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The Voice from the Garden

In the following days we became familiar with our new home. We slowly came to realize that every night since we had left the garden we had without thinking chosen a place so that we faced toward it. We could still see the hills from which we had scrambled far in the distance. We must have some link with our old home, even if it was only with our eyes.

This place where we found ourselves was not the garden, but it was still beautiful. Indeed, God had created beauty everywhere. Now that beauty also held hostility and danger for us.

Now our days were filled with the simple necessity of finding enough food to stay alive. Most of our varied activities during the day were directed toward that one goal.

We began to roam as far as half a day's distance from the cave. We began to identify the places that yielded the food that we needed. Most of the herbs that we had eaten in the garden were to be found, but finding them was difficult. Once we had located them we carefully noted the scenery and established landmarks so that we might find them again.

We spent much time observing the animals which roamed the plain behind our cave. Many mornings we awoke as the sun was first lighting the sky and climbed up the rocks and across until we could observe the plain from the relative safety of the the rock formations overlooking it. We watched carefully and noted the habits of the animals. We watched the hunters and tried to learn their techniques. Our first attempt to hunt had been extremely clumsy. We were beginning to learn but were still clumsy hunters. We didn't have the strength, the speed, or the weapons of the mighty hunters. We admired the cats for all these qualities. We watched the dogs and the way they downed their prey by sheer numbers and cooperation. But there were only two of us. We understood that even the best hunters on the plain chose the weak and very young. We must take the very easiest prey.

I still could not get used to eating meat. When I ate it I felt unclean. But Adam and I ate it knowing that we could not stay alive on the herbs alone. Because of the feeling of uncleanness we also spent much time at the river washing and swimming. We learned how to catch some of the slower fish. Eating them did not bother me as much as eating the flesh of the land animals. Perhaps because they lived in the world of water where we could not stay it did not seem like such a violation of life. Their blood did not gush out onto the ground and all over me.

By now we were becoming familiar with the rhythm of the new life that we had entered. We did not know if it had existed before our arrival or if it was a consequence of our own actions in eating the fruit which had been forbidden to us. The latter was a sobering thought which we discussed and over which we were still very puzzled.

I had always relied on Adam for companionship. In some ways I worshipped him, of course in a lesser degree than I had worshipped the Lord. But now Adam was more to me than a companion. I needed him for my very survival. Adam confessed to me that he also depended heavily on me. It was plain to me that if one of us was to meet death, which we now had witnessed many times, it would probably also mean the death of the one remaining.

Adam had taken the lead in our lives. He was the one who had the will and force to carry us through our endeavors. I had many thoughts and ideas to contribute to our survival, but it was Adam's presence that enabled me to make them. I felt that if I had been alone my mind could not cope with all the new experiences. But simply having Adam there to listen to me made the difference. Together we could take the ideas of both of us and try them. If one thing didn't work one of us might think of a new way to make it work. If something did work, the other might think of something to make it work better. This is how we learned to hunt, to fish, and to find food. We needed each other.

At the end of each day, before darkness fell, we returned to our cave. It was safety and security to us. We would sit or stand close to the entrance gazing toward the setting sun. The Lord was there. We missed him. Surely a part of each of us had died already. We could not see him, hear his voice, touch him or speak to him. Each night as the sun went down where the garden was we were especially touched with forlorn loneliness.

This feeling of being separated from our God also served to drive us closer together. In our need for each other we discovered something which delighted us, frightened and confused us, and comforted us. We discovered the differences between ourselves that we had not even thought of in the garden. One night after Adam and I had been together in this new and strange way, I quietly arose and left Adam as he slept. I walked to the entrance of the cave and stepped outside into the night. It was beautiful. The moonlight glinted on the river as it lazily went its way and the trees gently sighed in a soft breeze. There was the comforting sound of insects humming. I sat down to drink in the night and think. I looked toward the garden. The moon shone on the hills surrounding it with a faint silver light.

"Lord, I want to talk with you. I am sorry for what I have done. I would do anything for you. And I have so many things to ask you."

"Something has happened between Adam and myself, I like it, and I don't know how to say how it has made me feel. I have always adored Adam, but now there is an even stronger feeling. I love to have him near me in this way. But I am also afraid, for I don't know if it is right. If I could only know I could be happy and at peace about this thing."

"And I know that Adam misses you as much as I do. Isn't there some way for us to see you sometimes or talk with you? I don't mind so much that we must work to live, but it is such a hard punishment to be cut off from you. Please, please have mercy on us. We still love you."

The tears had begun to roll down my face as I had whispered these words. After there was no more to say I simply sat and thought of all those words I would say to the Lord if I could.

Gradually I felt quiet and very tired. I enjoyed sitting here. I should come out here more often.

I must have fallen asleep. Adam was by my side.

"What are you doing out here, Eve? Come back in and sleep next to me so that I will know where you are."

