Paradise Lost, 2014
I don’t use Facebook as it was intended to be used. That is, I don’t post pictures of the meal I just ordered or pictures of cute kittens. But one of the things I like best about it is that an offhand comment posted by me or a friend sometimes leads to a great discussion.
Such was the case last week, when a serious question about the religious practices of certain groups took off in unexpected directions. At one point, it took a tangent into the differences between Latin American women and American women. If you don’t understand how this relates to religion, I can only assume that you are female.
Eventually, the conversation got around to Adam and Eve, and it was noted how Eve (the mother of all mothers) has been blamed for the Fall of Man, the Polar Vortex and San Francisco’s loss to Seattle in the NFC championship game Sunday. That the Bible was, for all we know, written and edited by men should really be all we need to explain this. But I think there is something more to it. My proving it will require several leaps of faith on your part.
First, you need to accept that Adam and Eve were husband and wife. (This may not fly with biblical literalists, since God rested before creating clergy. But I’m certain that in some undiscovered Dead Sea cave, there is a scroll containing blood test results and the marriage license.) Second, you need to accept that Adam, being male, ran out of ideas for what to get Eve for their anniversary after, say, 130 years. (According to the book of Genesis, Adam lived to be 930 and was still driving when he died. He might have lived longer had he not mistaken the accelerator for the brake and driven through the front window of the Eden DMV office while on a trip to renew his license.) Third, you must accept that Eve, being female, dropped hints about what she would like as an anniversary gift. Fourth, you must believe that the following scenario took place about a week before the big day.
Tired after a long day of trying to invent animal names that started with X, Adam plopped down on a nice soft piece of garden and was just dozing off when Eve nudged him.
“Honey? Are you asleep?”
“This can’t wait?”
“Well … next week is our anniversary, and I was just thinking that, rather than presenting me with a new species again, you might shake things up this year.”
“I knew it! You didn’t like the wallaby I gave you last year.”
“Of course I did! Don’t I ride it every day? But, anyway … I was just walking around through those tall, rough brown things that have a bunch of green things hanging from them …”
“They’re trees, Eve. Trees and leaves! I named them, what, 125 years ago?”
“You can remember that, but not our anniversary? Anyway, there was this one tree – I think it might have been the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – and it had the loveliest forbidden fruit hanging from its branches …”
And, finally, you must accept this: Adam, not wanting to turn Eve loose in Paradise with his Eden Express card (“Don’t leave Paradise without it!”), got up the next morning, went straight to that Tree, and picked an apple. Which he presented to Eve the following week, along with the Hallmark anniversary rock that I’m certain also must be in that undiscovered cave.
“Oh, Adam! It looks good enough to eat!” said Eve. And took a bite.
It was about this time that God walked around the corner, lost in thought while also trying to think of an animal name that begins with X.
“What’s all this then?” said God, hands behind his back, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet.
“I … it … She gave it to me!” Adam said.
And thus it began.
Ladies, my profound apologies. I’m sorry that it has taken so long for a man to admit that one of us caused the Fall.
Maybe someday we’ll be able to admit that we’re lost while driving – although Adam never did.