Shadowlands – What If…

What if things had happened differently in Eden?


Eve stood in clearing, waiting for Adam.  She was mesmerized by the two Trees in front of her.  Why had they waited so long to come here – to just look at these two majestic Trees?  She told herself again that there was no harm in looking, in enjoying the beauty.

“They ARE majestic, aren’t they?”

Eve jumped at the silky voice.  She turned to see a beautiful creature, a serpent, standing there beside her, gazing up at the Trees.  How had he come up beside her so suddenly without her hearing him?  She was distracted from the Trees for a moment by his beauty.  Variegated fur ruffled in the wind, patterns swirling across his body.

“Yes, they are,” she answered.  “What is your name?  I don’t think we’ve met, and I thought I knew all the serpents that lived in the Garden.”

“My name?” he asked.  “My name isn’t really important.  But you!  You and Adam are the crowning achievements of Creation!  And here you are, admiring these majestic fruit trees in your Garden.  Tell me,” and he put a paw on her shoulder, “how does the fruit from that Tree taste?”

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“You don’t know?  You don’t know how the fruit of one of your own trees tastes?  How can that be?” he asked.

Eve suddenly felt very foolish.  It WAS her Tree, after all…hers and Adam’s.  She looked up at it again, taking in the lush fruit that hung, ripe and ready to be plucked.

The serpent spoke again.  “Let me guess,” he said.  “Did Elyon tell you not to eat that fruit?  Did he really place you in this beautiful Garden, tell you it was a gift for you, and then tell you that couldn’t eat any fruit from any of these beautiful trees?  What a shame.”  He shook in his head at the thought.

“No, that’s not right,” Eve said, glancing at him for an instant.  But her eyes were drawn back to that fruit.  It hung so low to the ground.  She took a step towards the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then stopped.  “No, that’s not right at all.  The Three-in-One didn’t tell us we couldn’t eat from any tree in the Garden.  He gave us all of this, but He warned us not to eat from that tree because if we did, our spirits would die.”

The serpent laughed.  “You will NOT die.  That is ridiculous!  Your Three-in-One is holding out on you.  He knows that if you eat that fruit, you will become just like Him.  And He doesn’t want that.”

Eve considered this for a moment, then responded, “I don’t think that’s true.”

“What’s not true?” Adam asked, startling her as he walked up behind her.  “And who are you?” he asked the serpent.

“Who I am doesn’t matter.  Your Three-in-One isn’t who you think he is.  He’s deceiving you,” the serpent hissed.

“Well, let’s talk to Him about that right now,” Adam said.  He looked at Eve and she nodded back at him.  Together, they called out, “Elyon!  Logos!  Ruach!  Please help us!”  In an instant, the Three-in-One were with them, standing around them.

“How can we help you?” He asked.

“This serpent…he told me you were lying to us about the Tree,” Eve said.  “But You have provided so much for us, given us such a beautiful Garden in which to live.  We don’t believe You are deceiving us.”

“What should we do?” Adam asked.  “Help us know what to do.”

“You must choose,” Logos responded for the Three-in-One.  “Do you trust Me?  Or will you listen to the serpent?”

Adam and Eve looked at one another.  The Three-in-One had always cared for them, always provided for them.  The serpent…they didn’t even know who the serpent was.”

Adam spoke for them.  “We trust You.  Always.”

“Then tell the serpent to be gone, and he must leave,” Logos replied.

Adam looked at the serpent.  “You are not wanted here,” he said.  “Be gone.”

The serpent snarled in protest, started to speak.  But Logos raised a hand, pointing at him, and in a flash of light, the serpent was gone.

Now Elyon spoke.  “He has been banished from the Garden, by your choice.  He will never return unless you invite him.  But beware – never invite him.  His true name is Accuser and Deceiver, the Father of Lies.  He crouches like a predator, seeking to steal all that you have, to kill, to destroy all that you enjoy.  However – the choice will always lie before you.” 

And then the Three-in-One looked at one another and smiled.  Then spoke.  “Come, let us take our customary walk together in the cool of the evening.”

Prologue Part 10 – The Shadowlands

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years.

All around Adam and Eve, Creation continued to change. It was still good and still beautiful; still an expression of the Three-in-One’s creativity.

But it was broken.

The effects of Adam and Eve’s disobedience was spreading across the entire earth. Death had entered the world, and now it was a plague that was infecting everyone and everything. Plants; animals; fish; birds. Adam and Eve had seen animals that once loved one another fighting and killing and even eating one another. They themselves had found that they often disagreed and argued. Conflict seemed to be the state of the world now.

