Author Note: It is Easter. This is a religious post. It is a story, as well, hence the ‘fiction devotional’ which is a bit of an experiment on my part. So if you choose to read, I hope you enjoy!
In the beginning, everything was simple. Our only concerns were eating, sleeping, and caring for the world around us. Every provision was given before it was required. We had no needs or wants, only desires.
Those desires urged us forward – the desire to know the world around us, and to know each other. We were young and innocent, but I even more than Adam.
We were the children of God. Adam had been borne from Elohim’s own Breath. I was created from Adam, but it was the hands of Elohim that fashioned my body from Adam’s rib. Elohim awoke me first, and then roused Adam from the sleep that brought forth my existence.
Adam and I stood before each other, gazing in awe.
We were alike, yet so different. It was easy to see we were of the same kind, just like the animals were each according to their kind. Adam and I were both human. We had heads covered in hair, and necks and arms and legs, but where he was firm and chiseled, I was soft and supple. My hair was long, and the feel of it brushing over my shoulders and down my back was thrilling. His hair was shorter and also grew on his face. I may not have known what I looked like, but I knew I did not have hair on my face!
Adam’s fingertips touched my cheek, his caress gentle despite the roughness of his skin. I knew he tended this Garden of Eden, and that I was to be his helpmeet. He did not look strained from the responsibility, and I knew Elohim would never give us burdens, only joy.
I saw the delight in his eyes when he touched the soft curves of my face and slowly traced the shape of my chin. I could not resist reaching up to touch his face and was amazed at the softness of his beard.
That was the word to fit the hair growing on his face! I don’t know how I knew it, I just did. Just as I knew he was my husband, and my creator was Elohim. I laughed, and it sounded like water falling over rocks.
The world was perfect.
Adam had already named all of the animals, but I was given the task of naming everything else. I delighted in it! All the plants and insects were wondrous. I took my time with each one, memorizing the way they looked and felt and smelled. How could I name them properly otherwise?
Roses as vibrant as the sunset, sunflowers imitating the sun in the sky, onions and garlic with their pungent odors and flavors . . . I named them all, except for the two trees which stood in the center of Eden. Elohim had already named those. The Tree of Life, from which flowed a rich spring that fed the four rivers, and beside it, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
What I would give to lay my eyes on them just once more.
I should have never listened to that serpent, beautiful as he was! The guilt overwhelmed me still, crippling my mind when it weighed upon my shoulders and pressed me down to my knees in sobs. How could Adam not warn me? That guilt mixed with anger in my stomach, churning, and I would tremble as it returned fully to guilt once more for being angry with him. I made a mistake, yes, and I never denied it. But Adam betrayed me in the same breath that he betrayed Elohim.
I wish I had never felt the sting of betrayal.
I used to trust Adam. Now I searched for hidden meanings behind his every word, wondering if this would be the day he finally unleashed his anger that we were no longer in the Garden of Eden. I knew it was coming. If I still felt this way, Adam must as well. Only a mere month had passed since I made that awful mistake.
Why did I keep torturing myself with these memories? I wished I could undo it all. How foolish we were, thinking we could hide from Elohim . . .
I whimpered where we hid in the garden, trying to cover myself more than the fig leaves did. My hands were too small. It was cold. Small bumps erupted over my flesh, making my skin feel tight. I had never been cold before.
Elohim searched for us. “Adam, where are you?”
We said nothing, but with a terrified glance my way, Adam stood. We both knew it was futile to hide from Him.
Adam’s voice trembled. “I heard you in the garden . . . I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
My stomach churned and my heart raced. Fear.
With a rush of wind and a blinding flash, Elohim stood before us. A cry of pain escaped me as I tried to look into His face. His glory was too bright, and I shut my eyes against it. We always visited with Him face to face before. Why had that changed now?
“Who told you that you were naked?” Elohim’s voice was strangely calm, too calm. “Did you eat of the tree, the one I commanded you not to?”
“This woman – the woman You gave me – she gave me the fruit, and I ate it!”
My breath sucked in, and I recoiled away from Adam. His voice was harsh, eyes and fingers pointing at me in condemnation. The words echoed in my mind as I looked at him through watery, stinging eyes.
The woman You gave me. She gave me the fruit!
As if I had forced him? But he was there! He listened as the serpent spoke and he willingly took the fruit from my hand!
It felt like one of the serpent’s fangs thrust into my heart and twisted. Betrayal.
Elohim turned to me. For the briefest of moments, I thought I glimpsed His eyes. They were deep, unending pools, like the spring feeding the rivers, and reflected my anguish. We shared the same pain, the same grief, as Adam betrayed us both with those words – the woman You gave me. This could never be blamed on Elohim, I knew that. I wouldn’t even entertain the notion.
And softly, so very softly, He spoke to me. “What is it you have done?”
I choked back a sob, and I told him.
To think, you can be like Elohim, the serpent whispered. When you eat this, your eyes will be opened – you will know both good and evil. Just like Him.
Adam stood by my side the entire time the serpent spoke. He had not protested once, nor warned me of what Elohim truly commanded.
My body shook with sobs as I realized the extent of the serpent’s deception. Elohim stood before us, clothed in the same glory we had worn, and I finally understood. We were shaped perfectly in His own image. We had already been like Elohim. In fact, we had been the purest form of Him, because we had not known evil.
I stood, shuddering in silence, as Elohim summoned the serpent. His voice thundered with power. I had known Him as Creator and Father. Now I recognized Him as Judge.
“Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle and every beast in the fields. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust for the rest of your days.”
