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The movement of the heavens and the bearing of children measured the passing of the years. Adam and I had many children now. Our older sons and daughters had begun to pair into new families of their own. Nethanel and Hephzibah had been joined together first. I looked at Hephzibah and remembered myself when Adam and I had first had to depend on one another. I prayed that she would find the joy in her husband that I had with Adam. Then Beninu and Merab had left us as well. They did not go far, for Adam still needed the help of his sons. We all needed each other still, but now these children were adults and must make their own lives and decisions.
I helped my daughters as they bore their own children. My love for these tiny babies was the same as for my own. I watched them grow and agonized for each one, that they would grow to love the Lord.
The more years that passed taught me that to love the Lord and to wish to obey him was not a natural occurrence. Adam and I were greatly troubled and saddened that many of our children regarded the stories of the garden and the experiences that we had had with the Lord to be a joke. They laughed and said, "Who is this God, that we should believe in him? We have never seen him. We know that what we cannot see and touch does not exist. If there is a God let him show himself to us." Even our oldest sons had moments of doubting.
I now understood that indeed Adam had seen the families of the earth. And I was afraid. I was afraid for my children. For because of the act of rebellion which I had committed in the garden I had brought these children into existence. And because they now lived they were free to choose God or reject him. I was afraid for my children who would not be redeemed back into God's presence.
I had seen death many times. I had seen that it was the natural order of our existence. Among the animals death meant life to the eaters of flesh. We ourselves ate flesh to live. Each time we made a sacrifice to God it meant the death of a lamb or calf. Even a few of my children had died because of weakness or mishap. I had accepted this reality. But I now knew that the separation from God was the real death to fear. To me the possibility that many of my children would partake of this death was ghastly.
Adam, and our three oldest sons, Nethanel, Beninu, and Shemaah, had been given priesthood responsibilities by God. Others of our sons would be given these responsibilities as well. It was their responsibility to teach all the children the things of God. All were taught to have faith in God and to repent of sins, and be baptized by water and the Holy Ghost. Sometimes this was difficult for Nethanel, Beninu, and Shemaah. Their faith one day would be strong, another day it would be weak. I thought I had taught them well, I thought that as children they had believed the stories. How could they teach if they could not decide on what was true and what was not?
Adam and our three older sons were beginning to hear disturbing whispers among some of our children. There were whispers of a being like ourselves, perhaps an angel, who appeared to many, and claimed to be a son of God. He told them that the plan of salvation, which Adam taught, was a lie. We were afraid that the whispers were true, for the wall of unbelief was steadily becoming stronger. This unbelief was even affecting those who did believe.
One day I felt a need to be alone for awhile. Long ago I had acknowledged this need to myself. I had older daughters who were still at home with me. These daughters would soon leave to have families of their own, but until they did they were a great help to me. I went to my sanctuary which was the ledge where we gave the sacrifice.
I had fed my youngest at my breast. I handed him to Hodesh, at thirteen years she had a slim grace, and a gentleness with the younger children. I rushed up the path, I could not be gone long, every moment to myself was precious.
When I arrived I looked toward the garden. This was part of my ritual which always calmed me. The hills were softened by a gentle haze. I leaned against a tree and looked and yearned to be there. But I knew now that there was no way to go back. The reasons I could not go back now were different than they had once been. I knew that we would still be barred entrance by God's power, but that was no longer the real reason. My life was here. My home was here. Adam and my children were here. It occurred to me that it was not the garden for which I yearned, but only for God.
"Eve, I have not spoken with you for a very long time."
The voice came from behind me. I started in sudden fright. It was not Adam's voice and none of my sons would be so disrespectful as to call me by my name. I turned warily to see who addressed me in my valuable moments of solitude.
My eyes encountered a man, he was very handsome in appearance and had a certain languid grace to him. He was leaning against the altar.
"Who are you and why do you show such disrespect to the altar of the sacrifice?" I asked in sudden rage.
His lip made a slight curl of amusement and he laughed softly. "In some ways you have not changed at all, Eve."
"How do you know me? I certainly do not know you!"
He looked at me in mockery for long moments. Instinctively I knew that my first reactions of fear and anger were the right ones. In confusion I tried to dredge from my memory the reasons for these strong negative emotions.
His eyes were slowly raking me from head to foot, the look made me feel that something dirty had touched me. I discovered that I was trembling violently.
"What are you afraid of, Eve? You know me! I'm an old friend of yours." The last few words came out in a hiss. In shock I backed away to the very edge of the ledge. I could feel the bushes on the backs of my legs.
"You are the serpent! How can you now be a man?"
He laughed again. "I am not the serpent. Although the serpent is a very good friend of mine. I am a son of God. I may go wherever I wish upon the earth."
"You! It is you who have been lying to my children. You have been telling them that what Adam and my sons teach is a lie." How could I escape? I was very afraid, but he had moved between me and the head of the path.
"It is a lie. Worship me, Eve."
