ALIVE: Chapter Four - Little Gods v. Nature

Reproduction is key to life. One plus one becomes three. Grieving childless Adam bestowed upon receptive Eve another of his seeds and out popped Seth, who knew no brothers for a long time. When other sons and daughters were born to Adam and Eve, they told their new crop of children about the murder of Abel and that killing one's brother was the worst thing a child of God could do to his or her own soul. The wiser family never visited Cain in Nod. Adam tilled Able's blood into the earth more and more every spring until it eventually produced a fragrant patch of thyme.

Year after year Eve hoped that her invisible beloved son Able would visit her like invisible God had so often, but the empty silence lingered like an unwelcome guest. Only her memories of the carefree child who played with his frolicking lambs in the sunshine kept the memory of Able alive in her heart. Baby Seth kept Eve busy with his childish antics, and soon she heard herself laugh again. It had been a very long time since laughter had welled up in her.

Eve taught her children that God made her to be like Him, and that she could invoke His name and He would listen to her, and sometimes speak. Adam told their children that God was his father and their grandfather. God spoke less and less. Seth and his brothers and sisters sensed that they were being protected by an invisible, but all powerful God whom they didn't comprehend. No one else was murdered. Neither did anyone give gifts to God. Instead, they worked to grow food and ate it, and slept when the sun went down, and woke up at sunrise in a steady rhythm we call Life.

The family of Adam and Eve were a peaceful family, they were creative and generous and very intelligent. Adam and his sons made tools to help them with their farming and to help them make shelters that kept the animals away, and that gave them shade in places where trees did not grow. Eve and her daughters composed songs and made clothing out of hair and and string they pulled from vines and branches of trees. They were happy and showed it by singing and dancing together.

After thousands of suns and moons appeared and disappeared the children grew tall and strong in mature bodies that resembled their parents. More children were born from them and no one ever died, until one day Adam, when he was 930 years old, laid down to sleep and never woke up.

Eve spotted Adam's body while on a walk to gather flowers. She took a good long look at him and shook him to wake up. Adam didn't move. He appeared to be dead like Abel, only without the blood all over him. Eve was astonished and screamed. Then she cried. She wondered if Adam had gone to find Abel. She called out to God to tell her where Adam had gone. But God was silent.

In her grief, Eve remembered the day when Adam had told her not to eat from the tree with the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. He warned her then that she would die. But she didn't know what death meant, and she still didn't understand death. That was 930 years ago. Eve had never since the murder of Abel seen a dead human being. Adam was the first natural death that she had witnessed and she didn't expect it. Eve didn't know how this happened and where Adam went. She moaned; she wept; she cried. She cried out to God to come and talk to her and tell her what happened to Adam. Adam's skin turned blue and stiff.

Seth heard his mother screaming and crying and rushed over to her. He saw his father in stillness and looked away. Instead he tried to console his mother, but he was afraid too. His brothers and sisters ran up to Seth and Eve to ask what had happened. Then they looked down at Adam's lifeless body and gasped. Each of them gasped, one after the other they gasped in a symphony of horror.

Eve remembered that Adam and Cain planted Abel in the earth and so she told her sons to go over to Abel's grave and plant another beside it so Adam could lay deep in the earth by his son. After they buried Adam, Eve walked alone up to her favorite hill where she often went to think about her life, or her children, and about the days when they lived in Eden. When she arrived, she found her favorite rock and sat upon it and weeped alone some more. She called out again, begging God to come to visit her. It had been so long since she felt His presence.

Soon, the familiar cool breeze swept across Eve's tear stained face. "My daughter," said God, Yahweh "Don't despair. You will soon be with Adam, my son. I never wanted you to know death, how I wanted to shield you from the destructive power of sin."

"I wanted to be wise like You my Lord." she replied defensively. "Please take me to Adam now. I want to be with him." She was comforted by talking with the Lord again and hoped He would never leave her.

