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Creation

 

 

Primal God

 

Within himself he remained, total mind and pure spirit, having no sensation of sight, sound, or touch.  Unaware of outside stimuli, he felt no need for companionship.  He had his thoughts; all knowledge and wisdom had been forever his.  With nothing to see, hear, or feel, he had no need of senses.  Unaware of hot or cold, he felt no discomfort.  Inside his infinite mind lie the potential for ultimate creation or destruction.  But in the beginning he was unaware of his power.  He was like a fetus encased forever in a womb with no need to be born.  There was, for him no outside to view and no place to go.  There was no top or bottom, north, south, east, or west.  There was no darkness or light.  It was an invisible world, without dimension, physical perception, or time.  And yet an identity filled him, carried from the beginning of time.... He was God.... He had always been.... He would always be. 

          After a billion more years had passed, he became aware also of a purpose: something he must do.  At first, he ignored this purpose, because it had no meaning in his small, insignificant world.  He felt secure and content here.  He could while away eternity in the ambience of his own thoughts.  There was no immediacy or import to being God.  What was so important that he must do?… When would he do it?… And how?  These questions, having no apparent answer, hung pointlessly in his mind, until a knowledge came to him that had also been lying dormant since the beginning of time.... He had power!

          What did this mean?... How was he supposed to use it?... On what?... What was the meaning of his identity and purpose?  Shrinking from these thoughts into the comfort of his void, God delayed creation for another billion years.

          But the implications were unshakable.  At one fateful point in the infinitely tiny world that he knew, a feeling grew in his mind: curiosity.  From what recess in his memory these thoughts originated, he couldn’t fathom.  Perhaps, as everything else he knew, they had always been.  It didn’t matter.... They were there to stay and grew in importance as he contemplated himself.  They were, mixed together now, a catalyst, filling him with something that he knew about but didn’t often feel: excitement.   Thus, as a chain reaction, knowledge of himself begat curiosity, curiosity begat excitement, excitement begat desire, and desire begat temptation to test his unlimited power.

          Was it his purpose to use his power?  He wasn’t sure.  How to use his power and to what purpose was not yet evident in his mind.  So he shrank into himself again, contemplating upon everything that he knew so far, until, after another billion years slipped by, his curiosity was too great to contain.

          Without further delay, he began experimenting with his thoughts.  In his mind’s eye he could clearly see how powerful he might be.  The imagery, though alien, showed entire galaxies set into motion by his command.  But this was the dream world inside his mind, not the real world that awaited him now.  Having only a mind to comprehend his task, he now created a body to act as a reference point and input gatherer for his world.  At this stage, it would become a primitive sphere, incredibly dense but still invisible in the unseen void.  Unsatisfied with this so far, he now gave himself awareness of the outside world with sight, sound, and touch.  Gazing out into the void now, He saw only darkness and felt only his own mass.  For the first time in eternity, he could see his domain: nothingness, stretching out before him into featureless black space.  He was aware of an unfathomable silence in the depths of space and was reminded that he was alone.  Unable to see his own dark mass, filled with his own godhood now, he grew impatient.  A great and uncompromising loneliness filled him as sat at the threshold of time.

 

Moment of Singularity

         

At this point, time and space, matter and energy, darkness and light were the same.  There was no universe because it had not been born.  In this timeless void all creation was centered into one point: singularity, the tiniest microcosm that would ever exist.  To make it even more insignificant was the fact that it blended in with the surrounding space: black on black, the total absence of light.  So, after a brief pause, he made his decision: it was time to use his power.  He must light the darkness.  To do this required only one word.  So God, having given himself a voice, uttered his first word in a whisper: Begin!  In less than a nanosecond, the moment of singularity passed, and the plural universe was born.  Ultimate matter was detonated into the greatest explosion the cosmos would ever know in the shortest interval of measurable time, an event that would one day be called the Big Bang.

          Time had begun, and celestial mechanics were set into motion.  All creation had been divided between darkness and light.  Darkness, as the absence of light, had been defined by himself, and all light, so ignited, would continue to be an emanation of himself.  For he was the light, and he was the Creation.  Time, space, gravity, energy, and matter were, in a sense, still one, as part of the living and expanding God. 

         

Lighting of the Cosmos

 

          The primal universe became a testing ground for God’s power.  Celestial mechanics, which would someday boggle the mind, began simply as an explosion, moving in all directions in a perfect and seemingly limitless sphere.  At first, there were no galaxies or stars.  There could be no structure for matter with such energy in motion.  Atoms, electrons, and protons were in their most elementary forms.  There was, during this primal universe, only the plasma thrown out by the Big Bang.  For several more seconds, the infant cosmos glowed from the great heat generated by the blast.  The plasma surrounding the point of detonation crackled from particle to particle, as would a great thunder sphere, becoming fainter the further it traveled from the core into space, until, ultimately, it ceased to glow entirely and began clumping into dense, spherical clouds of gas.

