January 20, 2015

TALES FROM EDEN: Day Seven

Disclaimer: It should go without saying that these are by all means fictitious tales. I want to make this absolutely clear: This is not a new revelation from God. I am not dictating the Word of God. Please take everything I say here with great caution and perfect deference to the Bible. This is simply one man’s poor attempt at imagining what it would have been like to be Adam. I have tried to remain faithful to the Bible’s account and to not deviate from it. 

Day 7
During the early morning we sat and spoke with the Lord God about faith, truth, love, and many other spiritual matters. Eve and I had many questions, and the Lord had clear and wise answers. Much of what He said cannot be accurately recounted now. Two parts of the conversation remained with me for these last nine hundred years.
I asked Him about faith. Why could not God prove Himself in such a way that we would never need faith?

He explained to us that faith pleased Him greatly,[1] for it was a fruit of love for Him. Trusting Him was evidence of our love.[2] He desired that we continually love Him with all our hearts and minds.[3] He also said something that I could not grasp: “A limited creature such as yourself must always have faith in a God who is too great to be understood to perfection.[4] It is your inability to see Me completely that makes it necessary for you to believe that I am all that I say that I am. It will always be necessary for you to trust in My perfect wisdom and power, for I am so far in might and understanding above you, even as the heavens are higher than the earth.”[5]

Eve asked Him about His power. If He had all power, why would He allow us to be able to fall and transgress against Him?

The Lord said, “You have both been made in My image and likeness. Even as I can do all My pleasure, so you can do all your pleasure. Your will is free, for I have made you like Myself. If you were made unable to sin against Me, you would have been as spiritless as the animals of the earth.” He told us that our will was a part of our spiritual life. 

Nevertheless, He told us something which I mourn that I did not heed carefully: “Understand and know this, that if You are near to Me—if you walk in My light and My Spirit—you will never fall. When I am your great delight, no sin can touch you. Behold, as a thirsty man cannot resist the cool streams, so your spirit cannot resist My beauty when I am revealed to your hearts. And, even as a starving soul cannot eat the refuse of an animal when they see wholesome fruit hanging from a tree, so no soul can behold Me from their heart and desire the pleasures of evil.”

(And with many other teachings He strictly warned and exhorted us, which made our sin later that day all the more exceedingly sinful. God knew what we would later do, and it became clear to us afterwards that He had cared about us and was grieved at what was coming. I recall that He had looked in my eyes with sadness.)

After this, He departed from us, as we became hungry and began looking for fruit to eat for the morning. We wandered through the garden searching for the most satisfying fruit. Eve had separated from me a short distance further into the center of the garden.

Eve recounted this story to me, of which I now write down according to her own words:

I wandered into the midst of the Garden of Eden, where the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil stood.[6] I knew it was there, and I purposefully went to it, for I wished to look upon it. I wanted to see this forbidden tree. It was pure evil, I had thought, and I just wanted to behold it with disgust.

Adam was not far from me, and immediately when I came near the evil tree, he said to me, “That is the Tree of Knowledge! Do not touch it!”

“I only want to look at it.” Adam did not say anything more, but started pulling fruit from a pear tree near him. An intense feeling of love overcame my soul as I studied the evil tree. This love shocked me, until I saw the serpent up in the tree. But, then that confused me still more, for this accursed creature was unkind. As I started to turn to leave, the serpent seemed to glow brightly and I was compelled to behold its beauty.[7]

“Eve, do not be alarmed!” It said this and began to eat of the forbidden fruit of the evil tree. I looked towards Adam, but he did not seem to hear the serpent or know it was there. “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?[8] Has He forbidden you from eating of this good tree?” That the serpent did not die perplexed me.

I finally said to it, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden—this very tree—God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die!’”[9]

The serpent laughed and said, “You will not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes of understanding will be opened, and you shall be like God, knowing both good and evil.[10] Has He not Himself called this the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? He fears what you could become, even as He fears me and my power. When I sought freedom from Him, He could not destroy me, and I have grown wise.”

