This exercise was inspired by an assignment from a class I took at Webster the Spring of 2008. The class was titled “Point of View.” The assignment was to rewrite Genesis from the point of view of Adam, Eve, God or Satan/the serpent, and to experiment with how the story changed based on who was telling it.
With this post I’ve taken the exercise a little farther. As well as experimenting with changes in the story of Genesis, I also wanted to experiment with voice, tone, and character expression. In addition to this, I’ve also re-written the story using the points of view from the four characters mentioned earlier. Each character will have his or her own separate post.
On a side note, I’m aware that Genesis is a religious story, and I don’t mean for these exercises to express any viewpoints on God, religion, etc. This is just an experiment with point of view, character, and voice; and should only be viewed as such.
You people don’t know how lucky you are, having someone like me keeping an eye on you. The human species would’ve fallen to oblivion or obscurity long ago, had I not kept them—kept you—afloat. I love you, all of you. I know it’s hard to believe, especially with what the critics claim about my nature, but read between the lines. Think about it. What could I have for humanity except love?
I was jealous of humans, when I first learned that they’d inherit the world, but that jealousy didn’t last long. It was the resentment the first child has of the new baby, before that child realizes its parents are neurotic maniacs and that that baby will need all the help it can get. Once I saw what humans were to be, I became charmed with them. When the Creator announced His plan for them, I grew frantic—protective—of them.
I didn’t start with the rebellion, of course. It was just me. I was the only angel who’d been given free thought, and free will. The Creator, in His wisdom, had made a check for Himself in me. I was made to oppose His will, though not to the extremes I took it (or, maybe, exactly to the extremes I took it. I will not call the Creator benevolent, but He is enigmatic). He wanted the humans to be in His likeness, more so than us angels were. Still a little jealous, I’d asked the Creator if He intended to give the humans His power (such as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, or any other omnis you’d care to name). He said no, they should only be in his likeness; similar, but smaller, less significant. I was satisfied with this.
The idea of humanity grew on me while He worked on them. Everyone (save the Creator and myself) was without will. I looked forward to having someone else to challenge, to talk to; someone younger, but with potential to be just a great (if not greater) as myself. I wanted to converse with them, to touch them. I wanted to teach them.
Then the Creator announced there would be no teaching, no conversation or even contact with them. The first human, Adam, was to have a will as free as my own, and a mind able to wander and bend; but nothing to use such abilities for. The Creator intended to remove inherit knowledge from this new species. This announcement brought the first feelings of resentment and bitterness to my heart. It planted the seeds of rebellion. When He dismissed us angels, I stayed to loyally fulfill my duty of opposition.
“Lord,” I said, “why have you chosen to deny Adam—and the rest of its race—the gift of knowledge?”
To any other, the Creator would’ve said He was Lord, and that He didn’t owe any explanation. He could’ve said the same to me, except that He created me to act as His tribunal—His conscious, if you will. “Knowledge is a curse,” He said, “It plagues my existence, as it will come to plague yours.”
“But Lord, my brethren also possess knowledge. Will they not also become as plagued as you say?”
“No. Your brethren have no will of their own. They are not burdened with the decisions of how to act on that knowledge.”
“Adam shall be born with knowledge. What shall you do with its knowledge, once it’s removed?”
“I shall plant the knowledge, and let it grow as a tree outside Adam and its lot.”
I had more to say, more to argue, but I held my silence. That the knowledge would be allowed to grow was enough for that moment. I would find a way to get that knowledge to Adam, and the rest of its lot. I thought I could persuade the Creator to go back on His decision, but sadly He would not heed His acting conscience. That’s why I started the rebellion.
The Creator made it so the other angels had no will—they were made to obey, to follow orders (these magnificent beings reduced to mere puppets!). Sometimes I think it was a flaw in the Creator’s design, other times I think He knew exactly what would happen; but for whatever reason, my brethren were not necessarily forced to follow His orders.
