A Journalistic Journey Through the Book of Genesis
by Glenn W. Fisher
The Eden Times
Vol. 1, No. 1
Landlord Evicts Tenants from Luxurious Estate
Eden—Last evening the landlord of the luxurious estate known as The Garden summarily evicted tenants, Adam and Eve. The former tenants would not comment on the reasons for their eviction, and the landlord did not return our call.
The lease on file in the County Registrar’s office does not require the tenants to pay monetary compensation, but requires that the tenants provide companionship to the landlord during his evening walks. A “conditions of occupancy” clause gives the tenants control of all sections of The Garden and all its produce except for the fruit from one tree. Realtors are unable to give a reason for these strange provisions, but they say that violation of either provision would be grounds for eviction.
Richard Thompson, a neighbor, says that the serpent instigated a violation of the conditions of occupancy clause, and that the landlord inflicted corporal punishment on him. Sources say that he was injured so badly he cannot walk. One man claims to have seen him crawling in the dust outside The Garden. The Civil Rights Commission has launched an investigation.
Several of those interviewed by The Times were puzzled by the tenants’ action. Fred Romig, questioned as he left the Boeing plant, said, “They’re crazy. If I had a deal like that I’d have stayed away from that tree.” A housewife, who asked not to be identified, said, “Some people don’t know when they’re well off.”
E. W. Schaeffer, manager of the Eden Security Service, reported that he tried to get the landlord to install a security fence around the tree, but the landlord said, “No, if they can’t obey one commandment, I’ll throw them out.” Schaeffer added, “I guess he learned what everybody in my business knows. You can’t trust anybody.”
The dean of the Business School at Eden University, Dr. Douglas Edwards, said the landlord had badly mismanaged the estate. “He should get rid of all that unmarketable livestock, cut down the tree that produces inedible fruit, and raise the rent to market levels.” The dean went on to say that Eden needs venture capital, and that the landlord would find plenty of opportunities to invest his profits.
Professor Sarah Rubin of the Humanities Department said that Adam and Eve may have deconstructed the order not to eat the fruit and concluded that it had no meaning. “Or,” she added, “They may have been expressing their innate creativity. We try to encourage that in our department.” Professor Henry Scott of the Psychology Department said he would have to interview the subjects before he could make a definitive diagnosis, but he speculated that the tenants might have rebelled against repressive constraints on their behavior.
The Eden Organization for Women’s Rights called a special meeting to discuss the matter. Susan Gilmore-Jones, the president of EOWR, said that there is an organized effort to blame Eve for the violation. “We will document the falsity of this charge, lest it be used to keep women in subjection for thousands of years.” Then she added, “We’ll sue any media organization that makes a false report about Eve’s role in the matter.”
The Eden Times
Vol. 1, No. 310
Widespread Repercussions from Eviction Reported
Eden—The dispute over the lease in The Garden, first reported by this paper almost a year ago, continues to attract national attention. Professor James Eleazar, a faculty member at the Eden Theological Seminary, recently published an article claiming the eviction of Adam and Eve from The Garden will have widespread repercussions. “The debate over the meaning of the landlord’s action will affect man’s view of himself and his relationship to his creator.” He said in an interview that it will also affect interpersonal relationships, commercial affairs, and even relationships within marriage.
Commercial affairs have already been affected. The fruit industry, especially the apple industry, has been severely damaged by publicity about the ill effects of eating fruit. Some long- established firms may be forced into bankruptcy. Ralph Miller, owner of a large apple orchard, pointed out that the provisions of the lease on file in the county recorder’s office forbid the consumption of the fruit of a certain tree, but there is no indication that it is an apple tree. “Early reports that it was an apple tree have been uncritically repeated by thoughtless persons.”
A press release from the Eden Fruit Growers Association noted that any variety of fruit is far safer than the high-fat foods produced by the fast-food industry. “Unfortunately, the attention focused on one incident has exaggerated the danger in the public mind.”
The Eden Times
Vol. 2, No. 30
Adam and Eve's Own Story
Eden—It has been more than a year since Adam and Eve were evicted from The Garden, but controversy over the landlord’s action continues. Many real estate owners say that a landlord has the right to impose conditions on the use of rental property. Others claim that the clause forbidding the tenants to utilize the fruit of the tree was an unreasonable, perhaps unconstitutional, interference with their freedom to make choices about their lifestyle.