So much had changed. Not only did all the animals now fight and prey upon one another, they were also no longer friends to Adam and Eve. Some were threatening to Adam and Eve – they found that some of the animals could no longer be trusted, and some even attempted to prey upon them. The very animals that they had known intimately now feared, hated, or even desired to kill them.

Living in the wild was so different, too. They no longer enjoyed the protection and the blessings that Eden had provided for them. And where they had never had to work for their food – it simply grew, and fell into their hands when it was ripe – now Adam had to tend the land and work the ground, battling weeds and weather and even animals for the food that they needed to survive. Adam and Eve both missed Eden – it was a never-ending ache that nagged at both of them, a sense of loss that colored everything that they saw and did.

And the world looked different. Everything was different. The sun still shone, but even on the most glorious day, it wasn’t as bright or as colorful as it had been before…before the serpent and the Tree. The clouds seemed darker. The sky was blue, but somehow not as blue. It seemed as though some colors no longer existed. There was a vague memory of them…but Adam and Eve couldn’t quite bring them to mind or imagine what they had looked like.

The plants and trees…they died too. At times they would change – the plants would change colors or wither; the trees would shed their leaves and their bareness against the sky seemed to cry out for what once had been.

What Elyon had prophesied had come to pass. Creation had been corrupted, and as Adam and Eve watched, helpless to change it, the corruption grew.

Creation had been transformed. The Earth had become the Shadowlands. It now lay under the sway of the wicked serpent.

But Adam and Eve remembered. Elyon had promised that one day…one day, Logos would crush the serpent’s head. One day, they thought…perhaps all things would be restored.

Friday Fiction – Eviction

Shadowlands Prologue Part 9

“You must leave Eden.  You cannot be here, and you cannot come here ever again.”

Adam and Eve gasped.  But Elyon was not finished.

“First, you must be covered.  And without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.”

Logos stepped forward and turned towards the meadow.  As Adam and Eve watched, He walked off.  Several moments passed, and then He returned, shepherding along several lambs.  Adam and Eve called out to them, as they always had.  But this time, the lambs did not speak.  They opened their mouths, but no words came – only bleating.  Unsure of what this meant, Adam and Eve looked at one another, then looked at Elyon. 

“It began the moment you sinned,” he said.  “Creation is beginning to experience the effects of your choice.  The animals have lost their voices.  But this is the least of all that will follow.”

Logos approached with the lambs, and then knelt.  He looked up at Adam and Eve, tears streaming down His face.  “The blood price must be paid,” He said.  “You will be spared, but these lambs will shed their blood and give their hides to cover your nakedness and shame.  This will be the way of atonement for sins…”  At this, He paused and looked up at Elyon.  A shadow crossed Elyon’s face, and Ruach shimmered a dark, crimson color.  Elyon finished Logos’ sentence:  “Until the day that the prophecy is fulfilled.  Until Eve’s seed crushes the serpent’s head.”

Adam and Eve watched, broken-hearted, as the lambs were slaughtered and then coverings were fashioned for them out of the lifeless bodies.

And then it was time to leave Eden.

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The Three-in-One walked with Adam and Eve as they followed the course of one of the rivers through the Garden and to the hills that rose up, separating the Garden from the outside world.  When they reached the hillside, the Three-in-One hugged Eve and then Adam, reminding them that they were His beloved.  A few more instructions, and a promise:  “I will not leave you, nor forsake you.  Look for me.”

Adam took Eve’s hand and they walked along the river’s edge, out through the entrance to the Garden.  When they reached the other side of the hill, they looked back.  As they watched, a Seraph – a Fiery One, an ancient warrior – stepped into the gap and drew its sword.  The Seraph towered above the top of the hill, standing guard at the entrance to the Garden. Behind it, the sides of the hill began to close in, and the ground beneath swelled up, until a solid wall of earth was behind the Seraph.  Adam and Eve could no longer see the Garden.

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They stopped to survey the wilderness around them.  They had been here many times before, but it looked much different now.  Some of the trees had begun to die.  Others had dropped fruit, which was now rotting on the ground.  New plants appeared – but they looked strange, uninviting.  Some were covered with spikes or other kinds of growths which were completely unfamiliar to Adam and Eve.

