Does God Have a Sense of Humour?
Not Much For God To Smile About Here!
‘The One Enthroned In Heaven Laughs’
To the question: ‘Does God have a sense of humour?’ many people, religious or not would reply: ‘I hope so - or I’m in big trouble.’
We are all born with the capacity to smile back at our parents within a few weeks of our birth and the ability to laugh is part of our makeup. If these qualities are intrinsic to our nature and we are created in the image of God then it follows that he is able to smile and laugh also and must, therefore, possess a sense of humour.
We all know people who never see the funny side of anything and are sad and dour in their appearance with frown lines already etched deep into their foreheads even when young. We can be assured that God is not like that and that he does, in fact, possess a profound sense of humour by looking to see what The Bible has to say. As the Irish comedian, Dave Allen wisely put it: ‘If man has a sense of humour about God, then surely God has a sense of humour about man’.The fact that we have completely messed up his planet might also incite God to other less gentle emotions than humour.
What Does The Bible Say?
Although The Bible does not specifically mention that God has a sense of humour, there are many indications that show he is very likely to possess one.
‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.’(Proverbs 17:22)
According to the above proverb, a loving God would expect us to be cheerful in our disposition throughout our daily lives. God wants us to have a sense of humour and it is an indication that he too can see the funny side as long as the joke is not at the expense of others or conducted in a harmful or spiteful way that a devout Christian would know to be inappropriate behaviour.
‘The One enthroned in heaven laughs’ (Psalm 2:4).
Throughout history when earthly nations have taken up arms against one another in the name of God, each claiming he is on their side, he must surely have laughed at them all for their stupidity. God is not on anyone’s side - he instructed us not to kill, remember? You can imagine God laughing when he sees the clergy from both warring nations each blessing their troops before battle and claiming they have God on their side. The joke really is on us and is created by our own idiotic values but God can see the wider picture and there are many incidents in The Bible where he has always mocked those who have not paid heed to his instructions and advice.
‘There is a time to laugh.’ (Ecc.3:4)
There are forty-two references to laughter in The Bible and it is a positive human trait but we do have to be discerning in its usage and not laugh at the expense of others in a derisive manner. A sense of humour can be helpful in all situations when things are dire; perhaps God has the same sense of humour when summing up our successes and failures either individually or collectively, in both praise and condemnation of our actions. ‘Oh, look what they’ve gone and done now!’ you could imagine him exclaiming just as you would when viewing your own naughty children from an upstairs window.
Dave Allen Religious Jokes
‘If man has a sense of humour about God, then surely God has a sense of humour about man’.— Dave Allen
So Does God Have A Sense Of Humour?
It seems the general consensus of opinion is yes, God does possess a sense of humour - but if he doesn’t, would anyone really want to go to Heaven? Curiously even atheists would expect God to have a sense of humour - if they were somehow convinced of his existence.
Many religious folks often feel that religion and humour don’t mix. They have a fear of appearing disrespectful to their deity but surely a loving God has endowed us with a sense of humour to help us deal with certain difficult situations where remaining tight-lipped and morose could never provide a positive remedy for the things that cause us sorrow.
Christians can still have a sense of humour without being irreverent. Laughing is medically proven to be a healthy outlet which assists us in overcoming the trials and tribulations we face on the treadmill of life. It can help us preserve our sanity.
Having a sense of humour might help God maintain his sanity too when he sees what a mess we have made of the world. You could say that God is the ultimate landlord; we have wrecked his paradisiacal garden which he let us have rent free and have broken all the terms on the tenancy agreement so perhaps a sense of humour is all he has left. Suppose you let a house to someone and they abused the privilege of being there - no one would blame you for being angry but having a sense of humour may help you to cope with the situation that little bit better.
The God of the Old Testament was indeed a very angry god at times, which was perhaps a wise step under the circumstances; having a sense of humour is not generally a useful characteristic for someone who wishes to demonstrate good leadership qualities. If the God of the Old Testament had been too jovial a personality then perhaps nobody would have taken much notice of him. ‘Jovial’ is, in fact, an apt word in some ways for the purpose of this article; it pertains to Jupiter the largest planet and the main god of Roman mythology – Jove, or the joy-bringer who had a reputation for being a convivial prankster. The writers of the New Testament tend to depict God as a more mellow character.
So how does your perception of God’s sense of humour impact on your life and how can it help you develop as a Christian? If you tend to think: Now, how would God react to this situation? Would he laugh or would he think it in poor taste to laugh? Then you are likely thinking along the right lines.
We are the only species who can smile and laugh and that is probably because God intended us to have a sense of humour since he possesses one himself. We can express anger too in much the same way as God is depicted in the Old Testament but when tempered with a sense of humour, anger is more easily dissipated. If we are created in God’s image then he must have all the same facets to his nature that we have to ours.
Having a sense of humour can be viewed as a positive trait for a Christian or indeed anyone to possess and it is in complete harmony with the scriptures and the message that Christ brought to the world. It is one of the most redeeming aspects of our characters that others remember and often we’ll exclaim about ourselves: ‘Thank God I’ve got a sense of humour!’
When used in a derogatory fashion to make fun of someone and highlight certain things about them such as disabilities or appearance in a negative way, a sense of humour can be open to abuse. It is sometimes not easy to gauge what will make a certain person laugh and what will not, but if your ultimate intention is for good then you won't allow a sense of humour to be misused in this way.
We should not make a sarcastic joke about someone or run them down in front of others just for the sake of few laughs without paying heed to the possible consequences whether we are Christians or not; the person involved may take it to heart and be offended. It is said that 'sarcasm is the lowest form of wit' and improper use of sarcasm should never be confused with a genuine sense of humour. Sarcasm in itself is not a bad thing and God himself has been known to be sarcastic at times throughout The Bible but sarcasm is frequently used to belittle people and this is not in keeping with Christian principles. True humour is a world away from this type of ridicule.
It is far better to laugh at life and the things life throws at you and to see the irony in a situation rather than crack demeaning jokes about others under the pretence that it is just an expression of your sense of humour. Instead, try to develop a godlike sense of humour that helps you to be a better person and you will find it is a beneficial attribute to have.
Maybe The Joke Is On Us!
'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary!'
Here's A Typical Scenario Where God Might See The Funny Side!
Watching a nativity play as your children act out their carefully rehearsed roles as shepherds, angels and wise men is a joy and a blessing to behold. As the children gather round the manger and the Virgin Mary, she holds her plastic baby Jesus so lovingly and tenderly in her arms it brings tears to your eyes. But as soon as the production is over and the actors begin to leave the stage, Mary unceremoniously throws the baby Jesus backstage along with all the other props. The audience is soon roaring with laughter and you'll know in your heart that God must be laughing along with it.
Does It Matter If God Has A Sense Of Humour Or Not?
If you believe in God, do you believe he has a sense of humour?
© 2015 Stella Kaye