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Violence Upon the Earth

One night the fire was dying into glowing embers as Adam and I sat before our cave, he on one side of the fire, I on the other. We sat in comfortable silence. I had no small children to tuck away into bed, I had ceased bearing them. Adam and I were getting old. The one consolation was that Adam and I could spend more time with each other.

Suddenly a man appeared, I had not heard or seen his approach. Adam looked up from the fire almost as if he had been expecting him. I did not recognize him.

Yes, I did recognize him. I tried to move to Adam's side for protection, but I found that I could not move.

Satan looked at me with secret amusement on his face and then turned to Adam. I was of no account to him any longer and for this I was very thankful. But even that thankfulness could not remove the fear which I felt. He took a seat on one side of the fire, between Adam and myself. His manner showed that he was perfectly at ease and that he felt that he had a perfect right to be there.

"You know who I am, Adam, don't you?"

"Yes, I know who you are."

"Well, why aren't you cowering in fear as this stupid woman of yours?"

"Eve is intelligent enough to know a poisonous serpent. I know you are dangerous, but I do not fear you," Adam answered with calm deliberation.

"Why don't you fear me?" he sneered.

"I know that God's power is mightier than yours can ever be."

"Is it? Can God make these children of yours love him? Can he make them choose to serve him? No! They serve me! They worship me!"

"That may be true, but there are those who hear God and obey him. For them I rejoice."

"Well rejoice in this! It is I who caused the death of your son, Abel. It is I who will cause the deaths of those who will not worship me. God says that the obedient will live with him in his kingdom. I will make his kingdom my own. You are a stupid, stupid man. Come and serve me and it will be better for you. I can give you power. I can make your children listen to you and give you respect. Do you know that they laugh at you? Do you know that they laugh at your silly stories?"

"They may laugh. Their laughter does not change the truth. They may not respect me, that is of no account. You will not triumph over God. You cannot and will not take the place of his Son."

"We will see! As for you, Adam, I have been fair. I have offered you the chance to serve me. You would have been valuable to me. But since you will not ally yourself with me I will take great pleasure in your suffering. Do you think you have already suffered? Think again! I give you one last chance, worship and serve me, or I will unleash all my powers, which are many, against you."

Adam stood straight and faced Satan directly, "I will only serve God. You have no glory. Now leave, in the name of the Only Begotten!"

"I am the Only Begotten! I am the Only Begotten!" he began to stamp, and tear his hair, and act like a totally mad thing. Amidst his shrieks of rage his form slowly disappeared.

Adam sank back down with weariness. I found that movement was again possible and I rushed to him. I put my arms around him and leaned my head against him. He put one arm around me. I was proud of him, that he could stand so erect before one so evil.

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It was only a short time before our home was invaded again, this time in broad daylight. Many of our children and grandchildren were with us, working and visiting. A large group of strange men swept into the area, scattering at different points. About ten or twelve looked around and then marched up to our cave. These were men with hard and cruel faces. I had seen just these kinds of faces many times. They also wore tough leather fastened with metal and carried weapons, spears and swords. The women and children shrank away at their approach.

One man who was larger and more muscular than the others was obviously their leader. He unerringly picked Adam out and strode boldly to him.

"You are Adam, the oldest man?" he demanded.

"I am Adam. Do you wish to speak with me?"

The man looked hard and long at Adam. Adam calmly regarded him in turn.

"You are not what I expected."

"What did you expect?"

The man's laugh was deep and malicious, "You seem like a weak man to me. I have heard so much of you. The reality does not measure up to the legend."

"And what is it you wanted from the legend?" Adam asked.

"I am Chelal. I come seeking a legend which will be useful to me. Even though you seem weak and ineffectual I can use you as the legend."

"And tell me, Chelal, what use would you make of me?"

"I am a ruler. I was fashioned from my mother's womb to rule others. Now I rule a few, but soon I will rule many. I wish you to join me in my efforts. I will give you honor and a place by my side."

To my ears he sounded just like Satan. The words and intent behind them were almost identical. I knew that Adam would refuse, but I didn't know what effect that refusal would have on this arrogant man.

"Surely the legends tell you that I serve God and no other," Adam replied.

"Can't you serve your God and me at the same time?" Chelal asked.

"No, I cannot. I see by the leather which covers you and the weapons that you carry that you can only rule by force and by the fear of it."

Chelal contemplated before he replied, "You are the oldest man, you are the oldest fool. I will rule you and all your people. You will all serve me. You will give me half of all your crops and flocks and herds and handiwork. I will make you my servants."

"You will not rule us. Leave, I am tired of talking with you." Adam dismissed him as if he were a spoiled child.

Chelal scowled, then he made a swift sign to his men. "We will return and you will be ready to obey me."

Adam did not look up again as they left. It was almost as if he were suffering from an extremely boring incident. But as his wife I could see the signs of his concern in the lines of his face and the set of his jaw.