          For an indeterminate period of time God pondered upon his creation, unsure of what to accomplish next.  So far he had created energy, matter, and light.  Now, by his infinite mind, the oldest clusters were being further defined into smaller clumps of gas.  As in mitosis, each cluster was divided into galaxies, and each galaxy was further divided, until billions of individual spheres circled within their galaxies as the first dimly lit stars.  During the creation of inanimate matter, God fashioned atoms, the building blocks of matter, from the plasma of the stars.  At first, the lighter elements hydrogen and helium dominated.  From these two gasses, solids, liquids, and all other gasses would take form.  But for now, he was satisfied just to begin lighting the firmament from its outer edge.  The pattern had been set.  In the opposite direction of its detonation, therefore, the universe took shape: the coalescing of its gasses generating the electromagnetism and radiation required for ignition.  So that, as viewed from afar, the celestial lamp began glowing from its outer Edge inward, clusters begetting galaxies, galaxies begetting stars, nuclear furnaces igniting, until, the entire cosmos was lit by God’s eternal light.

          Afterwards, ignoring the passage of time, God watched his plaything, as a child would focus upon his reflection in a pond.  For this was indeed the face of God, as the Creator, burning with eternal and unyielding light.  But as a child with terrible and unlimited power, he grew weary of the magnitude of it all.  Surely there was more to his creation than this.  Something was missing in this wondrous sight that, as yet, was only a vague dream.... Still the nagging questions returned to him from the dreamtime when all creation waited in the background of his thoughts.... Why was he here?  What was his purpose?  How far should his creation now go?

Moving indivisibly among his creation now, he noticed that each cluster contained millions of galaxies, and each galaxy contained billions of stars, but the stars, themselves (save for the atoms making up their mass), were the last units, beyond which, all else was cold, unlit space.  Pulling out mass here and there, he created planets that would circle the chosen suns.  Most stars were ignored.  Some were too large, while others were too small.  During this phase of creation, he experimented with matter, energy, and light. 

 

The Creation of Earth

 

An intermediate size star, which burned a steady yellow light, was chosen in the universe.  Each planet circling the chosen star ranged in size from a tiny cloud of gas to giant mini-stars with nuclear furnaces of their own.   The majority of the planets, however, were not large enough to sustain nuclear furnaces of their own.  Nevertheless they were, for several million years, microcosms of the mother star.  As great dust clouds settled upon themselves, their dim light grew in intensity.  As electromagnetic particles bombarded each other, the primordial planets’ gravity caused the dust clouds to settle, becoming denser the closer they came to the center of the cloud, until they began to appear as planetary orbs.  For several million more years, these infant planets, reheated by their own electromagnetism and the implosion of their own mass, took on appearances that were vastly different than their mother star.  Already, before their formation, God had transformed the basic elements of hydrogen and helium into more stable forms of matter.  As in other quarters of the universe, these primal elements solidified slowly with each planet into beautiful menageries of molten fountains and streams.  Excited by the potential of these sights but not sure which way to go, he allowed this natural process to run its course.  Each planet, depending upon its distance from its sun, cooled slowly, becoming an inert satellite circling the sun.  Electromagnetic fields within each planet continued to melt the internal magma in certain isolated spots, but for the most part they reflected a cold starlight.  Those planets nearest the edge of the universe, reflected the coldest light, while those nearest the center, resembled more closely the original universe, in its primal state.   Ignoring the inner clusters for several billion years, God concentrated upon random planets, which caught his eye.

 

Conception of the Angels

         

During the second celestial day of creation, God felt a new emotion grow inside him: loneliness.  After creating the Earth, which would forever trouble his thoughts, God sought companionship in his universe.  Several possibilities appeared in his infinite mind, including spherical bodies, gaseous forms, and strange creatures with all manner of appendage and contour.   It was then, as if an ancient purpose suddenly took hold, God created heaven, a place where he could oversee creation.   He now gave himself a peculiar form in which he could stroll through his domain.   Seeing the beauty in this last creation, he duplicated his image a million fold, giving life to each of the angels comprising the heavenly host.  Each angel, carrying a portion of the godhood, were as set pieces of creation.   

