Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve, who were the first humans ever, were created some time late one Friday afternoon in 4004 BC, just before God knocked off work for the weekend. It had been a long week and He was probably tired, which may explain a lot. If we can believe the Bible, the humans were apparently a bit of an afterthought, as God had found the all-too-perfect "angels" too boring for words and wanted something that would be more fun to play with. Unfortunately He didn't bother to tell the aforementioned angels about His rather bizarre plan until after it was all over, which theophatic screw-up led to the first cosmic disaster in recorded history.
Of course, once they got over the shock, the angels thought humans — female-type humans, anyway — were actually pretty cool (to say nothing of wicked sexy) which explains Goliath as well as the Sons of the Bird. But all that came later.
The start of it all
God needed someplace to keep his new pets, so He created the Garden of Eden. As far as anyone can tell, in the very beginning of everything, Eden was, in fact, the only place there was, because nobody'd done anything to get banned and there was no need for there to be anyplace else (yet).
So God installed Adam and Eve in the garden, and gave them some operating instructions: "Go anywhere, and do whatever you want, just don't touch my special trees!" God pointed to a grove of trees growing "in the middle of the garden", as the Bible says. If God had thought to put a chain link fence around the Special Grove a lot of trouble might have been saved later on.
Since God knew everything, He also knew that His instructions were going to be followed for about the length of time it took Him to commute home from work and turn on the tube, but whatever, when you're, like, totally all powerful, stuff gets boring and you need to get your jollies where you can.
Trouble with Middle Management
As we mentioned, God didn't bother to tell the Angels (or anyone else) what He was doing when He created
Humans humans. (He was that kind of boss.)
But then, once it was a done deal, He ordered the angels to fall down and worship the humans because, well, the humans looked more like God than the angels did. They were dumber than the angels, didn't live as long, weren't as pretty, couldn't fly, and overall were just plain second rate, but nonetheless the angels were supposed to worship the humans, and not the other way around.
Well, shoot, a retarded Arthur Anderson intern with ADHD could have predicted the outcome, but apparently God was blind sided by it when Satan (who seems to have been a supervisor of some sort) quit and took all his best
people angels with him.
Bad news for Satan: Quitting a job at Heaven was something like quitting a job at Data General, only worse. Coming on board with God means a lifetime commitment, and when you're immortal, that's one wicked long time to wait for retirement. So Satan, who was smart as Hell and understood this stuff a lot better than you do, needed a plan.
Enter the Snake
Nobody likes to get caught, Satan included, so he decided he needed a sock puppet. Unfortunately, socks weren't going to be invented for another 3,000 years, so that was out of the question. Second choice: A meat puppet, aka a poor sucker who would just follow orders while pretending it was their idea all along. The snake, who was sleeping in the sun at the time and didn't hear Satan coming, got picked.
After cruising around the garden a bit on his spiffy little feet, the Snake found Eve hanging up laundry on one of the trees.
"Hey, Eve baby, isn't that the tree you're not supposed to touch?" asked Snake.
"EEEEK! OMG I am so, like, I-just-didn't-notice! OMG! OMG!" replied Eve.
"Hey, Eve baby, calm down! You touched it, and what happened?" asked Snake.
"I died!! Like, I already died!! I must have, God said so!! OMG I'm dead OMG OMG OMG!"
The snake, who, you may remember, was possessed by Satan, who, you may also remember, was an angel, was thinking, "Boy oh boy they sure weren't kidding when they said these humans are dumb." What he actually said, though, was,
"Calm down, Eve. You're not dead. You're fine. Everything's fine. God was just funnin' you about dying. And, hey, Eve, what do you think will happen if you eat some of that fruit?"
"Um ... I'll die again?"
"No, you won't die again, you didn't die the first time."
"Are you sure?"
"Think, Eve!" said Satan, all the while thinking that's something she didn't seem to be equipped to do. "Remember that dead dog? How it smelled? Do you smell like that, Eve?"
"Uh, no" she said, after tentatively sniffing one armpit.
"See? You're not dead. And if you eat an apple, you still won't be dead. You'll just see things as they really are!"
"Uh — what? Like, if I got glasses?"
"Much better than that! This —" the snake waved one arm around the garden, "is all maya. If you eat an apple, you will be able to see the true things, to see the karma behind the maya, I'm sorry I'm using such big words..."
"Oh!" said Eve, suddenly understanding. "It's like if I swallow the red pill!"
God in a very bad mood
In the cool evening God came into the garden. The leaves had wilted. Black toadstools had sprouted in the flowerbeds. A fawn lay on the grass, bloody and dead, its throat torn out. And then God stepped forward and His mighty foot landed right in a pile of steaming dog doo. "DAMN IT!" God bellowed, scuffing His immense sandal on the grass, "Those IDIOTS have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge and now EVERYTHING IS SPOILT!"
