God surveyed all his handiwork and he was very satisfied with it – everything so right, so beautiful – six daywork well done.
Outer space and planet earth were now complete. Since nothing more was needed, God took the next day off. That is why he designated every seventh day to be different from the others, set apart for himself alone – because on that day he was not busy with his daily work on creation.
This is how our universe was born and how everything in it came to be the way it is; when the God whose name is “Always” was making outer space and the planet earth, there was a time when there was no vegetation at all on the ground. And if there had been, there was neither any rain to irrigate it nor any man to cultivate it. But underground springs welled up to the surface and watered the soil. And the God “Always” moulded a human body from particles of clay, gave it the kiss of life, and man joined the living creatures. And the God “Always” had already laid out a stretch of parkland, east of here, a place called “Eden”, which means “Delight”. He brought the first man there to live. The God “Always” had planted a great variety of trees in the part with beautiful foliage and delicious fruit. Right in the middle were two rather special trees; fruit from one of them could maintain life indefinitely while the fruit of the other gave the eater personal experience of doing right and wrong.
One river watered the whole area but divided into four branches as it left the park. One was called the Pishon and wound across the entire length of Havilah, the land where pure nuggets of gold were later found, as well as aromatic resin and onyx. The second was called the Gihon and meandered right through the country of Cush. The third was the present Tigris, which flows in front of the city of Asshur. The fourth was what we know as the Euphrates.
So the God “Always” set the man in this “Parkland of Delight” to develop and protect it. And the God “Always” gave him very clear orders: “You are perfectly free to eat the fruit of any tree except one – the tree that gives experience of right and wrong. If you taste that you will certainly have to die the death.”
Then the God “Always” said to himself: “It isn’t right for the man to be all on his own. I will provide a matching partner for him.”
Now the God “Always” had fashioned all sorts of birds and beasts out of the soil and he brought them in contact with the man to see how he would describe them; and whatever the man said about each one became its name. So it was man who labelled all the other creatures but in none of them did he recognize a suitable companion for himself.
So the God “Always” sent the man into a deep coma and while he was unconscious God took some tissue from the side of his body, and pulled the flesh together over the gap. From the tissue he produced a female clone and introduced her to the man, who burst out with:
“At last you have granted my wish,
A companion of my bones and flesh,
“Woman” to me is her name,
Wooed by the man whence she came.”
All this explains why a man lets go of his parents and holds on to his wife, their two bodies melting into one again. The first man and his new wife wandered about the park quite bare, but without the slightest embarrassment.
Now there was a deadly reptile around, more cunning than any of the wild beasts the God “Always” had made. He chatted with the woman one day and asked: “You don’t mean to tell me that God has actually forbidden you to eat any fruit from all these trees?” She replied: “No, it’s not quite like that. We can eat fruit from the trees, but God did forbid us to eat from that one in the middle. In fact, he warned us that if we even touch it, we’ll have to be put to death.”
“Surely he wouldn’t do that to you,” said the reptile to the woman, “he’s just trying to frighten you off because he knows perfectly well that when you eat that fruit you’d see things quite differently. Actually it would put you on the same level as him, able to decide for yourself what is right and wrong.”
So she took a good look at the tree and noticed how nourishing and tasty the fruit appeared to be. Besides, it was obviously an advantage to be able to make one’s own moral judgements. So she picked some, ate part and gave the rest to her husband, who was with her at the time and he promptly ate too. Sure enough, they did see things quite differently! For the first time they felt self-conscious about their nudity. So they tried to cover up with crude clothes stitched together from fig leaves.
That very evening, they suddenly became aware of the approach of the God “Always” and ran to hide in the undergrowth. But the God “Always” called out to the man: “What have you got yourself into?” He answered: “I heard you coming and I was frightened because I haven’t got any decent clothes. So I’m hiding in the bushes over here.” Then God demanded: “How did you discover what it feels like to be naked? Have you been eating the fruit I ordered you to leave alone?” The man tried to defend himself: “It’s all due to that woman you sent along; she brought this fruit to me, so naturally I just ate it without question.”
Then the God “Always” challenged the woman: “What have you been up to?” The woman said: “It’s that dreadful reptile’s fault! He deliberately deluded me and I fell for it.”
So the God “Always” said to the reptile:
“As a punishment for your part in this:
Above all the beasts I will curse
Your ways with a fate that is worse!
On your belly you’ll slither and thrust
With your mouth hanging down in the dust.
For the rest of the days in your life,
There’ll be terror, hostility, strife
Between woman and you for this deed
Which you’ll both pass along to your seed;
But his foot on your skull you will feel
As you strike out in fear at his heel.”
Then to the woman he said:
“Let the pain of child-bearing increase
The agony, labor and stress;
You’ll desire a man to control
But find yourself under his rule.”
But to the man, Adam, he said,
“Because you paid attention to your wife rather than me
and disobeyed my order prohibiting that tree:
There’s a curse on the soil;
All your days you will toil.
Thorns and thistles will grow
Among all that you sow.
With a brow running sweat
You will labor to eat;
Then return to the ground
In the state you were found.
From the clay you were made;
In the dust you’ll be laid.”
Adam gave his wife the name Eve (it means “life-giving”) because he now realized she would be the mother of all human beings who would ever live.
The God “Always” made some new clothes from animal skins for Adam and his wife and got them properly dressed. Then the God “Always” said to himself; “Now this man has become as conscious of good and evil things as we have been, how could we limit the damage if he is still able to eat from the other special tree and live as long as us?” To prevent this happening, the God “Always” banished the man from the Park of Delight and sent him back to cultivate the very same patch of ground from which he was originally moulded!
After he had been expelled, heavenly angels were stationed on the eastern border of the Park of Delight, guarding access to the tree of continuous life with sharp, scorching weapons.
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