Contract Law 401: Negotiating With God

God's attorney takes a deal.

I recently posted about my near-death experience while flying.  My cousin Ed, a noted quipster, responded with a joke about a billionaire in a similar circumstance who made a deal with God to give away half his wealth if he got out alive.  Once the plane touched down safely, he claimed to have renegotiated the deal.

The joke was mildly amusing, but the important thing is it got me thinking.

It’s human nature to try to negotiate with God.  We do it all the time when we’re under stress.  The bargains we offer are pretty standard.  It’s like Mad Libs – just fill in the blanks:

             “God, if only you’ll (verb) the (noun), I promise to (clause)!”
                                                   A               B                                    C

A) give me
     spare me

B) wealth
     hot body
     woman/man I want
     parental wrath
C) give half my money to the poor
     never tease my brother again
     go to church every day
     not turn into a vampire
As I recall from business law classes, a valid contract must have offer and acceptance.  The problem with making deals with God is you’re never quite sure of the acceptance.  How do you know if He is onboard?  

There are lots of examples of people making deals with the devil, at least in the movies.  The fiendish contracts that forfeit their souls are signed in blood, fire or something equally dramatic and permanent.  Seems the devil’s attorneys like their contracts iron-clad.

God is a lot harder to pin down.  A rainbow is some sort of covenant, but try taking that into court to get damages the next time your big event is rained out.  You rarely hear of Him putting it in writing.  I’d be hard pressed to recall any examples besides the commandments.

As far as the billionaire in the joke, I’d have to side with him in this case.  If God didn’t put His John Hancock on the contract, it’s not binding.

It doesn’t matter what I think, though.  In the final analysis, we all have to answer to a higher power. 

Judge Judy.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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28 Responses to Contract Law 401: Negotiating With God

  1. egills says:

    I got to the part about Contract Law and my eyes glassed over… That was really good reading if I was suffering from insomnia…..


  2. Of course God doesn’t have written contracts. There are no lawyers in heaven to write them up, which also explains why it seems that Satan has contracts ready for signing at all times.


  3. Jane says:

    Funny stuff! On a serious note – I used to have horrible anxiety about flying. I could not look out the window, and I would clutch my seat cushion at the slightest bit of turbulance and pray frantically. Everytime I would fly, I would vow it was my last time I would ever be in a plane.

    About 10 years ago, I started questioning the influence prayer has on airplanes. 9/11. For me, the thought of a higher power influencing the fate of my flight was adding to my anxiety! Will He or won’t He let my plane land safely? Does He take into consideration the collective amount and sincerity of all passengers prayers when He decides these things?

    When I stopped thinking that my prayers, the prayers of others, or absence of prayers, influences the outcome of flights, my fear of flying disappeared. Strange but true.


    • pegoleg says:

      I agree with you, Jane. Although I do believe in miracles, I don’t understand the mechanics. I have trouble with the thought that someone isn’t saved because he didn’t pray hard enough, or say the right words.

      I wasn’t praying to be saved, but to try to get ready for meeting God.


  4. Big Al says:

    Thanks, pegoleg. Praying is so much easier when we can just fill in the blanks. Now, if you can just come up with a multiple choice template of reasons why I won’t be at church Sunday!


    • pegoleg says:

      Depends on who you want to give the excuse to. If it’s other people, we should be able to come up with something. If it’s The Big Guy, I don’t think any of my stuff will fly.


  5. Tori Nelson says:

    This is so clever and so true! I still catch myself trying to play the Tit-For-Tat game with God. Give me this, I’ll do that. We forget that we are pretty much never the boss and He decides the winner.


    • pegoleg says:

      I don’t think anybody really thinks God is going to come down like a spiritual Monte Hall to exchange certain death in a plane plummeting to earth for what’s behind curtain #3, but we’ve got to try.


  6. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    As a contract negotiator, I loved this entry well before its concluding words. But the concluding words had me chortling. It’s a good thing my manager didn’t happen by just then . . .

    Thank you for brightening a gloomy Friday!


    • pegoleg says:

      I want Judge Judy’s job. To have absolute power, to be able to tell whiny, irresponsible people exactly what you think and then force them to reap the consequences…do you think my having had just 1 semester of business law might hurt this humble career dream?

      Thanks for stopping by!


  7. Speaking of renegotiation, Heston should have talked his way out of that striped tie. It does nothing for him.


  8. Sandy Sue says:

    The joke is on all those schmucks who think God is actually listening to their propositions. He’s really in the den chomping KFC and watching Wheel of Fortune while the machine picks up the messages.


  9. John Hunsinger says:

    Nice post Peg. Next time I see you I’ll tell you about the first time I had to fly. There was negotiating, renegotiating, and a new pair of BVD’s.


  10. Terrasidius says:

    Lol, I love your blog, you have a new subscriber. 🙂


  11. poetgranny says:

    I think God thinks we’re a bit dim. It’s really about negotiating with yourself. Each of us could have (fill in blank) if only we are willing to give up (fill in blank). This is the free will God has promised us and the reason he never signs the contract. 😉 At the point of near death, the real issue is not negotiating with God, but that our bargaining days are over. We can’t stand the loss of control! Enjoyed your blog!


    • pegoleg says:

      Very true, about control. That’s a major problem with modern people and religion – the thought of giving in to a higher power.

      So glad you stopped by – feel free to come again.


  12. Pingback: FTIAT: Little Gratitude « The Monster in Your Closet

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