As they stood there, trying to understand the changes that were taking place, a zebra trotted into the clearing.  Adam called out to it, but as soon as it heard the sound of his voice, it looked towards him, and then ran off, terrified.  What was this?  The animals, who had been such close friends of Adam and Eve, now no longer spoke and were frightened of Adam and Eve.

Adam recalled something that the Three-in-One had told them as they had walked along on their way out of the Garden.  “Darkness will descend and reign over Creation.  A new age has begun.  This good and beautiful Earth will become more corrupt – will become the Shadowlands.  And it will remain the Shadowlands until the day of Kingdom Come.”

The Shadowlands.  Adam and Eve’s new home.

Friday Fiction – Judgment

Shadowlands Prologue Part 8

“Did you eat from the Tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

There was no accusation in the voice.  Only a deep sadness.

“It wasn’t me.” Adam spoke up.  “It was the woman.  The one YOU gave me.”

Elyon looked Eve.  “Is this true? What have you done, Eve?”

“It was the serpent YOU created,” she said.  Neither she nor Adam would look up at Elyon.

Elyon continued to stand in front of Adam and Eve.  But Logos turned towards the underbrush.  In a loud voice – a voice that Adam and Eve had never heard Him use – he commanded, “Serpent!  Come out!  Show yourself!”

They heard a rustling in the bushes, and then the serpent appeared, skipping out into the clearing.  He laughed and pranced with glee.  “Isn’t this something?” he asked.  “Now, whatever are you going to do?  Are you to kill these Image-Bearers like you promised?  I can’t wait to see!”

Elyon turned to the serpent and pronounced judgment.  “I will deal with my Children in a moment.  But first, you.  You were a liar and a deceiver from the beginning.  Your rebellion grows deeper.  And now – now, you are cursed above all livestock and and all wild animals.  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”  As he spoke, the serpent shriveled, his paws and arms receding into his side, his fur falling off, and his two legs and tail melding into one long, hairless tail.  He fell to the ground, now a long, thin creature that looked like a vine with no leaves.  As Adam and Eve watched in shock, scales grew over his pale skin, covering him.  He slithered now, backing away from Elyon.

But Logos stopped his progress, stepping in his path.  Elyon continued, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.”  He looked up from the serpent at Logos, tears in His eyes.  “This serpent will strike at your heel, my Son.”  As Adam and Eve watched, it seemed as though Logos was transformed for an instant – He looked as though He had been badly beaten.  Blood was flowing from his forehead, and wounds appeared in His hands, His feet, and His side.  Adam and Eve both blinked – what was this?  But just as quickly, He appeared as He always had, whole and perfect.  Something must have been playing tricks with their eyes.

Elyon looked back at the serpent.  “Yes, you will strike at His heel.  But my Son will crush your head.  He will finish this.”

Logos stepped aside, and without a word, the serpent slithered off into the deep grass.

Then Elyon turned back to Adam and Eve.  He sighed deeply. 

“Eve,” he said, his voice filled with love.  “My dearly beloved daughter.  Because of your choice, pain has entered my Creation.  This means that your pain in child-bearing will be multiplied.  Giving birth to new Image-Bearers will involve painful labor.  You will desire to please your husband, and yet to control him.  But he will rule over you – not always in an honorable way.”

And then He looked at Adam.  “My dearly beloved son,” He said, “You kept silent.  You did not protect Eve.  You listened to her, and You ate the fruit, disobeying My command.  Because of these actions, my Creation has been corrupted.  The ground is now cursed, and will not bear fruit without great toil and work.  You will labor hard to produce food, and yet weeds will grow and choke what you have planted.  Life will now be much more difficult, much different than you have known.”

He paused for a moment, then spoke again.  “Adam, I created you from the ground – from the dust of the earth.  Eve, you were created from Adam.  And so both of you came from the dust of the earth, and both of you shall return to the dust of the earth.”

Adam and Eve were stunned.  They didn’t understand exactly what this meant, but it sounded ominous.

And then the Three-in-One spoke together.  This time, Adam and Eve understood clearly.

“You must leave Eden.  You cannot be here, and you cannot come here ever again.”

Friday Fiction – The Fall

Shadowlands Prologue – Part 7

Eve plucked the fruit from the tree and pulled it close, inspecting it.  Fresh juice ran down her hand, some dripping off her wrist, some off her elbow.  The smell was intoxicating.  As she looked, the fruit seemed like no other piece of fruit she had ever seen before.  It was beautiful, the most appealing thing she could ever remember seeing.  It seemed that the air carried the taste before she even bit into it.  Desire welled up within her.