At this stage in prehistory, there was already a hierarchy in heaven.  Satan, however, the first angel created, stood alone as God’s favorite for a while, swaggering around and boasting of his importance, until jealousy grew in the ranks.   Matters grew so serious that Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, stepped forward to denounce him before God.  According to Michael, a spokesman for his faction, Satan had compared himself to God.  He had also criticized him for not giving his angels more power.  Satan, speaking for a faction of like-minded angels, had swayed nearly a quarter of the host to his side.  They were created in God’s image and were part of the godhead, so why shouldn’t they share in creation?  Satan’s faction were expelled immediately from heaven, a punitive action intended to prevent a civil war.  While they were exiled indefinitely to outposts at the far edges of space, God kept Satan close to himself to keep an eye on him, a deed that angered Michael’s faction that much more.  Rumors filtered back to heaven that, to placate the ambitious Satan, God was, instead of finding a remote outpost to exile him, allowing him to create wonders on his own.  It was not hard for Michael’s faction to imagine how this might swell the archangel’s unfathomable ego and make him even more insufferable than before.  God's favorite angel, though expelled from heaven, would soon believe that he too was a god. 

Eons later, Saint John the Divine, in a series of dreams, would misinterpret God’s words to mean that there had been a war in heaven, but there had been no war.  A rebellion had begun.  Though strife had been averted, the universe had been populated with thousands of disenfranchised angels, who would one day become adversaries against God.  At this stage of creation, however, Satan was still the favorite of God.   

 

******

On Earth, the medium sized world recently cooled to a tolerable state, the Lord, with Satan present, paused and allowed his archangel to make own display.  At first Satan altered the planet’s surface with a sudden shower of meteors that pock marked it until it bore little resemblance to what it was before.  This act of destruction, not creation, was disappointing to God, and yet it triggered an interesting response, which led to the correct chemical balance on the world.  After generating tremendous heat, the crust began to boil forth magma at a steadily increasing rate.  Loose in the atmosphere were several kinds of gasses that would have been toxic to life yet would be basic for its development later on.  Carbon dioxide, methane, and argon now swirled around the reforming planet, spewed from volcanoes and fissures in the crust.  Molten metal and rock oozed over the young landscape, creating fiery rivers and bubbling caldrons that would someday be standard in the depths of hell.  Great clouds of gasses coalesced and bombarded each other, mixing the primal gasses while generating electricity in the blackened sky.  For all its nightmarish qualities, there was something remarkable happening on this planet, which Satan’s act of destruction caused.... Rain began to fall upon the hot land, steaming instantly when hitting the molten streams.  At first the rain was composed of hydrogen, methane, and argon liquids.  As it poured ceaselessly upon the sweltering landscape, great clouds of steam joined the primal gasses, filtered of their toxic impurities, if for only a little while, until gradually, as the land cooled, and the rain fell, the clouds began to issue moisture that collected in ever increasing basins below, until, finally, a great ocean covered most of the crust.

          Plunged into the ocean repeatedly, as a matter of course now, were smaller meteorites from the young atmosphere.  A great wind blew upon the face of the deep caused in part by the gravity of the moon and the settling of the earth’s crust.  At one point, the natural forces of lightning and thunder were followed by great sheets of water onto the earth.  After the deluge, out of sheer whim, God and his first archangel came closer and closer to the spectacular scene of dry, cooling land.  Mountains were interspersed with smoldering volcanoes.  A bejeweled assortment of minerals reflected on the landscape.  A sky filled with ominous dark clouds greeted their dazzled eyes, the youthful sun’s light breaking through to guide their steps.  One day the land would break apart to form all the world’s continents, but for now it was one great landmass, surrounded by a churning, lifeless, fresh water sea.

          Upon the barren land, the Lord of the Universe and Satan moved on the third celestial day of creation, which was but a nanosecond in God’s time but which was ten billion years after the Big Bang.

 

The Inception of Eden

 

Having created the Earth, and allowing Satan a hand in its creation, God blessed it, setting it above all other celestial bodies in space.  Standing guard on the new world, as an honor but also as a check on his power, was Satan, self-styled heir apparent, whose ambition had been stifled by this tribute.  Though the universe was already very old, Earth was but an infant in the cosmos.  It was upon this lonely outpost of steaming rocks and boiling seas that God and Satan walked for a while, pausing to reflect upon ongoing creation and the meaning of it all.  On its dark side, beneath a looming lunar lamp, God looked out over a desolate landscape, filled again with purpose, and knew what he must do.  Though Satan’s friends had been given far worse outposts than him, the archangel was unhappy with his exile.  The Lord knew that it was important to give him a special, long-range task.  When he had created living beings like himself, they were, in effect, physically perfect as was the universe and heaven.  Nothing, until he endowed the angels with freewill, had been left to chance.  An idea was born in his infinite mind to begin at the very inception of life.   Nothing that steamed, bubbled, oozed, or sat inert on this planet could move on its own, he explained tutorially to Satan.  Though there was constant upheaval here, nothing lifeless could deliberately change, without the Word.  Always, when the Word was uttered change occurred, but only at God’s command.

