March 26, 2015

NEWS: Study Shows Adaptation Can Happen Efficiently

It is difficult to keep up with all the pertinent studies that I come across that lend support to the idea of evolution being a created process. The evidence is building up daily that evolution is an intelligent, nonrandom process that defies Darwin’s original idea of survival of the fittest being a primary driver. What Neo-Darwinists call “mutations” that benefit survival are not generally random. Something that is not random much more easily speaks of a Designer than randomness.

All the complexity that appears required for efficient adaptation begs the question, “How would early life on Earth adapt to a changing environment without complex adaptation mechanisms that supposedly evolved much later?” However, there is some evidence that life on earth has always adapted quickly. Life seems to have thrived immediately (~3.8 Ba) after the Earth’s period of heavy bombardment (~4.0 Ba), for instance. The idea that random evolution happened relatively well for 3.5 billion years and then somehow randomly upgraded itself to Evolution 2.0 sometime in the last 500 million years is absurd and a theory that I have never heard openly proposed—though it is the necessary conclusion of the Darwinian perspective of evolution.

This brings me to the main point of this post. A recent study
[1] has all but proven the idea of efficient evolution, which in turn strongly implies that the ability for organisms to adapt and evolve is no accident but a designed feature of life. This study has shown that a certain fish able to breath air can adapt to moving across land in its own lifetime! This is not Darwinian evolution. There is no “survival of the fittest” in this example of adaption. You have a fish that learned to “walk” on land without any genetic changes happening.

It appears that there were some epigenetic changes in the fish, though. (Epigenetic changes are non-genetic, chemical changes in the cells that can happen because of environmental factors. Such epigenetic changes often cause genetic switches to be thrown, activating or inactivating genes.) If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve suggested that epigenetic changes are likely the primary driver of macroevolution. Once epigenetic changes happen, genetic loss-of-information can happen over many generations that causes relatively permanent genetic alterations (genetic “fixing”).

For instance, when the first amphibian was evolving some 400 million years ago, it probably started moving on land simply because of new behaviors causing epigenetic changes, or vice versa. These changes would get passed on to several generations activating preexisting genes for leg bones and joints to grow. This would reinforce the behavioral changes and cause the epigenetic changes to continue to be passed on indefinitely. Over many generations, the genetic information for fish fins and gills would be discarded, leaving the all-important genes for legs and air-breathing essentially permanently activated. This would be a one-way street, for the most part, as described in the previous blog post. Evolving back to a fish would eventually be virtually impossible because of the loss of the information needed for living solely under water. (That may be partly why no marine mammals ever readapted to having gills and getting oxygen directly from the water or being cold-blooded.)

Here is what the article about this study said:


“The [bichir fish] did far more than just survive [on land]. They became better at ‘walking’. They planted their fins closer to their bodies, lifted their heads higher off the ground and slipped less than fish raised in water. Even more remarkably, their skeletons changed too. Their ‘shoulder’ bones lengthened and developed stronger contacts with the fin bones, making the fish better at press-ups. The bone attachments to the skull also weakened, allowing the head to move more. These features are uncannily reminiscent of those that occurred as our four-legged ancestors evolved from Tiktaalik-like forebears. …

We have long known that our muscles, sinews and bones adapt to cope with whatever we make them do. A growing number of biologists think this kind of plasticity may also play a key role in evolution. Instead of mutating first and adapting later, they argue, animals often adapt first and mutate later. Experiments like Standen's [fish experiment] suggest this process could even play a role in major evolutionary transitions such as fish taking to land and apes starting to walk upright. …

Plastic [non-genetic] changes occur because an environmental trigger affects a developmental pathway in some way. More of a certain hormone may be produced, or produced at a different time, or genes are switched on that normally remain inactive, and so on. The thing is, random mutations can also have similar effects. So in an environment in which a particular plastic response is crucial for survival, only mutations that reinforce this response, or at least do not impede it, can spread through a population. Eventually, the altered developmental pathway will become so firmly stabilised [sic] by a genetic scaffolding that it will occur even without the environmental trigger, making it a permanent hereditary feature.”[1] (Emphasis mine)

The article does not mention epigenetic changes, but that is almost certainly what caused skeletal changes in the fish. Regardless, there is this issue of complexity and efficiency with the adaptation of the fish. How can the bones change appropriately to help aid walking without any genetic changes? It seems like magic, or as if the fish’s body somehow is aware and able to decide how it needs to change to help the fish better thrive in its new situation. There’s still a lot about epigenetics that is not understood, but it certainly seems like a design feature, since it aids in survival in such a dramatic way and appears to be able to create relatively permanent changes in creatures.[2]

In the end, if epigenetics is this efficient, then it makes for the perfect efficient driver of evolution. It shouts design. It is not the work of billions of years of random evolution. If someone wants to argue that it is, I say the burden of proof is on them to show that it did in fact evolve.