"First you must return to your children and make sure that they know Me and know that they can invoke My Name and I will come to them. For just as you and Adam were made in My image so were your children and grandchildren. Let them know that humankind flows from Me. Will you do this? Then you may rejoin Adam and Abel beneath the earth."

"Lord, I don't know what it means to be made in your image? I can't see You, I can only feel Your presence. Who are You?"

The Lord God had compassion on Eve in her ignorance, and answered, "Eve, look around you at all that I have created and by my Creation tell Me who I am."

Eve looked up at the horizon to her left and right as far as she could see, then she looked at the field below and saw cattle grazing. She saw chimpanzees swinging from limb to limb in the nearby woods. She saw orchards of fig and olive trees. Then she looked down at lavender and pink and white wild flowers of different shapes and sizes blanketing the earth and little chameleons scurrying busily between them. With her eyes drinking in the grand variety and beauty, the balance of living matter and non living matter, of rocks and dust, and water, she finally looked toward God's voice and said, "You are amazing! Did you really create all of this before You created me?"

She felt God smile. Then she added, "I see that You must be brilliant and sensitive, creative and artistic."

"As are you and your children, My dear one. Tell them to use the gifts that I have given to humankind wisely. It is a big responsibility to be endowed with so much. More than what you see, my child, I have placed My Kingdom in your hearts. Live there in peace and honor Me, and we will be together forever."

"What is there left to create, my Lord? You have given us everything!"

Eve heard a little chuckle from God.

"I have only given you the foundation, the building blocks; tell your children to go and build a world within this world, made by your equally intelligent and creative minds, then I will come to visit and be proud of you."

Just as suddenly as He arrived at her calling, Eve felt the spirit of the Lord vanish. She wondered where He went.

Strengthened and composed Eve descended the hill to carry out her mission. She called her children together and told them that she too would soon die as their father had, and she told them everything that God wanted them to know. She hoped that they would remember and be as kind and compassionate to each other as God and Adam had been to her.

Eve felt ambivalent about dying. She wanted desperately to be with Adam and Abel no matter where they were, but she didn't want to leave her children, and her garden. She was frightened to live under the earth where the sun did not shine and there was no air to breathe.

Over in Nod Cain and his hairy wife gave birth to Enoch and several other children. The children of Cain and Farley were as handsome and bright as Cain. They were not hairy and dull-witted like their mother. Farley grew proud of the looks of her husband and her children. She no longer thought hairless Cain was odd. Their children were more industrious and creative than any other children in the land of Nod.

After many years of living in Nod and being ridiculed for his smooth skin, Cain took his family and left to built a city of his own. He named it Enoch after his first born son. Cain encouraged his children to go to the land of his birth, and choose wives and husbands from the children of his parents, so his grandchildren would be smooth skinned and industrious too.

Cain and Farley took their stores of food and cattle to Enoch. There Cain taught his children to invoke the name of the Lord God. As time went by the sons of Cain returned to Enoch with the daughters of Seth and the other sons of Adam and Eve who wanted to find wives in Enoch. They were very curious about their Uncle Cain, the killer, but they found him to be sensitive and intelligent. He must have changed in the last five hundred years, they thought.

Cain was told that neither Adam nor Eve existed anymore but that they had been planted in the earth next to his brother Abel. Cain was angry and asked who killed them? Cain did not know of anyone dying for any other reason, but his sons assured him that after 930 years, they naturally grew tired and slept and then were no more. They explained to Cain that Eve had told her sons to plant Adam in the earth, and then to plant herself beside him. Cain cried. It was like a second death to have left his mother and father, and then to have them leave him and the earth. The sons of Cain and daughters of Eve told Cain and Farley what the Lord God said about being made in the image of the Creator of the earth and all that is on it, and all that swims in the seas of it, and all that flies over it. Cain recalled a very faint memory of his father telling him the same thing when he was a child.

Then Cain remembered how kind God was to him to give him the mark of protection. Indeed, many times since he left home Cain felt the power of that mark keeping him from being killed.

The next morning Cain and his sons and daughters helped Enoch build a wall around his city.