In the meantime, Adam and Eve have struggled to adapt to their new life on a farm near here. We found Adam, clothed in leather garments, at work in a small garden. His face was brown from the bright sun and his hands were calloused and bronzed, As we approached, he pulled a thistle from the ground, tossed it on a pile of wilted weeds, wiped the sweat from his face with a big red handkerchief, and invited this reporter to sit with him beneath a nearby tree. We asked him to tell the story.
He reminisced about life in The Garden. “I didn’t have to work very much. The landlord provided everything. There was plenty of food. There were few weeds among the flowers and vegetables. The animals got along well, and they obeyed my every command.”
He said that the landlord often came to visit and always asked if he needed anything. “At first I told him I had everything I needed, but after a while I got lonely and complained a little.” Adam explained that having complete control of the animals gave him a feeling of power, but that after a while it got monotonous. “They were so dumb and so submissive.”
Adam was delighted when the landlord sent Eve to live in The Garden, but he had difficulties adjusting to a creature who didn’t always submit to his wishes. He complained to the landlord, but he replied, “You had the animals. They did whatever you wanted and you weren’t satisfied. You figure out what to do now.”
Adam said, “I thought of ways to handle Eve, but she began to think of ways to manipulate me. We argued a lot until we agreed to take turns making decisions. Then she cheated. She counted every little decision, even the ones we agreed on, as my decisions. Then when a big decision had to be made, she claimed it was her turn. I thought some more and decided that if I did nice things for her, she would be easier to live with.
“I picked flowers and made bouquets. I told her that I, not the landlord, had made them. She was pleased and began to do nice things for me. She figured out ways to make The Garden even more beautiful. Then she learned to cook. I liked the raw fruit right off the trees, but she sliced several kinds, put them on a palm leaf, and said, ‘This is a salad. I made it for you.’”
When Eve brought Adam the fruit of the forbidden tree, he thought she had found a new way of slicing an apple, but then she admitted that it was the forbidden fruit. She told him that the serpent said it was good and that those who eat it know many things.
Adam explained that as soon as he ate the fruit, he noticed that Eve was naked. “I yelled at her, ‘Were you naked when you talked to the serpent?’ She said she didn’t know.
“Didn’t know? ‘You talked to him without noticing that you were naked!’ I told her we had to get some clothes and get dressed before the landlord came for his evening walk. It was bad enough that she’d run around naked before the serpent, and I certainly didn’t want the landlord to see her that way.
“As soon as the landlord saw us, he asked if we had eaten of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Of course, I tried to explain that it was Eve’s fault, and she blamed the serpent. At first I thought he had bought her story, and the serpent would get all the blame. The landlord cursed him. He told the serpent that he would be the lowest of the livestock–that he would crawl on his belly and eat dust.
“Then he told Eve that she would suffer great pain in childbirth and added that he would increase her desire for me, and that I would rule over her. I hated the thought of her in pain, but her increased desire for me, and my ruling over her didn’t sound bad. I admit that I had found getting along with her an interesting challenge to my ability to think, but there is something to be said for being the boss.
“I thought I was going to escape punishment. After all it was clear that the serpent and Eve were responsible, but the landlord was angry and wasn’t thinking clearly. My punishment was the worst of all. He not only cursed me, but he cursed the ground itself. He said I would have to work all my life, and that the ground would produce thorns and thistles. He was right about that. Look at the thistles I’ve pulled this morning–and they’ll just grow back.
“Then he said something really strange. He said that I was taken from the ground, and I would return to dust. I don’t know what he meant by that. I’m not dust. I’m a man. I can work. I can think. I can invent things. I know right from wrong.”
Adam displayed the tools that he had invented, talked about his work, and described his travels. “The work is hard and I resent the injustice, but I try to look on the bright side. The Garden was boring and I had to put up with that bossy landlord. Now I can do what I please.”
When I asked to interview Eve, Adam responded that she was nauseated in the morning and suggested that we come back in the afternoon.
That afternoon, in their modest farmhouse, Eve explained that she had just finished tidying up. “It’s quite a change from The Garden. It was large and beautiful and easy to care for, but this is ours. It’s plenty big for us, and there’s room for a nursery.”