"No!" I cried, tears of fear and disgust were rolling down my face. "You are Satan, Adam has told me about you. I cannot worship you! You are loathsome. You are not like God at all! God is wonderful and powerful. You can only sneak around and deceive, the way you did in the garden."
"Oh, so you have finally realized that it was I who spoke to you through the serpent! That was quite a little trick I pulled on you wasn't it? I commend you on your great reasoning power. For one of such docility and naivete you surprise me!"
He continued to study me. I stood as still as possible, trying to remain calm until he would go or I could get away from him.
"You were so beautiful in the garden, Eve. You don't know it, but I have an interest in you. I have been observing you all this time when you have been unaware of it."
"How dare you spy on me?!" This somehow was more frightening than anything. How many times had he been sneaking around when I was unaware of it?
Again came the look which made me feel unclean. "It saddens me, Eve, that such a beautiful creature as yourself should lose her beauty in constant child bearing. You are wasting yourself running after grubby children and being subservient to Adam."
"I love Adam, and I love my children!" I looked down at my swelling middle and remembered long ago when I had been slim and graceful. I looked up at this being in defiance. "I have given up much for my children, but they are a gift to me from God."
"You are so amusing. I shouldn't be so insulting, should I? After all, you do produce very lovely daughters, even if they are even more stupid than you. Many of your most beautiful daughters will make welcome prizes to your sons who choose to worship and serve me."
By now I was feeling very cold. Something in me hardened and I stood straight and with dignity. I must have surprised him for his eyes opened slightly and he looked at me with almost respect.
"I cannot choose for my children whom they will worship. All I can do is teach them. As for me, I cannot worship you, for I know that you are a foul thing. I have been separated from God's presence and cannot stand before him in the flesh. Yet I can talk with you in the flesh. You cannot be so great if this is possible."
"You will be sorry, Eve, that you have spoken to me this way. For I have great power and can make you and all your children suffer. I do not worship your Lord. I have reason to hate him, for I have been greatly wronged by him."
"I do not believe you! And I will worship the Lord as I always have, for he is the truth. I will not listen to your lies or worship you."
"I am the Only Begotten, worship me!"
In terror I looked at his face. It was ugly with hatred and frustration. I wanted only to get away from him. "You are not the Only Begotten! Leave me! Lord, make him leave me," I cried in final desperation.
With a horrifying howl like an animal he dissolved before me. I was left standing on the ledge alone and shaking. I looked around me, everything was normal but I was still afraid. I tore down the path as fast as my trembling legs could carry me. After nearly falling several times on the beginning of the path I slowed down and the violent sobs of fear and shock shook me. How could I ever go to my ledge again?
As I came stumbling home Hodesh looked up at me with a gentle smile of welcome. Her smile vanished into puzzlement and then alarm.
"Mother, what is wrong?" She came swiftly to me and touched me.
I stood still, trying to control my trembling limbs and my racked breathing. "I cannot tell you, Hodesh. I don't want to frighten you."
"But, Mother, you are frightening me by not telling me!"
"I saw someone, someone on our ledge. He told lies. He was evil." Then I broke down completely and sank down sobbing.
"Let me run and get Father."
"No, no, Hodesh. Don't leave me and the children. I am afraid. I don't want you to go. Your father will be home soon."
"Then come and sit down. I will prepare dinner."
Hodesh led me to my favorite seat and quietly went about preparing our evening meal. The younger children had been fretful for a short time but were no longer curious as I began to become calm. I watched Hodesh go about her quiet tasks. Her normal activity did more to calm me than anything could. I almost began to wonder if I had really seen anyone strange at all. Perhaps it hadn't happened. But I knew that the fear had been real.
I was in a kind of stupor when Adam and our partly grown sons came home. Hodesh quickly ran to him and quietly spoke to him as they both looked at me. Adam walked over to me with long strides and knelt beside me. I looked at him helplessly.
"What happened today, Eve?" he asked gently as his hand went caressing to the back of my neck.
"I don't know," I sobbed. "I don't know if it really happened."
Adam then sat next to me and put his arm around me. "You had better start at the beginning and tell me all of it."
I told him everything, word for word. It was as if I was experiencing it all again and the fear was still there. When I had finished Adam's hand was rubbing my back and his eyes seemed to be focused far away on a distant place.
"We have heard rumors," he began. "Now I know they are true. Indeed, you did see and talk with Satan. You remember I told you of him once. He was once an angel. He rebelled against God. The Only Begotten was chosen from the beginning to redeem us, but Satan wanted to redeem all whether they chose to be redeemed or not. And he wants the power and glory of God and the Only Begotten, which he cannot have. Now since he has been cast out from God's presence he seeks to turn all our children from God."
"He demanded that I worship him."
"I am afraid that many of our children and their children may be worshipping him even now," Adam hung his head in weariness.
We sat together for some time. Finally we roused ourselves to eat the meal which Hodesh had prepared and help all the younger children with their meals.