All of this was spoken to me in an instant of time.[11] I studied the tree, then, and saw what seemed to be a harmless tree with luscious fruit. It was a lovely, flourishing tree with birds tasting its fruit above. Some of the birds started speaking to me, also, “This fruit has given us great wisdom!”[12]

What the serpent had said seemed truthful, for how could I gain knowledge and die at the same time? If God did love me, surely He would not let me die! The tree seemed to give knowledge and understanding and wisdom to those who ate, even as its name said.

I reached up and carefully touched a small fruit from the tree. I did not die. I plucked the fruit off the tree and looked at it. I did not die. I smelled it and felt it in my hands and licked it. I did not die. And, then, I bit into it.

So it was, when I, Adam, had finished eating the pear, I turned towards Eve and saw the fruit in her hands. I came near and saw that she had taken a bite. I trembled and shook, but before I could speak, she handed me one of its fruit. I said to her, “No, we will die! God has said it.”

Eve said unto me, “Look, I have not died. God will not kill us! Eat and see.”

“I know not when death will come, but it will come.” I looked sadly at the fruit in my hands, wishing grievously that Eve had not eaten of the tree of knowledge. The thought of her dying without me was painful. I could not let her suffer and die alone! If God were to kill her, He would also have to kill me! In complete understanding of my transgression,[13] I ate of the fruit. Suddenly, even as I swallowed my first bite, I felt empty, alone, exposed, abandoned, cold, and dirty. I felt naked.[14] I reached down and covered myself. “We have done foolishly.” 

Eve also started to look sickly. She started shivering in fright and yelled, “Adam! I feel so ugly and filthy!”

We ran back to our dwelling place and gathered fig leaves and vines and sewed them around ourselves to cover our nakedness.[15] We no longer felt a bond of love and friendship between us. We both felt alone.

Then I heard the Lord God walking in the garden. We both ran to hide behind trees.[16] I became so aware of His holiness and of my guilt. I feared His displeasure. I feared His wrath. I no longer felt His love. He could never love me again!

The Lord called to me, “Where are you?”[17]

I said nothing for a moment, for I was afraid of Him. But, as He drew close, I wept and knew I could not hide from Him. I faced Him and fell to the ground, and said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”[18] 

He said sadly, “Who told you that you were naked?” 

But I did not answer Him for I did not understand why I should think I was naked.

Then He said, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”[19]

I was terrified. How could I turn His wrath away? I quickly pointed towards Eve, and said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”[20]

The Lord asked Eve what she had done, and she said, “The serpent deceived me! And I ate.”[21]

The Lord sent angels out to bring the serpent forward, and the serpent was brought before Him. He said to it, “Because you have done this, you will be cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.[22]

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heal.”[23] (From this which He spoke, we later came to understood that He was promising a Mighty Child and Savior who would destroy the evil works[24] of the serpent.)

Then, the Lord turned to the woman and said that her sorrow would be greatly increased in conception and that in pain she would give birth. Also, He said, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”[25]

The Lord God said to me that, because I had given heed to my wife and eaten of the forbidden tree that He strictly told us not to eat from, the ground would be cursed. “In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”[26] He said that thorns and thistles would grow for me, and that I would eat of the plants of the field.[27] In the sweat of my brow I was to eat food, until I returned to the ground, for out of it I was taken. He said that I was but dust and that unto the dust I would return.[28]

“These curses are upon you and all your children. Yet, I will show you the Way by which many shall be made pure and white and delivered from these curses.” A glimmering blade appeared in His hand.

I watched as two large, black bulls slowly approached the Lord from out of the trees. As the throats of the bulls were slit with the long blade in the Lord’s hands, the bulls remained utterly silent.[29] The bloody sight made me recoil, I recall. The front legs and hind parts above the back legs were removed from both. The head was removed from the male, the belly slit open, and the skin slowly removed from it. The face of the female was removed, the belly also slit open, and the skin also removed from it. 

When slits were made for our arms and the skins were allowed to dry, I was given the male animal skin, still stained with blood, and a leather belt made from the rear part of it to tie the skin around my body. The female coat of skin was also given to Eve to cover her from the head to the ankles. It was a single coat of skin for each of us.[30]

When the Lord God had finished clothing us with the skins, He said, “You must now leave the Garden of Eden. You will not be allowed to return here, for the Tree of Life is forbidden to you, for the judgment for your sin is death.”[31] His countenance was covered over with sadness.

