The Enlightenment of Eve

Once upon a time there was a Garden. In this Garden there lived a Man named Adam and a Woman named Eve.

As the Story is sometimes told, a great Creator called God made the Garden and Adam, and from Adam eventually made Eve. Or possibly made them at the same time. Even the Story has more than one version.

In the Garden were many Wonders but only two were off limits: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. So long as Adam and Eve did not eat from these Trees, all would be Good and they would not die.

Into the Garden came a Serpent and the Serpent whispered many things to Eve, but most importantly of all it asked why she and Adam should be kept from Life and Knowledge; their Fruits were no less delicious and no more deadly than any other in the Garden, after all.

Eve thought on the Serpent’s words. No harm had come to her or Adam from anything else in the Garden, why should the Trees of Life and Knowledge be any different? So Eve ate of Knowledge and did not die, then she shared the Fruit with Adam.

God discovered their transgression. Angry, he banished them from the Garden and into the World, for they defied his Word despite all that he had given them. One could not Know and live in Paradise.

***

There is another version, lost a very long time ago, similar to the first in many respects but so very different in others.

The basics remain the same. There was a Man named Adam and a Woman name Eve, and they both lived in a Garden. But here is where the Story diverges.

In this Story, there is no great Creator called God or any other of a thousand Names. There is no Creator of any sort, at least as far as Adam and Eve are aware. They weren’t and then they were, neither sure Where they came from nor Why they are in this Garden. It is and they are.

These Questions do not trouble Adam. He is Content in the Moment and takes Joy in his surroundings.

Eve, however, is different. Eve Wonders. She Wonders not just about the Questions but also the Hows and Whens and Whats and so many other things. Eve is plagued by Curiosity, although she doesn’t know it by that name. For her it is a Need, the Need. To Discover and Learn…to Know.

So, while Adam laughs and plays, savoring the mild Weather and simple Pleasures the Garden offers, Eve Explores.

She surveys every inch of the Garden, from Border to Border and every Spot in between. The Garden has so much to offer, but Even can’t help feeling that there has to be More.

Tentatively at first, but eventually more daring, Eve steps past the Borders of the Garden and Explores. She doesn’t go Far in the beginning, afraid of losing the Safe haven the Garden seems to provide. Safe wasn’t something she Knew before she set out. Eve didn’t Know Safe because she had yet to Learn what Unsafe was, not to mention Danger and Pain. There is also Cold and Dark and the Unknown. Fear tries to keep her in the Garden, but the Desire to Know is greater.

One Day she climbs to the Top of a tall Rock that seems to never end as it shoots up into the Sky. The Rock is Hard and Sharp, slicing into tender, unmarked skin. But Eve climbs on, certain, deep down, that it will all be Worth it.

Breathless and bruised, she eventually reaches the Top. Tears sting her tired eyes as she Sees how much More there truly is.

Vast Plains with waving Grasses. A shifting Land that sparkles in the Sun. Massive Lakes and roaring Rivers. And all the strange Creatures that inhabit these Places and Beyond.

At the Top, Eve can See More and More and More. Eve is Happier than she’s ever been. The More is never-ending, disappearing Far off in the Distance and continuing past what she can See. This is Why she and Adam are Here. To See and Explore.

Adam needs to See. It would be Better if he were here, if she weren’t Alone.

For a moment, Eve is torn. She Needs to keep going, but she also Wants to Share.

She will Tell Adam what she has Seen. How could he Want to Remain in the Garden if he truly Knew there was More?

Eve takes one last Look at the World laid out below, Promising she will return.

Back in the Safe and Pleasant Garden Eve Knows she is making the right Choice. The Garden is not Enough; it has no More to Offer her.

She finds Adam splashing in the quiet Pond, laughing at Everything and Nothing in the light of the bright Sun. Eve Envies Adam then. He is Content with so little, but is that really so Bad? But she Knows that for her it would be Bad. She Needs More.

Eve wades into the Pond and pulls Adam to Shore. She sits him down and Tells him all about More. The Garden is a Good Place, but it is not the only Place.

Adam is quiet and thoughtful. When he finally speaks, his words are hesitant and she can See that he already has Fear.

“The Garden is Pleasant and Warm. We always have Food. Why should I Want to Leave?” he asks.

“More!” she says. “Because there is so much More. Don’t you ever Wonder?”

“No.”

“Not even about Why we are Here? Or How we got to this Place? Or What else there could be?”

“No,” he says again, almost apologetic. “I do not Wonder about any of that. I am Happy Here. What do I Care of More?”

This makes Eve Sad. More Sad than when she Knew she was Alone. Adam Wanted to Stay. Eve could not Stay.

Leaning forward, Eve brushes her lips lightly across Adam’s—Warm, Scratchy, Good—then pulls back and stands. “I Want you to Join me, but I Understand that you won’t.”

She walks Away. Alone isn’t Good, nor is it Bad. It just is. Eve Needs More more than she Needs to not be Alone.

“You can’t Leave me,” he says.

Eve pauses. “I am Leaving, and I would love to have Company. But you are Happy where you are and I will not ask you to Give that up.” Turning again, she continues walking. Alone isn’t Good, nor is it Bad. It just is. She will Survive.

A short Eternity later a hand catches hold of hers and Adam falls into step beside her.

“Is it Worth it?” he asks and she can feel him tremble.

Eve smiles and squeezes his hand. “Yes, More always is.”