Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Then why, I ask you, has this concept never seemed to gain traction? For, in reality, one simply need study how many civilizations, built over so many centuries, have adopted the exact opposite approach, only to find themselves mired in turmoil, violence, destruction and extinction. And throughout history, there’s really no time at which one can’t find examples to prove the point.
In fact, let’s start with Adam and Eve. They saw absolutely no need to establish their own Eden. Why? They didn’t need to. They were already there. They found food in abundance. They did whatever they pleased. They frolicked on “clothing optional” beaches.
They shared their lives with the wildest animals and picnicked in pristine gardens. They joked about Eve tickling Adam’s ribs because one of them was missing. They saw no reason to exercise because they ate all they wanted and never gained an ounce. Eve’s hair was long and flowing without benefit of shampoo and conditioner, and Adam had tons of dark, wavy hair because he’d trimmed a mink and placed the fur on his smooth head.
Adam and Eve never argued about money because there wasn’t any. If you wanted anything – poof! –it was there for free. They never argued about sex because the concept never really occurred to them. Why Adam got a chubby and Eve didn’t remained a mystery and they were fine with that. Especially Eve.
Life could not have been better except for one tiny glitch: Eve was a bit of a rebel. She struggled with being told what to do. So… That whole concept of not “picking the forbidden fruit” didn’t really set well with her. And day after day she would walk by the forbidden tree and wonder, “If everything else in our lives is so incredibly good, then can you imagine how amazing one of those round red balls must be?”
Amazing, indeed. For shortly thereafter Eve was wandering around Eden, smelling flowers and basking in the sunshine when she felt a soft tap on her shoulder. She turned and saw her friend, the snake, standing next to her, smiling in the way only a snake can.
“What’s up?” he hissed.
“Oh, nothing really,” Eve responded. “Just marveling at all the beauty surrounding us.”
“Yeah, right.” The snake scoffed. “You’re thinking about those apples, aren’t you? Those big red ornament-lookin’ things hangin’ off that tree over yonder?”
“Why, no,” Eve replied. “For whatever do you mean?”
“Don’t kid a kidder, Eve.” he taunted. “Those things are called ‘apples,’ and I kid you not, they’re every bit as good as it gets. Have you tried one?”
“Of course, not!” Eve exclaimed. “We’re specifically forbidden from eating any fruit from that particular tree. Why, I have never even considered such a thing.”
“There you go again, Eve.” reasoned the snake. “Just trust me on this one. Those red balls are not forbidden. It’s the leaves you can’t touch. The leaves are there because the deer and other forest herbivores need them to survive. But, the round red balls? Those are only a subtle way of alerting the deer that dinner is here in abundance.”
“You’re making that up,” Eve challenged.
“Pinkie swear,” answered the snake.
“You don’t have a pinkie.” Eve pointed out.
“Okay, then, Rattler swear,” the snake smirked. “Same difference.”
“I shit you negative,” the snake assured her, running his forked tongue over his eyebrows.
“Well,” Eve acknowledged, “I must admit I have been curious. But are you sure it’s only the leaves we need to avoid?”
“Pinki…” the snake began. “No question about it, Eve. Leaves bad. Apples good.”
“Okay, then,” Eve said, turning to the snake. “Will you join me in a bite?”
“Whoa there, Eve,” the snake stammered. “I’m with you on this 100%, but maybe we should allow Adam to enjoy the first bite. He was here first, after all.”
And with that, Eve and the snake scampered over to the apple tree and picked the biggest, reddest apple they could find. They admired its awesome look and feel, and convinced each other Adam would go bonkers over this incredible new taste sensation.
Exuberantly, Eve and the snake ran back to the beach and quickly spotted Adam happily visiting with several species of octypus and laughing heartily about their favorite ways to prepare calamari. Together, they ran up to him exclaiming, “Brace yourself, Adam. You ain’t tasted nothin’ yet.”
