'We apologise for any inconvenience,' said God, 'but at the end of next year the Universe will be closed to carry out essential maintenance work.'
The decision follows reports that there are serious design flaws in the cosmos that are preventing it from achieving it's full potential. It also appears that health and safety guidelines may have been breached because the fabric of space-time is not flame retardant. 'The Universe is perfectly safe,' insisted God, 'but people need to remember that it is a prototype and, at this early stage, there will be some teething problems.'
'We have known for some time that there is not enough matter in the Universe to keep it going,' explained physicist, Professor Brian Cox, 'the official line is that there must be a realm of invisible 'dark matter' but secretly we all suspect that God simply cocked up with the numbers.'
'The entire project is riddled with black holes,' added Professor Stephen Hawking, 'I wouldn't be at all surpised if the whole thing collapsed in on itself any day now.'
The closure is just the latest in a long line of problems to dog the Universe ever since it began operating 13.7 billion years ago. The original Big Bang was postponed by a year because of 'technical issues' over how to create something out of nothing; millions of galaxies had to be recalled after being found to be 'unfit for purpose'; and plans for the expansion of the Universe continue to suffer major delays due to 'the wrong kind of gravity'.
Meanwhile, a 'vanity project' by God to develop civilised life on Earth is already 4.5 billion years overdue and horrendously over budget.
'Quite honestly, if I had known it was all going to be so much trouble I probably wouldn't have bothered' said God, 'but hindsight is a wonderful thing, even if you are omniscient.'
Engineering work begins in late 2011 during which time a replacement bus service will be running to your nearest parallel universe.