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I awoke with a start. Where was I?
"Good morning, Eve. You have had a very nice nap." It was the serpent.
I stood up as quickly as my recent sleep would let me. I should be going. Adam did not approve of the serpent and I felt uneasy.
"Why leave so soon? You look beautiful when you sleep. Your friendliness makes you beautiful when you are awake. Won't you spare just a few moments this morning to befriend me? You know, there are many here in the garden who do not understand me. It is hard on me sometimes. Sometimes I would simply wish for a few words from someone. It means so much to me," he quietly reflected.
I felt that out of courtesy I must stay for just a short while and speak with him. In truth I was one who didn't always understand him. But wouldn't it be rude to let him know that?
"I guess I can stay for just a little while. Adam is busy and won't miss me for a little longer."
"What brought you here this morning? You come here often, don't you?"
Was he going to question my right to go where I pleased? "It is very peaceful here. I like to come here."
"It is this tree which draws you, isn't it?" he stared into my eyes. I looked away to avoid them.
"I don't know what you mean," I said.
"You are very intelligent, Eve. God has put his own intelligence in you. Why do you choose to cover it in blind obedience?"
"I obey the Lord because he knows more than I do. I must be going now. Good day, serpent." I turned to hurry away from this. I sensed something strange.
"Wait Eve," the serpent called after me. "I can help you. I know that you have been troubled."
I slowly turned back to him. "I have been troubled. If only I knew about this tree I could have peace."
"So you come to this peaceful place seeking peace which you never find," he laughed softly.
Somehow I felt that I had Just been insulted. I turned to go.
"Wouldn't you like to be like God?"
This time I turned in some anger, "How could I possibly be like God?"
"The reason God forbids the fruit of this tree to you is because he knows that if you eat of it you will be like him. You will know good and evil. Doesn't God call it the tree of knowledge of good and evil? He tells you that you will die if you eat of it, but you will not. He only wants you to be afraid of something which he will not even explain to you."
"God loves us. He would never keep something from us which was good," I argued. In fact I was becoming confused. Why had he forbid it? I would dearly love to be like God. I wanted to be more his equal in order that he might be pleased with me.
I stood for some time dreaming of how God would suddenly see me with a new quality. Of course Adam would share it with me. That was only right. And I did love him. I wouldn't want him to be left alone, locked away from the greatness which the Lord and I would share.
I looked at the serpent, languidly reclining in the very tree which could give me this new life. He watched me intently. I didn't know if he were my friend or not. But what he said seemed right somehow. The mystery was unraveling.
I slowly reached up to one of the lowest branches to grasp one of the beautiful fruits. I plucked it from the tree and lowered in to myself. I examined it closely. Shouldn't I fling it away and run from here as fast as possible?
"Eve, Eve?" I heard Adam calling me. I must take a bite of the fruit now or it would torment me forever until I finally did. If I bit it now Adam would see the sense in eating it also.
I sank my teeth into it. It had a mild and sweet flavor.
The serpent smiled as if he knew another secret and left the tree and the vicinity. I watched him go. He hadn't even said goodbye.
Adam rushed up to me. "Here you are. I have looked all over for you." He looked at the piece of fruit in my hand.
I looked at him with a sudden rush of love. He was so innocent, he would do anything for the Lord, or for me.
"Adam, this is very good. And the serpent told me that if we ate it we would be like God. You would like to be like God, wouldn't you?"
"Yes, but he told us not to eat this fruit!" he looked anxious and worried now.
"But Adam, it is the only way we can be like him. He will be pleased to have us as his equals. I have eaten it. You don't want the Lord and I to be great and you to be ignorant. I wouldn't have eaten it if you were to be left behind us," I pleaded with him.
Adam's eyes looked into mine. A new fear was there. Was it a fear that he would be shut out from the companionship that the Lord and I would share?
"Give it to me." He slowly raised it and bit into it. I smiled into his eyes. I was very happy and strangely relieved.
The fruit had a pleasant and sweet flavor on the tip of my tongue. I took the fruit from Adam's hand and took another bite. He in turn took it from me and bit again.
"It tastes very good. I cannot understand what is wrong with it," I said.
The flavor traveled along my tongue nearer to my throat. Suddenly the taste changed. It became bitter at the back of my mouth.
"I think you spoke too soon, Eve." Adam threw the fruit into the nearby bushes. "I think I will not try it again. Let's leave here. I feel like having our swim."
We walked leisurely to the river. As we walked I thought how disappointed I was. I didn't feel any different than I ever had. I didn't feel wiser or more noble.
We arrived at the banks of the river. Adam ran fast and took a flying leap into the water. I tried to copy this feat and did very well.
