Lucifer observed his prey for three whole years before making his move. Early on, he had settled on the woman creature, forged in the King’s image, as the target for deception. She had enjoyed less face time with the King and was absent on the day He gave instructions about the Garden’s mystery trees to the man. Certainly, Adam had told his partner not to eat any of the fruit from the dark tree in the center of the garden, but he had offered little explanation except for informing her that this was the will of the King.
The Devil found snakes, serpents, and the small scaly creatures that crept across the Earth to be the woman’s favorite. One breezy summers afternoon, Lucifer, the fallen leader of an uprising against God, began once more to be a whisper in the ears of those who he found to be corruptible. He saw humanity as an easy target. If he had convinced a third of the King’s loyal angels to take up swords against their loving Creator, fooling this simple-minded human would be child’s play. Drawing power from Sheol, Satan wrapped himself in the dark fires and manifested his body into that of a serpent. Carefully, he slithered through the cool soil over to the pool near the mouth of the great rivers. The woman was away from her husband and reclining underneath the shade of the great white tree. Lucifer approached his prey, hissing through his venom-laced fangs.
“Did God really say that you must not eat the fruit from any tree in this beautiful garden?” he asked the woman careful to keep his tone soft and gentle. The woman smiled brightly when he spoke to her. Although the other animals were not given the gift of speech by the King, Lucifer had gambled that the woman would not be bothered by the prospect of a talking serpent. After all, she lived in a perfect little world and fear was not something she had yet learned.
“Why no, of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the Garden!” she laughed. “It’s only these two trees that we have been forbidden to eat from. God said; ‘You must not eat the fruit from these trees or even touch them or you will surely die!’.”
The Devil sighed in disgust to himself at the inaccuracy of the woman’s recollection of the King’s instruction. Anger burned within him for waiting so long to make his move against her. He most likely could have successfully deceived her on day one. “The stupidity of this creature!” he thought. He did however, compose himself.
“You will not surely die! For God knows that if you eat from this tree, you will be like Him- knowing not just good, but evil as well.”
The woman’s eyes danced about the dark branches of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She looked longingly at its colored fruit dangling beneath the emerald leaves. The fruit almost seemed to beckon to her.
“Don’t you want to know what lies beyond this Garden?” the Serpent continued. “And what lies beyond the stars above? I know these things.” Lucifer taunted her. “I’ve seen the entire creation, and this little orchard is a mere fraction of the wonder and splendor that awaits you outside of its confinements. There are no other humans on this Earth, everything under the horizon can be yours for the taking!”
“Did you eat from the tree then?” the woman asked, her eyes never leaving the fruit. Excitement swirled in the Serpent’s belly at this question.
“No, dear one” Lucifer answered. “I was created as a free creature, not bound to any one place. I was given the knowledge of good and evil the day your Lord made me. But your Lord did not distribute this knowledge fairly. He chose to cloud your mind and keep you imprisoned in this Garden and then threaten you with death if you were to try and leave! It was for reasons like these that I gave up my position of authority above the stars and came to Earth.”
“So, you are like God then?” the woman asked.
“Yes, little one. And you can be like Him too. We don’t need Him, you and I. We desire to be free and He desires to keep us underneath His thumb. Take the fruit, dear woman, and gain the wisdom of all things!”
The woman was convinced. She breathed in the beauty of the tree and marveled at the spender of its bounty. Her hands reached out and grasped a piece of the wisdom fruit, tearing it from the tree. The whole Garden almost seemed to fall silent as it waited in anticipation of the woman’s next move. She brought the shiny fruit to her lips rubbing its cool skin against her own. It smelled like wild honey.
The woman bit down on the fruit, crunching through its juicy flesh and drinking its nectar. The Devil watched silently. It was at this time that the man, Adam, appeared in the clearing and made his way up the hill to his wife. He had been out planting peppers in the sun-baked soil in the eastern parts of the Garden. His hands were spotted with dirt.
“Husband, come to me and eat this fruit which I have picked for you!” the woman cried. Violet juice ran from her mouth having an appearance like blood. Adam smiled at his wife, also ignorant to fear or suspicion, and happily accepted the fruit which she offered him. As they chewed the fruit suddenly looks of horror and disgust overtook their faces. They both began to cough violently and keeled over, spitting bits of the fruit out onto the earth. Lucifer watched curiously. The fruit, which had looked and smelled majestic in appearance when the humans had eaten it, now had turned into a thick dust like substance which smelled of death and decay. They cried out as the scraped the putrid powder from their tongues. At that moment, their eyes were opened and all sorts of realizations and emotions, all of which were foreign to them, began to flood their minds! Fear, loneliness, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, anger, and jealousy all pelted their consciousness like hail. They realized in shame, that they were naked and had been naked this entire time.
Quickly, they began to search for leaves and branches large enough to cover themselves with. They settled on fig leaves, which were large enough and thick enough to be sewed together with blades of grass. After the man and his wife had covered themselves, they retreated to the shady parts of the Garden to hide. Nothing felt right to them now. The sun was hot and yellow. Had it always been so? Its heat was now uncomfortable and burned their fair complexions. The trees were tall and stern in appearance. The way that they moved in the wind almost made them appear to be alive, like monsters in the dark. The man also shrunk back in fear when a pride of lions crossed his path just a few steps distance from the woman and himself. The teeth of these great beast were ferocious in appearance, almost like sharp rocks. The woman imagined them tearing through her flesh, ripping muscle from bone.
A grim dread overtook the swirling minds of the man and the woman as the sun began to slump into the western mountains and a cool evening breeze rustled through the trees. The Shining One would routinely come down from his celestial kingdom in the evenings and walk in the Garden with Adam and his wife on nights such as these. The woman’s mind began spinning together stories and explanations that she might tell her God if He were to notice that she had eaten from the tree. Perhaps she could hide it from Him and just pretend everything was the same. Or perhaps she could just avoid Him altogether tonight so she could compose herself and solidify her story. She was shocked at the way her thoughts worked now. Every inclination inside her head seemed to be laced in newfound dishonestly and deceit. Adam’s thoughts weren’t much clearer. He began spinning ways in which he would blame his wife for everything that had transpired. After all, it wasn’t as if he had reached his hand out and plucked the fruit off the tree for himself. The woman had brought it to him. He could claim that he didn’t recognize it, why it could have been any fruit! A reality gripped Adam’s stomach when he pictured the initial splendor of the forbidden fruit. Nothing so majestic existed anywhere else in the garden. Convincing God of his ignorance might prove to be difficult.
Footsteps crashed through the brush shattering the panicked silence. The King was approaching.
Based upon Genesis 3: 1-6
The Bible Unpacked
Copyright © 2021 by Jeremiah Ryan
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