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest
Adam and Eve were admiring all the new scenery. The old green stuff had been so last week. The mushrooms were new and cool-looking, the dandelions growing in the once-golfcourse-perfect lawns were cheery, the slugs sliming up and down the branches were so glittery and smooth, and the dogs — oh, my, the dogs...
Adam and Eve had spent part of the morning just following the dogs around and trying out everything they did. Some of it was just a little bit gross, but all of it was new, and it was all just so much fun!
"Oh, Honey!" exclaimed Eve, pulling on Adam's arm. "Look what the doggies are doing now! Can we try that?"
"Duuuuuuhh.... Sure!" said Adam, using his two favorite words.
So, when the doggies had finished pooping in the middle of the path, ...
God's day gets worse
All the lovely maya was gone. The karma waves had totally inundated the garden, and God was really pissed. He'd put a lot of effort into making the garden look just right, and now those fool humans were seeing through the illusion, and making everything look ...
His thought was interrupted by a yell. "Oh El! Oh El! Come quick!"
It was Baal, calling El (that's "God" to the rest of us).
"Something bad happening, boss! El come quick!"
God muttered something under his breath and started to run ... and his foot came down on something soft. Soft, and gross. Soft, gross, and smelly. It splooshed over the side of his sandal and up between his toes. And it wasn't dog doo.
Meanwhile, Back at the Sacred Grove
Adam and Eve had grown tired of following the dogs around and were watching the monkeys, who were chasing each other through the trees.
"Oh that looks so fun!" said Eve. "Honey, lift me up, I want to climb on the branches!"
"Duuuuuh — Sure!" said Adam.
"Oh honey, not like that! Stop it, we did that already!"
"Duuuuuh — Yeah! Wow!" said Adam, and set Eve on one of the lower branches.
Eve reached for one of the strange-looking fruits on the branch above her.
And that's when God appeared. Like a bullet from a high powered rifle, outrunning His own shockwave, He was there before they heard Him coming. When He saw Eve reaching for the fruit of the Tree of Life-of-Leisure, He bellowed,
!!  !!
When God talks, people listen.
When God bellows, people bleed at the ears.
Eve fell out of the tree, all the leaves fell off the trees, and the fruit exploded into atoms. The grass turned brown, and the snake, who was hiding in the grass, fainted.
Adam and Eve, naked as Jay birds and frankly terrified, looked around for their clothes, but they hadn't been invented yet. The best they could find were a couple of fig leaves, which they did their best to hide behind.
God consulted with Himselves as to what to do. "Can we just let them go?" He asked Himselves.
"No for then they will surely eat of the Tree of Life-of-Leisure, the Tree of Eternal-Life, and the Tree of Admin-Powers and they will become Gods just like We are," He answered Himselves.
"So must We banish them?" He asked Himselves.
"We must assign blame, and then punish everyone!" He replied.
"Why have you done this thing? I showed you only love, and you repaid Me with ... this!" said God to Adam, waving his hand around the rotting garden.
"Duuuuuuuh ... Eve said to" replied Adam.
"OMG I can't believe you're, like, blaming me for this!" shrieked Eve. "And it wasn't me anyway, it was that snake!" She pointed at the snake, who had just regained consciousness.
"AHA!" said God.
"Wait, wait, it wasn't me, it was Ssss..." the snake started to say.
God interrupted the snake. "You corrupt My humans and then blame an angel??" He picked it up by the tail and whacked it against a tree, whereupon all its legs fell off.
"Hey that's not fair — let me talk! I really didn't do it!" said the snake again. "It was Satan, he possessed me, You should go after him, not me!"
"Shut up!" bellowed God, and no snake has uttered so much as a syllable since.
(Satan wasn't at the trial, so we don't know what happened to him. We next hear from him in the Book of Job, where he seems to be doing fine, so it looks like he got away scot-free. There must be a moral here somewhere but I can't quite make out what it is.)
God miraculously "appeared" some shovels and put Adam and Eve to work shoveling shit, so they'd learn what Real Life was like. After they got the garden cleaned up a bit, He sent them out the gate.
"You can't do this! I'll get a lawyer! It's a violation of the child welfare laws to put a pregnant woman out on the street!" objected Eve.
"Piffle — there won't be any lawyers for another 1000 years!" was God's prescient response. "Goodbye, good luck, and don't come back!"
He then put a ring of Eternal Fire around the whole garden so they couldn't get back in even if they could find the place again. Since maps hadn't been invented yet, nor had place names, nor roads, nor landmarks, the likelihood of that seems pretty low.
With an entire (empty) world to rattle around in you'd think the children of Adam and Eve would have gotten along pretty well, but no such luck. They had two boys, and they managed to get into a row, and one killed the other. Since there weren't any laws yet, the consequences of the act were pretty vague, though the Bible story makes it sound all ominous when God finds out about it. The cause seems to have been a gambling game in which Abel was caught cheating, which begs the question of which brother was really the wronged party. Since there were as yet no trials, just God handing down edicts, the point is never addressed with any clarity.