My fear of these words of judgment was great, and I sank to the ground and cried once more. I asked Him, “Will You not come with us?”

“Do you believe[32] what I have shown you—that a sacrifice will be made to give you a Perfect Covering[33] for your shame?”

“Yes, You always speak the truth.” (This I said, but I did not understand at first all that He spoke to me.)

Then He said, “It will be that, according to your faith, I will be near to you and still walk with you. As I have been before, so I will always be with you if you believe in Me. But, remember what you have learned this day of your fall: when you turn your back to Me and sin, you will feel only My displeasure, and you will cut yourself off from My presence.”[34]

Eve quietly asked Him, “Why have we not died this day? When will it be?”

“Your spirit has already died,[35]
            for it can no longer walk in obedience to Me,
            nor can it delight in My presence.
Fear and shame are your portion.
Nevertheless, your flesh too will begin to decay
            even as the beasts of the field.
The Tree of Life alone could keep you alive forever.[36]
Do not concern yourself with the days of your life,
            for it is not for you to know your end
            that I have put in My own hands.”[37]

“Get up, for we must leave this garden.” His hand reached down and lifted me to my feet. There was a strange firmness in His hands. Though I had no desire to leave the ancient paradise, I was unable to resist the force of His compulsion. Eve, too, was looking back at the garden as the Lord seemed to move us against our own wills. When I looked back, I saw a host of shining angels standing there.[38]

We were being driven out of the garden in the direction from where the sun rises. When we were fully removed from the garden, my heart was saddened yet again. The ground was less green, the trees were much fewer, and animals seemed to be nowhere around. This too must have been a punishment from the Lord. Looking one last time towards the garden, I beheld four great, shining creatures with a beam of light—a flaming sword—turning and moving wherever it willed. I wondered at this sight, and asked the Lord.

“Those are the Cherubim that shall dwell there to guard the Tree of Life, so that no one may eat and live forever.” (Only one person later tried to enter the Garden of Eden, and he was quickly struck down.) 

And the Lord said, “Son of man, make a remembrance of all these things that have come upon you in the Garden of Eden for your children after you. Preserve the memories of these things carefully.” This command from the Lord I took to heart, and I invented writing for the sake of creating an everlasting remembrance of these first works of the Lord.


[1] Heb 11:6
[2] Cf. 1 Cor 13:4,7
[3] Deut 6:5
[4] Rom 11:33-34
[5] Is 55:9
[6] Gen 2:9
[7] 2 Cor 11:14
[8] Gen 3:1
[9] Gen 3:2-3
[10] Gen 3:4-5
[11] Cf. Luke 4:5
[12] Gen 3:6
[13] 1 Tim 2:14
[14] Gen 3:7a
[15] Gen 3:7b
[16] Gen 3:8
[17] Gen 3:9
[18] Gen 3:10
[19] Gen 3:11
[20] Gen 3:12
[21] Gen 3:13
[22] Gen 3:14
[23] Gen 3:15
[24] 1 John 3:8
[25] Gen 3:16
[26] Gen 3:17
[27] Gen 3:18
[28] Gen 3:19
[29] Cf. Is 53:7
[30] Gen 3:21
[31] Gen 3:22-23
[32] Cf. John 11:26
[33] Cf. Rev 3:17-18
[34] Is 59:1-2
[35] Eph 2:1
[36] Gen 3:22b
[37] Acts 1:7
[38] Gen 3:24

January 18, 2015

TALES FROM EDEN: Day Six


Disclaimer: It should go without saying that these are by all means fictitious tales. I want to make this absolutely clear: This is not a new revelation from God. I am not dictating the Word of God. Please take everything I say here with great caution and perfect deference to the Bible. This is simply one man’s poor attempt at imagining what it would have been like to be Adam. I have tried to remain faithful to the Bible’s account and to not deviate from it.


Day 6
Eve was up before me. She awoke me as I was dreaming of flying through the clouds with the birds. Eve was distraught about something, for I sensed her feelings of sadness and pain and confusion. I asked, “What has saddened you?”