We gathered the children around us and calmly told them the events which had happened to me. Some of the children looked back at us with fear in their round eyes, but they seemed to take it well. We wanted to warn them that Satan was our enemy and that God could protect us from him.
We said our evening prayers as the sun set. We prayed that God would protect us and give us strength against fear. I knew that the fear which I had experienced would be with me for a long time.
As Adam and I were lying in bed together I told him again of how Satan had taunted me. "He said that I was losing my beauty."
Adam laughed. "What?!"
I sat up in bed, "I am not slim and graceful like I used to be. I am always carrying a child in me. Our daughters are so beautiful. Am I not beautiful anymore?"
Adam pulled me down next to him. "You are the most beautiful woman there will ever be. We have both changed some, we work hard, and the years are passing. To me you are more beautiful every day. Our daughters are much like you when we left the garden. Their lives are only beginning, they will become more beautiful just as you have."
"There will never be anyone like you, Adam. I love you. Why are you so good and understanding?"
"I don't understand everything. But I do understand you, you are part of my flesh."
I moved closer to mold my body against his. As long as I had Adam I had everything I needed to live.
The moon followed its course and the child which was in me grew. Soon it came time for it to be born. Adam was with me when I delivered. He always tried to be with me for the birth of one of his children. I wished that all my sons felt the same. Some of my sons refused to be with their wives at the birth of their children. They considered it only for women and therefore degrading.
"We have a son, Eve."
I lay back in exhaustion. Finally I stirred myself to look at him and take him into my arms. I smiled with contentment,
I thought of our many children, many of which had turned to Satan to worship. "I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words. This is my prayer for Cain. This is my prayer, Cain, my beautiful little son," I crooned as I put him to my breast.
Of course Cain grew rapidly as all my children did. I could never get over how fast they grew away from me and became individuals in their own right. Cain was already displaying a quick temper and a sullenness when things did not go his way. I had had children who accepted my love like water, and others who held me away from them at an early age. It hurt me that Cain was not very affectionate. It always vaguely hurt when a child was as Cain was. I must constantly remind myself that each child was truly different from all others.
The attitude of my youngest son, Cain, even though he could barely walk, reinforced the taunt which Satan had thrown at me. The taunt that I was losing my beauty, that I was stupid and naive, began to haunt me. Adam had told me I was beautiful, but Adam loved me. Even though I knew Satan to be a liar I felt that perhaps when it came to me he was telling the truth. I did not say anything more to Adam about how this affected me. Surely he would become very impatient with me. I didn't want Adam's displeasure in any way.
My moments alone had shifted from the ledge to wandering other places, all close to home. The ledge held fear for me. I could go there for the sacrifice with Adam and the children, but I could not go alone.
One day I rushed to a little pool which was close to us. It was a place where the river backed up for a space and it was cool and still. It was also a good place to wash.
I sat by the water for some time, listening to the birds and watching the trees sway. Finally I stirred myself and looked into the water. I could see myself in the smooth surface. Behind my face was a reflection of the sky and the clouds slowly and lazily glilding through the blue.
Seeing my own face in the water suddenly reminded me of the face I had seen when I had been baptized. I had told Adam about it and he had been very interested. "You have seen the sacrifice of the perfect lamb. The perfect lamb is the Only Begotten Son of God. Surely you have seen his death which will be in the meridian of time."
"It should have filled me with horror and sadness, but it was somehow beautiful. Do you think that was wrong?" I asked.
"No, God's love for us is so perfect that he would do this for us," Adam had replied.
I continued to look into the water.
"Eve," a voice said. It was God's voice, I could recognize it. It was in my mind, my ears heard only the birds and the breeze and the river.
"Eve, look at your reflection." I looked. I saw a woman whose beauty was fading. There were tiny lines at the corners of her eyes and mouth. Her hair was fading, the rich color had gone and was replaced with a softer shade. She was still very beautiful but somewhat worn.
"Eve, look at your reflection." Almost imperceptibly the reflection changed. The lines of the face changed slightly and the colors of the hair and face became something which I had never seen in all the world. I gasped. Surely, I was looking at an angel. I gazed in wonder.
"Eve, you are one of my daughters. As such you have great beauty, and if you are faithful always you will become as you see yourself in the reflection. Do not let the lies of Satan fester in you, for they can do great harm. Remember that I love you, and for that reason my Only Begotten Son makes the atonement for your sins. You have a long life yet ahead of you. Teach your children and remain secure in my love for you and all the families of the earth."
The reflection faded to the face I had always seen and known. I stared in wonder. It didn't matter that I lost all my beauty. God loved me. Adam loved me. I must remember that always.
It was not much longer before I bore another son. We called him Abel and rejoiced once more in the birth of a child. As I held him to my breast Adam kissed my forehead gently. I had many more years to live, and many more children to bear. Life was wonderful.
Follow along in the scriptures (links to Center Place Library)
Inspired Version of the Bible
Genesis Chapter 3:1-5 and Chapter 4:12-13 and Chapter 5:1-5
forward to chapter 11
Copyright 1991 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: September 17, 2001