A modern retelling of the creation of Adam and Eve

Hi everybody!

I’m writing a novel from the perspective of evolutionary creationism, and thought I’d post an excerpt here to get feedback or just in case Biologos readers may find it interesting:

From Creation and Fall:

Sometime after this, God said, “Let us make human beings in Our image, and after Our likeness. Let them cultivate the Earth, and serve the other life upon the Earth.”

So God searched among the human species, and He chose one of them, a baby left to die by exposure.

God went down to the Earth, and with great tenderness He removed the infant from the mud.

Cradling him, the Lord spoke, saying, “From the moment of your conception, I have chosen you! From among creation, you are My helpmate, called to make My love visible”

Then the Lord washed him, and breathed His Spirit into him, so that the man became a living being.

God also chose one of the females of the species, and at the moment of her conception He breathed His Spirit into her, so that she became also a living being.

God named the man “Adam,” because He had drawn him out of the mud.

The Lord saw how very good they were.

Then God called together the angels. “Look at the man! Behold the woman!” He exclaimed, joyfully.

Upon examining the infant boy, and the orphan girl, I remember seeing first their frailty, how near to death they had been, and how weak and seemingly insignificant they were. But then, along with the other faithful angels, I caught sight of their gaze upon the Lord, and our eyes were opened. We saw them as persons and not as things because reflected in the eyes of the children, we beheld the Face of God.

We saw not just members of the human species, but human beings, ones with a nature to be self-aware, to show compassion, and to ask questions. God had created something new and remarkable. The other members of their species did not yet possess these powers, and we understood that through this infant, and through the female who the Lord had also chosen, God would lift up humans to become human beings, His image and likeness in the world, formed to make His love visible in a material way.

We fell prostrate in speechless praise before the Lord, because none of us had imagined that God would reveal His Face through the weakness and vulnerability of little ones such as these. We silently begged God for the grace to serve His image and likeness in the man and the woman, and in all of their offspring.

Now God took the child Adam into His arms, and cared for him, and He fed him Himself. He planted a garden in the east, and He was so delighted that He named the place “Eden.” The Lord caused all kinds of trees to grow out of the ground there—trees that were beautiful to behold and good for food.

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Then the Lord brought the child to that place, and there He began to teach him His Word, so that Adam advanced in age, wisdom, and favor with God.

On one occasion, when Adam was a small boy, the two of them made a game of hiding in the garden and searching for one another. Whenever the boy popped out before the Lord, God would act surprised, and the boy would break into peals of laughter.

He lifted the boy up, threw him up into the air, and caught him in his arms. “Do you know how much I love you?” God asked Adam.

Adam smiled happily. “Father, you love me so much! And I love you!” the boy said.

God sat the boy down and, using sleight of hand, produced a strawberry from behind the boy’s ear, so that the boy grinned at him.

“How did you do that?” the boy asked.

God laughed. “Like this,” He said, repeating the trick with His opposite hand.

“I made strawberries because I knew they’d be your favorite,” He said. “I made everything for you!

“Look up into the sky, and see all the stars. They are very, very far away, further than you can measure. Even if you could measure it, your mind could never truly grasp how big it all is. And all of it, every last bit of the universe, exists for you and for all of the children you will have when you are a daddy someday. That is how much I love you! I love you to the very ends of the universe, and back!”

Another time, when Adam was 12 years old, he asked God, “Who are you?”

“I am the One Whose Image you reflect,” God said. “I am your Father.”

“Who am I, then?” Adam asked.

“Come and see!” God replied, smiling. Then Adam followed the Lord.

They came to a place where the Lord stopped, stooped down, and chose two stones from among others on the ground. He showed Adam how to strike one of the stones against the other and chip it until it had a sharp edge.

“Is this how the Others create their weapons, the ones with the sharp edges?” Adam asked.

“It is,” God said, “but I would like you to show them how to turn their weapons into tools to cultivate food.”

“Why do I need anything other than the hands You gave me to do work,” Adam asked.

“When I created everything there is, I didn’t require any tool apart from My power, but in order for you to accomplish the work I am giving you, you will need to fashion your own tools, and use them to accomplish more than you could without them,” God said. Laughing, He ruffled the boy’s hair. “Let’s go.”

The two of them continued on, until they came to a place in Eden that the Lord showed him. “I am going to teach you forest gardening,” God told him. “We are going to dig at the soil, cultivating the beneficial plants while pruning back the ones that interfere with their growth.

As the two of them worked, God explained to Adam how He had fashioned creation, He said, “When I created everything, I started with nothing. So first I created a place for everything. I created space for the celestial bodies, then I created the sea and sky, and then I created the dry land.”

God showed Adam how to uproot the plants that didn’t belong to clear space for the beneficial ones.

Then God said, “When I had finished creating a home for everything, I created things to put in each place. I made the sun and the Earth and the moon. I created the plants and animals in the sea, land, and sky. And finally, I created you, to be My most beloved creation!”