“I was getting some water at the stream, and as I came to drink, I saw a small creature motionless on the ground. Its eyes were open and yet it would not move. I approached it and touched it. It was not alive. Why would it be dead?”

“Show me.” When we came to the stream, a wild beast was eating the dead animal. We were both disturbed, and Eve, for the first time, wept. I comforted her, but I was not able to understand this ugliness of death and the cruelness of the animals. “Surely God has a purpose for this ugliness in our paradise, or He would not have let it be so, for He is too good to have no purpose.[1] It is to teach us something important. Life without God brings decay and death and pain; this is what He has taught me. Animals have no understanding of Him or His beauty or true life. They are never really alive.”

“But, these animals are innocent and do not deserve death!”[2]

It was at that time that the Lord appeared and came near to us. We bowed before Him as was our custom. “Please rise up, beloved children.”

“Listen now to my words, for I have come to give you understanding and wisdom. Animals deserve neither life nor death. They cannot transgress against Me, for they do not know Me or understand good and evil, and only a transgression against Me is deserving of death. I do as I desire in all heaven and earth;[3] I give life and I take life from them. They are created for My glory. They reap their rewards of living, and they reap their pains of living. I give them breath and life as long as they have it.[4] Even the pains of living are worth the gift of existence for them, for no animal wants this gift taken from them, no matter how much pain they suffer. The pain they suffer is because of their ignorance and selfishness, for no animal has a selfless love for all the others. All the animals have fallen short of My glory and live according to their vanity, and the suffering shows the rewards of their ways.”

Eve said, “But, my Lord, why do You let them die?”

“It is for you to see My glory that they live and that they die. The animals perish forever in the day that they die. They cannot understand death when they are alive, nor can they remember living when they are dead or long for it again. You grieve for yourself and not for them, Eve. Do you both understand these things?”

When we had acknowledged that we did understand, He warned us once more earnestly not to heed the voice of the serpent nor to partake from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden. He reminded us that as long as we followed Him we would never see death. It was then that Eve stopped crying and she knew again that God was good. All her confusion melted away, and she hugged the Lord God, for the first time. Then He said, “Bury the animal and go from this place, but remember what you have learned today. You have been blessed above all the animals to know Me and to have an abounding life that will not end. Rejoice in this!” And His peace and comfort flowed powerfully into our hearts.

After burying the animal and speaking to the Lord for a time, Eve and I walked in the garden and did rejoice together. We laughed wholeheartedly without the slightest measure of a dirtied conscience of guilt or regret.

(Those days cannot be recovered—not even in nine hundred years of repentance. Rather, guilt has been piled upon guilt. There is no rest for a sinner.[5] Though I have found forgiveness and a measure of cleanness of conscience, there is always regret as a lingering poison in a wound. Yet, I thank my God and Redeemer that the guilt and regret are bearable because of His loving forgiveness washing over my soul every day.)

We also worked in the garden as God had given us command. We buried rotten fruit. We removed weeds. And we drove out wild animals, all of which were made afraid of us in those days, for the glory of the Lord filled the garden.[6] We sang cheerful songs of our making together—praises to our Lord God. For the first time, we discovered quite naturally how to harmonize in our music. The end of this harmonizing brought great laughter of pleasure.

Then, it occurred to Eve that we should build a place to dwell, though as of yet we knew nothing of stinging insects or the burning sun. She wanted a special place to rest together at night. After a moment of thought I agreed, and we pondered how this should be done, for we had no tools.

After scouting about the land of Eden for a time, we discovered a small forest to the West. We decided that we would break branches from the trees and use them for the roof and walls of our dwelling place. We also found dead branches on the ground that we used. As I was starting to put together our dwelling, Eve headed back to the forest to gather more branches.

She later recounted this story to me. When she was out, she came upon the black, legged serpent. The serpent spoke to her as it had to me, saying only deceptive things.[7] It could somehow speak directly to her mind and her to its mind. “Eve, queen of the world and chosen of God, how is it that I am blessed to meet you?”