It had been a perfect universe until then.

Satan looked up from the steaming earth now and said, “Give me the power of the Word.”

The Lord of the Universe wagged his finger as he would at an over ambitious child. “You would be God?”

“No,” the archangel shook his head, “just the Word.  That’s all I want.”

“But the Word is God.” He studied Satan’s inscrutable face.

“Did I not send comets in motion?” Satan blustered. “Did I not rain meteors on this world?”

“That was my Word.  I gave you the power,” replied God.  “You must understand one thing Satan: the Word comes through me.  All other magic is evil without the Word.  What you did was an act of destruction, not creation.  Comets and meteors bring destruction to this world.”

Stifling an argument brewing in his mind, Satan performed the only act possible in the presence of God, he bowed politely, and kept his silence.  There would be no argument this time with God about his divinity nor his power.   Looking around at his domain, which God, himself, would fashion, he knew he was but the caretaker of this world, but it occurred to him, as they walked in silence over the barren ground, that it was nevertheless his.      

“Lord,” he ventured politely, “I will be lonely.  Will there be others to act as companions on this world?”

After thinking for a moment, God said slowly, with hesitation “After awhile, when I see a change, I will allow visitors from the heavenly host to come.  If they have behaved themselves, I will allow your friends Sariel, Raguel, Raziel, and Remiel to visit you too.... I know you were thinking of rebellion, Satan.  I regret now that I gave you and the others freewill.”

A discussion that would define sin for ages to come but also God’s future plans for creation, commenced between the Lord of the Universe and the Lord of Earth.

“Without freewill,” began Satan, “we are but mindless copies of yourself.”

“Is that how they perceive themselves?” God looked up at the firmament, as if he could see heaven from where he stood. “Copies of me, without identities?” “That’s absurd, Satan.” He turned suddenly to the archangel. “Who put that notion into your head?”

The archangel shrugged and said nothing, for, in deed, he thought of it all by himself.

“We are all replications of you, except for the Word,” he tactfully returned to the issue. “We know only what were suppose to know.   All Creation is through your eyes and, because you are God, by your command.”

“You have said it,” God folded his arms. “From the smallest atom to the constellations and galaxies—all Creation is but a reflection and result of me.”

 

******

A notion, born from knowledge stored in God’s infinite mind, caused him to pause abruptly and sit on a nearby rock.  Freewill also meant diversity—a concept at odds with the control he demonstrated in creation.  In spite of freewill, the elements and the angels, themselves, were, it was true, reflections or mere copies of himself.  All he had accomplished by replicating himself and instilling in his angels freewill was a heaven filled with diverse personalities.  Satan had been right about creation too: it was an automatic, unchanging process that depended upon divine whim.  Chaos, which came with freedom, could not be avoided.  Did his hand always have to stir things up?  What if he left Creation alone—at least for a while?   There was, at this point in the process, a great sameness and predictability to the firmament and heavenly host that depressed him.  Boredom, the final emotion to be felt by God, had caused him to experiment with the elements in space.  But now, returning to his sense of destiny, he decided to experiment with the very process of life.  He would give living substance freedom as he had the angels but at the beginning: the very inception of life.  

          Reaching into the warm water of creation, He searched for a likely clump of matter.  When He had found a large enough matrix to work with, He lifted it up and blew the breath of life into its molecules.  Satan looked on in horror.  Dropping the clump back into water close enough to the shoreline for him to sit and watch, he sat there intently, watching it float aimlessly around in the clear water: the first draft of a living thing.

          “What is this magic,” the archangel muttered to himself. “What purpose is there in creating such evil things?”

          “Nothing in Creation is evil,” replied God cagily. “Did I not create you?  What purpose was there in that?

          The insinuation stung the archangel, who knew God had looked into his heart.

          “When I’m finished planting this garden,” said God, “you will see wonders grow before your eyes greater than constellations or galaxies, and ones rivaling heaven too!”

          “Grow?” Satan murmured numbly.  “You are talking about time?  How long will this growth be?”

          “I don’t know,” God waved his hand lightly. “We’ll just have to see!”

          “But you’re God, you have to know,” cried Satan as he watched the Creator’s ascent.

          In a demonstration of his majesty, God rose up to heaven on a bed of dark clouds, which flashed from lightning, causing a drizzle of rain on Satan’s upturned face.

