“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.”
(Genesis 3:1 ESV)
Paradise was… well, paradise.
The sun beckoned the two from their covering of the great trees that lowered their bows over them.
They arose together, and breathed deeply the morning air, stretching into the warmth and beauty of the light that was dawning.
Adam walked to the blue-green river only some twenty paces away and took water in his hands, splashing it on his face and chest thoroughly waking him to the day. He smiled at his own face in the pool and splashed a little water at his neighbour.
“Hello,” he said to the small black bear drinking beside him. The bear did not lift its head but acknowledged Adam with a look-up of his eyes.
Meanwhile, the woman shivered for a moment before moving out of the comfort of the leaves and moss of her rest and went about gathering some pleasurable yet unnamed fruit and nuts for the breaking of the evening fast. What an amazing morning!
Birds sang out various songs while flitting from branch to branch, greeting them and the morning, and she noticed two very loud squirrels racing round and round a large tree in a game only they knew, oblivious to anything else in the beautiful Garden. Oak? She thought, No, Cyprus I think Adam said.
A massive bull elk lifted his magnificent head from the tall grass it grazed upon and welcomed her to the day with a loud screeching trumpet. She waved back with a laugh at the start she got from his shrill sound. Moving with the utmost elegance and ease she gathered her meal-made-for-two and headed back to the shelter where the sun’s rays now began to slice through the veil of leaves, bringing up the temperature of the ground cover as the dew receded after a long night’s work.
She needed something else. One more thing, but what? She looked at her surroundings. Pears? No… perhaps an apple, hmm, no. Almonds? She arose and wandered into the woods that were in the middle of the Garden.
She did not see him at first, nor did she hear him. She was most interested in the variety of fruit that hung from the low branches of The Tree. She knew she should not even be here.
Yet she lingered.
As she moved closer to the Forbidden, she saw that it did not really look dangerous at all as she had been told. Adam had said they must not go near it for it is dangerous, that God had spoken that to him personally as they walked together. She did not doubt that they had this conversation.
But the longer she looked, it seemed more and more harmless. The fruit looked incredible, full of bulbous color and glistening darkness in the morning light. She could almost see her reflection in it!
The Tree itself was large and towered above her. It reminded her of the Tree of Life, which they ate from every day. In a way. She stared at it.
The voice startled her and she laughed out loud. “Oh, hello.”
“Good day to you M’Lady… quite a beautiful tree, isn’t it?”
The woman studied the creature. This was what Adam called a serpent. It was large and moved slowly as if in some pain and even stealthily as if it feared being seen. It scales were brilliant and each reflected the morning rays, turning, it seemed, with each tier showing a new colour with every movement – from bright green, to blue, to turquoise to a darker shade – purple maybe – then back again, and hundreds of them changing all at the same time. It bedazzled the woman as the creature moved closer to her and the Tree.
She realized it was impolite not to answer. “Yes, it is a beautiful tree. But God said we should not eat of it or we would surely die.”
“Hmmmmm,” said the ancient schemer. “Did the Creator actually say those words? Did He actually say that you should not eat of any tree in the Garden?”
Doubt raced into her mind and nipped away at what she had been told. “Oh, we can eat of the fruit of the trees in the Garden,” she said. “But God said we were not to eat of this tree in the midst of the garden… nor should we even touch it, lest we die.”
“Oh, but my sweet lady, look, I am touching it. I am not dying.” The traitor wrapped its long shimmering tail slowly around the trunk of the tree as a lover would his love. She crinkled her brow as she considered the new information.
“You will surely not die,” said the serpent. “Much more than that, God simply knows that when you eat of it your eyes will truly be open, and you will be just like Him! Don’t you want to be like our beautiful God who is all good, and loving and kind? Yes, yes, you will be wise just like God, knowing good and evil.”
She studied the tree some more, and had to admit the fruit looked more beautiful than any other she had seen in the Garden. It really was a delight to the eyes. And, it really did look good for food! Adam would love it! I know it!
She also liked the idea that the fruit would make her wise, wouldn’t it? And more like God? That is a good thing, is it not?
She reached up to a low hanging branch and plucked the dark fruit from its roost. Having touched it, she waited a second for “death” to come, though she did not know what that might be like, but when nothing happen, death did not come as it were, she took of the fruit and slowly brought it to her lips.
“Woman!” Adam called to her and she almost dropped the bounty but squeezed it all the tighter until the juice began to drip from her hand to her arm in a little river of dark blue. “Here I am!” she called back.
Adam came jogging up with at first a smile on his face, then a furrowed brow when he realized where they were and what she was doing. “What is this?”
“Look Adam, I am touching the Tree. I am holding the fruit. I am not dying. The serpent said it would make us wise.”
“Serpent? What serpent?”
She turned to the Forbidden but the creature was gone. “Well… I don’t know. It was here a moment ago.”
Adam looked at his wife as she held the fruit. He was silent. It was true, she was not dead nor showed any signs of dying.
She brought the purple-colored drupe to her lips again. She eyed him for a moment as she put her mouth on it and popped the skin. She drew the juices into her mouth.
She paused and then said, “Ohhh, Adam, this is so good!”
She took a large mouthful now and closed her eyes in obvious delight. She held the fruit out to her husband, who was watching her pleasure, her enchantment, and seeing nothing bad happen to her, he also took of the fruit.
And he ate.
A small cloud moved across the morning sun and a chill went through the air, causing both man and woman to shiver instinctively. Their hands were stained purple and there was something happening inside of them that they did not have words for. They both had a sense to clean their hands of the purple but the grass would not take out the stain.
They felt lightheaded. Was this death?
They moved to the river in silence and bent low on the shore to put their hands into the water. That is when their eyes were opened, and they saw themselves in a new light. They stared at their reflection in the pool.
For the first time, Adam studied himself and saw things he hadn’t noticed before and then he looked at Eve… differently. She saw him looking at her and she turned away from him. He had never seen her do that before. At the same time, he crouched lower into himself, fearful that she would see him the way he was seeing himself now and that she would not like what she saw. He sprang to his feet and ran from the water to the wooded area. Desperately, he tried to cover his lower parts with whatever he could find. This was not easy but he worked at it furiously. Then he noticed something else. He apparently was leaking all over. Droplets were forming on his forehead and neck, chest and arms.
What is this? It is warm. I am warm. He wiped his neck and put his hand to his mouth and tasted the watery substance. It was peculiar. He felt… afraid inside his being. For the first time in the Garden, he was afraid. He looked for ways to hide himself. He was shameful though he knew no word for this deep-rooted feeling inside. He managed to pull large fig leaves together and weaved them with a vine and wrapped himself into them.
I need to find her. Oh Woman! What have we done?!
To be continued…