Genesis, Chapter Three: An Early Draft

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “Man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove Man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life. But as Adam began to walk away from the Garden of Eden forever, Eve turned back.

“Excuse me—” she said, but stopped. “I’m sorry, can I just . . . can I say one thing?”

The Lord God closed His eyes, drawing a slow, deep breath. He opened them again and glowered at Eve.

“Sorry,” she said. She became acutely conscious of her face getting hot but couldn’t tell if that was a product of her shame or merely a consequence of receiving a glare from God. She cleared her throat. “It’s only . . . there’s this one thing.”

“Very well,” the Lord God sighed.

Adam pleaded with his eyes for her not to make their situation any worse than it already was. Eve shifted her weight from foot to foot. “It’s just that . . . this isn’t exactly . . . fair, is it?”

The Lord God narrowed His eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Well, we’re getting kicked out because we did something wrong, right? Something evil . . .”

The Lord God nodded.

Sweat glistened Eve’s brow as she continued. “But we only knew the difference between right and wrong—good and evil, that is—until after we ate the apple, right?”

The Lord God opened His mouth . . . and then He closed it. He did this again.

“So it . . . it seems to me like we had no idea what we were doing until we had already done it. Now that we do know, of course, yeah, we can totally see Your point. It’s just . . . we had no way of knowing that . . . beforehand . . .” Eve let her words trail off, that last statement hanging in the air.

“Oh,” the Lord God said. He scratched the back of His head. “Well . . . geez, I hadn’t really thought of it that way.” He chuckled. “That must’ve been some apple.”

Eve gave Him a half-smile. “It was the Tree of Knowledge . . .”

“Well,” the Lord God said. He sighed. “You know, I feel like I went at this all wrong. Listen: C’mon back into the garden.”

“But—” the cherub nearest the flaming sword said from behind them. They turned to him. He swallowed. “Sire, I . . . I made a flaming sword and everything . . .”

“I know,” the Lord God said, “but you see the mess I’ve made.” The cherub’s shoulders slumped. “Now, now, c’mon, don’t be like that. We’ll find a use for that sword, I promise.” He beckoned to Adam and Eve. “C’mon back, you two.”

Adam and Eve looked at each other. Adam asked, “You’ll forgive us just like that?”

“Of course,” the Lord God said. “What kind of a father would I be if I just threw you out the first time you made a mistake? And a mistake—as Eve so astutely pointed out—that you made in complete and utter ignorance.”

Adam looked once again at Eve, uncertain of what to do. Eve shrugged. They walked back to the gate. The Lord God wrapped an arm around each of their shoulders as all three of them made their way once again into the garden.

“You can take off those smelly animal skins, too,” He said. “The animals will want them back. And you don’t need to be ashamed of your bodies; I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, they’re beautiful, aren’t they? I made you in My image after all. I just have weird body issues. I guess I should take more pride in My work.”

“That’s just what Satan said,” Adam quipped.

“Ho ho!” the Lord God bellowed. “Adam, you dog!” His laughter shook many leaves from the trees. When He finally regained control of Himself, He turned to Adam and smote him with a baleful glare. “Seriously, though, I’m turning you into a dog for that.”

Adam flinched and averted his eyes from the Lord God, his legs trembling, his bowels unwinding, his jowls quivering with fear. But as the moment dragged on, Adam saw that still he stood, the man the Lord God had made him. He chanced a glance in the Lord God’s direction.

At this, the Lord God could no longer hold in His laughter. “I’m just kidding,” He managed between gasps. Eve’s shoulders bounced with merriment.

Adam said, “Not funny.”

The Lord God doubled over with laughter anew.

“That wasn’t funny.”

Eve tried to stifle a snicker. “It was a little funny . . .”

“Aw, let’s go, you silly kids,” the Lord God said, wrapping His arms around their shoulders again. “What’re you thinking . . . veggie tapas tonight?”

Editor’s Note Scrawled across the Bottom of the Parchment: What is this sentimental, lovey-dovey drek? We’ve been traipsing around this friggin desert nigh on forty years and you wanna give the people this? You yutz! They’d string us up by nightfall. And that ending—feh! It’s a cheat. A good ending comes outta the characters’ decisions. Yeah, G-d can fix everything—that’s doesn’t mean He’s gonna! Fix the characters. Adam’s a complete schlemiel. And when did Eve get so smart? And would you please give the Almighty a little gravitas? This is G-d we’re talking about—not you’re Uncle Bubeleh!

Rewrite it. Lose the ending. Give Adam some of Eve’s lines. Rework your characterization of G-d—and do it before I plotz!

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