The Garden of Eden
When God first made the earth there was nothing but darkness everywhere. The waters covered all the land, and there were no animals, nor fishes, nor trees, nor any living man. To prepare the earth for living creatures God made the Light which he called Day, and separated it from the Darkness which he called Night.
Then all the great waters were gathered together into the Seas, and the dry land was made to appear. Then trees began to grow on the land, and grass, and fruits; birds flew about in the air, and made their nests in the great forests that covered the earth. The waters had fish of all kinds, and creeping things, and cattle, and beasts began to roam through the forests.
The earth was then very beautiful, the sun shining by day and the restful darkness coming at night. There were trees and grass and flowers everywhere, and all kinds of animals and birds living on the land, and all kinds of fish swimming in the rivers and seas. There was but one thing needed to make the earth perfect, and that was man, made in the image of God, who should rule over the fish of the sea, over the fowls of the air, and over all the animals that lived upon the land.
God created man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Then God planted a garden, which was the Garden of Eden, and there He put the man He had made. And the man's name was Adam.
It was a beautiful garden. Out of the ground grew every tree that was pleasant to the sight, and that bore fruit to eat. Flowers bloomed on all sides, birds sang in the trees, and sweet waters ran by shady banks of grass and ferns. In the midst of the garden was also the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. All Adam had to do was to take care of this Garden of Eden.
God said to him: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat." And for a long time Adam obeyed God and ate not of the fruit of the tree. Then God brought all the animals of the field, and the birds of the air before Adam to see what he would call them, and Adam gave them names. Thus did Adam live in the garden, eating of the fruit of every tree but one, the companion and friend of all the beasts and birds, and obeying the words and commands of God.
But Adam was alone, for there was no mate for him. Of all things in the garden, he only was just one of his kind. Therefore, God said: "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a help meet for him." And He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and while he slept, God took one of his ribs and then closed up the place in Adam's side. Out of the rib God made a woman and brought her to Adam and gave her to him to be his wife and mate, that they should live together in the Garden of Eden. And the name of the woman was Eve.
Now, indeed, were Adam and Eve happy. All day long they wandered in the beautiful garden, gathering the fruits of the trees, listening to the song of the birds, or watching the playfulness of the animals around them. At night they lay down and slept upon the soft earth, knowing no fear for they had done no wrong.
The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field that God had made. One day Eve was walking alone in the garden and the wily serpent said to her: "Has God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden we may not eat, for God said if we touch it we shall die," Eve replied to the serpent.
The serpent then said to the woman: "You shall not surely die. God knows that in the day you eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden your eyes shall be opened and you shall be as gods, and shall know good from evil."
Eve was quite overcome by the words of the serpent and looked up at the fruit of the tree. It was pleasant to the eye, and seemed good to eat. She put out her hand and gathered some of the fruit and ate it. It tasted sweet and harmless and Eve did not think about her disobedience to the words of God. She went to Adam and said:
"Here is the fruit of the tree of knowledge; the serpent says if we eat of it our eyes shall be opened and we shall be as gods knowing good from evil. I have eaten of the fruit and I would have you eat also." And Adam knowing what Eve had done ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree.
In a short while they heard the voice of God in the garden in the cool of the day and Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God among the trees of the garden, for they were afraid. And God called unto Adam: "Where art thou?"
Adam came out from his hiding place and said: "I was afraid and hid myself."
"Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you that you should not eat?" demanded the Lord.
"The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat," replied Adam.
Then God said unto Eve: "What is this that you have done?" And Eve replied: "The serpent beguiled me and I did eat."
Then God told the serpent that it should be cursed above all cattle and every other beast of the field, that it should crawl upon the ground, and that eternal enmity should be between it and all men. He told Adam and Eve that they should no longer live in the Garden of Eden but should be driven out and should henceforth work, and eat the bread they had earned by the sweat of their faces, because they had disobeyed God and had not followed his commands.
For fear that Adam and Eve would put forth their hands and take the fruit from the tree of life and eat and live forever, God drove them from the Garden of Eden. They went forth to till the ground to gain food whereby to live, and behind them God set flaming swords at the gate which turned every way to guard the entrance and to protect the tree of life.