The serpent watched, expectantly.  Eve glanced at Adam, but he was as captivated by the fruit as she was.

Enough of this.  She raised the fruit to her mouth and bit into it.  Juice dribbled down her chin as taste, unlike anything she had ever before experienced, burst in her mouth.  “Adam!” she exclaimed.  “You have to try this!”

He reached for it, and she extended the fruit to his mouth.  He bit in also, and found the experience as delightful as had Eve.

The serpent began to laugh.  He turned and walked off into underbrush.

And then everything changed.

Both of them realized at the same instant that they were naked.  Despite the fact that no other human being was there, just the two of them – two who had shared intimacy since their creation – they were suddenly ashamed.  Blushing, clutching to cover themselves up, they turned away from one another, looking for something, anything they could find.

Eve was the first to speak. “We need to…we have to make something to cover ourselves with,” she stuttered.  “Over there – those leaves.  We can weave some of them together.”  For the first time ever, they were both ashamed to look at one another.

They had just finished fashioning simple clothes for themselves when they heard something.  It was the Three-In-One, walking through the Garden, calling their names.  “Adam!  Eve!  Where are you?”

“Quick!” Adam whispered.  “We have to hide!  They can’t see us like this!”  Scrambling, they crawled under some bushes – another first for them.

The Three-in-One came striding into the clearing and stopped.  Looking around, they called out.  “Adam.  Eve.  Where are you?  Why are you hiding?”

Trembling with shame and embarrassment, they stayed underneath the bushes.  Eve jabbed at Adam with her finger.  “Say something!” she hissed.  “They know we’re here!”

“We hid…because we heard you coming…and we were naked,”  Adam said in a quavering voice.

As Adam and Eve peered through the leaves, the Three-in-One lowered their head.  It seemed as though waves of sadness – something Adam and Eve had never experienced before – flowed from the Three-in-One.  “Come out,” the Three-in-One said quietly.  As Adam and Eve crawled out, the Three-in-One resolved into their three separate forms.  Elyon stood there, magnificent and glorious, and Adam and Eve couldn’t bear to look at Him.  At His right hand, Logos stood.  It seemed that water flowed from His eyes.  Above them both, Ruach hovered, His Presence peaceful and comforting and yet…and yet, it was also convicting.  Adam and Eve knew they had done something terrible.

Elyon looked at both of them, love radiating from His very being.  And yet, Adam and Eve still could not bear to look up at His face – that beautiful, loving face that they had looked at and talked with on so many occasions.

“Who told you that you were naked?” He asked.

No response.  Ashamed silence.

“Did you eat from the Tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

There was no accusation in the voice.  Only a deep sadness.

“It wasn’t me.” Adam spoke up.  “It was the woman.  The one YOU gave me.”

Friday Fiction – The Serpent

Shadowlands Prologue Part 6

Eve stood in clearing, waiting for Adam.  She was mesmerized by the two Trees in front of her.  Why had they waited so long to come here – to just look at these two majestic Trees?  She told herself again that there was no harm in looking, in enjoying the beauty.

“They ARE majestic, aren’t they?”

Eve jumped at the silky voice.  She turned to see a beautiful creature, a serpent, standing there beside her, gazing up at the Trees.  How had he come up beside her so suddenly without her hearing him?  She was distracted from the Trees for a moment by his beauty.  Variegated fur ruffled in the wind, patterns swirling across his body.

“Yes, they are,” she answered.  “What is your name?  I don’t think we’ve met, and I thought I knew all the serpents that lived in the Garden.”

“My name?” he asked.  “My name isn’t really important.  But you!  You and Adam are the crowning achievements of Creation!  And here you are, admiring these majestic fruit trees in your Garden.  Tell me,” and he put a paw on her shoulder, “how does the fruit from that Tree taste?”

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“You don’t know?  You don’t know how the fruit of one of your own trees tastes?  How can that be?” he asked.

Eve suddenly felt very foolish.  It WAS her Tree, after all…hers and Adam’s.  She looked up at it again, taking in the lush fruit that hung, ripe and ready to be plucked.

The serpent spoke again.  “Let me guess,” he said.  “Did Elyon tell you not to eat that fruit?  Did he really place you in this beautiful Garden, tell you it was a gift for you, and then tell you that couldn’t eat any fruit from any of these beautiful trees?  What a shame.”  He shook in his head at the thought.