The cool water felt good. We laughed and splashed each other and raced. Adam dove under the water and I followed. Adam swam so well, almost like a fish. My eyes followed him under the misty world of water. I quickly caught up with him from behind and suddenly he looked--how did he look? He looked-I couldn't think what was wrong. I rose to the surface of the water and gasped for air, my mind was also gasping. My mind was reaching for something and could not quite grasp it.
Adam came playfully to the surface next to me. Between breaths of air he laughed in the sheer joy of physical activity. He looked at my face and the laughing ceased.
"What is the matter, Eve?"
"I don't know." I turned and swam for the bank. I clamored up out of the water and turned to face Adam. His face now seemed to mirror my thoughts.
"Eve," he said quietly from the water as he treaded, "the Lord is always clothed when he comes to us. I now see that you are naked."
I drew my legs together and my arms crossed my chest in a sudden attempt to cover myself with limbs alone. I still felt very exposed.
"How do you think you look?" I returned in embarrassment and indignation.
Adam joined me on the bank. His eyes slowly appraised my appearance. Then he looked down at his own body.
"We will have to do something about this," Adam said. He took my hand and led me into the vegetation. His eyes swept the trees and nearby bushes. I couldn't guess for what he was looking. Finally he strode over to a fig tree and stripped some of the leaves off it. He found some vine nearby and tore it from its supporting tree.
"Let's join these leaves together with this vine and then we can tie it around our waist," he said. He began to poke the vine through the leaves. I watched him and followed his example.
We ruined several leaves. The holes became too large and simply ripped the leaves to shreds. After much difficulty we each had a small garment to hang from our waists.
I looked down at myself. It made me feel a tiny bit better but I still felt terribly exposed.
"I need something for the top of me," I pleaded.
"Yes, I can see that you do. And we are only covered if we remain standing straight."
"Hush," he suddenly warned.
"What is it?" I cried, without thinking disobeying his command.
"Quiet, I hear the Lord calling us. Do you want him to see us this way?"
"No!" I cried in anguish.
"Let's hide, tomorrow we will have better garments and then we will meet the Lord."
We crouched together among the trees and bushes, barely breathing.
"Adam, where are you?" God stood close enough for me to see his face. I knew by looking at it that he knew very well where we were and probably why.
Adam knew it too. He took my hand and drew me out into the open at his side. I hung my head in shame and wished I could be anywhere else.
"We heard you calling and were afraid. We are naked and it is not right to stand before you in our shame. So we hid ourselves," confessed Adam to the Lord.
"Who told you that you were naked?" asked God quietly. "Have you eaten the fruit of the tree which I commanded you not to eat? Did I not tell you that the day you ate of it you would surely die?"
"The woman which you gave to me and commanded to remain with me gave me the fruit and I ate it," Adam said.
I looked at Adam. Could anything hurt more? He had not even called me Eve, but 'the woman'. All at once I was 'the woman who had been commanded to remain with Adam'. I knew that I was the most to blame for this, but Adam's words seemed cruel.
"What is it that you have done, Eve?" Now I was compelled to look into the eyes of my Lord. I blinked hard and tried to look away. I felt water building in my eyes and spilling down my face. Some of it touched the corner of my mouth. It tasted like salt. Finally God released my gaze and I looked down at the ground.
The words would not rise to my throat. I looked up at the Lord again only with my eyes. I could not raise my face to him. I quickly looked down again as I saw him patiently waiting for my answer.
The words finally came in a pathetic whisper. "The serpent beguiled me and I ate the fruit."
I heard a sudden rustling in the leaves nearby. I saw a flash of brilliant colors.
"Come here, serpent! Since you are here to observe the results of your trickery you may join us," commanded the Lord.
The serpent looked as if he would run if he could. But the voice of the Lord could not be disobeyed. He came to us cringing. I could not believe the change in this proud creature.
"Because you have done this you will be cursed above all cattle. You shall be cursed above every beast of the field. You shall crawl upon your belly and eat and breathe the dust of the ground. This shall be your life."
"There will be hatred between you and the seed of the woman. Since you will crawl at the feet of the seed of this woman, they will bruise your head and you will bruise their heels. Now, begone! I have words to speak to the man and the woman."
The serpent cast me such an evil look! My eyes opened in slight shock as a hissing of air left his mouth. I knew that he now wished his own curse upon me. He slunk away and was soon gone.
"Eve," the Lord turned his attention to me once again. "You will have many sorrows, and you will conceive many children. You will bring forth your children in sorrow. Your husband shall rule over you and your desire shall be to him."
I tried to listen carefully to his words but I could not comprehend them. I could only hope that I could remember them, perhaps later I would understand.