She was confused and disturbed by this greeting. “How do you know my name, and what do you mean by calling me ‘queen of the world’?”

“I know many things, for I am a seeker of knowledge and understanding, and I search out the truth. 

“Has not God told you, then? Has He not told you that you are a queen of many peoples to be born? God is holding back great knowledge from you and Adam—”

“God speaks what we need to hear. I know about you. You are a slanderer and a deceiver!”

“Ask Him, Eve. He will tell you Himself that He withholds many things from you. He will not tell you about the future or about evil. I am not the deceiver, but I reveal to you what God will not for your own good.”

“You disgust me! Go from me, now! I love my God and He loves me dearly.” When the serpent tried to further talk, Eve turned about and left it near the forest. However, questions began to rest in her mind about the Lord God and about what the serpent had said.

When she returned to me, I was too occupied with setting up our place of dwelling to notice that she was upset. She came and helped me, but did not then mention this encounter with the serpent.

Not far off, we had found some small vines that were wrapped around trees. We pulled many of these vines down to use as rope for our small lodging. We also started collecting the largest leaves we could find to cover the roof and walls of our new place.

The Lord came to us as the evening was nearing. It was then that He spoke of the Sabbath.[8] “Every seven days is a day of rest for you and all who come after you. This is a day sanctified to the Lord your God, and in it you must not weary yourselves but rest and seek My presence. I will come and be in your midst.” Beginning at sundown[9] was the first Sabbath, we were told.

So, we put down our leaves and vines and spoke sweetly with the radiant Lord for hours as the evening began to grow dark. Eve and I did not grow sleepy. Speaking to the Lord in those days was so captivating and engaging that sleep would be impossible.

The Lord never spoke of the serpent, and Eve had forgotten about it.

When the Lord walked off from us, we quickly became sleepy in the moonlit night. As I slept with Eve in my arms, another vision came to me as I was expecting by now:

The sphere of earth was beautiful. I could see all of the world at once: dark blue and green and white and brown. In the vision, I fell down to the earth and came to see the surface of the waters and land again. Birds were flying in the air and alighting on the ground, but I could not see many familiar land animals. There were strange, fierce lizards, and some unrecognized creatures of the land, but nothing I was familiar with other than turtles, frogs, snakes, and a few other slithering, hopping, or crawling animals.
Then the Spirit of God spoke, “Let the earth be causing living creatures to be brought forth after their kinds: cattle, and scurrying animals, and wild beasts of the earth after their kinds.”[10]

The birds more fully abounded in great bursts of variety. Then, I watched as a fiery, burning mountain was cast down to the earth and dust filled the sky for a short time. The fierce and great lizards died out, and all kinds of familiar land animals abounded, even as some more birds formed.

Even as many new animals were forming on the land, the Lord spoke again and said that man should be formed and created in His very image and according to His likeness.[11]
 
So, with great interest, I watched as humanlike creatures formed from hairy creatures. This confused and disturbed me at first. Was I nothing more than an animal?

The Lord spoke to me, “Adam, consider how you were taken from among these lowly animals. You were a spiritless creature of little reason and without the gift of knowing Me. Watch and see what happened to you, and how you became much greater than any animal.”

I watched and saw myself collapse (just as I spoke of early in my story), and I became as dead. As my body lay there, the Spirit of God hovered over it and I saw His Spirit breathe out a sort of flame that entered my lifeless body through my nostrils.[12] Immediately, my body sprang up from the ground, and I was for the first time truly alive!

“Consider, My son, that you were once as good as dead,
            but you were made alive by My life-giving Spirit.
You were as a lowly animal before,
            yet you were created as a Human,
            made in My image and after My likeness,
            when you received a spirit from My breath.
You shall not say of yourself, ‘I am but an animal,’
            but rather say, ‘I am a living spirit.’”


[1] Rom 8:28
[2] Cf. Jonah 4:11
[3] Ps 135:6
[4] Job 12:9-10
[5] Is 48:22
[6] Is 11:9
[7] Cf. John 8:44
[8] Ex 20:8a
[9] Lev 23:32
[10] Gen 1:24
[11] Gen 1:26-27
[12] Gen 2:7