I think we take for granted just how beautiful the first chapters of the Bible are. The very first sentence in Oursler’s book says, “Adam opened his eyes and looked into the face of his Maker.” Can you imagine what that would have been like? Obviously this is a fictional work, and we don’t really know what it was like, but just imagine it! One moment, you don’t even exist, and the next, you’re a living being. God created Adam’s body, and with a gentle blow from His lungs, Adam breathed. Oursler is doing an excellent job at painting the picture of how absolutely breathtaking (pun intended) those first days in the garden must have been.
Back then, Adam could talk right to God. He had His presence in the garden with him in a way we can’t even begin to imagine ~ but we can look forward to one day sharing that feeling in heaven. Adam looked at God and, as Oursler puts it, saw “a countenance all wisdom and compassion and hope.” The love that God felt for Adam was so blindingly obvious because he could see it right in His face. How humbling that would be!
The only thing I have against Oursler’s take so far is that he mentioned Adam’s hair as being “reddish.” I personally believe Adam was a man of dark complexion, just from a genetic standpoint. But I can overlook it because Oursler was a white man, and white people (myself included) tend to automatically envision everyone in books to be white.
In this book, when God tells Adam about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam looks at the tree and considers it a small condition considering all of the world he had to explore. And it would be, wouldn’t it? If you had the entirety of a perfect world in all its beauty and majesty, being told you can’t eat fruit from one tree would seem tiny.
Oursler describes Adam’s first desire to be “that someone else were beside him, so that they could look together.” A companion. This desire was the first indication of his free will. If God had made him without free will, then he’d have no desires at all. And God saw his desire and can you imagine He thought it good? Can you imagine an instance when God would think one of our thoughts and desires is good?
I love what Oursler says about God making Eve. It says, “Strange and wise, the ways of God, then as always. He could have clapped His hands like some enchanter in a fairy tale and made a new being appear. Or He could merely have thought His command and it would have been instantly performed by infinite and obedient forces. Instead, God’s hands gently touched Adam’s body with a deep and beautiful purpose.” God made Eve from Adam’s flesh for a very distinct reason ~ and He knew what He was doing.
When Adam first saw Eve, Oursler says he “leaped up, joy in his shouts.” And why wouldn’t he? Eve was probably perfect by everyone’s standards. They had the perfect marriage, the perfect world, the perfect life. They had no fear because there was nothing to be afraid of.
During satan’s confrontation with Eve, I’ve found another small thing to question. Oursler says, “Eve’s eyes, turning to the sky, seemed to be trying to find the answer in the white, fleecy clouds that rode invisible winds.” Genesis 2:5-6 says that the earth was watered by a mist that rose from the ground, but of course, that was when the earth was first created. We don’t know how long it lasted. But I was under the impression that it didn’t rain at all until the time of the flood. So that’s something to think about.
Here’s something interesting. “There comes a time when evil has to leave us alone; the tempter is not allowed to stay at our elbow when we make up our mind.” Satan planted the idea in Eve’s head that God was trying to keep her and Adam under Him, when in fact, they could be equal with Him. But like Oursler points out, “Her reasoning was perfect too; she was equipped to defend herself against him.” And she was. She was perfect. Her thoughts were perfect. She could have decided to obey God’s laws and ignore satan’s enticements. But he gave her an idea, and then left her alone to think about it, and that’s when her free will and her curiosity got the best of her.
And then it suggests that Adam’s downfall was in jealousy. I had wondered why Adam would also eat the fruit when he knew full well what she had done. But here, she had done something he had never dared to do. She had tasted something he had never tasted.
And in his newfound shame and awareness, his first reaction to the question of his Father was to blame somebody else for what he’d done wrong. And then when God turned to ask Eve for her perspective, she did the same thing. So God punished the serpent first, because it was ultimately his fault, and then he punished Eve for listening to him, and then he punished Adam for joining her, because they were all wrong.
And at the end of His punishments, God told the humans that “to the ground you shall return.” Their immortality was stripped from them, and death entered into the world. God left the garden, and Adam and Eve were doomed to walk the desolate world and only glimpse the beauty and perfection of their past from afar.
How terrifying that must have been!