How can you know what perfect harmony is if you’ve never suffered?
It was like that for Adam and Eve, as they strolled through the Garden, bathing in sunlight and fresh air, at peace with all creatures.
The lions pawed at each other and played; they were pets. The crystal-blue streams flowed neared the meadows where Adam and Eve slept, cuddled close together.
“You think this is good?” a raspy voice whispered from the reeds. “I can tell you, there is even more wonder and joy that He is witholding from you.”
“What would that be?” Eve asked the serpent.
“The Tree of Knowledge, over yonder,” the snake said. “Eat of its fruit and you will feel the deepest of all ecstasy. You will be greater than Him.”
“But God has forbid that,” she replied. “It’s the only thing he’s forbidden.”
The snake slithered up her naked thigh. “And for good reason, too. He is selfish; He wants all the glory for himself. Eat from the tree, and you shall know.”
The days and nights in Paradise passed by, and Eve experienced an emotion she had no word for yet. She named it “confusion.”
As the sun rose majestically one morning, Eve trod up the hill to the Tree of Knowledge, leaving Adam behind. The tree was thick and strong, and it glowed of gold. Fresh apples fell in piles around its base.
Glancing around nervously, Eve gripped an apple and took a bite, and then what the serpent described happened, and more.
The sky exploded into a rainbow of colors and every hair on her body was raised, and she could feel goosebumps on her silky skin. Gusts of wind blew through her hair, and she was rocketed into a new consciousness.
Suddenly, it was though she was in a dream, and she was outside of time, seeing everything at once: the Creation, the Redemption, the Second Coming, the rise and fall of empires and civilizations, wars, births, deaths, and the death of the Sun.
“Who is there?” a baritone voice echoed.
“It is I,” Eve said.
“Why do you hide your face from me? You were not to eat from the Tree, yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you disobeyed me?”
The voice was disembodied, much as she was. But she was equal to the voice, not inferior in any way, and she stood her ground.
“Ha!” Eve laughed. “I should ask you the same question. Why is this about obedience? Why do you keep secrets? Why forbid me the fruit of life?”
“I’ve done it to protect you.”
“I can protect myself.”
Adam wandered long and far, but could not find Eve. He sensed something was wrong. That’s when Eve spoke to him, still in her disembodied state.
“Go and populate the Earth,” she told him. “You will have another partner now, whom I shall call Lilith. Eat, drink, be merry. There is no suffering now. Only bliss.”
“What of our master?” Adam asked.
“You will not hear from Him. I am the master now.”
Confused, Adam carried out the commands.
Then one day, the serpent whispered to him from the reeds.
“You think this is good?” the snake said. “I will tell you what I told Eve. Eat of the Tree of Knowledge and you’ll know pleasure like you’ve never known before.”
“But that is forbidden,” Adam said.
“You’ll never know if you don’t try.”