Well, after at least fifteen billion years in the job, God is finally stepping down, it was announced today.
Speaking from a tower above the Pearly Gates, St Peter told a stunned universe that God now felt he was too old to be the Supreme Being, and would be making way for a younger man.
Departing from his prepared statement, the 2030-year-old Apostle dwelt on some of the pressures that lay behind God's decision. "Life as the Almighty hasn't been a bundle of laughs," said the former fisherman. "Juggling the need to monitor everyone's behaviour on a twenty-four hour basis with his responsibilities as a single parent has meant that God has had very little sleep over the last few aeons. Now He feels it's time for a change."
St Peter went on to praise God's record as King of Heaven, while dismissing recent criticisms that His much-vaunted Omniscience was showing signs of breaking down.
"There are things we might wish He'd done differently," he conceded. "He could have wiped out Madonna before she got a recording contract. He could have made the Americans French, so they'd dress acceptably well and shrug their shoulders in quite an attractive way. But it's easy to be wise after the event. The fact is that since the Big Bang the universe has enjoyed a period of unrivalled expansion, due in no small measure to God's unique capacity for blue-skies thinking and vertical crisis management. Look at His track record. He had the heating working by the Fourth Day, and the lights came on soon after. Compare that with to day’s government or even Virgin Trains."
God is staying on as caretaker until a successor is chosen, and the process of finding the new man is expected to begin in earnest tomorrow. Jesus is hotly tipped to succeed, though Heaven-watchers caution against seeing his election as a done deal. Whispers of nepotism are already being heard in the celestial antechambers, and his closeness to George Bush and Tony Blair is likely to count against him with the rank and file. Doubts on that score have persuaded some pundits to tip the Holy Ghost, who, along with God and Jesus, is one of the core group of three known as the Holy Trinity. He wasn't available for comment, on account of being invisible, but was believed to be hovering somewhere near the reporters' enclosure.
Blessed Michael the Archangel - known as "Two Harps" - will not be standing. He sees himself as part of the old guard, and believes the old "God's rottweiler" tag is one he'll never shake off. These days the overweight bruiser is philosophical about his image, as he revealed when he strolled out of Paradise this afternoon to tell reporters to stop hounding him. "Frankly, it's been an annoyment and an imposition to me and my wife, and would be even if I hadn't told you about it before, so I don't know why you're asking me the question... Can we do that again?"
Earlier, when St Peter was quizzed about God's own plans for the future, he stressed that God intends to have an active retirement. "He'd like to manage Shrewsbury Town when the job falls vacant at the end of the season," said the Keeper of the Keys. "He knows quite a lot about football, having watched every FA Cup Final since the first in 1871. The Shrews are well known as the crappest team in the English League, and the fans are often heard saying, 'God help us in the play-offs'. And God listens, you know. He feels that with the right sponsorship deal and nicer shorts they could start the long haul towards the Premiership."
This news was not well received by the acceptably dressed Arsene Wenger. "If Goad is allowed to manage a food-ball tim, it could be ze end of ze Beaudiful Game," he declared, shrugging in quite an attractive way. "'Owever, even wan of 'eez miracles could not 'elp Shrewzbury."
The new God will be elected by a Convocation of Angels sometime next week. A column of white smoke will be the signal that they're thinking about it while sucking on a very large spliff.