References

February 05, 2015

THEOLOGY: It’s All Good

One huge complaint that YECs make is that this current world is not “very good” as described in Genesis 1:31. They argue that only an unfallen world without sin, death, suffering and disease could be considered very good. But, is that really what we discover in the Bible, or is that an artificial, emotional argument? Comparing Scripture with Scripture shows us some good clues to answer that question.

First, though, let’s consider Genesis 1:31 in a bit more detail. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good...” (NKJV). That which was “very good” was what God had made. There is no definition of “very good,” and we are left to interpret what that means more specifically. Do we assume that everything in Nature was pleasant? We could but it’s not specified. By whose standard was it good? God’s standard. Did God make dangerous asteroids at this point? Most people would assume so. Did God make dangerous x-rays from the sun that cause damage to cells? We would assume so. The list of dangerous things in the universe could be long, even given no death, disease, or suffering. We also should consider if God directly made everything, or if some things have come about from “chance” and the laws of Nature. As you can see, there are important interpretive questions to ask about Genesis 1:31 that don’t all have obvious answers. Extreme caution must be taken in using this verse to support any major doctrine, I think.

Now, let’s list some verses (non-exhaustive) that indicate good things about the fallen world.


“…[A]nd they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land…’” (Num. 14:7; compare with Deut. 1:25, 35; 3:25; 4:21-22; 8:7, 10; 9:6; 11:17; Josh. 23:13, 16; Judg. 18:9; 1Kgs 14:15; 1Chr. 4:40; 28:8).

So, even after the Fall, the land God created with thorns and thistles can be called “exceedingly good” and “very good” (Judg. 18:9). This includes things like trees (2Kgs 3:25; compare with Ezr. 9:12; Is. 1:19; Jer. 2:7).

“The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand” (Deut. 28:12; compare with Matt. 5:44-45).

So, rain is seen as good, which according to some YECs only happened after the Flood. Instead, the Bible always puts rain in a good light.

“My son, eat honey because it is good, And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste…” (Prov. 24:13).

Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it?” (Mark 9:50).

Honey and salt are good in a fallen world. Salt is good for certain things. It’s bad for soil but good as a way to help preserve or season food.

“He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty” (Luke. 1:53).

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused [for food] if it is received with thanksgiving…” (1Tim. 4:4).

So, “every” animal is good and able to be eaten. Of course, just like in Genesis 1:31, “every” may not be intended here to be all-inclusive but perhaps a generality. Every creature God made is “good.” This sounds very much like Genesis 1. And yet, in the fallen world there are sharks, lions, poisonous frogs, spiders, and tapeworms. These creatures may all be “good” in some sense of the word, I believe.

We see from the Bible that many things God has made are still good after the Fall. However, YECs do not deny that some things are still good. But they require the word “everything” in Genesis 1:31 to be absolute. Absolutely everything God had made was very good before the Fall. Since now everything is presumed to be tainted due to the effects of sin, and some things are presumed to be not good, they argue that the present world must be dramatically different from the initial creation. How can I answer this argument? Three possible answers can be given as follows:

1.) Broadly inclusive words and phrases are sometimes, if not most of the time, used in a generalized sense rather than an absolute sense. In English we use language in a similar way and people understand that we are not being absolute. For example, “She is always on the computer,” or, “He’s good at everything.” An example that appears clear in the Bible is 1 Timothy 4:4, just mentioned above.

2.) Even unpleasant things can be considered “good” by God’s standard. There are many ways of judging the goodness or badness of things. For instance, the human eyes are a bad design for long-distance sight compared with Eagle’s eyes. What makes God’s creation good? Is it merely beauty? Or, does that place too much emphasis on beauty? There’s much, much more to goodness than simply beauty. That is one possible metric to determining goodness, but there are many other metrics that could be used. If beauty were the only factor to goodness, then apparently many creatures are the result of the Fall, like the roach, slug, mole, and the blobfish (or substitute these creatures with ones you personally consider ugly).

