You and I are going to write a book. It's the story of a family from their first appearance until the last one is gone. It spans several centuries and this family has enormous influence on world affairs. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The writing process will not be the normal process, because in addition to you and me, we're going to invite others to write pieces of this book as well...as many as 40 – most of whom you don't know, and will only meet once. There'll be no collaboration and very little information will be passed from one author to another. Here's how that will work:
First, I'll write the first five chapters of this new book where I'll introduce the initial characters and the first few descendants. Everyone will use these chapters as an initial guide as they prepare their individual parts. I'll give some clues about future events for others to expand upon, but most of these clues will be hints only without any real specifics. It'll be up to the group to expand upon those clues.
You will write the last chapter, along with a couple of others, so you'll be responsible for bringing the family and their entire history to a close. In that last chapter, you'll resolve all outstanding issues and tie all remaining mysteries together.
We'll do this over the period of a year. Each chapter will be written in less than two weeks, and some chapters will be written simultaneously by people who don't know what the other is writing. About half way through the book, I'll direct a new character to be introduced and choose some writers to bring this character to life for the reader. These writers will be able to consult with each other for one day, after which they'll write their individual chapters without further consultation. Once written, the remaining authors will be allowed to read, but not take notes, on these chapters before penning their parts.
Now, here's the kicker: Once the book is finished, the story line must be consistent through the entire book. All events predicted by not only myself but others along the way will occur exactly as predicted, and there'll be no discrepancies in the characters, the story line, or the unfolding of events.
Once we're finished, there'll be no editing of the story content – only grammatical corrections – after which it'll go straight to the printer. Once a first edition is printed, it will be used to entice a major publisher into funding the project, and placing it on bookstore shelves around the country, and then the world.
What do you think of our chances? Do you think:
- The story will be interesting at all?
- We'll be able to keep the family history meaningful?
- The characters will be believable?
- We'll be able to resolve in a meaningful way all the histories and events?
- We won't all look like fools?
Do you think this will make any sense at all, or will it just be the biggest piece of junk ever committed to paper? I'm betting, and as a matter of fact I'll guarantee, this latter option.
So what's the point?
Such a book exists. It was written over the space of 1500 years by people, many of whom never met, had no collaboration, many of whom were unschooled, even illiterate, although some parts were written by very scholarly individuals, and a couple were written by powerful leaders of their own country. In fact, it's a collection of 66 writings by some 40 authors all bound together in a single book. It contains no factual errors, no unresolved issues (at least from the internal perspective of the primary characters), and best of all, explains the entire human condition! You probably have at least one, and maybe many yourself.
How did this happen? Well, there is only one way this could occur, and the book itself explains why. It's because it is inspired by someone greater than ourselves. It is what it claims to be: The inspired Word of God. It would be impossible for the Bible to exist any other way.
Unless, of course, you believe in evolution, in which case you have no problem with 1 + 1 = 43 billion.