The last human alive sits huddled in a dark cave, alone and weak. The friends she once knew, the family she had loved: all are gone. Six billion lives lost in just six months; victims of the deadly virus that had spread throughout the world.
The last human alive, the final gasp of what was once a successful species, begins to cough and wheeze. She knows that she doesn’t have much time left. In her despair she whispers to the one stable comfort that she knew as a child.
“God,” she utters into the dark, “please help me.”
Despite the pains in her chest, she calls out again, more loudly this time.
“God, if you can hear me, please help. God, where are you?”
But there is no answer. No voice. Nothing. The last human alive suddenly realises that she is utterly and entirely alone. There is nobody here, no other intelligent mind to hear her speak. Her words are simply meaningless sounds.
She wonders: where is this being called God? Why does he not come to the last human ever to walk this earth? She realises that maybe, just maybe, God had not been a spiritual being after all, but a natural one. Like the billions of single neurons creating the complex networks of her personality and character, the billions of human brains throughout history had created the character and personality of God.
God had existed, but not in the way most people had believed: his very essence had simply been a product of the human mind, a powerful and complex pattern that had spread through billions of brains over thousands of years. Humans did not depend on the existence of God; rather, the concept of God – like the concepts of language and music – had depended upon the existence of humans.
And now, in this dark hole in the ground, the once great and powerful essence of God splutters like a candle flame in the rain; a belief that once occupied billions of brains, now reduced to dwell in a single human mind.
As her breathing slows, her eyes close, and her mind clouds over, the last human alive suddenly realises that her death will be the most unique human death in all of history: through her death all of what is human – courage, love, and imagination – will die with her. Her death will mark the ultimate end of the brief period in the universe’s history in which intelligence life had existed.
But more than that, her end will mark the death of God.