An old hebrew story (exegeted from genesis)
13 December, 2007
El, father of the gods, had given over to his son, Yahweh, the responsibility of looking after the Garden of Eden. This was a great honour for Yahweh, since he now had to look after the Tree of Life from which the fruits were picked which gave the gods their everlasting life. It was hard work bringing the fruits to the seventy children of El, and after a while Yahweh tired of the work. “Am I a god or not?” he thought, “I shall make myself a worker to do this for me.” And so he fashioned a creature out of the dust and called him Adam, which wasn’t a great name, but Yahweh wasn’t much for naming things. Adam was a good worker and tended the garden of the gods for many years, even eating from the tree of life occasionally so as to not grow old. It would do Yahweh no good if Adam reached retirement age and had to be given a pension. So Adam was eternally young, but as a lowly slave to the gods he grew lonely.
Being a kindly soul, Yahweh decided to create a companion for Adam and created a creature called a niflahoodj. Realising that he was still not very good at naming, Yahweh asked Adam to come up with a name for the creature, and Adam called it a horse. Leaving the two of them alone to get acquainted, Yahweh smiled wondering how they would get along. Returning the next day he was surprised to find Adam was still lonely. At that Yahweh went to work creating more and more creatures, large and small, walking, crawling and flying. After all this effort Adam then had to name all the creatures, quite a task in the days before Linnaean taxonomy.
Eventually, realising that Yahweh would go on for ever creating even stranger deep sea fish that would never be suitable companions, Adam asked straight out for a companion who could talk, so that they could at least have some after dinner conversation. Yahweh thought about it and then created Eve, a woman who would be Adam’s wife as Asherah was Yahweh’s wife. In retrospect it seemed like an obvious thing to do from the start, but Yahweh had a nagging feeling that there was something he had forgotten…
A few days later, Nehushtan, the god of the North, was flying through the Garden when he came upon Eve who was taking a rest. He flew down to her and said “You look tired, is the work here hard?”. “Yes,” she replied, “between doing the gardening and listening to Adam name things it can be quite tiring. He’s already named all the bits of my body, some of them many times over, and it does get a bit boring after a while.”
Nehushtan had pity for Eve and decided that he would explain the birds and the bees (rather than just naming them) to allow herself and Adam to have some fun and excitement during the long nights without television. Eve listened to what Nehushtan said and then ran off to tell Adam about all the new exciting things they could do together. Nehushtan smiled thinking he had done a good deed.
Then, as the heat of the day passed to the cool of the evening, Yahweh came to take a stroll in the Garden. Looking around he saw neither Adam nor Eve and called out to them. “Where could they be hiding?” he thought, wishing he was omniscient like later gods would be. Eventually he caught them having sex behind some bushes. “What are you doing?” he shouted. Eve replied “Nehushtan told us about sex, we thought we would try it.”
Now Yahweh realised his mistake in creating Eve, for now that they knew of sex they would reproduce. And their children would reproduce, and their children, and their children until eventually incest would be seen as icky and the whole world would be covered with humanity. “Well now, you have two choices, you can either have sex but be condemned to die, or eat of the Tree of Life but never again lie together.”
Adam and Eve looked at each other. Eternal life, or sex, children and death. It was a tough choice, but then who would be here today if they had chosen life, and not their own mortality?