"What are we going to do, Adam? They will be back," I cried.

"Yes, Eve, they will be back. We will never serve them, that is unthinkable. But I am not sure what we will do. I will have to ask God."

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There was again a meeting of Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, and Mahalaleel. I sat listening to them talk. Adam related the visit of Chelal to our home.

"I have asked the Lord what we should do. I do not wish for us to become involved in the shedding of blood."

"You are right, Father, these are your sons and our brothers," agreed Seth.

"But these men will not listen to us or respect our wishes for peace," Cainan pointed out.

Adam said, "God's creations are many and his earth is large. We will have to find a place where we can worship him."

"Do you mean we must leave here, leave the land of Shulon, where you and Mother have lived since the time you left the garden?" asked Mahalaleel incredulously.

I knew that this was a serious situation, but I had never foreseen leaving this place. The idea was like a knife piercing me.

"Yes, we must leave," replied Enos. "Father, I know of a place where we can go. It is a land of promise, a beautiful land. It is green and lush and we may live there in peace, for there is no one there."

"Good," replied Adam. "We will get all the people ready as quickly as we can. There will be much to do, all our belongings and flocks and herds will have to be moved. Enos, you will lead us, since you know the way. I know that you have the wisdom to have chosen a good land."

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And so began our hurried preparations to leave the land of Shulon. Everyone had tasks to perform, even the smallest children. What we couldn't take with us, such as the animal pens, we dismantled. If it had been up to Adam we would have left them intact, but I stamped my foot and declared that if these people would chase us away from our home, then they should not be the benefactors of years of hard work. Of course if they chose to take our places here, they would still have the fields which had been cleared of stones and tilled with love.

We did leave the altar. On the morning of our departure Adam gave the final sacrifice on the altar which he and Nethanel had built so long ago. I remembered the sacrifices of Abel and of Cain. I remembered the angel. I began to cry. I was ashamed of myself, for I knew that my tears hurt Adam. We had to leave here if we did not wish to kill.

"Perhaps someday the hearts of the people here will be softened and they will offer an acceptable sacrifice to God. We must leave the altar here for them," Adam said softly.

"Adam, you are so reasonable and so full of hope. I think they will tear the altar down and trample our holy place. I have seen so many children turn their faces from God that I do not have much hope left in me. Sometimes I wish I had never borne children, it hurts so much to see them. Long ago I thought I would always look at my children with joy, but most of the time I only feel sorrow. That isn't true, sometimes I feel anger, such as I feel now. We should not have to leave here, if our children do not respect us they could at least leave us alone. But no! They cannot even leave us alone!"

By this time I was almost incoherent with my grief and anger. Adam turned me gently toward the path which descended from our favorite ledge and led me back home. With determination I picked up the heavy packs which I would carry. The tears flowed unchecked as I slowly ran my eyes over my home and toward the cave where I had borne so many of the children who plagued us now.

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The day was beautiful, but I was not in the mood to enjoy it. We did not travel swiftly, for we had small children and flocks and all our belongings. Enos led the way, for he was the one who knew where we were going. He sent reliable men ahead of us to make sure that the way was clear. He also had men traveling independently, far on each side of us and behind us. These were precautions that we had to take in order to avoid any contact with anyone. We could not risk having Chelal or any other would-be-ruler knowing the direction which we had taken. If these men saw anyone or observed anything unusual they were to come to us as swiftly as possible and warn Enos.

We traveled for many days without event. My spirits had begun to lift. As I had slowly come out of my misery I began to see the great beauty that was all around us. I observed the children and their great excitement. This was indeed an adventure for them. They made themselves as helpful as possible and chattered about the wonderful place where we would live. They pestered Enos to tell them about it and made up their own stories about it. As I listened to them I glanced at Adam with amusement. He smiled back affectionately and also with what I recognized as relief. I now knew that things were not so bad after all. We had left a wonderful home, but now we would have a new, wonderful home.

Cainan, who had been scouting ahead of us suddenly returned. He went immediately to his father and Enos spoke quietly and also motioned us to stop. I was thankful to do this and set my packs down on the ground and sank down against them. Many of the women did the same, for we had traveled many days and any chance to rest was welcome. The young children huddled next to their mothers, but the older children were full of energy and curiosity. They gathered around Cainan and the other men, trying to find out why Cainan had returned.

Enos spoke to them, "You children, go sit with your mothers and little brothers and sisters!"

A groan of indignation arose from them at having their curiosity unsatisfied and at being ordered to sit with the babies. But they obeyed.

One of the boys came and sat by my side. I looked at his face with concern. There was a look of hurt on his face. I glanced over at the men, huddled deep in discussion. There must be something wrong to have ordered the children so sternly.

I spoke to the little boy beside me, "There must be something that Cainan does not want you to hear. Let's wait and see what they tell us."

He looked at me, "We aren't babies, if something is wrong we should know."

"I agree with you. But I am sure they will tell us soon."