          “I do know, Satan,” he shouted down, “.... If I look into my memory I know all things.  But you don’t.  You shall never have that power.  I leave you as the guardian of this world.  As the caretaker, not the gardener, make sure my seeds prosper.  Just don’t touch them; let them grow wild, for I have given them purpose and a will to thrive.”

          “I shall call my kingdom ‘barren ground,’ Satan called bitterly after God, ‘for it is where I remain imprisoned for being a replication of God.”

          Satan spat on his shadow and silently cursed God.  The Creator, always merciful, would give the Prince of Earth one more chance.

          “You are blessed among the angels,” God’s voice boomed down from the firmament. “You shall call the barren ground Eden, for in the days ahead it will radiate life to all corners of this world.  You shall rule over it, as you could never do in heaven.  Tend it well!”

          “Rule?” Satan looked at his image in the sea. “All I see is rock and dark water.  For eons my reflection in the waters will be the only face I see.”

          A question swelled in Satan’s throat he prudently kept to himself.  Seeing the misgivings on the archangel’s face, God added for emphasis, “Guard Eden well, Satan.   I expect great things from you!”

          Satan looked back down at the barren ground, head bowed, and began his long exile on Earth.  At a latter day, God would come into the Prophet Ezekiel’s dream and, with sadness, speak of this bygone day

 

 “13 You were in Eden, the garden of God.  Every precious stone was your covering: carnelian, topaz, jasper, chrysolite, beryl, onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald.  Wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. With an anointed guardian cherub I placed you.  14 You were on the holy mountain of God, and in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until iniquity was found in you.”  (Ezekiel 28: 13-14.)

 

Evolution Set In Motion

 

          Because air-breathing bacteria had not evolved yet, there was no oxygen on Earth.  In its place was methane, which the earliest cells used in respiration.  From these lowly globs, breathing methane instead of oxygen, the cells mutated, after the Creator’s management, and evolved into oxygen producing patches of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae.  With this new gas being pumped into the atmosphere, God, looking down from the firmament, found that a greater diversity of living forms was possible.  Satan, playing the part of spoiler, would, thinking God had not noticed, cause the new Earth to boil forth magma or allow a comet to break through, often bringing about the extinction of a sea animal or plant encroaching on the ground, but even this was part of God’s plan, just as out of the chaos of the Big Bang the jeweled firmament was brought forth and with the imperfect nature of freewill beautiful and inscrutable angels had been born.

As a result of Satan’s first act of destruction, the Earth’s chemical balance was set on course.  It was, however, from God’s creation of the first non-celestial life form that the first oxygen breathing algae and bacteria evolved, producing more and more oxygen, sprouting into more diverse creatures, until the atmosphere was thick with a humid layer of air and a pungent evolutionary soup lapped on the shoreline and filled the churning sea.   Looking out from the barren ground, Satan marveled at this first encroachment upon Eden.  The earliest seaweed was being washed by the waves onto the primal beach.  Already in anticipation of when plants would take hold to invade the land, the tide pools had become dotted with stromatolites (mounds of lime-bearing cyanobacteria), as well as mosses and lichens, the earliest land plants, which clung to tidal rocks.  Within the hydrogen and oxygen saturated seas, among the primal soup, several thousand types of single cell organisms, including a few who tended to clump together, as did their green slime forefathers, swam densely throughout the watery world. 

As would a chemist looking into a vial or an alchemist stirring his pot, the Creator played, as Satan looked on, in the primal sea.  The archangel longed to stir things up himself.  Green slime had transformed into algae and algae now evolved into a myriad of sea plants, which the surf continued to deposit on the shore. The barren land, which would one day become Eden, looked more desolate by this effect, and yet Satan felt hopeful now that his exile would one day come to an end. 

Impatient that the process took so long and that creation was passing him by, Satan began looking for the gardener, who was spending so much time by the shore.  The first animals, evolving from bacteria, were simple bell shaped creatures, whose whip-like tentacles and adaptable body features would propel them into numerous orders, including sponges, jelly fishes, and yet higher forms of life.  The gardener had reached an interesting stage, in which there were filmy willow-o’the-wisp, segmented, and hideous pulsating creatures swimming in the sea, which drew the attention of Satan, who was this moment walking across the barren ground. 

“My Lord,” he began, “what need have you of these monstrosities?”

“Nothing I have created is monstrous,” replied God.  “All has a purpose in a latter day.”

“But these creatures are ugly,” protested the archangel, “There’s no beauty in the sea.”

