Theologians have wrestled with some pretty bizarre questions over the centuries, such as "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" and "Do hair and fingernails keep growing in heaven?"
The latest head-scratcher is "What would Jesus drive?" The traditional answer is "a donkey." But what if Jesus had been born in modern times? Would he choose public transit or a private car? Stick shift or automatic? A sport-utility vehicle roomy enough for all 12 apostles or an economy model?
Jim Ball, a Baptist pastor who runs the Pennsylvania-based Evangelical Environmental Network, doesn't think such questions are esoteric. His group is launching a "What would Jesus drive?" ad campaign today designed to discourage Christians from buying gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles.
Ball argues that God would choose an environmentally friendly vehicle, such as a Toyota Prius, which has a hybrid gasoline-electric motor. But other "theologians" disagree.
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler theorized that Jesus would tool around in a vintage Plymouth because "the Bible says God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury."
And our research department uncovered several other divinely approved autos. For example, in Psalm 83, the Almighty apparently owned a Pontiac and a Geo. The passage urges the Lord to "pursue your enemies with your Tempest and terrify them with your Storm," although theologians aren't sure how a Geo Storm could be considered terrifying, unless it had those scary shooting flames painted on the sides.
Another scripture indicates that Yahweh favored Dodge pickup trucks. Moses' followers are warned not to go up a mountain until "the Ram's horn sounds a long blast."
God also owned an AMC vehicle. In the book of Exodus, he promised to "send the Hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way."
Some scholars insist that Jesus drove a Honda but preferred not to discuss it. As proof, they cite a verse in St. John's gospel in which Christ tells a crowd, "For I did not speak of my own Accord."
Debate continues over whether the Lord's Honda had bumper stickers that said, "My other car is a flaming chariot," "Honk if you love me" or "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased because he was an honor student at Galilee Elementary."
Meanwhile, Ostler has discovered another transportation-related scripture: Moses rode an old British motorcycle, as evidenced by a Bible passage declaring that "the roar of Moses' Triumph is heard in the hills."