Once upon a time in Eden

7 min


Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ … So, the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. –Genesis 2:18–2 

They misquote me.

She was not a helper. She was Eve, my favourite child. Full of life and love and wonder for the world I created for her, the Eden.

Imagine me, the all-powerful, all-knowing God, playing right into the hands of fate.

***

Somewhere at the dawn of time, I found my Ohr – my light that was fierce and potent and blinding. I used a chunk of this light and created Eden.

The place was so immaculate, so full of bliss, that at times, I almost bristled at my inability to relish the pleasure the place should bring me. Can you imagine Lord Almighty, the creator of heaven and the earth, unable to feel emotions

Fate.

I understand love, I understand your pain – But I cannot experience it; may be that is why I created them in my image, for I wanted to enjoy Eden vicariously.

And so, Adam and Eve were born – the perfect man and wifethe guardians of my Eden. In Adam, I bestowed the gift of ambition because I wanted him to make Eden a better version of itself. I gave him capacity to feel joy, restraint and (in one of my mean moments) the gift of competitive spiritTo Eve, I bequeathed love for all things, empathy and curiosity. They were both poles apart, but yet whole as a pair.

Then I delegated duties. Adam was asked to sow seeds in Eden and nurture my plants, collect the eggs and look after my birds. He was to milk my cows and sheep and revel in the beauty that was my Eden. Eve was delicate boned and loved to paint. So, to her, I entrusted the responsibility to paint my birds and butterflies and trees.

As the days passed, I realised they both fought over their duties.

“She has it too easy.” Adam pouted. He thought I was partial to her.

“He has all the important jobs.” Eve frowned.

To stop their quibbles, I set out to teach them how to channel and control their emotions. Thus, I set the rules.

Every time either one overindulged in food or frolicthey would have to pay me ‘tax’ in form of things they cherished the most. The happier one was, the lesser time he/she would have with the other. As they were soulmates, I thought this was the highest tax they could pay.

If either one was sad or angry, I would gift them with rare stones and jewelled bricks.

“And what will we do with these?” They asked in unison.

“Use these stones and bricks to build your house in Eden. Once the house is complete, I will hand over the entire Eden to You.” I told them both.

I had thought the ‘tax’ – the time they spent apart, would teach them how important they were to each other. This was an agony, especially for Eve, who had fallen head over heels in love with Adam. Initially, Adam reciprocated her feelings and I thought all was well.

***

Years turned into centuries and my Eden flourished. Adam and Eve lived on. Their house, I could see from throne, was almost near completion. I decided I would visit them both and give them my blessings.

The garden was pristine, but the monotonous shades of green bothered meThe Eve I knew was meticulous to fault. In another part of Eden, freshly painted trees swayed in a gentle breeze as crisp fall air teased their coloured leaves. The butterflies fluttered their tiny, veined wings over clusters of heavily scented roses. Why were they coloured such a dull shade of brown? Water flowed boisterously in a brook nearby, with the water so clear, I could see the fat orange and gold coloured fishes in the bottom, but some petunias nearby had hideously big thorns and I wondered what provoked Eve to paint them so.

It was then I saw her.

She was hunched by the brook cleaning her paint brushes. Her thick hair, brown like the spirit of the earth, tumbled down in cascades. In her lap she had a large collection of the most exquisite rubies and gold and diamonds.

“Someone has managed to collect enough baubles to build their wall, I see.” I whispered in her ear and she turned to me.

“Father?” I saw a trickle of tears flowing down her eyes.

“Have you two been fighting again?” I asked in a stern voice.

At that, she broke down.

“What is the matter, my child? Why do you look so forlorn? And where is Adam?” I asked.

She looked at me with such sorrow, for a moment I was at a loss. Her frame was frailer than I remembered and her hair matted in places. Then, her sorrow became such anger, that she threw away the precious stones, where they glittered on the meadows like a thousand butterflies, only for more to land on her lap.

They continued to come to her and rained like hails on her slender shoulders, till she sank at my feet and wept.

“He breaks my heart, father.” She managed to speak before the stones hailed again.

I looked around. Something was not right.

“Adam in enamoured with these stones. He is obsessed with building a house so vast and colourful, that nothing in Eden compares to its grandeur.  As he builds walls around him all the time, I struggle with our chores. He is so happy in his loneliness; he is always short of stones to build the walls. A few months ago, he devised a plan.

He deliberately stays away as his aware how much I ache for him.  Every hour we spend apart, I am desolate and I receive these heavenly gifts from you – these resources at disposal for the house he desires so much.”

And Eve cried till her tears were tingled with blue specks. Was she ageing in grief?

“Have I wronged you, father? Why must I suffer so while he gets his wish? Every day I pine for him, I feel a small part of my heart turn into a glowing pebble. Is it fair that my misery fuels Adam’s wish for a house in Eden? I don’t think I can take this pain.

And with these words, she turned her back to me. Her frail form looked worn and her skin looked pale.

I had to talk to Adam.

***

“Father, how lovely to see you.” 

How easy is it to stray, I wondered? This man, Adam, who I had made in my image, I barely recognised as he walked towards me. His eyes shone with a feverish streak and his hands fiddled in impatience. He took my hand and pulled me towards his pride and joy. Immediately, some gold nuggets from the wall and a part of the wall collapsed.”