Now he addressed Adam. "Because you listened to your wife and chose to ignore my words you have eaten the fruit of the tree. The ground shall be cursed because of you. In sorrow you shall eat of it all your life. It will bring forth thorns and thistles and you shall eat the herbs of the field. By the sweat of your face will you bring forth food out of it that you may eat. And you will surely die. Your body will return to dust, for you were made of the dust and must now return to it."
These last words brought a feeling of horror to me. How could my beautiful Adam become dust? My knees felt weak and my head felt as if it were swimming. I leaned against Adam for support. I looked at his face as if it might be the last I saw of him.
This was my fault! How could I make it right again? I loved Adam and I had brought this to him. I buried my face in Adam's shoulder as my body was taken over by rhythmic shaking. The water poured down my face.
"Tomorrow you must leave the garden. I will set a flaming sword to keep you out lest you eat of the tree of life and live forever in your rebellion.'' The Lord left as I was still sobbing into Adam's shoulder.
I hardly slept that night. The events of the day ran through my mind again and again. My head throbbed with an unknown fatigue and several times I tried to empty my mind for sleep. As I would begin to drop into oblivion my mind would snap into action once more.
I couldn't understand it, but I was standing all alone somewhere. I didn't recognize where I was. It wasn't green and beautiful as I was used to it being, but was empty and brown. Everything was brown, the earth, the few twisted little bushes, even the sky was brown as if dust filled the air. The sun struggled to give its light and only shone palely. My throat was tight with thirst and with fear.
"Adam, Adam," I cried. "Where are you? I'm lost. Come and help me."
I began to cry. Suddenly out of nowhere came a color other than the dull, dry brown.
"You want to be like God?" It was the serpent. He was crawling on his belly and changing colors, blue, and red, and yellow, and green, and purple, and orange. The colors came in waves, merging together and changing and changing. He opened his mouth and two tongues came out of it. He hissed, "You want to be like God? You want to be like God?"
"I want Adam!"
The serpent laughed. He started crawling toward me swiftly, moving his body in waves toward me.
I was running across the bare landscape, the serpent chasing me. Once he gained on me and he began to chew my heel. I could feel the two tongues lick my foot. I ran faster, but I could not run fast enough.
There was Adam. I would be safe. I would run faster and I would run into his arms. He would make the serpent go away simply by speaking to it.
I ran and ran. Finally I could almost reach Adam.
His face was expressionless. He hissed like the serpent, "You want to be like God? You want to be like God?"
Then his face froze, his lips ceased moving. His body turned the same brown color as everything else. Then he simply collapsed into a pile. It was a pile of dust. I bent down and filled my hands with it.
The wind began to blow and was blowing the dust out of my hands. I tried desperately to catch it and bring it back.
"Adam! Come back! Don't leave me!"
It was dark. I was damp with sweat. I looked swiftly around me to see where I was. There was Adam, asleep and in his own form.
For the rest of the night I looked continually over at Adam. His sleep was restless as well. Occasionally he was asleep. I envied him when he was. But he tossed as well. I felt I should not disturb him, knowing that his sleep was troubled because of my own actions.
What would tomorrow bring and how would I face it?
As sunrise approached I must have mercifully fallen asleep. I awoke and instantly remembered what today meant. Adam was not there.
For an instant I panicked. I frantically looked about me. He was standing watching the newly risen sun. He was oblivious of my regard and wore an expression of great sorrow. Finally he turned and saw that I was awake and watching him.
"We leave the garden today. Let us make ourselves ready," he said.
He walked slowly to the river and I followed. Our garments of fig leaves were in tatters. I ripped mine off and threw it away from me in disgust. It did little good anyway. Adam followed my example. We washed and drank from the clean water. It refreshed me and some of my tiredness passed.
"The Lord will be here soon, won't he?" I said.
"Yes, I suppose he will. It is morning, I think he will not tolerate our presence another day."
We stood expectantly. Suddenly he appeared, I had not seen his approach.
I drank in his presence, I would not see him again.
"I have coats for you, Adam and Eve." He handed them to us.
I hugged my coat to me and cried. When I could control myself I put it on me with fumbling hands. Adam was already wearing his.
"It is time to go," the Lord announced. Surely he was as sorrowful as we were. I saw the pain on his face. I saw that love that he still felt for us.
He led the way and we followed. Finally he stopped.
"There is the east gate of the garden." He stood quietly. We all stood quietly, our last moments together. He was gone.
We were rooted to the ground, incapable of moving.
"I love you, Lord," I whispered on the breeze.
We turned and headed to the east gate of the garden, how long had we lived in the garden? To this moment there had been no time, only pleasant days and gentle nights. By what would we now measure our lives?
Follow along in the scriptures (links to Center Place Library)
Inspired Version of the Bible
Genesis Chapter 3:6-33
forward to chapter 4
Copyright 1991 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: August 29, 2001