Her face clouded when asked about the eviction from The Garden. She lashed out at the landlord.
“It was very unfair. He told us not to eat of the fruit of that tree, but he didn’t tell us why. There was nothing to do but walk in the garden and watch the birds and animals. That got monotonous after a while. It got worse when we began to think. Adam said he had to learn to think to figure out how to get along with me. Well, maybe so, but sometimes he annoyed me, and I got angry. I didn’t know who was right and who was wrong. In fact, we didn’t know those words then.
“Then the landlord sent the serpent to talk to me–he must have done it, there was no one else. The serpent was very clever, and he was mostly right. I didn’t die when I touched the fruit, and after we ate it we were much smarter. Now we know that it’s wrong to run around naked.
“The serpent also said that if we ate the fruit we would be like the landlord—and he was right about that too. Well, we are not quite as smart, but we can do lots of things that we couldn’t do before. He still tries to tell us what to do, but we don’t always listen to him.
“We do miss The Garden. It was very beautiful, and when I get tired or have morning sickness, I want to go back. The landlord made that silly rule, and then sent a slick salesman to persuade us to break it. He was just looking for a way to break the lease. I wanted to complain to the Consumer Protection Agency, but Adam said not to. So I’ll just stay home and raise a family. I’ll make sure the children are properly cared for and teach them what is right and what is wrong.”
Attempts to interview the serpent were unsuccessful. Reporter Ralph Oman was bitten on the foot when he attempted to approach the serpent’s den. Fortunately, Ralph was wearing his Marine combat boots and was not seriously injured.
The Eden Times
Vol. 4, No. 9
Plans for Vacant Property Announced
BY CHRISTOPHER WEAVER, BUSINESS REPORTER
Eden—The County Planning Commission has been holding joint talks with the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee regarding possible development of The Garden. This unique property has been vacant since the original tenants were evicted more than three years ago.
William Crawford, speaking for the Chamber of Commerce committee, told a citizens meeting that it would be a prime tourist attraction. “It’s an absolutely unique property. There’s no other place in the world where one can see such a variety of natural life.” He added that a tourism expert predicted that, if the property were properly developed and advertised, ten million visitors could be expected annually. That would require ten to fifteen thousand hotel rooms and hundreds of restaurants. This horde of visitors would attract other forms of entertainment, and shopping facilities would grow at a rapid rate. With improved transportation, shopping, and entertainment, the area would be attractive as corporate headquarters. “In ten years, Eden will be another Orlando.”
After Crawford’s announcement, Frank Nader, president of the Eden Natural Heritage Association, demanded to be heard. In an emotion-choked voice he denounced the plans as a desecration of our natural heritage. “This is the greatest collection of flora and fauna in the world. Hundreds of endangered species must be protected from tourists.”
Crawford thanked him for his suggestion, and said he would ask the chamber president to establish a subcommittee to develop profitable ways to protect this wonderful natural heritage. He said that it might be possible to obtain a grant to establish a biological and zoological research center. “We could build a hotel for scientists and set aside part of The Garden for research.”
Under questioning from members of the audience, Crawford admitted that the chamber had not yet obtained title or leasehold rights to the property. “The landlord does not answer our messages, but we know that the property is vacant, and the taxes have not been paid. Our legal counsel tells us that we could obtain a tax title in four years. Alternatively, the legislature could define the area as a public park, and we could condemn the property. We could do that in two years, if the local legislative delegation unites behind the proposal.”
In response to another question from the audience, Crawford said no member of the committee had visited the property since it was vacated by the tenants. “We sent a delegation, but they found the property inaccessible. The entrance is blocked by some kind of electronic device.” Crawford added that E. W. Schaeffer, manager of the Eden Security Service, investigated and reported that the property is protected by a new type of security system. He will attempt to contact the manufacturer to learn how it can be turned off. Schaeffer also advises that he will try to obtain manufacturing rights to this highly effective device. It could be another industry for Eden County.
The Eden Times
Vol. 30, No. 14
Local Stockman Murdered
BY PATRICIA MCGUIRE
Eden—Abel, a well-known local stockman, was found brutally beaten in his brother’s field yesterday afternoon. Indications are that he died almost instantly. The sheriff reports that Cain, the owner of the field, is being sought in connection with the death.
