In a movie (based on a book) several years back starring Shia LeBeouf, the main character had to escape a horrific detention camp in Texas. Ironically, the camp was at Green Lake, which was really a desert. His destination for eventual escape? A mountain called God's Thumb.

God's Thumb. What a name. Yet, in The Wheel, someone somewhere is rewriting the future of the Universe with the touch of a finger.

How do we know God? In the original Star Trek television series, there were several episodes with God-like characters. In "Who Mourns for Adonais?" a humanoid identifies himself as the god Apollo. He has powers enough to be a god. Is he? Well, not in the Star Trek world, because the human explorers aboard the Enterprise always triumph in the end. One down for humanity!

What about "The Explorers" with River Phoenix? The all-powerful aliens were simply naughty children who were soon retrieved by their parents. Won't that spin your whirlpool?

Our "finger-god" isn't really known in The Wheel until the very end. (Spoiler alert: If you haven't finished the book, click off this post right now.) So is he God? Or a god? Or simply someone with the powers of a god? Does a god have to be an "origin" god, having brought the Universe into being, or can a god come into being after-the-fact? If man makes an AI that grows powerful enough that it can manipulate matter, time, and space, even altering the very essence of what it means to be human, have we created God? Or just a god?

The difference is essential. God, from a religious viewpoint, is a being that offers rewards for our behaviors during our life, and punishments for our misdeeds - as well as moral guidelines by which to live our lives. A god (lower case) is simply someone with more power than we've got, and if we can gain the upper hand, we can oust them and take their place.

So, back to The Wheel. If we create a god that can manipulate time, and that god returns to the origins of the Universe and becomes a part of that, have we created God? You decide what happens when the finger touches the oil, and the great wheel of the Universe begins to move once again.