Adam clears his throat and looked at the ground, as if reliving the shame in his mind. Emotionally, it is almost too much for him to talk about, but he knows he has to pass this on to his son. Now that death has entered the picture, he can’t assume that he’ll be around forever. The tradition of walking with God, something that only he and his bride have experienced, must be passed down if there is to be any hope for their race.
"Your mother and I don’t know the whole story, at least not yet. All we know is our part in the drama, which from the looks of it, must be a pretty big deal. Before we broke our pact with God (which I’ll get to later) we really weren’t too concerned about much other than enjoying the home that God made for us and pleasing him with our lives. But that serpent, curse him, was right about one thing: once we had messed up the relationship, we were keenly aware of right and wrong--or at least wrong."
"Wait a second…serpent?" the son says quizzically. "How can a serpent be right or wrong about something. Doesn’t that imply that he could think? That he could have an opinion?"
"Yes, son, the serpent could talk, and he was the most cunning of all the thinking animals. I know it’s hard for you to understand here in the far country, but the world was much different back then.
"As I was saying, we don’t know the whole story, but I can tell you our part. It’s hard to talk about, so you’ll have to make do with the short version:
"God told me about the Tree before your mother was crafted from my side. He made sure to emphasize how important for me it would be to obey. He didn’t tell me the specifics, only that eating of the tree—or even touching it—was serious enough for him to take our lives.
"I made sure to relay the message to your mother. How could I not if it the matter was so grave? But as I said, we really didn’t think about the question of obedience too much. The other option—disobedience—was never really presented to us."
"Until the serpent came along," Abel says to show that he was paying attention.
"Right," Adam says. "So we were walking along in our garden and your mother was looking for something good to eat." A wave of nostalgia sweeps over him, and for a moment his eyes brighten. "Son, you should’ve seen it. There were so many colors, so many delicious options to choose from, all ripe and ready to be plucked from the vine, nothing like the dull and dry stuff we’ve been eating during this drought.
"In fact, because there were so many choices, we couldn’t decide what to eat. Wide-eyed, but with empty stomachs, we were getting hungrier by the second, so we searched deeper and deeper into the garden until we came into the clearing where the two trees—the Tree of Life and the Tree of Good and Evil--stood.
"And there was the serpent, like a lion waiting for a deer to walk right into its den. I was a little nervous at first; this was the first time I’d even seen the trees God had told me about. But they were beautiful, more beautiful than anything you’ve ever seen. They were tall, but not imposing, and the branches sagged close to the ground, laden with the weight of the large red fruit. They were big enough to look filling, bright and dew-kissed, inviting enough to make you want to eat forever.
"At first, I praised God for such beauty, and went on foraging in the other trees. I paid no attention to the serpent. Animal sightings were common in our garden, and we weren’t afraid of serpents back then.
"But then, he began to speak to my wife."