“You heard us,” the snake pronounced. “We have just found something new to eat, and believe me when I tell you, it’s the bee’s knees.”
“The bee’s knees?” Adam questioned. “You can’t eat the bee’s knees. At least not until Stryker offers a small, yellow implant.”
“Okay, scratch the knees thing,” they insisted. “That may be a bit too literal. Anyway. What we’re talking about is this.” And with that, they held aloft a gleaming, eerily red orb the like of which Adam had absolutely no point of reference.
“Whoa,” he responded. “Okay, I’m diggin’ the look, but what – exactly - is that thing?”
“Well,” the snake explained, “It’s called an ‘apple,’ but it’s not what you think.”
“Wait a minute,” Adam returned, “If I’m not mistaken, we were forbidden from picking any fruit called an ‘apple.’ Did I get that wrong? I mean, Eve… Am I missing something here?
“Well,” Eve said, “Turns out we were both wrong. You see, the snake here explained the difference between an apple – that round, red thing there in your hand -- and the real ‘Forbidden fruit,’ which I’ve just now been informed, is the green leaf hanging off the tree. Evidently it’s some special treat for the herbivores. I don’t know. Whatever. The point is, you need to buckle up, chomp down hard on that bad boy, and then prepare to meet your Maker. I’m told by the snake it’s just that good.”
Skeptical, Adam looked the snake up and down, and inquired, “Really?”
“You betcha, Adam,” the snake assured him, “And as sure as I’m standing here right now, upright, you’re gonna look back at this exact moment and think to yourself, ‘You know what? This changed my life.’ Oh, yeah. That’s right. In fact, I tell you what. Someday a guy named Genesis is gonna come along and write about all this, and his writings, along with several others, will be compiled into the best-selling book of all time. Pinkie swear.”
“Well…” Adam stammered, “I don’t know…”
“Oh, come on, Adam,” the snake scoffed, “don’t be a female fig leaf. Go for it!”
Suddenly, at that very moment, Eve found herself having deep reservations about the whole ‘Forbidden leaf’ concept, and screamed out “Adam! No!”
Sadly, it was a moment too late. For Adam had already placed the apple in his mouth, and the resulting “Crunch!” had drowned out Eve’s mournful cry for abstinence. And just as Adam was relishing the sweet nectar of his vibrant new Johnathon, there came a resounding clap of thunder and a lightning storm the likes of which the only two people on earth had ever experienced before.
Terrified, Adam, Eve and the snake huddled together in fearful anticipation of what was to follow. And, as fate would have it, they didn’t have long to wait.
Looking skyward, the three sinners saw the skies open up and a figure, well familiar to all three, appeared amongst the clouds.
“Yo,” said the snake timidly. “What’s up?”
“Well, not you!” thundered a voice that resonated like the deepest recesses of Heaven. “You have led these people astray, and for that you will spend the rest of your days crawling along the ground on your belly!” And with that, the snake suddenly fell to the ground in a heap and, just as quickly, slivered out of the garden for all eternity.
Clearly shaken by this, Adam and Eve watched the snake silently disappear into the underbrush before looking up again to see their Creator focused intently on them. Both were afraid to utter a sound until Adam finally broke the stillness by hopefully declaring, “Serves him right. Tricking us like that. Right?””
Without another word, God handed Adam and Eve a pair of scissors with which to fashion fig leaves for their privates, a sign boldly declaring, “Will work for food,” and a forceful push through the exit sign of the glorious Gates of Eden.
Truly, I wish this story had a much happier ending, but, alas, such is not the course of history. For it seems, from that day forward, the mystique of “Forbidden Fruit” has haunted mankind in every kingdom, civilization, country, continent, state, city, village and family.
Need proof? Have a wealthy, widowed, childless aunt die and leave her entire estate to only one relative. You’ll think – unless she left it all to you – that apples and snakes are the least of your problems.
How about that?