“Ugly?” God’s enigmatic face broke into a smile.  “Nothing in Creation is ugly, Satan.  Did I not create you?”

Knowing this angel’s heart, he remained silent.  So Satan cloaked his criticism in polite terms.  “My Lord, you have lit the darkness; your Creation is done.  Such nasty things are beneath you.  Why bother so with this insignificant world?”

“This is your world I am tending, is it not Satan?” challenged God.

The question stopped Satan cold.  His world—not just a caretaker—but his world.  Raising up a small trilobite that crawled, as would a latter day cockroach in his great palm, the Lord chided the archangel gently: “Satan, are you jealous of my creation?  These creatures I leave to evolution, which is my creation too.  Let’s wait and see what it brings.” 

Reaching down into tide pool, he brought up a slimy, jelly-like creature that looked like a vase: “Behold, Satan, from this humble one comes great things.”

“Surely, you jest,” Satan looked down at the hideous creature with amazement.

The translucent creature pulsated in God’s hand.  The archangel drew closer, mumbling to himself.

“I don’t understand,” he made a face. “Please explain this evolution.  Is it a part of Creation?  If it is part of Creation, I bow to you plan.”

“It is part of my plan.” He now tested the angel’s will. 

As God held it out to him, Satan bowed to this lowly blob.  He knew that Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael would have followed suit as did all of the other angels, but Satan could not tolerate this sycophancy, even to God.  Shuddering at the lowly glob, he felt a wretch deep in his throat.  A great dread filled him, when he realized what he had done.  And yet the Creator, as always, forgave him and gave him a gentle pat.

“You must learn humility.” He gave Satan an enigmatic smile. “When you have seen life creep onto and take hold of the land, you shall begin loving this world.  I can see the future Satan.  Believe me, you will love Eden especially.  I have great things in store for this land.”

Satan gave him a thoughtful expression, bowing faintly as God returned the glob to the sea.  He thought about his allies, Sariel, Raguel, Raziel, and Remiel, who had also been exiled to various outposts in space.  His exile was the best.  He decided to bide his time here on the barren ground until Eden became a garden.  It would be much different if there were beautiful life forms growing here.  He might even begin to like it.... It was much better than whiling away eternity on a cold lifeless world. 

“What will happen to the others?” He motioned to the sky.

“Their worlds will never rise to the level of yours,” explained the Lord. “Someday, if you all behave yourself, I will let you return.”

“To heaven?” Satan brightened.

“For awhile,” replied the Lord, “and I will let the others return too,… but as visitors.  The universe, a much wider kingdom, is theirs.”

“I can leave the barren ground and visit my friends?” Satan pressed forward, greatly excited about what he had heard.

“When my garden has begun, but only for a spell,” the Lord said. “After all, you are the caretaker of this world.  Look at the progress, Satan.  Are you so anxious to leave Eden now?”

“This world is not my home,” Satan replied stubbornly. “Please let me be with my friends.”

“To plot against me and to rebel?” The Creator searched Satan’s thoughts. “Foolish servant, I know what you have in mind.  Visit yes, but you’ll never be left alone with your friends!”

“What can I do to make you believe I’ve changed?” Satan wailed, as God ascended once more into the clouds. “I have been marooned on the barren ground for eons without complaint.  Still the land you call Eden is barren.  When will life encroach on this world, so I can go home?”

“Understand this, Satan,” roared the Lord, “I never said you could permanently leave this world.  As a visitor you will return one day to heaven, and as a visitor you can visit you friends in space.... But you are the caretaker of this world.  Be thankful I didn’t exile you somewhere else: an asteroid, a frozen comet, or an eternally lifeless world.  Tend to my garden!”

What garden?” Asked Satan looking at the barren ground.

 

12 How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning!  You have been thrown down to the earth ... “ (Isaiah 14:12)

 

 Michael Advises God

 

During each eon in which the gardener continued to fashion Eden, Satan, the caretaker of Earth, looked on with envious eyes.  Though God had given him dominion, he had not given him the Word.  Despite his onetime standing with God, he was known in heaven as a rebel and yet, to keep an eye on him, God had entrusted him with Earth.   This fact galled Michael, who, though the chief angel in heaven now, had no world of his own.

          “My Lord, this is a mistake,” he complained, while approaching God.

          “Michael,” he motioned with his hand, “walk with me.”

          “You must not trust Satan,” the archangel persisted.  Though fearful of arguing with him, Michael, the Lord’s favorite now, wished to confide his misgivings with God.

          “Are you jealous of him?” the Lord asked finally. “I’ve sent Satan into exile.  Why would you begrudge him that?”

