A week had passed since the white light had first appeared over the formless waters and the One who commanded it had called life from the darkness. On the seventh day, God had opted to rest in the paradise realm of Heaven from His work of creation. In His absence, God had asked his most trusted warrior, a guardian cherub named Lucifer to watch over the man and all of the living things on the Earth. Lucifer was a formidable warrior of whom a rival could not be found among the angels and his wisdom was second only to God’s, but his qualifications for this earthbound assignment were not the reason that he had been chosen. In sending Lucifer to Earth, God was giving him an opportunity. A chance for Lucifer to push back against the darkness that was consuming his heart.
The King knew well of what his second-in-command had been doing in his spare time, the thoughts that he entertained, the words that he spoke. God knew that Lucifer was slipping deeper and deeper towards the darkness by the day.
In the Eastern regions of the newly created Earth, God had planted a Garden of spectacular beauty. The Garden was watered by great river, Eden, which divided into four branches within in the garden, sending its cool life-sustaining water throughout the world. The first branch was called the Pishon, the second called the Gihon, the third called the Tigris and the fourth was called the Euphrates. The sound of rushing waters mixed well with the humming of insects and singing of birds which both had made the abundant fruit trees their homes. There were acres of orange trees which produced the largest and most succulent citrus fruits, perfectly ripe for the picking. Banana groves and grape vines lined the banks of the great river Euphrates and in the thickets of the Garden, all manner of delicious berries could be found. Tomato vines snaked up around the oak trees and pumpkins and gourds dotted the ground. The bounty of the garden was so abundant and specifically designed so all of its inhabitants could eat their fill and be satisfied. This topographical wonder had been gifted to the Man by God and It was in this green kingdom that Lucifer now found himself walking about, aimlessly browsing the orchards and vineyards. Nothing about the fruit was appetizing to Lucifer who was used to dining on choice cuts of red meat and the finest of wines. He scoffed at the tree’s produce labeling it as “overgrown seeds filled with sap”. He kicked a pear tree just for fun and felt a flicker of amusement when much of its fruit came raining to the earth.
In the center of Eden there was a curious place upon which Lucifer stumbled just as the sun was slipping beneath the crimson western skies. He has seen thousands of trees all day long (all bunched together according to their various kinds) but now his eyes rested on an anomaly, that beknown to him, existed nowhere else on Earth. There was a very large clearing in front of Lucifer and in the center of that clearing stood two large trees, taller and more magnificent than any of the other trees he had seen. The first tree, the tree to the right of the entrance, had white bark, which skinned over every inch of its trunk. Imbedded in its ivory skin were what Lucifer thought resembled either a central nervous system or perhaps veins on a body. The tubes appeared to be clear, perhaps made of a pure stone or of glass. A golden light emanated from them and moved through them, up and down, and throughout the entire tree. This golden liquid substance appeared to come from the soil of the Earth and made areas of the ground all around the tree glow with a soft yellow hue. The leaves of the white tree were of a burnt orange and white. Flowering fruits which were filled with the golden nectar bulged from its branches. It was the most beautiful thing Lucifer had seen so far since coming to Earth.
Next to this white wonder stood a very different looking tree. This tree, which was about the same size as its counterpart, was illuminated slightly by the light from the white tree and the silvery light of the rising moon, but it had no light source of its own. Its bark was brown and contained streaks of violet in it. The leaves of this tree were like emerald and beneath them hung large fruits. The fruit varied in color and shape. Some were red, shiny, and tall while other were a light green and rounder. Lucifer stood examining the trees almost puzzled (a feeling which was foreign to him) until his ears were filled with the sound of brush crackling and voices. In a flash, Lucifer caught his whole body into the air and manifested as one of Earth’s ravens which he had seen and admired earlier. He alighted gently onto a high branch of the dark tree. A recognizable sound similar to the rushing water of the rivers of Eden, broke through the cool night air.
“You may eat your fill of fruit from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
Two men appeared in the clearing. One was the Man, the one whom Lucifer had been tasked to protect and had promptly ignored all day. The other was the King of the Universe whose shimmering white light illuminated the entire clearing.
“For if you were to eat from this tree, you would surely die” the King continued. White light sparkled about the branches of the otherwise dark tree giving the Man and Lucifer a better look at it. The Man’s green eyes danced about the branches of the dark tree and then back to the King. He didn’t ask any questions about the tree or why it and it alone were forbidden, but simply smiled at his creator, nodded, and continued walking with the King throughout the clearing. It was obviously to Lucifer that Adam completely and blindly trusted God. That blissful ignorance almost made Lucifer sick. After the King and the Man had walked back into the tree canopy of the Garden and the white light had faded away, Lucifer flew down from his hiding place, transforming back to the mighty form of a guardian cherub in midair.
“The knowledge of good and evil?” he said out loud. A look of confusion twisted across his faces as he strolled over to the dark tree completely ignoring the majesty that was the bright tree. Lucifer drew his sword and stabbed one of the red fruits of the forbidden tree and dropped it into his palm. It didn’t look especially different from the pears which he had toyed with earlier. This fruit seemed a little firmer, maybe a bit larger. Its skin was shiny and smooth. Lucifer shrugged his shoulders and with blinding speed, spilt the fruit in two pieces with his sword. Its interior was of a curious chalky texture laced with acidic juice. It smelled good, sweet like honey. It seemed harmless enough. Lucifer’s mind raced. Why would God have forbidden man this particular fruit and nothing else in the entire world? What did He mean by the knowledge of good and evil and why was the consumption of this fruit a supposed death sentence? Was it somehow toxic to mankind? Dropping the severed fruit to the Earth, Lucifer took to the skies in a flurry of wings. As he soared upwards into the cold blackness of Earth’s atmosphere, he pondered the dark tree.
As the years marched on, Lucifer made many visits to the tree in the darkness of the night. It didn’t take him long to discover its purpose. He came to that realization one day decades later while watching the Man name all of the creatures that the Lord had made. The reason the love that the Man had for God was so unequivocally pure and ignorant was because the Lord had not given him the knowledge of anything besides that which was good! This had not been the case with Lucifer and his brethren as they had been created like God knowing right from wrong. But the Man, he didn’t even know wrong existed! This became a staple in Lucifer’s hatred for that little hairless animal. Adam wasn’t capable of feeling sadness, anger, or disappointment. He didn’t aspire, he didn’t dream. Adam was perfectly content in the Garden-that organic façade- dumbly living out his immortal days, unaware of anything outside of the Garden gates. The thing that Lucifer envied most of all was the closeness that the Man had with the King. Each and every night, without fail, the King would leave Heaven and descend to Earth to walk with the Man in the cool of the evenings. Lucifer would often follow the King from a distance and observe his evening walks, his heart burning with anger.
“If you only knew…” Lucifer whispered.
Based upon Genesis 2: 8-15
The Bible Unpacked
Copyright © 2021 by Jeremiah Ryan
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