In the Garden (segment three)

“Look.  I’ve known the big guy for a long time.  He was just trying to make sure that you don’t become as wise as He is.  He knows that the minute you taste of that tree, you’ll be like a god, smart as He is and just as clever. Come on, taste it.  You’ll see,” said the serpent as he circled the tree enticingly.

“Adam, what do you think?” asked the woman.

“Huh, what are you talking about?” asked her husband, dazed, as if coming out a trance.

“Never mind,” said the woman archly.

She stared at the tree for some time noting the luscious color of the fruit, its firm roundness and stood closer to get a better whiff of its fragrance.  It did indeed look good and it had a wonderfully intoxicating aroma.  She decided that maybe she had misunderstood God.  So she picked some of the fruit from the lower branches and groaned aloud in delight.

“Adam, you must taste this.  This is the most heavenly fruit, I’ve ever tasted.”

So Adam took the fruit from her and he too ate of it and groaned in delight.  By the time they had finished their first mouthful, they knew something had changed.  They looked at each other and suddenly knew that their nakedness, a condition to which they were so accustomed, was no longer appropriate.  They dropped the fruit in an attempt to hide themselves and shamefacedly backed into the deeper foliage near fig trees and took leaves from the fig tree to fashion coverings for themselves.  When they finished sewing their leaves, they came back into the open and stared at each other as if seeing one another for the very first time.

“What happened?” asked the woman shakily.

“I don’t know,” said the man nervously, but I don’t think it was a good idea to eat from that tree.”

“We’ve done it now,” said the woman beginning to weep.  “What are we going to tell Him?”

“I don’t know, but we’ll have to think of something.  Let’s go get the children and tell them what happened and warn them to stay away from that tree,” said the man looking around him.

Suddenly some of their children came running into the clearing screaming their heads off.  Adam and the woman jumped at this unfamiliar sound and wondered what had happened.

“Mommy, daddy, the animals are going crazy.  They won’t play right and one of them tried to bite us,” cried the children.

“What!” said both of them in unison.  “The animals wouldn’t bite you.  They know we have dominion over them.”

“Something happened a little while ago,” they explained.  We were playing like we usually do, riding around on their backs, telling them where to take us, when suddenly, they stopped in their tracks and shook us off.  They nearly trampled over us as we were trying to run away. Why didn’t they listen to us?”

Adam and his wife stared at each other in horror.  They realized that the animals had reacted at about the same time they had eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree.  They quickly explained things to the children and admonished them to be extra careful until they could round up the others.  After they gathered all the children together, they sent them with the eldest to go live with their other brothers and sisters.  Adam and the woman knew they were in trouble, but they didn’t want their children to suffer for their mistakes.

Just about dusk, when God usually took a walk around the garden and chatted with His creations, Adam and the woman heard the voice of God and hid themselves in the thickets.

“Adam, where are you and the woman, I want to talk to you,” said God.

“We heard your voice and hid ourselves because we are not presentable,” said Adam.

“What do you mean, you’re not presentable?” asked God.

“We are naked,” said Adam.

“And who told you that you were naked?” God thundered.  “Did you eat the fruit of the tree that I had forbidden you to touch?”

Adam cringed and said, “The woman that you gave me, gave me some of the fruit and I did eat it.”

“Woman, do you know what you have done?” asked God furiously.  “Everything is in chaos, the animals are fighting each other and dark clouds have caused the sky to darken early.”

“The serpent tricked me into believing that it would be okay,” said the woman, crying and hiding behind her husband.

“Because you have caused chaos in my paradise,” said God to the serpent, “no longer shall you walk upright, but shall slither along the ground like the snake that you are and every beast of the field shall trample you in their passing.  I will cause such hatred between you, your descendants, and the woman’s that their only thought of you will be to kill you upon sight.”

Turning to the woman He continued His pronouncements.  “Until now, you have had an easy life.  You brought children into the world without pain or worry.  Now, I will greatly multiply your sorrows in conception and you shall have unbearable pain when you deliver them into the world.  You shall also no longer be equal to your husband, but your desire will be to please him and honor him as your head.”

Looking disgustedly at Adam, He continued.   “I had such great hopes for you, but you have disappointed me.   You have given your wife’s desire priority over me; therefore, no longer shall you eat from the abundance of what I have provided. You have caused the very ground from which I made provision for you to be cursed.   Thorns and briers shall be put in your way, and you shall have to uproot them in order to plant anything else to grow.”

“You will have to till the land yourself, working from sun-up to sun-down, providing your own bread with sweat pouring from your brows until you are returned to the ground.  For from the dust of the earth I created you and to the dust you shall return.  Now, it’s time you gave the woman a name.”

So Adam called his wife Eve, since she was the mother of all that was living.  After awhile when His fury was spent, God took the skins from some of the less fortunate animals and made clothes for them.  Knowing now, that their curiosity would always overrule their better judgment, and that they might try to taste the fruit from the tree of life and live forever, he banished them from the garden and placed a sentry of eternally flaming swords around the entrances to inhibit their return to taste even more of the forbidden fruit.