          “If I am jealous of Satan,” said Michael, “he is envious of you.  I have never been jealous of my creator.”

          “An honest answer,” nodded God. “You admit being envious of Satan, and yet you begrudge him for being envious of me.  Tell me why that is different archangel.”

          Michael thought about this a moment, though he knew the answer.

          At this time, long before the age of man, the Creator had no throne and walked almost as an equal among the angels.  But Michael, unlike Satan, knew where to draw the line.  This simply dressed being was—the word came back to him slowly to him.... God.  Also plaguing the archangel’s mind was another notion, more troubling than this.... Satan was evil.  He was merely biding his time until he would attempt to overthrow God.

          “You are the Creator—the first being.... You are God!” Michael finally replied.

 

Adam and Eve: The First Mortals

 

When Michael returned to heaven, God remained on earth—its creator and gardener, walking alone among the trees.  As he admired his creation, he took mud from the side of stream and molded a likeness of himself.  Breathing into the shape, he watched as its eyes opened and he began to live.  Thus, by divine whim, God created man.  His eyes opened, he was set down upon his legs, and he took his first steps.  God called this creature Adam.  Looking around at the garden in which they walked, he set it apart from the world, calling it Eden.  In the garden, he warned Adam, you are safe.  Outside you shall die.  Beautiful trees and flowers grew everywhere and all manner of berries and fruits.  Birds sang in the trees, the stream that flowed through the valley was filled with fish, and animals roamed peacefully in the meadow nearby.  In the meadow, after he stationed Adam upon a rock, the first man was given the task of naming all the creatures.  Many hours passed as Adam gave titles God’s to creation. 

Despite the cornucopia available to Adam, the first man had looked into the stream and saw himself.  He was much different than other creatures.  He longed for another mortal to be by his side.  God saw Adam’s mood and understood it.  Invisible now, he moved as a breeze across Adam’s face.

“You have everything, Adam,” he whispered into his ear, “food, shelter, and protection, but you are alone.”

“Yes, My Lord.” he nodded. “I love your creation, but I have no one to talk to and no one to share my life.”

“As you wish,” God said faintly.

Suddenly weary, the first man nestled beside the stream and fell into a deep sleep.  While he slept, the Lord took one of Adam’s ribs and fashioned a new creature similar to Adam.  She was, as Adam, perfect in every way.  When Adam was awakened, she stood there before him.  A shaft of light from the treetops highlighted her golden hair and blue eyes.  Adam was overjoyed with this sight. 

“Behold Adam,” the Creator boomed, “I’ve given you a soul mate—Eve, the first woman.  Now listen my children.  Eden is your garden; here you’re safe.  Everything you need is here.  I have taken care of the garden, but now it’s your task to tend to Eden.  All this is yours to maintain, except one tree.  You may look upon this tree, but don’t eat its fruit.  Don’t even touch it; give it a wide berth.”

Eve’s eyes widened, “Tell us where it is, Lord, so we can avoid the tree.  How else will we know?”

          “You will know the tree when you see it,” replied God. “It is like no other tree in the garden.  If you eat its fruit, you will have knowledge of good and evil.  You will lose your immortality; in fact one day you will die.”

          Though God didn’t mean that Adam and Eve would drop down dead the moment they ate the fruit from the tree, the very thought frightened Adam.  Eve, however, shrugged off the warning.  She was more inquisitive than her mate and therefore susceptible to Satan’s temptation and challenge to her freewill.  One day, in fact, when Adam and Eve were gathering berries for dinner and Adam left her alone in her side of the forest for a while, she heard a silky voice behind her.

“Is it true?” the voice asked softly. “Has God told you that you can eat the fruit from all the trees? 

Eve turned around to see a beautiful, multicolored snake talking to her, replying innocently, “God has told us we can eat all the fruit except for what grows on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  He warned us that if we did, we would surely die!” 

“That’s not true!” relied the serpent. “How could such a lovely fruit do you harm?  God knows that if you eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you’ll become just like him, and will be able to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong.” “Now tell me,” he said softly, sliding further down the tree, “how could that be bad?  Are you not made from his hands—the stuff of God, himself.  How could it be wrong?” 

Eve studied the fruit and wondered how it would taste.  Much more important to her, though, was the thought that it might make her as wise and powerful as God.  Hesitating in her last moment of innocence, she accepted the serpent’s lie and took a bite of the fruit.  When Adam saw what she was doing, he flew into a rage

“Woman, what have you done?” he shouted. “We were warned not to eat that fruit.  You know the consequences.  God will punish you.  He said you would die.”

