along the way by men wishing to shape theology to their own agenda. The plaintiffs claim that the hearsay status of eternal damnation presents grounds for its being thrown out of the Judgment Day court.
The preceding arguments were culled from some of the best and most divergent thinking minds of the past two thousand years. The plaintiffs hold that each of these 28 arguments, in and of itself, constitutes sufficient grounds for having original sin thrown out of court, and for invalidating eternal torment in Hell as punishment for the plaintiffs.
Statement on Higher Laws
The plaintiffs concede that God is not bound by man’s law, but hold that he is bound by his own higher laws of fairness, justice, honor, compassion, and decency that constitute a Platonic purity of form, which underpin and serve as paragons for man’s law as referenced in this brief, and that he hardwired into the character of the best of his human creation. It is to these higher laws as they are codified in man’s law cited in this brief that the plaintiffs appeal in their quest for justice.
This legal brief assumes that the deity wants his subjects to consider him fair and just, for if he did not care what they thought, he would neither invite them to worship him nor exhibit jealousy when they forsake him. Further, the plaintiffs point out that the gifts of logic and reason were bestowed on them by the deity, not by the deity’s adversary, Satan. For this reason, they can be trusted as instruments to discover truth and reality. This legal brief rests on the integrity of these divinely bestowed gifts.
This legal brief holds that the conclusions derived from logic and reason, conscience, and innate awareness of right and wrong given to all humans trump the pretentions of exclusive divine revelation alleged, claimed, scripted, and heralded by the privileged few, pretentions that seek to usurp and ventriloquize the mute voice of God.
The plaintiffs conclude that if an omnipotent being allowed the theological absurdities, loopholes, and inconsistencies enumerated in this brief, it can be reasoned that their occurrence was not accidental, but were deliberate and provided with purpose. The plaintiffs speculate that the only sensible purpose for said theological absurdities, loopholes, and inconsistencies would be to provide the plaintiffs with legal grounds for winning salvation by reason and logic, thus leading the plaintiffs, through reverse psychology, into a state of universal reconciliation with the defendant.
Rule of Law
The plaintiffs concede that man’s law does not always conform to God’s law as specified in the Bible and Qur’an. However, in Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis made the case that there is a universal standard of right and wrong derived from a Supreme Being. A basic universal tenet recognized by all cultures is fairness. It is the position of the petitioners that throwing out original sin will serve the interests of fairness. While the plaintiffs concede that life is not fair, they ask that death be made fair.
The plaintiffs ask the following of the court:
- A ruling that the defendant acknowledge responsibility for his role in the fall of man as manufacturer of the product that malfunctioned.
- A declaration of exoneration for the original plaintiffs, Adam and Eve.
- A ruling that original sin be found without basis.
- An acknowledgment of the restraints on free will that subject it to man’s created or evolved nature.
- An injunction against eternal damnation as a punishment for the plaintiffs and their descendants.
- A ruling that decriminalizes disbelief in unprovable religious dogma.
- For perpetrators of heinous crimes, term limits for Hell that provide a sentence of finite punishment that matches the severity of their offenses.
- For the remainder of the plaintiff’s descendants, commutation of punishment to time served on earth and probation in the afterlife.
- For the plaintiffs and their descendants, reparations in the form of eternal life in paradise for those who choose it, or a restful eternal sleep for the remainder.
- For members of the female gender, release from the inequality that was imposed on them in the Genesis 3:16 command that Eve’s husband would rule over her, a command that inaugurated a long and shameful history of sexual bias, degradation, and exploitation.
- For the snake species—in recognition of the fact that the serpent in Eden was an innocent victim of either possession or identity theft by Satan—a restoration of its ability to walk upright and vocalize.
In his centennial posthumous autobiography, Mark Twain made the claim that neither the deity nor his son are Christians, Twain doubtlessly being of the opinion that condemning your disobedient children to eternal torture is not a very Christian thing to do. Should the plaintiffs prevail in their Judgment Day brief, their ultimate goal will be realized, that of witnessing the deity’s conversion to Christianity.