I posted a couple of selections from my novel Creation and Fall here some time ago, and since then I’ve stuck with it and finished the novel! It is 89,000 words, and written about Genesis 1-4 from the perspective of evolutionary creationism.
The basic idea is that a narrative approach will reach people in a way that an apologetic or explanatory way may not.
I’m currently working hard to build a website www.creationandfall.com that will go live at 5:00 a.m. PST on Easter!
If anybody wants to be a beta reader for the novel, let me know, and I can send you a PDF copy.
Likewise any feedback about this selection is more than welcome!
My main goal here was to discuss the framework interpretation of Genesis (the idea that the creation narrative is organized topically rather than chronologically), using narrative rather than exegesis to make the point.
The passage also discusses what it means to be created imago dei, and ties this explicitly with the notion of stewardship. We are God’s image and likeness in the world because we make His love visible through our care for creation. We imitate His creative work of division and naming.
Finally, the passage includes an exploration of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and somewhat of an explanation for why God placed the tree in the garden, even knowing that Adam and Eve would eat from the tree.
Again, comments and feedback are most appreciated. As I’ve written this novel I have learned a tremendous amount from the collective wisdom of the Biologos community!
Here is the selection:
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 weapons?” 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.
He ruffled the boy’s hair and laughed. “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. “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 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 Adam how to put seeds into the ground, so that they would begin to grow in the place that they 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. Water is good not only for drinking, but also for cleaning yourself.”
Adam followed God to the river that ran through the heart of Eden.
After the two of them had washed themselves, Adam peered down into the water and he saw his own and God’s reflections as they overlapped.
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 were 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 have given you an imperishable 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 reassuringly. “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 love, the greatest good. 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.”
Adam replied, “Your commands are my delight, and I will not forget Your Word!"