“No, that’s not right,” Eve said, glancing at him for an instant.  But her eyes were drawn back to that fruit.  It hung so low to the ground.  Without realizing it, she began to walk slowly towards the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  “The Three-in-One didn’t tell us we couldn’t eat from any tree in the Garden.  He warned us not to eat from that tree, not even to touch its fruit,” she said, pointing, “or if we did, our spirits would die.”

The serpent threw back his head and laughed.  “Your spirits will NOT die,” he said.  “You foolish woman!  How could you believe that?  Eating a piece of fruit would cause you to die?  Oh, my.  I can’t believe that you have been so deceived.  Elyon doesn’t want you to eat that fruit because…well, I probably shouldn’t tell you.”

They were now standing right under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, a branch laden with fruit at eye-level, right in front of Eve.  It looked so ripe, so luscious – unlike any other fruit she had ever eaten.  It smelled delicious.  Her mouth began to water.  She responded to the serpent without taking her eyes off of the fruit: “What?  Tell me, serpent.  Why doesn’t Elyon want us to eat the fruit?”

“Yes, why?”  It was Adam.  He had returned, having discovered nothing but a couple of broken branches on a few small trees.  “Why would Elyon lie to us?  Why would he tell us not to eat this fruit?”

The serpent laughed again.  “Why?  Because he is afraid!  He doesn’t want you to eat this fruit because this fruit is special – it is magic.  The truth is that if you eat this fruit, you won’t die.  Instead, you will become just as wise and as powerful as him!  There are things you don’t know and don’t understand – and this fruit will make you wise.  Your eyes will be opened to things that are hidden from you!”

“Really?” Adam asked.  “Why would you say that?”

The serpent didn’t answer.  Instead, he tightened his grip on Eve’s shoulder, pushing her closer to the branch.  “Look at it,” he whispered.  “It’s so beautiful.  You can smell how wonderful it is…can you imagine how it must taste?  And think of it – one bite and you’ll become like Elyon.  You’ll be like the creator.  You could do anything you want!”

Adam stood there silently, unsure of what to do.

Eve looked at the fruit – smelled it.  She caressed it with her eyes.  It looked so lovely – more than any fruit she had ever eaten.  And it would taste so good.  And…it would make her as wise as Elyon?  She felt so foolish that she had never eaten it.

The serpent pointed with his other paw.  “Go ahead and touch it,” he said.  “You’ll see.  Nothing will happen.  Then you’ll know it’s okay to eat it.”

She reached out and touched it.  Nothing happened.

So she wrapped her hand around it and plucked it from the Tree.

Friday Fiction – Eden

Beyond the Shadowlands Prologue Part 4 

Adam and Eve gasped at the panorama that sprawled out below them.

Eden may have been named a garden, but it was so much more – so much more vast than what we would think of as a garden being.

It was a tropical paradise.

Eden was a valley, bounded on all four sides by high hills.  Three of them, including the one upon which Adam and Eve stood, sloped gently down into the valley below.  Each of these three hills had a meandering path that led down into the heart of the valley.

The fourth hill, the one directly across the Garden from where Adam and Eve and the Three-in-One stood, was a sharp cliff-face with a towering waterfall rushing over it.  Behind it, a magnificent mountain range sprawled.  Clearly, that hill was part of the foothills that ranged out from the mountains.

The water that cascaded down the side of the cliff formed a large pool at the base of the waterfall.  From the pool, 4 streams extended out in different directions.  As Adam and Eve looked, they noticed that within the Garden, the streams eventually widened into rivers  that cut gaps into the hillsides where they flowed from the Garden.  Even from high above, the water was so clear that they could fish of all sizes and colors moving in the rivers below.

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The banks of the rivers were carpeted by rich green grass which extended into meadows filled with an amazing variety of plants and bushes, and wildflowers of every hue imaginable.  It was a lush paradise, teeming with beauty and life, and yet peaceful and beckoning.

Other parts of the valley were impossible to see because of soaring trees that clustered together – trees of every kind imaginable, providing a canopy of shade for the valley below.  Clusters of shorter fruit trees grew in small groves that dotted the valley.  Adam and Eve were speechless at first as they took it all in, and then they began to thank the Three-in-One excitedly for this incredible gift.

Logos smiled and invited them to descend the closest path into the valley.  “Come,” He said, “There is so much more to see inside the valley!  The deeper in you go, the bigger it becomes!”