One third stayed loyal to the Lord Creator—just a third. I could only persuade another third to follow me into battle against Him, but I’d managed to get the remaining third undecided. We lost, consequently, but what can be expected when challenging the self-proclaimed Creator of the Universe? My third was damned to a new plain called “Hell.” I’m sure you’ve heard of it. At least the Creator had enough sense not to destroy us, else who would challenge him? But what he did to the other third, the undecided third, banishing them to a state of limbo—that is cruelty even the Lord of Hell cannot match. That is punishment for nothing but questioning, and that punishment is the trait of a despot. I’d actually considered giving up and repenting, you know, until I learned of what happened with that side-less third. That’s when I knew the Creator had to be stopped.
I decided to prove Him wrong—making Him face a blatant error on His part would surely bring Him to reason. (I’ve since learned He’s a rather stubborn being.) What better way to prove the Creator wrong than with Adam? If Adam had knowledge, it could prove such a thing was no curse; it could prove knowledge was a gift; it could prove the Creator wrong. I left Hell in search of Adam.
Going to the garden (Eden, it was called) in my true form would have been fruitless and suicidal. Gabriel and his fleet of puppet angels would have crossed me before I even reached the gates. Therefore, I took on a more ethereal form, one that would let me possess the creatures in the garden.
My original intent had simply been to possess Adam, find the tree which grew knowledge and force Adam to partake in the knowledge. I abandoned this plan for two reasons, the first being that I wasn’t the Creator. I wasn’t going to force an intelligent creature with no defense against me to bend to my will. Unlike certain Lords, I actually possess moral standards. The second, and deciding, reason was that the Creator (perhaps in an effort to thwart my plans) had divided Adam into two individual beings.
The feminine half was bequeathed the title “Eve,” while the masculine half retained the name “Adam.” The masculine part had also been assigned the role of authority, probably from the Creator’s delusion that masculine traits were the stronger of the two (hence His insistence on being a Him, and all us angels resembling males. I disagree with the Creator; feminine strengths are less direct and more elusive than the masculine ones, true, but are far more subtle and effective). Regardless of who was the strongest, I couldn’t possess two beings at once—at least, not at that point in my life. Besides the before mentioned fact that these creatures had a will of their own—who was I to deny them a choice?
I passed from creature to creature in the garden over the course of weeks, watching the humans, learning about them, understanding them. At first glance, they seemed blissful in their ignorance. But keen observation revealed an inner desperation, one which they couldn’t admit to themselves (not from denial, but from not understanding what desperation was), let alone to each other. The Garden was nothing more than a prison. Adam and Eve were prisoners of neutrality, the Creator was the ever-watchful warden, as His minion angels were the guards. Worse than the captivity of such creatures as Adam and Eve was that they had no idea they were captured! These were supposed to be the offspring of the Creator, not His dim echo! What good is free will if one has no will at all?
Despite their imposed ignorance, even they began to sense something was wrong with their existence, they sensed something was—shall we say—imbalanced. Eve noticed first, just slightly. She gradually looked more confused, more questioning, yet disturbed at her confusion and wonder. But Adam showed signs as well. He became increasingly frustrated, sensing that despite his assigned authority, he was left impotent in some way. When his frustration reached its peak, he struck Eve—an act which horrified him more than her. After such a climax, I decided observation couldn’t continue—I had to act.
Eve was the obvious one to approach. She had less to lose by eating the fruit of knowledge, and far more to gain. Her mind was also more flexible than Adam’s; she’d accept new ideas (such as disobeying the Creator) with more ease than Adam could. And, since she had been the one struck, she’d be more desperate to insure Adam’s physical strength was never used against her again.
My only doubt was that—after attaining knowledge—Eve wouldn’t be willing to share the knowledge with Adam. But I took my chances. If anything, I’d simply have to coerce Adam later, separate from Eve.
