AT HOME IN A GARDEN
YEARS and years and years ago there was just one person in the whole wide world. He had only one name, and a very short name at that—it was Adam! This was a very long time ago, before there were any automobiles, or trains, or telephones, or radios, or television sets. It was so long ago that no houses had been built. In fact, there was no one to build houses, and no one to live in them if they had been built. Why, Adam didn’t even have a bed on which to sleep! Perhaps you would like to know how long ago it was that Adam lived all alone. It was more than six thousand years. That is a long time, isn’t it?
Now, just because Adam had no house, we must not think he didn’t have a nice place in which to live. Before Adam was made, God planted a beautiful big garden which he called Eden. There were ever so many wonderful flowers and trees in that garden. They were the most beautiful flowers and trees that anybody has ever seen. There were plenty of nice vegetables, and all kinds of fruit.
And God put Adam into this perfect garden to take care of it, and to enjoy it forever.
While there were no men or women or children to keep Adam company, he was not all alone, because the Bible tells us that there were many birds and animals in Eden. God, who made Adam, asked him to give names to all the animals.
And what a task that must have been!
If you don’t think so, the next time you go to a zoo or to a circus and see all the animals, try to imagine what you would call them if they did not already have names. You would look at the giraffe and I guess you would call him Mr. Longneck; or maybe you would just call him funny. So Adam had to settle down to real business and think up very good names for all the animals. And he did it well, too.
Of course, it wasn’t necessary for Adam to hunt all over the garden for the various animals in order to see them and to give their names. The Bible tells us that he was made a king, or a ruler over them, so they all obeyed him, and would come right up to him when he called them, just as a dog will do for us today.
Even a dog won’t do that, though, unless he has been treated well. If you kick a dog and throw stones at him, he will probably run away, whenever he sees you coming, or he will watch his chance and give you a good hard bite, just to get even.
Well, Adam was not only kind to all the animals, but he was friendly with them, even with those which now are wild. He treated them just as we do the pets we have in our homes. Since that time many people have been so unkind to animals that they have become frightened, and some of them are very ferocious and dangerous.
When Adam had finished naming the animals, and had become acquainted with them all, he made a very important discovery. He found out that there were no animals with which he could talk in the way we talk to each other. The animals were very nice, and he was glad to have them in the garden with him, but he really needed a companion who would be more like himself. Imagine how lonesome you would be if there were no other girls or boys around.
The best dog in the world cannot take the place of a brother or a sister.
Well, that is what Adam discovered. Of course, God knew this all the time, but he wanted Adam to find out for himself. God didn’t plan that Adam should remain all alone in the Garden of Eden forever, but he wanted Adam to understand how much he really needed company. In this way, you see, he would be more thankful for what God did for him.
And what did God do?
You have guessed it already! Yes, he created a real friend for Adam, who also became his wife. Her name was Eve. Pretty name isn’t it? It means life-giver, because she was the first woman. God wanted Eve to be very much like Adam, so he made her in a very wonderful way. He put Adam to sleep, and while he was asleep God took one of his ribs away from him, and with that rib he made Eve.
Wasn’t that wonderful?
In this way, you see, Eve was just like Adam—just like another part of him, yet she was separate—and they could talk together and be real friends to each other. God is certainly very wise and can do wonderful things!
There is no use for us to try to understand how God did such a wonderful thing as that. He has done many great things that we cannot understand, but they are true just the same. We cannot even understand what makes us grow, can we? “Oh,” you say, “It is because we eat good, nourishing food.” But that is not all there is to it. If our stomachs do not work properly we will not grow, no matter how much we eat. Sometimes, perhaps, our stomachs get upset, and then we don’t want to eat, or if we do eat, we get very sick and wish we hadn’t eaten.
Suppose God had made us in such a way that we would never want to eat, or that our stomachs would always be upset. I guess we couldn’t expect to grow very much then, could we? Well, that’s just it. We don’t understand how God made us with good stomachs, and eyes, and ears. We just know that he did, and that he made Eve; and that Adam was very glad to have Eve for a companion.
But there was one thing about Adam and Eve that was different from the rest of us. They had never been children. Can you imagine that? While we are children and growing up, we learn a lot of things, don’t we? We learn that certain things are right, and that other things are wrong. We learn that if we always do what is right we will be much happier than when we do wrong.
Well, Adam and Eve had to learn this lesson as grown-up persons, because they had never been children. God knew they needed a lesson like this, so he told them not to eat the fruit that grew on a certain tree in the garden. It was called the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” And God made it very plain to Adam and Eve that it was really wrong to eat the fruit of this tree, and that if they did eat it they would surely die.
Now there was a serpent in the garden, and being tame it probably played where Eve could watch it. In some way this serpent made Eve believe that it would be all right to eat the fruit of that forbidden tree. The serpent may have eaten some of the fruit just to prove to Eve that God was not telling her the truth when he said the fruit of this tree would kill her.
Of course, the serpent wasn’t really smart enough to do this all by itself. Satan caused the serpent to act that way. Satan, as I have already told you, was an enemy of God, and that is why he made the serpent deceive Eve.
Yes, Eve was deceived by that serpent, and ate the forbidden fruit. And what was even worse, she coaxed Adam to eat it also. Thus they both did what God told them not to do..
Now the Lord had told Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed him they would die. This meant that they couldn’t live on forever and ever enjoying all the wonderful things in the Garden of Eden. Instead, sooner or later they would become feeble, and finally die.
Death is a terrible thing, isn’t it?
And just think, it is because Adam and Eve did as God told them not to do that people all over the world are dying! If it had not been for this, there wouldn’t be any sick people in the world.
Well, Adam and Eve learned a lot in that way, didn’t they? If mother or father tells you not to put your hands on the hot stove and then you do so, you suffer for your disobedience; but you do learn that the stove is hot, so you don’t put your hands on it any more. Now that is why God let Adam and Eve do what they did. He wanted them to learn for themselves that they would suffer if they did what he told them not to do.
The Bible tells us that some day God will use his great power to make Adam and Eve alive again, and then all that they learned will be a great help to them, won’t it? And even better than this, the Bible tells us that all Adam’s children who have died will be made alive again, and by and by the whole earth will be just like the Garden of Eden. You see, that is what God really planned to do. He wanted Adam’s family to keep making that garden bigger, until it covered the whole earth.
God doesn’t change his mind, and he has plenty of power to do everything he wants to do; so the whole earth will be like the Garden of Eden some day. Then you will meet Adam and Eve, and can ask them a lot of questions that I wouldn’t know how to answer, such as what they did at night without a house in which to sleep.
- Who was the first man, and where did he live?
- Who was the first one to give names to animals?
- Who was the wife of the first man, and where did she come from?
- Why did Adam and Eve have to leave the Garden of Eden and will they ever return?