He helped me stand up and walk back into the cave. We lay down together and I lay as close to him as possible. He faced me and put his arm over me. We both went back to sleep.

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The days and nights continued. We felt many emotions throughout them. We felt sorrow in that we were cut off from our Lord. We felt joy in our continued discovery of each other. We felt frustration in our attempts to live in this new environment.

A new ritual had begun with us. When the sun came up we cried to God to have mercy on us during the day. When the sun went down we faced the garden at the entrance of our home and pleaded for his love. It may have been wasted, for how could the Lord hear us? If he heard us why should he listen?

One night we stood together calling to the Lord. I clung to Adam feeling his sorrow and my own. I wished for Adam's sake that God would soften his anger toward us.

With great pleading Adam spoke, "Lord, you have been angry with us for a long time. Have mercy on us and show us some sign that we might still have some companionship from you. We will do whatever you ask us to do. We will be whatever you ask us to be. We will do anything for you."

Then we heard a voice. "Adam and Eve, I have not forgotten you. And you have not lost my love."

Adam and I looked into each other's eyes. "Adam, did you hear God's voice? What did he say?"

"He said that he has not forgotten us and still loves us."

"Then I did hear him! He still loves us!"

We became very quiet, we held our breaths. Perhaps we would hear the voice again.

After a while we did hear it. It was soft, but we could hear every word. "Adam and Eve, I have not forgotten you nor stopped loving you. I am very pleased that you have called my name. We are physically separated from each other but as long as you call on my name in meekness I will speak with you. There are many things that I may teach you in time to come. I will teach you how to live, so that your lives may become easier and also acceptable in my eyes. I will teach you of events to come that you may be somewhat prepared. I will teach you how you may come back into my presence if you will make yourselves clean."

"Eve, you have come to me asking of your relationship with your husband. I am pleased that you have come to me concerning this thing. Adam is your husband and together you are one flesh. As you cleave together you both will be blessed and the earth will be blessed. For now there are only two of you, but through this union there will be many. My plan for mankind is that all may have the chance to come back into my presence. This act between you and Adam is blessed, but you will learn as time passes that it is sacred to me and must be kept clean. Be comforted, Eve, and cleave unto your husband."

"Adam, I am pleased that you have called on my name. In your relationship with Eve, your wife, I have made you the leader. I would have you love her and honor her."

"Continue to call on me and I will bless you and your seed."

We stood for a long time in wonder. God still loved us and had promised to lead and bless us as we called on his name. We went to bed that night with a joy and feeling of peace that we had never before felt.

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In the following days we heard the voice of God many times. We began to take our questions and troubles to the Lord. We now had a concept of what was good and evil but we still felt ignorant.

"We must do what is right," Adam would constantly say now. "We must do what will please the Lord. We will ask him what is the right thing to do."

We both recognized God's superior wisdom. We many times sensed that a certain action was wrong but did not know why it was. I had always felt uneasy about eating meat. Something was wrong and I was troubled.

"Adam, we must ask God about eating the flesh of the living creatures. We only ate herbs in the garden. I wish to ask God about this."

"You know we had to eat flesh to stay alive," Adam responded. "I am sure that God would not say that it was wrong."

"But it bothers me just the same. Let us ask him," I pleaded.

That night as we called on the Lord, Adam asked, "Lord, we are troubled. We have eaten the flesh of the living creatures that you have created. We have seen that they kill and eat each other. We were hungry and we killed and ate. We have continued to kill to stay alive. Have mercy on us and tell us what is right. We would not do this again if it displeases you."

Then we heard God's voice. We always listened with a feeling of awe. "You may kill and eat to receive strength. All things which are of the earth are created for the benefit of man. I will teach you which animals are good for food. When you kill to receive flesh you must pour the blood of the animal onto the ground. For the blood is the life of the animal and is not to be eaten with the flesh. I am pleased that you have asked me this. For the blood that you may have eaten you are forgiven, for you did it in ignorance. Now that I have given you this law be sure to keep it. As you learn my laws and keep them you will always be blessed."

The voice of God spoke no more. Adam turned to me. "You were right, Eve. You sensed something which makes you uneasy. But it is not the flesh that is forbidden to us but the blood."

"I wonder why the blood is so important. I know that when an animal is killed or badly wounded the blood pours out of it," I said.

"But if much blood pours out the animal will die," Adam pointed out to me.

"Yes, but we have seen animals die without losing blood, so what makes the blood the life of the animal?"

"You are right. Death comes sometimes without the loss of blood. God has not told us yet why the blood is so important to him. Perhaps he will tell us one day and then we will understand. Until then we must obey him. You are a good wife to have asked concerning this. You are always curious and wanting to know things. You have caused us to please the Lord today."

Adam kissed me on the forehead. The effect of Adam's praise and this gentle gesture made my head feel light and tears spring to my eyes. I wrapped my arms around his waist.