Wondering what this could mean, Adam and Eve rushed to follow Him down the path.  Despite the height of the hills, it seemed like the descent into the valley took no time at all.  Once they were there, Logos pointed to the next closest hillside, off to the east.  “Come,” he said.  “Let me show you something wonderful!” 

They followed, walking effortlessly at a quick pace.  But after walking so long that the sun was almost ready to slip beneath the top of the hillside, they found that they had not gotten any closer!  Looking back, though, they could see clearly that they had travelled a very long distance from the path they had descended down into the valley.  Completely mystified, Adam asked how this was possible.

“The Garden is larger inside than outside!  And as I told you, the deeper you move into the Garden, the bigger it becomes!   You can travel forever and still be within the Garden.  But if you follow any one of the rivers, you can leave the Garden for the wilderness, and then come back the same way.  We created the Garden this way for you to enjoy, so you could explore it and enjoy and never tire of it, and yet be completely free to leave it, explore the outside wilderness, and return whenever you like!”  As He spoke, Elyon and Ruach joined Him, all Three-in-One smiling with pleasure at the wonder on Adam and Eve’s faces.

Eve finally turned to the Three-in-One.  “It’s perfect!” she exclaimed.

Friday Fiction – The Gift

Beyond the Shadowlands Prologue Part 3

All of Creation celebrated.  The Three-in-One stood back and watched with relish as Adam rejoiced in Their gift of love – Eve.

Adam and Eve took no notice of any of it.  They had eyes only for one another.  Adam, shy at first but excited to meet someone like him – his own kind, and yet different – couldn’t wait to share everything with Eve.  But first, he just talked to her.  He was filled with questions, most of which she had no answers for.  And for her part, she was filled with questions as well.  Who was he?  And who was she?  What was this place?  Where had all of this come from?

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Finally, she noticed everyone around them.  The Three-in-One standing there, waiting patiently.  Angels, watching the whole scenario with joy.  Animals, timid at first but overcome with curiosity, looking to see who this was that their friend Adam was now talking with.

Adam somehow knew just what to do.  Putting his arm around Eve, he began to introduce her to everyone, beginning with the Three-in-One.  Eve bowed humbly before Them, but They lovingly raised her up.  “Daughter, Mother of all who will live,” Logos said.  “Welcome!  We have a gift for you to celebrate your arrival!”

Eve wondered what a “gift” was.

Elyon, her Father, spoke up.  “My child,” he said, “a gift is something special that I have chosen to freely give you – something that will bring you great joy and pleasure.  Adam,” He continued, “this gift is for you to enjoy as well, but it is in celebration of Eve.  It is a special place for you both – a home.  All of this Creation is for you to enjoy together, but this home is a place of rest, of tranquility – a place to which you will always return.  It is a place in which every night you will find refreshment and restoration for your souls.”  He smiled at both of them, the excitement on His face evident as He told them about this special surprise.

Logos continued for the Three-in-One.  “Adam, We formed you from the dust of the ground, in the wilderness.  You were created for adventure, but without Eve, your heart was incomplete.  Eve was created from your side, close to your heart – and so, while you love adventure and love the wilderness, she also loves adventure, but she will always long for home.  Her need and desire for home will complement your desire to explore.  Together, you will complete one another.  And just as in one another you will find completion, so both of you will only find completion in and with Us.”

Ruach swirled around Adam and Eve, colors glistening in a beautiful array.  “We have planted a Garden for you to the east of here – a refuge that, in all the world, will be your own special place.  Animals may come and go; We will visit you there and walk with you there.  But it will be your home.  Everything you will ever need will be provided there for you.  When you wander and explore and find yourselves hungry, thirsty, tired – return to this place and you will be restored.”

The Three-in-One now spoke together, their voices in complete unison, somehow both distinct and yet also indistinguishable from one another.  “This Garden is named Eden.  Come now and walk with us, and we will lead you there.”

As they journeyed together, the Three-in-One spoke of the bounty that Adam and Eve would find there – trees and plants and bushes, fruits and vegetables of every kind.   Living, sparkling water.  Shade from the sunlight, a gentle breeze.  All they could imagine or desire, and more.

“I give to you every tree and plant of the Garden to eat for food – all except one,” said the Three-in-One.  “There are two trees at the center of the Garden – the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, for if you do, in that day, your spirit will die.  Our relationship will suffer separation.”