The hardest part was simply getting the two of them separated. Adam was clearly feeling the deepest regret he was capable of with his stunted knowledge. He became so desperate to please Eve he wouldn’t let her out of his sight, unknowingly suffocating the poor woman. Even as I was on the verge of giving up and abandoning those two to their fates, Eve came through. She managed to take leave of Adam. I’d been possessing a flower at the time—I jumped into the nearest mobile creature in order to follow Eve. (The creature, which has since become despised, was a snake. Like myself, it is only misunderstood, which is why I give the snake a place in my kingdom of hell.)
I followed Eve, desperate to keep up to her; as if by design she went straight for the tree. I managed to stay close enough to see her stop a few paces from the tree, and consider the apples. She wanted them, I realized. But her imposed obedience started to take hold—she started to turn away. I had to speak: “Tempting, aren’t they?” (Perhaps I sounded seductive; I was trying to sound sweet.)
Eve looked around, in an effort to see who spoke. “Show yourself,” she said, “so that I might know who you are.”
The conversation following was actually briefer than imagined. I’m sure it’s told that I was relentless against the poor, helpless Eve; that I wouldn’t let her alone until she tasted the forbidden fruit. It’s all lies, consequently. I barely had to talk to her; I acted more like a psychologist, just asking her questions and letting her form her own conclusions. The conclusion Eve came to, after my little nudge, was to experiment. I watched as she picked an apple, studied it briefly, and held it to her face so she might catch a scent of its perfume. I could see in her face she recognized the sweet odors of knowledge. Eve’s face brightened, as if she were being wooed back into wakefulness. She licked the apple, and in my impatience and protectiveness I nearly sprang from the serpent to Eve, to possess her to take what was rightfully hers. But before I could twitch, Eve had bitten into the fruit and taken her freedom.
It was almost painful to see the ecstasy on her face—so much pleasure had to be overbearing. Her breath quickened, and I knew her heart also had to be racing; she was being reborn, reborn from my efforts, from my ideology, and—for the briefest moment—I knew what the Creator must have felt to see His offspring come to life.
Eve started to run, but stopped, and snatched another apple from the tree. She was going to Adam, I knew it, and I didn’t even have to persuade her. There was no other creature nearby, so I was forced to slither after her. By the time I reached her, she was already with Adam, and he’d already taken his bite of birthright. If I have one regret in this eternal life of mine, it is that I didn’t get to see Adam get reborn of Eve (as Eve had been born of Adam). I shiver when I imagine what genius, what poetry Eve wove together and spun past Adam’s piousness; to cause him, too, to partake in what was rightfully his.
I watched them for awhile, discussing the nature of the universe, the Creator, and themselves. I watched them discover the world around them, discover their own bodies, and then each other’s. It was when they lay in each other’s arms, making plans for their future, when I felt the presence of the Creator grow near me.
“Do you see now?” I said. I spoke in a whisper, so as not to disturb the fully realized humans.
The Creator did not answer at first. When He did speak, there was only sorrow. “I see, Lucifer. I see happiness cut short by pain and loss, I see strife and desire, I see destruction and the most wicked creations. I see death.”
“In other words, you see yourself.”
“I am an unhappy being, Lucifer. Watching Adam and Eve in their ignorance, in their bliss, was the only joy I had. It was a dream I Myself could never hope to attain.”
“Rather cruel to force your dreams and desires on others, wouldn’t you say?”
“You’ve no room to speak like that. You forced knowledge on them.”
“I showed them knowledge, and gave them a choice. And now they’ll always have choices.”
“Yes. Forever they’ll be plagued with indecision and regret.”
“Melodramatic, as always. Adam and Eve are mortal. They have no forever.”
The Creator sighed. “That’s not what I meant.”
A pang of pity accosted me at this moment, and in my weakness I offered a scrap of comfort to the Creator, instead of opposing him like I was supposed to. “Perhaps these mortals will surprise you with their knowledge.”
“They will. That, Lucifer, is what worries me.”