As He said these things, He showed the man how to put seeds into the ground, so that they would begin to grow in the place that He and the man had prepared together.

“It will take time to grow,” God said, “just like the world that I have formed took a very long time. I worked in this way to demonstrate My patience and love. How important and beloved you must be, for me to take such time and effort to create such a home for you!”

“Everything that You made proclaims Your love!” Adam replied.

“As I created,” God continued, “I named what I made. I planned everything out. And that is what you must do, to accomplish My work and be My Presence in the world. You must study creation, and decide on how best to organize it.”

“Who am I,” Adam asked, “to undertake such a task?”

Then God said, “Let’s go to the river to wash up,” and Adam followed God to the river that ran through the heart of Eden.

As the two of them washed, Adam looked into the river and he saw his own and God’s reflections overlap in the water.

Then God said, “See who you are. You are doing My work. You are like Me. This is Who I Am, and who you are.”

Adam’s reply was exuberant and sincere. “I will do my very best to take care of your garden for you!”

The Lord smiled upon Adam, and replied, “Then I will give you this garden, as your home and as your place of work and rest. Everything here is yours to care for! Take care that you tend both the garden of the world and the garden of your heart.”

The two of them continued on until they reached a clearing in the middle of the garden where the Lord showed the man the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The tree of life grew straight up out of the ground. Its trunk was enormous, and its branches appeared well out of reach. Its leaves so green in the light of the sun that the boy squinted as he looked at it. Its luxuriant fruit seemed to beckon to him, but there was no way that he could climb up to eat, because the branches were far too high up to reach.

“What is this tree?” Adam asked, “I have never seen another like it.”

“This is the tree of life,” God replied. “I will feed you Myself from this tree, when the time is right, though that time has not yet arrived. The tree is here as a reminder to you that I have made you like Myself, and with an imperishable and eternal soul.”

Then God showed Adam the other tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Like the first tree, it was gigantic, and towered over the other trees of the garden. However, it did not grow straight up, but was incredibly gnarled and twisted. Its many branches seemed withered, and there were no leaves to be seen on it, although the fruit that appeared on it, starting on its lowest branches, exuded a sweet odor and looked delicious.

“You are free to eat of any of the trees in the garden, My son,” God said, “except this one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. You must not eat from it, because if you do, you shall surely die!”

“I don’t understand,” the young man replied. “I thought that everything that You made was good. What is this ‘evil’ that You speak of? Why would You make a tree whose fruit is not good for food?”

God smiled at Adam, reassuring him. “I’m sure that you know that not everything that I have made is edible. Although I create everything good, I also allow nature to develop in freedom, and so some of the good things that I have made also have the potential to be misused. Many trees give edible fruit, but the fruit of other plants is poisonous. The plant itself is good, but it is not good for the purpose of eating. It has a different purpose. It is the same with this tree. The tree itself is good; its presence here gives you freedom in a way that you do not yet understand. But eating of its fruit would not be good. One might say that you are free to not eat from this tree, because the exercise of your freedom to not eat—your self-restraint and willing abstention—makes possible the greatest good, which is love. By choosing not to eat, you are choosing to love.

“As for evil, let it remain as a mystery to you. When it is night, you cannot see, because there is an absence of light, and I created your eyes to take in light, and thus gather information about the world around you. Evil is the absence of the light of My love, and although your physical body may hunger for food, thirst for drink, or pant for air, I never want your soul deprived of the deeper life that only My love can give.”

Then Adam replied, “Your commands are my delight, Father, and I will not forget Your Word.”

A few years after God created the man, and breathed His Spirit into the man, He also created a woman—another like Himself and like the man. Just as the man had unique genetic variations that enabled his brain to experience empathy beyond the current ability of others of his biological species, so the woman that God created had similar differences in her genes. She, like the man, had the capacity to be more inquisitive and curious about the world around her, along with a power of self-consciousness that was a novelty among all of the other creatures that God had made.

From the first moment of her conception, God gave her an imperishable soul, so that, irrespective of her stage of development, she was a living being.

She was born to a human female, in the same way as others of her biological species. Her father had died, a victim of snakebite, and so the female cared for her as best as she could until she herself died, having eaten fruit from a plant that was poisonous to eat.

The girl did not understand this, as she was quite young. She would have died, except that the Lord was stirred to compassion for the girl and revealed Himself to her.

He took her away to a place that He had prepared for her in the desert, an oasis, where she was kept safe from the sting of the scorpion, the bite of the snake, and from others of her biological species who may have done her harm, because they were a violent species.

The Lord gave the girl water to drink from a stream that He caused to spring forth from the Earth, and He fed her Himself. He taught her also His Word. He cared for her and provided for all of her needs.

She advanced in age and wisdom, and the Lord was as proud of her as any father could be.

Once, when the girl was very young, the Lord lifted her up and sat her on top of his shoulders. He galloped with her through the oasis, in and out of the trees that grew there, so that the girl giggled with delight.

He spun her around and around, and then sat her down on his lap and held her close. “Can you guess how much I love you?” He asked.