“Oh, father, looks like your visit cost me my window wall.” He looked peeved, but seemed to immediately regret his words.

“Where is Eve?” His demeanour was strange.

“She…well, she is in penance. She was here yesterday and looked too happy to see me. The behaviour earnt her your penalty.”

“Her misery must have earned enough gold stones for you to make that wall.” I kept my thoughts to myself.

Adam seemed to realise that he had neglected to water the withering plants as I looked around.

It’s almost time to water the plants and feed the cows. Is there any other duty you want to bestow on me, Father?” He bowed his head, on purpose, I supposed, to conceal his annoyance. 

***

I returned to heaven that night, deep in thought. It had all gone grievously wrong. If I did not find a way to rectify my mistake, Eve would suffer. As for Adam, any punishment I ordered would only serve his means, get him more stones to build his precious house.

There was only one way to end this, I realisedhad to set Eve free, at all costs. My Eden was my pride and joy. But Eve mattered more.

I had to embrace my dark side. My immaculate divine form changed to a dark slithering creatureresembling a thick dark snake.

No one could never know, this was me.

***

I knew where I would find her. She sat by the lonely brook looking at her own tired reflection, there were now patches of blood over her limbs. The grief was taking its toll. As I slithered on the grass around the brook, the birds quietened, the wind froze and the wind whistled in terror.

Eve looked unfazed. “Who are you?” She asked in a flat tone.

I took her hand and asked her the question. “Will you pay the ultimate prize if it frees you from your sorrow? Sets you free?”

Her almost deadened eyes showed a glint of hope that was almost immediately extinguished.

I got my answer.

I pointed a scaly finger across the bank. A regal golden tree appeared out of thin air. On its lowest branch hung a lone succulent red fruit. Have a bite and the spell will break. You will no longer be taxed for being happy or be gifted for being sad. Your joys and sorrows will be independent of Adam or HIM.

“Who are you?” She asked again and I smiled, hiding my own misgivings.

Think of me as your well-wisher, the one who brought your light.” 

She looked into my eyes and gasped.

Does she recognise me?

“There will be consequences, though.” I continued to speak in a low, hissing tone.

Once you eat the fruit, you will be able to see a way out of Eden. You may never return – to this paradise. To Adam.”

“Where will I go then?” Eve looked petrified.

Somewhere in the background, gems and gold nuggets tinkled. 

You will be banished to the life of pain, suffering and mortality. Alone.  But you will have free will. The power to find your own happiness and pain. To write your own destiny. Are you ready for that?”

“Father, I knew you would help.” She closed her eyes and sighed“Let it be known that I did not fall from grace. I leapt to my freedom.” She walked towards the tree as if in a trance.

And so it conspired. The moment Eve had a bite of the red fruit, the spell broke. Her happiness was no longer bound to me or to Adam. 

Now here was something I had not thought of.

The fruit not only freed her, but it also made her aware. Suddenly, Eve was furious. At Adam for using her to achieve his means. At herself for allowing love to destroy her dignity.

With a knowledge discovered newly after just one bite, Eve ran to Adam as I slithered behind her, only just realising the enormity of my miscalculation.

Adam was tinkering away as usual. His pet project, his hearth, was almost ready. This was a piece of ‘his’ heaven.

He looked up when he heard her approach. “Is everything alright?

Eve sauntered in, looking glorious.

You look…different.” Maybe it was her stance, he thought.

I look happy. But that worries you, doesn’t it? My happiness does not suit your purposes.

“See what I brought for you. It’s a new fruit from a golden tree that grew just across the bank.”

“But that’s not possible.” Adam frowned. “I keep a record of all the seeds I sow.”

“May be this is a gift from father.” Her brown eyes glinted green for a moment. Then she looked normal again. “Oh, Adam, you must have a taste.”

“We are not allowed to eat any unfamiliar fruits around. Don’t you know that?” The trees swayed in an oddly strong gale. For the first time in his life, Adam was worried.

A trickle of rubies lay at his feet.

Here, have the fruit, I am sure all that labour has tired you out, Adam. You are such a strong soul otherwise.” Eve cajoled further.

And then it happened. Adam took a bite of the apple. As the knowledge flooded into his veins and blood pooled in his loins, the vision before his eyes took his breath away.

He surrendered to his instincts and lost his innocence that day.

The moment they lay with each other, my Eden became undone. The spell lifted with such force that every fabric came apart, one thread at a time.

I watched like a mute spectator as Adam and Eve were pulled into the mortal chaos, destined to pain and death and loss.

***

I still wonder if my actions that day were misguided. Eons of labour destroyed in but a few minutes. The story has altered so much as it travelled the fabric of time, but one fact always remained constant. They s]deduced Eve seduced Adam and got them both expelled from Eden. But I knew she was not completely at fault. I had provoked her, handed her the ultimate weapon.

Did she hate me for that?

I met Eve once when she was heavy with a child and offered to declare to everybody what actually transpired. She just smiled.

“Of all the gifts you gave me, father, the gift of knowledge is the one I most cherish. The gift of free will is better than spending eternities in gilded misery. Adam’s faith in you is boundless and his fall from grace brought him closer to me. To you. It does not matter what they call me. You brought me light. You are Lucifer, the light bearer who brightened my world.”

***

Pic credit : Unsplash


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