No, beauty is only a small factor. The Bible mentions the fallen world being filled with God’s goodness (Ps. 33:5) and His glory (Is. 6:3). Surely God’s glory is good! The heavens declare His glory (Ps. 19:1). God makes “everything” beautiful in its time (Ecc. 3:11). All things in Creation are made by God’s wisdom (Ps. 104:24). Everything in this fallen world serves a very good and holy purpose by God’s infinite wisdom. Even the thorns and thistles are “very good” from this perspective of purposefulness. In line with this, things normally considered bad in the Bible are sometimes considered good in the right context, given the purpose: “the yoke” (Lam. 3:27), “death” (Ps. 116:15; Ecc. 7:1; Phil. 1:21), “suffering” (Col. 1:24; 1Pet. 4:13), “trials” (James 1:2-3), “affliction” (Ps. 119:71), and “wounds” (Prov. 27:6), to name a few. In fact, God works all bad things out for “good” to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). So, though the curse of death may be our great enemy and not intrinsically a good thing, it is also not ultimately a negative thing in God’s plans for His children. The physically bad things often translate to spiritually helpful things when a person has faith.

Are magnificent lions not a part of a good creation simply because they are violent? Does their generally violent nature prohibit God from calling them “very good”? I think not. Lions may be violent, but they are beautiful creatures that can be considered wisely designed. (For me, there is still the question of how much of the designs of animals were directly crafted by God using preexisting genetic plans and how much was the result of evolution working to find solutions to random environmental conditions. We may never be able to answer that question.)

3.) God never claimed that all things without exception were very good, only the things He had made. We could interpret that to mean the things He directly created. Many things are likely the result of time and chance, and such things are not necessarily good. Even Genesis 1 indicates that God did not make everything; darkness, which is generally a negative thing in the Bible, is nothing more than the absence of light, and so it is not said to have been created in Genesis 1.

(a) Did God create death? If my view of created evolution is correct He probably did not create death. Death is the result of cells deteriorating and malfunctioning. Death is not a design feature of life. Therefore, I would argue that death was not part of something that “He had made” (Gen. 1:31). Indirectly, sure. God had a reason for allowing life to be susceptible to breaking down and dying, but it was not a part of His intrinsic design of creatures. Adam and Eve were physically capable of living forever with just the right nutrients—something in the Tree of Life (perhaps enzymes and/or proteins that kept their telomeres from shortening and made cell cleanup more aggressive). So, no, God did not create death directly.

(One could argue that God made the Second Law of Thermodynamics when He created the universe, which is the cause of the breakdown of living cells. However, the law of entropy may not be the primary cause of death. Death might not happen without entropy, but a living system is much more complex than simply a machine that experiences aging, like a car that gets old and breaks. A multicellular organism is constantly “dying” and being reborn, you could say, because the individual cells are continually being replaced with new ones. Also, the cells are constantly being maintained to prevent genetic decay. For complex living things, like humans, entropy is successfully fought against for years. The cause of “natural” death is often because of the buildup of genetic copying errors. Cells “age” over many generations because of the breakdown of genetic information. Individual cells may experience entropy and death without the whole organism experiencing the effects of entropy. This means that “genetic information decay” may not be caused directly by entropy, I think. Entropy speaks to increasing disorder of physical material, but not necessarily to increasing disorder of information. It is fully conceivable that humans could pass on information for millions of years without any errors being introduced to that information. There is no law of entropy that applies to information, I don’t believe. If the cells of our bodies could indefinitely pass on its genetic information perfectly—and there’s no logical reason why they couldn’t, in theory—there might be no cause for “natural” death. Thus, the law of entropy may not directly cause or guarantee typical mortality any more than any other law of nature.)

(b) Did God create pain and suffering? I believe that all suffering results from aggressive selfishness—willful violence of other animals—and God’s lack of protection from accidents, disease, and decay. Animals are generally selfish and fight for their needs and wants, bringing the worst harm upon other animals. If animals were purely just and selfless, I believe that God would protect even the animals from harm and suffering. God allows suffering for His glory, but perhaps He did not (supernaturally) create the means that bring suffering.

(c) Did God create the violent tendencies of animals or the parasitic nature of organisms? Don’t organisms need to compete for survival? Actually, no. There are different species that live in harmony and even reliance upon one another. The idea of designed evolution is not equivalent to Darwinism. Brutal, savage, selfish “survival of the fittest” is not what governs all living things. There are good examples that have provided evidence for this point. Most of the organisms of the world are probably not violent or predatory. Life did not need to become violent for it to survive. Remember, the first life on earth was probably peaceful phytoplankton or something similar.