Even with one son out of the picture, the question remains of who Cain married. This is often held up as a difficult conundrum, but in fact, as Sherlock Holmes said, when the impossible has been eliminated, what's left, no matter how stupid, must be The Truth. Since this was the first human family ever, the answer is obvious: Cain married a chimpanzee. God, in His wisdom, had made the DNA of the chimps and the humans close enough for cross breeding.
God chased the dogs out, too; it was too much trouble to keep cleaning up the paths and they just would not learn to do it in the bushes. And that's why we have dogs for our companions today (and it's also why they need to be walked twice a day).
To answer that, we need to realize that there are several kinds of "stories" or "books" included in the Bible.
- Religious books, which teach us about religion. Examples include the letters of Paul, who teaches us that we should keep our hats on in church, and we should keep our pants on at all times.
- History books, which teach us about history. Examples include Kings, in which we learn that King David took a young girl to bed with him every night, just to keep the mattress warm. (That's what he said she was for, anyway. But it's a safe bet King David never read the letters of Paul, so you can't be sure.)
- Feel-bad books, which teach us to feel bad. Examples include Ecclesiastes, which explains how everything sucks and it's not worth doing anything about it.
- How-to books, which teach us how to do stuff. Examples include Proverbs, which is a compendium of fortune cookie inserts culled from bits and pieces of literature found throughout the ancient world.
- Finally ... "Tell me why" books, which explain why stuff is true. And that's what the Adam and Eve story is. It explains why everybody has to work (it's because of snakes), why childbirth hurts (snakes), why everybody gets old (snakes again), and why there's an angel with a flaming sword standing in the middle of the desert in Iraq (you guessed it, it's snakes). Of course, like many "tell me why" stories, in the end it just replaces one unanswerable question with another: Why do we have to work? Because God created snakes. Why did God create snakes? Uh.... isn't it past your bedtime?
- White skin was invented after clothing. Living outdoors, naked, under a tropical sun, there are only two kinds of people: The black kind, and the blistery red kind, who have terminal sunburn. God presumably knew this, too.
- A cubit is something like 14 inches. These dudes were tall. Ya gotta wonder ... maybe they were born by C-section? Or maybe their Moms just kind of blew up.
- Yes, really. You can look it up. Charlesworth's translation, FWIW. And Jude quotes Enoch as gospel so if you accept the New Testament you're kinda stuck with Enoch, too.
- I'm not making this up, you know. See, for example, the Apocalypse of Adam and Eve. What? You want a link? Don't be so lazy, I'm not going to do all the work for you.
- Enoch someplace or other, and probably Jubilees as well, and Genesis if you read it closely enough
- Goliath was the last of the Nephilim, nowadays we'd call him a National Treasure and a Historic Wonder and David would have been in big trouble for killing him
- Oops, wrong story, that's a Heinlein reference
- There were certainly at least two special trees, according to Genesis, though the author kind of contradicts himself on this, just a bit
- If there really was noplace else, then Eden was a pocket universe and, in fact, everyplace was "in the middle of the garden", and there was nothing special about the location of the trees. There, now you've had a physics lesson, too.
- And we know this is true because God said so.
- Either that, or maybe He just fucked up. Since it was His priests who wrote the Bible we're not likely to find that explanation given there.
- This is from some reliable source or other. Trust me.
- I gave you a reference for this part of the story already. Weren't you paying attention?
- Josephus says the snake had feet, and Josephus knew a heckuva lot more about the Bible than you ever will, Jocko, so stop arguing.
- Of course the snake wasn't really Satan; it was just possessed by Satan. It says so in ... oh, someplace. You should know all this already, anyway. Didn't they teach you anything in Sunday school?
- Note the use of the word "spoilt". That proves beyond a reasonable doubt that God is British, which probably also means Rudyard Kipling was right all along.
- El, aka Yahweh aka God, was head of the pantheon; Baal was a fertility god, and they got along pretty much OK to start with. That was before the little dust up which left El standing alone in Israel and Baal relegated to the Phoenician temples where he had to share alter space with Dagon. And no, I'm not making this up, either.
- The word for "God" is plural in the earliest parts of Genesis. The "One God" bit only came much, much later, no matter what your Sunday school teacher may have told you about Yahweh and the Jews. Deal with it.
- Genesis, Josephus, Jubilees, the Lives of Adam and Eve, ...just about everybody agrees about this. The legs, I mean, not the whacking against a tree bit.
- Oops that's Wagner, sorry, wrong myth; in this one it's just an angel with a flaming sword.
- "Cain caught Abel rolling loaded dice." So say the Grateful Dead in Mississippi Half-step Uptown Toodleloo. That explanation makes about as much sense as anything else in this tortured tale, so we're going with it.
- There have been experiments.... 'Nuff said.
- Yes, seriously!
- Accurate, anyway, compared with most of the drivel you read about Genesis
- Yes, yes, really. If your Sunday school teacher told you an angel dictated the book of Proverbs to King Solomon while he slept, well, maybe that's true too, but in that case the angel was a plagiarist.