Okay this book is one of the final 3 books of Philip K. Dick's career, in fact the third was in a lot of turmoil because it wasn't quite finished before he died...but I'll talk about that one on my next Dick book review. This one however asked a simple question: "What if God--or a being called Yah--were alive and in exile on a distant planet?" Which leads to: "How could a second coming succeed against the high technology and finely tuned rationalized evil of the modern police state?" These questions were all part of a way for PKD to that came out of a mystical event that happened in his life in 1974.
Yah (God) is a being in exile on a planet in the CY30-CY30B star system and decides it's time to come back to Earth for the promised second coming. He impregnates Rybys Rommey, who happens to be terminally ill with multiple sclerosis and has Herb Asher bring her back to Earth so God can be reborn unto the world. Accompanied by Elias Tate, who is in reality the Prophet Elijah, the three are discovered by Earth's religious leader the Christian Islamic Church and "Big Noodle" the computer system governing the planet. The 3 are intercepted but Elias gets away. In the meantime Yah goes into the minds of those seeking to detain Herb and Rybys and plans their escape. However they are involved in a crash and Rybys dies but the baby (the unborn Yah) is placed into a synth-womb. Herb meanwhile is placed into cryogenic storage waiting for a spleen transplant because of the accident.
Elias steals the baby and raises him in a special school where due to brain damage from the accident he may or may not remember that he is God.
Herb awakes from cryogenic storage 10 years later as the child, Emmanual (Yah) is rediscovering who he is and ready to battle Belial (Satan). Herb becomes part of the catalyst that enables the battle to be fought...or is this all a dream in Herb's cryogenic sleep? You decide.
So at this point you may want an espresso and discuss more about the possibilties of God into the wee hours of the night.
A side note here while the characters in the book are very deeply ingrained in religion and philosophy as are all of PKD's characters. However this one really points out a deep flaw in his character's...and that's women. I've noticed in all the PKD stories and novels I've read all his women characters are 2 dimensional and stereotypical. All the men have depth but not the women...I wonder why that is....maybe something we could discuss here.