At these words, both Adam and Eve shivered involuntarily.  Neither of them had experienced death nor separation, and yet, as Image-Bearers, they knew the meaning of the word.

“Come!  Come up and see!” Logos beckoned joyfully, running on ahead of them, climbing up a sloping grass-covered hillside.  As Elyon climbed with them, His face beaming, Ruach blew at their backs, speeding them along.

In a moment, they topped the rise of the hill and stopped, shocked at what stretched out before the eyes in the valley below them.

“Welcome to Eden!  Come and enjoy!” the Three-in-One invited.

Before the Shadowlands – Part 2

Prologue Part 2 – The Image-Bearers

Together, Elyon, Logos, and Ruach shouted, voices thundering joyously, “Let Us make mankind!  And let us make them in Our image!”

Elyon spoke.  “Life!  Flesh!  Bone!  Tissue!  Corporeality!  Organs, vessels, and blood!”

As He spoke, Logos knelt in the clay of the Earth they had created.  As He touched the clay, it began to spin and grow.  He shaped the clay, the First Potter, forming physically what Elyon proclaimed.  In moments, what had begun as a lump of rich red clay stood, tall and majestic, mirroring Logos’ form.  All Creation held its breath, marveling at the intricate details of this new being.

Then Elyon spoke again.  “Life!  Breath!  BREATHE!”  As He spoke, Ruach swirled upon the form standing there.  Ruach-wind blew into his nostrils and his mouth.  The creation gasped, drew its own breath – and then opened its eyes.

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“IT IS GOOD!” the Three-in-One agreed, His joy obvious to all.

Elyon, Logos, and Ruach met in a flash of light and energy, appearing suddenly as one Being, yet each of their faces somehow distinct in one visage.  Together, they spoke to their creation.  “You are Adam, first of the Image-Bearers.  Welcome!”  Gesturing broadly at all that Adam could see, the Three-in-One said, “All of this is yours!  Enter into the joy of all that has been created for you to enjoy!  Subdue this Earth and have dominion over it!  Come, let us show you all that is yours!”

It was a good day, the sixth day of Creation.

And on the seventh day, the Three-in-One and all of their Creation rested.

Life on Earth was filled with wonder.  Every day, Adam would walk the land, conversing with the Three-in-One.  Sometimes, the Three-in-One would appear to Adam in one form, as He had on the day Adam had been created.  Other times, Elyon or Logos would walk with Adam, talking with him as Ruach would gently waft along with them.  After a while, Adam would run, dive into the water and swim, enjoying the beauty all around him.

Often, as they would walk together, animals and birds would approach.  The Three-in-One would stop and wait, allowing Adam to take the lead, for this world had been created for him and his kind.  He began to take the first steps in walking in dominion over this creation.  He would speak to the animals, listen, converse.  And he would name them, in so doing blessing them as the Three-in-One blessed him.  In this way he began to work out what it meant to be an Image-Bearer, to walk in loving dominion.

Every seventh day, all would rest.

Time passed. 

One evening, after a long walk with Adam, who had bedded down for the night, the Three-in-One began to talk about the next step.  Adam was ready, it was decided.  It was not good for him to continue to be alone, the only one in all of creation of his kind.  It was time to create his ezer-kenegdo – his mate.  His life-saver.

It was time for the Image-Bearers to begin to multiply and to have dominion over the entire Earth.

The next morning, Logos woke Adam.  Together, they walked and talked.  Logos explained that it was not good for Adam to be alone.  Adam didn’t understand – he had Elyon, Logos, and Ruach.  He had the animals, the birds, the fish.  Occasionally, an Immortal like Michael or Gabriel would come visit on their way to do the business of the Eternal Kingdom.  Adam was content.

“You must trust Me,” Logos told him.  “There is a need in your soul that you do not even realize.  You are created in Our image – you have much love to share.  Your capacity for love will grow as Our creation expands.”

Adam believed Logos, believed the Three-in-One.  As they gathered to him, he felt a deep tiredness wash over him.  He sat down, and then laid down in the clay – the same clay from which he had been formed.

And the Three-in-One danced and created again.

Elyon spoke words of life once again.  As He spoke, Logos drew a rib from Adam’s side and began fashioning another Image-Bearer – similar, and yet different from Adam.  And Ruach once again breathed life into this Image-Bearer – this new creation.

Eve.

Woman.

Stepping back, the Three-in-One watched, waiting for Adam to revive, and for Eve to wake up for the first time. 