Elohim looked back to me then, but he still spoke to the serpent.
“You and the woman, and your seed and her Seed, will be enemies forever. Her Seed will bruise your head, but you will only bruise His heel.”
My eyes shot up to Elohim’s once more and relief flooded through me. There was hope. My Seed would hold the promise of hope, the promise of redemption.
Elohim spoke to me again. His voice made me want to weep. It was gentle, yet filled with grief.
“Your sorrow will be greatly multiplied, and also your conception.”
Instinctively, my hand flew to cover my womb. There was no life cradled there yet, but from His words, it would not be long.
“In sorrow you will birth your children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Life was not going to be like I had known it before. Strange moisture flowed from my eyes and down my face. I brought my hand up, touching my fingers to the wetness. I brushed them against my lips. Salty. Tears.
Then Elohim spoke to Adam.
“Because you obeyed the voice of your wife and ate of the tree,” His voice was filled with anger, “the tree that I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed is the ground for your sake. In sorrow you will eat of it, for every day of your life. Thorns and thistles it will grow for you, and you will eat the herbs of the field. With sweat on your face will you eat bread, until the day you return to the ground, for out of dust I made you, and to dust you will return.”
I clenched my fists, trying to contain my anger, but I couldn’t stop trembling. I was enraged at myself for being so foolish, and at Adam for not protecting me.
Elohim’s words repeated in my mind, though. To dust you will return. The thought made me want to stop breathing. I couldn’t imagine living without Adam. My anger turned to desperate fear, and the trembles wouldn’t stop.
For the first time in my life, I was afraid of the future.
Adam must have seen me shaking, because he reached up to touch my face, much the same as that first day. This time, it was all I could do not to flinch.
“I’m sorry, Eve…” he whispered.
I knew this would be my name. Why did he name me now?
We stood with aching hearts while Elohim explained the sacrifices required of us, the sacrifices to cover sin. Sin. It was a word I hadn’t known before, but I knew it would haunt me until I returned to the dust. Then, as the weight of sin pressed into my soul, I realized exactly what we had lost.
Elohim had created us with innocence.
Now the only true innocence belonged to the helpless creatures we cared for in the garden. For our innocence to be remembered, theirs would be sacrificed. And their blood would not even remove our sin, but only cover it. A dark shadow with creeping tendrils wrapped around me from my toes to my scalp. Dread.
Elohim made us watch as the animals were slaughtered in our stead. I heard the frightened bleating, and my tears flowed again. It was hard to breathe. The double-edged blade Elohim unsheathed terrified me – I still have no words to describe it beyond that. I watched in horror as He cut open the throats of the lambs and crimson blood saturated their pure white wool. Was it only this morning when they had awoken me with their soft, wet noses?
I will never get the smell of that blood – the first ever spilled – out of my nostrils, or the taste of bile from my mouth. It burned when the contents of my belly forced themselves up. Nausea – that was another new word, and it was an awful one.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. He planted that knowledge in our hearts and minds that day to pass on to our children, then to their children, and to each new generation.
Elohim fashioned the skins of the lambs into clothing for us. It took every ounce of strength I could find to actually put it on. It was warmer than the fig leaves, though, and my shivers finally subsided. The chill remained in my heart.
With tears, both ours and Elohim’s, He led us out of the garden. The night was almost over, but it seemed darker outside the garden than within, despite the coming dawn. In a final, desperate attempt to return to Eden and Elohim, I turned back, pulling Adam with me. Gasping sobs escaped me, and it was everything I could do not to wail.
Surely there was something we could do, something Adam could do. It was his fault, after all.
I stumbled in the darkness, suddenly blinded when light vanished.
Elohim was gone.
At the entrance to Eden there now stood two terrifying creatures, each with four wings and four faces, flaming swords in their hands. I sank to my knees, biting at my knuckles. No . . . He couldn’t be gone. I needed Him too much.
Yet I knew we would never stand face to face with Him again in this life.
I heard Elohim’s clear, thundering voice for the last time.
“Behold, man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. Guard the garden now, lest he eat of the tree of life and live forever.”
It was my fault, too, though I couldn’t bear to admit it yet.
But it was finished. The Seed was now our only hope to ever live in Eden again.
In a moment of extreme frustration a couple weeks ago, my husband asked me why we have free will. I know the answers I’ve been told all my life – God gave us free will because He wanted a family that loved Him because it was our choice, not because we… simply did. He didn’t want robots.
And then I got to thinking – because, supposedly in traditional Christian doctrine, angels don’t have free will. And yet Lucifer was able to rebel against God. Even without free will.
And that got me thinking further – what if we have free will not because God wanted us to choose to love Him, but because He wanted us to be able to change our minds after we made a mistake?
So, just a thought. I’m not a theologian, but I do attempt to pursue a relationship with God, and seek to know His Word. But relationships grow, ideally, so for me it involves a lot of questions and “What if, God?”
What if, without free will, the first time we succumbed to sin, that was it? Our first choice would be our only choice.
It would be terrible. There would be no possibility for redemption.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
~ John 3:16 WEB (emphasis mine)
Today, we remember that Redemption.
When Jesus died on the cross, and rose from the dead a few days later, He fulfilled the promise made to Eve.
You and the woman, and your seed and her Seed, will be enemies forever. Her Seed will bruise your head, but you will only bruise His heel.
Genesis 3:15 WEB (my paraphrase)
He is Risen!
If you have questions about faith, or need prayer, but would prefer not to leave a public comment, you can reach me here.