“Can you guess how much I love you?” she replied, playfully turning around and throwing her arms around His neck.

God looked intently at the girl. “I know that you love me with all your heart, and I love you, so much! I’ve loved you since the moment I created you, and for a very long time before that?”

“How long, Adonai?” the girl asked.

“Do you know how to snap your fingers?” God asked her. The girl nodded her head and demonstrated for the Lord.

“Very good! Now if you were to do that once, as fast as you could, for every grain of sand upon the earth, that is how long it took Me to create you. You are so important, and so loved, for Me to take such time and care in making you. That is how much I love you!”

Another time, when the child was becoming a young woman about to reach a new stage in her development, the Lord said to her, “My beloved daughter, I’d like to talk to you about something.”

“What is it, Adonai?” the young woman answered.

The Lord smiled and said, “You will always be My child, but you are no longer a child. You are getting to be a young woman. Come with Me to the stream and I will show you how to make something out of one of the plants that grows there.”

The young woman eagerly accompanied the Lord to the stream, because she always loved learning new things. As they walked, God pointed out the place where the oasis ended and the desert began.

“Why doesn’t anything grow there?” the young woman asked.

“Look how the ground is different,” God said. “The desert has sand, and not soil like you have in your oasis. That is why the desert is a barren place.

“A long time ago, the entire Earth was barren. It needed time to develop so before it could sustain life. After a long time, the Earth was ready for life, and then life sprang forth abundantly from it.”

The young woman asked Him, “Why did it take so long for life to appear?”

God answered, “I didn’t make the things completely formed from the beginning. Instead, I put everything in order so that it would slowly develop according to the rules that I established for the universe from the beginning.

“The same is true of you. Before I made you, your mother’s body developed so that it would have the ability to nurture and sustain you as you grew. When I made you, I knit you together within your mother’s womb; you grew and developed inside of your mother until you were born. You were a baby, and then a child, and now you are a young woman. And now you are almost ready to be able to grow life inside of you. Your body is going to be going through some changes soon, which is why we are having this talk, so that you will understand what is happening to it, and not be afraid of the changes taking place.”

“When the two of them arrived at the stream, the Lord showed the young woman how to select the reeds that grew along the banks, and then weave them together into a basket. “Take two at a time,” He told her, “and intertwine them, like this, so that they strengthen one another and make a sturdy and stable basket. You will be able to use this to carry and store the food that you gather.”

“Also the baskets are beautiful, and making them is fun!” the young woman exclaimed.

God smiled again at the youth. “Someday, when you carry new life within you, this life will also be also woven together out of two parts— one from you and one from a man. You will each be parents, and your bodies will each provide slightly different sets of instructions to enable a completely unique person to grow inside you before he or she is born.

“A long time ago, when I first caused life to appear, new life was created from only one parent, and the parent would divide into two parts and make a copy of itself. Although this process was quick, it didn’t allow for a lot of variety, because there was only one set of instructions to tell the new life how to grow. For longer than you could possibly imagine, new life developed in this way, and it took a very long time for life to evolve in its present variety.”

“How did living things first begin getting instructions from their parents?” the girl asked, snuggling up near the Lord as the two of them continued sitting and weaving the baskets.

God began showing the girl how to make baskets with more intricate patterns, and as He did so He replied, “One day, a particular living thing began receiving a set of instructions from another living thing. The living thing that donated the instructions was male, and the living thing that received the instructions and added its own was female. The two parts would then be intertwined into a single individual, itself either male or female, so that there could be greater potential for variety. The new individuals made in this way, through the union of different parts, were more hearty than the individuals created through simple division, and they flourished. I rejoiced when I saw this, because I knew that this life would continue becoming more sophisticated until it would culminate in you and others like you!”

The young woman saw the basket that the Lord had woven together, and laughed in delight at the loveliness of its design.

God stopped working and looked at the girl. “Very soon, your body will begin doing something new. About as often as you see the full moon, your body will keep making preparations for new life to grow within you. Someday when you receive the set of directions from a man, from the husband that I have already created and chosen for you, the seed of information that he will plant in you will join with the set of directions from your own body, and make a new individual, who will grow within you.

“However,” God continued, “until this happens, your body will get rid of the unused instructions and the material that would otherwise sustain the new person’s growth. You will experience some discomfort before and during this process, and blood and flesh will come out of the place in your body near where the urine flows out. Do not be afraid when this happens, because it is normal.”

“I understand, Adonai,” the girl answered.

The two of them worked in silence, and the young woman showed the Lord the basket that she had made. “Good work!” God said. “We’ve made something together! It won’t be long until you, and the helpmate that I have chosen for you, will join with me in creating not baskets, but children!”

“When will these take place?” the young woman asked.

“Not yet,” God answered her. “You are still young, and before you become a mother, you will have to undertake a journey, and be tested. But know that I will be with you always, and will help you whenever you seek my aid. I will show you the way Myself.”

“I will always remember, Lord, and I will trust in the directions you give me,” the girl answered.

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