"They would tell you," he looked at me hopefully.

"All right, I will see what is happening."

He helped me to my feet and I walked over to the men. Adam put his arm around my waist and drew me into the group.

"What is happening? The children are upset. They don't understand why you ordered them away from you," I said.

"We cannot get them in a panic and everyone else in a panic," Enos said flatly.

My eyes opened in astonishment. "Cainan, what is up ahead that would put us all in a panic?"

"Mother, there is a city up ahead of us which has been leveled to the ground. Outside what used to be the city walls I saw heaps of bodies. The animals and scavenging birds are thick. I was sick, Mother! This was done very recently. No one must go near and we must find a safe place to wait until all our scouts can find out if anyone is anywhere near our path."

"But where can we wait and be safe?" I asked.

"There is a little valley near here," said Enos. "I believe it will be a safe place. We can rest there for a while and pray that whoever did this does not know of it."

I walked back to my packs. The little boy looked at me questioningly.

"There is a city in our path. We have to go well around it," I answered.

"Is that all? They are acting very strangely if that is all."

"Well, you know why we have left Shulon don't you?" I questioned him.

"Yes, it was no longer safe to stay there."

"That is right, and it is not safe to go too near the city. Someone could see us." Sometimes children were too perceptive, I had told him as much as I dared. Luckily for me Enos spoke to us then.

"We are going to go to a valley that is near here and rest for a few days. We have to change our route and our scouts must find the best way for us to go."

We all picked up our packs and followed Enos. By sundown we were in a small and cozy valley. Many of the men were gone. I knew they were scouting ahead or guarding our resting place.

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For a few days many of the men would come and go in between serious consultations. Not even the children were impatient to be going again. This little valley was pleasant. It had a stream which provided us with water and the children were kept busy helping with the animals and playing in the stream and under the trees. Finally Enos let us know it was time to go again.

The rest of our journey was uneventful. But now at least I understood how important it was that we leave our home. Cainan had seen the aftermath of a people who had been destroyed. Whenever I saw Cainan I noticed how quiet he had become and how new lines of pain had entered onto his face.

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One day as the sun was approaching its highest point we arrived at our destination. The first thing we did was bow down on our knees and thank God for our safe journey and arrival. Then we eagerly stood and filled our eyes with the beauty of this place. It was green and fertile. There would be grass for our herds and flocks and trees to admire and to give us shade and catch the breezes.

"It is beautiful, Enos!" I exclaimed.

Enos had a happy and contented look on his face, I could see that our approval meant a great deal to him. Already the children were excitedly exploring.

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We soon became busy making this our home. There were pens to be built and fields to be prepared for planting. Each family found a place to put up their tent. Adam and I had always lived in our cave, but now we had a tent also.

One of the most important tasks to be done was to build an altar. The men, with the help of the children, found a ledge on a hillside. It must have reminded them of home, for that is where they built the altar. When the altar was finished we would all be gathered together for the first sacrifice in our new home.

At last the day arrived for the sacrifice. Enos would have the honor of sacrificing on the new altar for the first time. He would also have the honor of naming our new home, since he was the one who had found it and led us to it with God's help.

We were all gathered together on the ledge. We had all worked hard and this seemed like a very special occasion to us.

Adam stood before us and began to speak. "We have left our home in Shulon which will always have many memories for us, some happy, some sad. Your mother, Eve, and I, learned the ways of God in Shulon. When we first came there we were confused and lonely, for we had been driven from Eden and from God's presence. But God was merciful to us and taught us how to please him and how to come back to him. He taught us about his Only Begotten Son who will die in order that all those who believe in him and obey his commandments might live with God in his kingdom. Now we have come to this new land of promise so that we might continue to serve God in peace. For violence is coming upon the earth, and that violence is not pleasing to God. May we always love God and serve him."

Adam sat down beside me and Enos took his place at the altar. The perfect lamb was arranged on top of the dry wood. But before he said the prayer for the sacrifice he called Cainan to come and stand beside him. Cainan came and stood beside his father. He was still quiet and the lines of pain had become permanently etched on his face.

Enos put his arms around the shoulders of his son. Cainan laid his head wearily on his father's shoulder. Enos tightened his hold and then released Cainan who again stood straight and proud.

"Since I have been given the honor of naming our new home," began Enos, "and since I love my son and he has helped me so greatly in our move here, I would like to name our new land 'Cainan'. I would hope that all the children of this land grow to be as strong as Cainan and as eager to serve God and the people."

Enos then said the prayer of sacrifice and placed the coals upon the altar. The wood burst into flame and consumed the body of the lamb. It was wonderful to see the same sacrifice which meant so much to us reminding us that God was here now in Cainan.

Follow along in the scriptures (links to Center Place Library)

Inspired Version of the Bible
Genesis Chapter 5:37-45 and Chapter 6:13-15, 28-31, 39-43

forward to chapter 15

Copyright 1991 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: September 20, 2001