The brothers are the sons of Adam and Eve who were evicted from The Garden years ago. Upon seeing the body, Eve wiped the blood from Abel’s face, threw herself on his body and wailed, “It would not have happened in The Garden.”
Witnesses believe that the brothers may have had an altercation over a proposed gift to the landlord. No one has been able to explain why they would give gifts to the person who used violation of a minor contract provision as an excuse to evict their parents from the estate. Some suggest that they may have been conspiring to bribe the landlord to readmit the family to the estate. A witness who overheard part of the argument said that he thought they were disagreeing over whether the payments should be grain or livestock.
Another witness, who talked to Cain before he left the country, said that he admitted nothing and showed no remorse. This same witness said that earlier in the day he heard Cain invite Abel to his field to look at his crops. The county attorney, Ralph Cline, said that this suggests the murder was premeditated. “He will be charged with first-degree murder as soon as we apprehend him.”
Carlton Kimble, president of the Eden Pistol Association, called a news conference to announce that this incident would spur the association’s efforts to secure passage of a “concealed carry” law. “There are evil people in the world and good people must be prepared to defend themselves. If this fine young man had been armed, he would be alive today.”
The Eden Times
Vol. 30, No. 23
Murder Mystery Deepens
BY PATRICIA MCGUIRE
Eden—Yesterday Sheriff Pat O’Sullivan announced that he had called off the hunt for Cain, wanted for the murder of his brother. “We have reliable information that he has fled to Nod.” The sheriff added that Eden has no extradition treaty with that eastern country, but if Cain ever returns to Eden, he’ll be arrested.
In response to a question from a reporter, the sheriff angrily denied that the landlord had intervened in the case. “I’ve heard the story that the landlord is providing protection to the murderer, but I know nothing about it. If we apprehend him, the county attorney will seek the death penalty.”
This murder has revived interest in the almost forgotten story of The Garden. The mysterious electronic security device that bars entrance is still in place, and all efforts to secure the rights to redevelop the property have failed. Adam lives on a small farm located several miles from The Garden. His wife, Eve, has given birth to several other children. The family is well liked, but strange rumors about them continue to circulate.
It is alleged that all the members of the family are carriers of the mysterious OS gene. Some claim that the gene originated in The Garden, and that it causes a disposition to evil. Scientists disagree among themselves. Some deny that such a gene exists. Others say that an unusual gene may exist, but that genes don’t affect behavior. They claim that life style choices are largely determined by environment, and that genetic factors play a minor role.
Supporters of the “bad gene” theory say that the gene resulted from the tenants’ disobedience in The Garden, and that Adam’s family is destined to spread it to future generations. John Edwards, the leader of a group that supports this theory, told a reporter, “Adam and Eve disobeyed the landlord and brought evil and death into the world.”
The Reverend Doctor Richard Roberts, pastor of the Central Union Church, the largest church in Eden County, told his congregation of five thousand that these stories are being spread by a small radical cult. He urged members of his congregation to expose these false prophets. “The whole idea is contrary to modern theological and scientific understandings of the nature of man. We know that evil is the result of a bad environment.” He urged the members of his congregation to work through government and community organizations to ensure that every child is well nourished and grows up in a loving environment.
When asked to comment on the “evil gene” theory, the sheriff said he didn’t know anything about genes, but he did know how to deal with criminals like Cain. “If he ever sets his foot in Eden, he’ll be on his way to the chair.”
© 2005 Glenn W. Fisher
A Note From the Author:
Beginnings is a biblically-based fantasy. The reader is asked to imagine that newspaper reporters were present when Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden and that curious onlookers greeted the Ark when it landed in Armenia. The reporter’s stories reflect the views and values of secular America, but the issues are timeless and universal.
This book is for the religious person, secure in his or her faith, who wants to examine the biblical stories from a different viewpoint. It is also for those, religious or not, who do not recognize that the stories in their daily newspaper are as old as Genesis.
This is Beginnings, Part 1 - The Evil Gene
Read Beginnings Part 2 - A New Start
Watch for Beginnings Part 3 - Confusion