There is no doubt that evolution has helped facilitate carnivorous designs, like sharp claws and teeth, poisons, and digestive systems specialized to digest meats. However, many designs used for predation would be equally useful for defense against predators. It is likely that evolution has been simply blindly bringing new designs into existence to help animals survive, regardless of the uses of those designs. In other words, God did not specifically design evolution to select for predatory designs. Evolution is merely a survival mechanism allowing animals to adapt in any of countless ways, including adapting to become fiercer or more capable of killing other animals for food.

Thus, to be clear, the violent nature of predators is because of the specific, semi-random path that evolution took with those animals. We cannot say for sure what God had genetically programmed from the start some 4 billion years ago and what was simply change happening by “chance” through time. For me personally, emotionally I prefer to believe that God did not specifically create carnivorous designs. He knew it would happen and providentially intended it, but it was likely not part of what He created and called “very good.” That which was good was all that He had supernaturally formed.

Summary

I have presented some answers to why God would call an imperfect, suffering world “very good.” These answers are not entirely compatible, but they are some possible interpretations. The best interpretation of Genesis 1:31 is that God wisely and skillfully made a world designed to bring Him glory. Everything He had created was and is very good. Even the harmful elements of nature, like floods and hurricanes, bespeak His power and might and serve a spiritually good purpose in relation to fallen man. One way or another, there is something very good about this world—either in part or in whole—even though we look and long for a new creation where there is no decay or death. This is hopeful and positive and spiritually-focused.

I know some YECs cannot emotionally accept this answer. However, there are good biblical reasons to believe that God did not redesign Creation after the Fall. The YEC alternative is to believe that God ditched His original creation very soon after He had made it because of the sin of mankind! The YECs must accept that our world is not very good and that God judged all the animals because of the sin of man, in contrast to Genesis 3 that says that the only animal clearly judged was the one that participated in the Fall (viz. the serpent). They must accept that eating meats is a necessary evil. They must embrace the teaching that God created darkness and it is “very good.” They must accept that God directly judged man in countless ways beyond death and thorns and harder labor by making harmful things all throughout this fallen world.

January 28, 2015

TALES FROM EDEN: Epilogue

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.

Epilogue
From that time on, I, Adam, spent my time working the land,[1] as I had done in the Garden of Eden. The work was harder. The land was less fertile. The toil was burdensome as the Lord was no longer walking with me, and I mourned over my transgression. Eve and I were no longer joyful. So this was our punishment and our death, even as the Lord God had spoken to us.

We then understood that this world
      was prepared beforehand for our sin.
The plans of God are unchangeable from everlasting.[2]
Before Man ever walked upon the earth,
      God fashioned a world of both pleasure and pain,
      beauty and ugliness, light and darkness, order and disorder.
All this was for our learning; set before us was life and death.[3]
We could follow the way of life and light and liberty,
      or descend the path of death and darkness and drudgery.
The animals also were set before our eyes  
      as a lesson of ignorance and the folly of selfishness.
Such was the way of those forever separated from God.
Those who follow their own desires become as the brute beasts.
The majesty of the heavens, the mountains, the lightning,
      the sun, the moon, the stars
      were set there to display the glory of God[4]
      and to turn our hearts to seek after Him.
Those who seek Him will be raised up to honor and immortality.[5]

It became rare to see the Lord God from that time on, which became more painful than anything else. Yet, in time, as I called upon the Lord and sought Him, He did fulfill His promise to walk[6] with me according to my faith. My spirit was somehow alive again![7] Even when He was not visible, I felt His presence with me. I talked with Him daily, and this time I knew Him with a new love. It was a love born of forgiveness.[8]

The Lord had somehow given me an understanding (and Eve also) that He would someday bring forth a Child to redeem us from our fallen, sinful, and ruined condition. This faith in a Redeemer, and the knowledge of God’s perfect forgiveness of our sins, brought new hope and peace and even joy to rest sweetly upon our souls. One day a Mighty Redeemer would come, and though our flesh would die and perish like any beast of the field, our bodies would be raised up from the ground,[9] and so we would forever live with our Lord. Then a new world of perfection would be made, wherein there would be no death, sorrow, or pain.[10]


[1] Gen 3:21
[2] Ps 111:7-8; Is 46:10
[3] Deut 30:15
[4] Ps 19:1; 65:6; 2 Sam 22:14-15
[5] Rom 2:6-7
[6] Gen 5:22; 6:9
[7] Eph 2:4-5
[8] Lu 7:41-43, 47
[9] Job 19:25-27
[10] Rev 21:4

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