Before the Shadowlands

Prologue Part 1 – Before the Shadowlands

The Three-in-One – Elyon, the Most High; Logos, the Son; and Ruach the Wind – were as their name.  They existed at Three, and lived as One.  They were the same entity, but three distinct persons.  They lived in eternity, outside the confines of time and space, complete and sufficient in Himself and Themselves.  Without beginning or end, their existence depended upon no one.  They are.

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They were self-existent, with no need for anyone else.  Although timeless, it could be said that their days were filled with love, joy, peace, and adventure.

Love so great, love without limit, by its very nature grows and creates.  Not from need – need to love or to be loved – but from desire.  Desire to share such amazing love, to pour it out upon others.

And so, the Three-in-One created.  First, time.  And then space.  Then, other sentient beings.  Immortals.  Angelic beings – warriors, musicians, guardians, messengers, craftsmen, scribes, and many others.  Each one an agent of Light; each one a beloved servant of the Eternal Kingdom.

Other fantastic creatures were fashioned.  Cherubim and seraphim.  Living creatures with four faces.  Messengers whose bodies were covered in eyes.  Beings whose voices could thunder and shake the Eternal Kingdom.

And still, the Three-in-One loved.  Their capacity for love was infinite.  They discussed, amongst Himself, a broader creation.

But in the midst of all of this love, in the midst of unrestrained opportunity, infinite joy and peace, complete satisfaction and absolute provision, a seed of rebellion was planted in the heart of Light-Bearer.  He was the chief worshiper; but he grew to desire that worship for himself.

He began to whisper, gathering others to his cause. 

And then in an instant, Light-Bearer acted.  He fought, challenging Elyon, the Most High.  He rose up in pride, and a third of his fellow angelic immortals gathered to his side, supporting his rebellion.

It was not even a struggle.  Their defeat was immediate and complete, and they were cast from the Eternal Kingdom into the outer nothingness.  Darkness and flames.  Condemned by their actions, they wandered, hearts full of rebellion and hatred, having traded everything for nothing in their coup attempt.

Shortly after this occurred, as the Eternal Kingdom mourned the loss of those who had fallen, the Three-in-One acted on their loving plans.

*                    *                    *

In the beginning, the Three-in-One created a physical, temporal universe.

Creation was a spectacle – an amazing dance of creativity between the Three-in-One.  Elyon spoke.  Logos brought life from nothing.  Ruach hovered over all of it, swirling in colors and movements of wind.

Darkness and light separated in an explosion of matter.  Elyon thundered, and day and night became.  Earth and air, fire and water, swirling from nothing into sea, land, heaven.  Life exploded forth – brilliant hues of green and red and purple and yellow, a swirl of vegetation and trees and plants, fruits and vegetables.

The dance continued, the creativity flowing and growing.  Elyon spoke, loudly and lovingly.  Logos moved in response.  Ruach flew, faster and faster, racing through all of it.  Lights flashed in the heavens, day and night growing more and more pronounced.  Life again burst forth on the earth – this time, animals and birds and fish, all of them colorful, leaping and swimming and flying in gratitude for their creation.  Animals that would someday become domesticated, animals that would always run wild, animals that would one day pass on into legend.  Lions and bears and cows and horses and dogs and giraffes and behemoths and leviathans and yetis and unicorns and dragons and basilisks and dinosaurs.

A cacophony of voices and sounds rose, newly living voices expressing the joy of all they were experiencing, seeing, and hearing.  The sound was a roar, but not a chaotic one.  Rather, it was a beautiful symphony of diverse voices and sounds, all directed in wonder and awe at the Three-in-One – Creator.

And the dance continued.  The love intensified – the more it was poured out into this creation, the more love there was to give.  More colors, greater contrast between darkness and light, more sounds, more beauty, more wildness, untamed by anyone or anything but the Creator.

Then came the pinnacle of creation.  A moment of silence, stillness in all that was happening.  The Three-in-One paused.  There was a collective gasp, all creation wondering what was next.  What climax could outdo what had already been done?  How could the Three-in-One do more than this?

The Three-in-One looked at one another.  Smiled broadly, their pleasure at what had come and what was to come evident to all.  “This is the moment!” they exclaimed in unison.

As the created Immortals looked on, the mystery was too great.  Michael cried out, “Lord!  What is it?  What can it be?” 

Together, Elyon, Logos, and Ruach shouted, voices thundering joyously, “Let Us make mankind!  And let us make them in Our image!”