"I love you, Adam."

He brought his hands up to both sides of my face and held my head as he looked into my eyes.

"I know you love me, Eve. Every day I am thankful that you are by my side. You must be one of God's greatest creations for you please me above every other thing."

What could I say now? Perhaps I had never been happier than now when Adam had spoken these simple words. I stood in his arms, content with my life.

"Let us go inside, it is getting darker," Adam gently urged. I felt an eagerness in him.

That night we were closer than we had ever been.

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We had begun to measure our lives by the rhythm of the heavens. Each day was measured by the sun. As it arose in the morning so did we arise. As it hung suspended at it's highest point we rested during the heat it directed at us. As it went down we called on the Lord and then retired for the night.

The night was ruled by the moon and the stars. Sometimes we would sit outside the cave gazing at the stars. It seemed that we should be able to touch them, for they were so bright and beautiful. We had begun to recognize that groups which were always together traveled slowly across the sky. The stars were always in their proper order in their stately dance.

We found that we could measure the days well by observing the moon. It began by looking like a shining tip of a fingernail which had been flung into the dark sky. It filled and filled until it became a lovely silver globe resembling the sun. But whereas the sun was golden and cast great heat upon the earth, the moon was silver and cool. Then as the days passed the silver globe faded away until it again became a shining sliver, this time facing the other way. This cycle took about twenty-eight days.

I began to notice a curious thing. My own body seemed to follow the same cycle as the moon. Once in each moon's cycle I had an issuing of blood. At first it frightened me, I thought my life was leaving me. But as it seemed to set itself in its cycle I learned to accept it and even respect it. We had learned that the blood was life, no doubt there was a purpose in the blood which flowed from me.

We had begun to measure the days, the cycle of the moon and the swing of the stars. We began to realize that we had spent much time learning to survive. When we had finally discovered that God still loved us greatly and would speak with us our lives became easier. But God did not teach us everything at once. As we listened to him and discovered better ways to live the heavens continued their rounds, marking the time since we had been cut off from God's presence.

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God had indicated many times that we had dominion over all the beasts of the field. In order to make our lives easier he taught us to catch and keep sheep and cows and other animals which were content to eat the grasses. These were the animals that were good for food. They also supplied us with skins and wool to clothe ourselves. We made sure that they had good grass to eat, and water. We fought to keep the lions and the dogs from killing them. Some we lost, but if we were not diligent in watching we would have lost many.

We learned to till the earth and plant the herbs which were our food. This also was much work, for we must collect seeds, put them in the soil, make sure they had water, and keep the animals from destroying the plants. Then we had to harvest them and learn ways to keep them from spoiling.

We had learned to cook our meat over fire. By making containers which could go over the fire we could cook the meat in water and add herbs which gave their flavor to the meat and the water making an enjoyable meal.

"Adam, we have been banished from the garden and our lives have become hard, but I am beginning to enjoy it. Does that seem strange?"

Adam sat quietly and contemplated for a while. "I think I know what you are saying, Eve. It has become very satisfying at the end of the day to know that we have worked and accomplished the things that we must. Some days are very discouraging, everything we have done can be destroyed so quickly. But other days things go well."

"And the earth and the heavens are so beautiful. I don't think I really appreciated God's creation so much as I do now," I sighed.

"Yes, at the end of the day I can hear the cattle which are safe nearby and hear the breeze stirring our crops. I smell the food which is cooking on the fire and anticipate the taste which we have worked so hard to enjoy. I look across the fire and see its light casting shadows which play across the features of your face. I look up at the sky and watch the majesty of the sun as it gracefully goes to its bed. I see the clouds which are stained red and pink and orange as they cover the sun's bed like wool. And the voice of our Lord gives us strength and love. All these things give life to us." Adam's voice stopped and the fire crackled in its bed as it cooked our meat.

"Your words are so beautiful tonight, Adam. What has brought them to your lips?"

"I don't know," Adam gave a gentle laugh. "I am just thankful. Our life is harder, but for some reason I love it. And the Lord has promised that he will show us a way to return to his presence. I feel that someday I will be more than I am now."

"Will I be more also?" I looked into Adam's eyes. "Will I be more also?"

"Yes, you will. For we are growing together. Don't you remember, we are one flesh?"

I sat quietly gazing into the fire. I poked a stick into it to stir it into more flames. I hoped Adam was right. I could see how he had changed. He was more forceful and competent than before we had left the garden. I didn't know if I was growing or not. I knew I worked hard. I knew I was beginning to enjoy our new life. But there was a yearning in me for more. I didn't know what it was. There was a vague feeling of emptiness in me that begged to be filled. I didn't know what it was that could fill it.

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

Inspired Version of the Bible
Genesis Chapter 1:18-20 and Chapter 4:1-4 and Chapter 9:10-11

forward to chapter 6

Copyright 1991 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: September 1, 2001