“Look at me Adam,” she grinned mischievously, a gleam in her eyes, “do I look dead?  I’ve never felt better in my life.  My flesh tingles.  My mind is filled with wondrous things!” 

“Oh Eve!” Adam wept. “You will die and I’ll be left alone.  Why did you disobey God?”

“The fruit of this tree is delicious.  The Serpent told me that if I ate its fruit I would be like God, and that’s exactly how I feel.” “Here.” She offered, after picking a second piece of fruit. “Take a bite.  You’ll see what I mean.”

In the depths of despair, knowing full well what his action meant, Adam took the fruit and studied it.  While he analyzed it, turning it this way and that, the Serpent, who had tempted Eve watched from his branch.  He was greatly amused.  Eve now played the tempter.  As her mate contemplated a world without her, he shrugged his shoulders, lifted the fruit up, and took a bite.  That moment, as Adam succumbed to temptation, Eve was struck with remorse, a feeling she had never experienced.  Looking up into the tree, Adam saw the Serpent looking down, a grin on his sly face.  In his newfound wisdom Adam knew who he was.  Eve had been tricked by God’s adversary.  He had been enticed by Eve.  The first pangs of guilt filled the couple.  They had disobeyed God and knew they had sinned.  Because Eve had been left in the care of her mate, however, Adam’s sin was greater.

Knowing good and evil, they were aware of their sin and realized they were naked.  Greatly ashamed, they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves then hid in the Garden of Eden to escape God’s wrath.  As they cowered in the garden, they could hear footsteps—the crunch of leaves and swish of bushes.  The sound that they heard was the Creator walking among the trees, not as a spirit but in the flesh.

          “Where are you?” his voice boomed.

          Holding Eve’s hand, Adam called from the woods. “Here we are Lord!” 

          “Come forth Adam!” he demanded. “Why do you hide?”

          “We are afraid because we are naked.” Adam emerged slowly, with Eve not far behind.

          Who told you that you were naked?” roared God. “Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

          “Yes.” Adam sighed brokenly. “Eve gave it to me, and I took a bite.”

          Having hung their heads in shame as they walked toward God, the couple now shielded their eyes.  The countenance of God was both terrible and beautiful.  The trees in the garden trembled and the ground shook beneath their feet.

“Woman, what have you done?” God shouted at Eve.

“The Serpent deceived me.” She pointed accusingly at the tree. “So I ate it, thinking it would make me wise like God.”

Looking up into the Tree of Knowledge where the serpent was coiled, God gave a wounded cry. “I entrust my garden to you, and this is my reward.  In the body of a snake, you’ve corrupted my greatest creation.  Because you have done this, you are cursed above all my creatures!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life!”

After consigning Satan to his role as deceiver of mankind, he turned to the woman.  Adam and Eve were almost blinded by his presence.  So that they could look upon him, his countenance became a shadow against the morning sun—the silhouette of a human like themselves, tall and majestic, an aura outlining his form.

“I warned you!” He wrung a finger. “But you didn’t believe.  Because of your disobedience, Eve, I will make your pains in childbearing severe.  With such labor you will give birth to children.  Though your husband played the fool this hour, you shall obey him.  No more shall you play the tempter.  He shall rule over you as I rule over him.” “Was it worth, woman?” he added icily. “Did the fruit taste sweet?”

“I’m sorry my Lord!” wept Eve.

To Adam he spoke more harshly. “I gave you this woman that you should watch over her. Because you gave in to her temptation and ate the fruit I commanded you not to eat, cursed is the ground below you.  Through painful toil, you will work the ground all your days.  Though it produces thorns and thistles for you, you must eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat its food until you return to the ground from which you were created, for dust you are and dust you will return.”

Pointing his finger down the path leading out of the garden, he blasted them with the words, “Go!  Leave my garden.  Into the wilderness I send you to fend for yourselves!”

Before they departed, however, garments of beasts appeared on their bodies, fashioned by God.  On Adam’s shoulder hung a sack of food and on Eve’s shoulders a skin filled with water.  That was all they would take into the wilderness.  Then once again God stretched out his arm. “Now go!” he thundered.  That moment, as they looked back, he vanished, never to be seen on earth again.  Adam and Eve now left their refuge: the first man and woman.  After the Creator banished them from the Garden of Eden—Adam to work the ground and Eve to bear mankind, he installed angels with flaming swords to stand guard in Eden.  Henceforth, it was closed to Adam and his descendants because of his sin; and yet, having failed God’s test, they fulfilled his plan.  Through Adam’s seed and Eve’s womb, creation was completed.  Because of her curiosity, Adam had fallen from grace, paradise was lost, and Satan had become the Tempter—the great adversary of God.