Apocrypha Now!

“Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” – Genesis 3:23

Adam and Eve have officially been kicked out of the garden. In our Bible, the KJV, the reason for this is due to their having to choose between ignorance and knowledge, between sin and paradise, eternal life and death.

We all know what they choose. They are beguiled by the serpent and sent forth out of the garden to till the earth, eat bugs, get dirty, feel tired, and die. That’s pretty much it. With one nice consolation – they are given the commandment to make babies. Lots of babies. And they do.

Now things really really start to pick up in the story of the Bible. The first two chapters cover untold eons of time. Then starting in chapter 3, it zooms into the personal lives of Adam and Eve. Real personal actually:

“And Adam knew Eve…”

Cain is born, then Abel. Cain is the first man to be born in the world. Abel is the first to die. The story just picks up speed from here and starts into generations of Seth against the generations of Cain all the way down to the flood.

When I read this for the first time I found myself wanting more. Adam and Eve get kicked out of the garden and then the very next verse is them eagerly rushing to obey the first commandment that they felt they had no problem getting on board with! I wanted more to this story. I wanted to know how they felt packing their things and leaving the gates of the garden. Looking forward to the desert in front of them and then looking back at the garden, all green and perfect, wanting to go back but knowing that they can’t because there is a giant beastly angel with sword staring them down to make sure they keep on keeping on. I wanted to know how they felt. Probably scared. Incredibly depressed. Pessimistic even.

So I went searching for their story – the story of our first parents. And it didn’t take long to find it.

Google “The First Book of Adam and Eve”

You’ll notice there are several books about the lives of Adam and Eve. The one you’re looking for is The First Book of Adam and Eve. This is an apocryphal work. What does that mean?

Well, if you’re Mormon this word Apocrypha will give you the willies a little bit. You’ll start to think “ummmm this feels wrong. This is anti! Why is he making me Google this blasphemous material!” Let me stop you right there. Check this out. Its D&C Section 91:

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;
There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men.
Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.
Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;
And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;
And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.

So we’re good y’all.

Apocrypha means secret or hidden so right out of the gate you know its gonna be good. It basically means sacred texts that did not make it into the official Christian canon. And for good reason too. If you read the books of Adam and Eve, you can notice a very stark contrast between real scripture and these books.

Here’s the way I think about the Apocrypha – fun to read, great to use to think on spiritual things, another perspective, but not scripture. These writings are valuable as true ancient texts, but there is a reason they are left out.

But back to Adam and Eve.

I loved reading The First Book of Adam and Eve. I won’t share tons of detail with you about it. If you want that go and read it. Its free online. Like I said, I wanted to read it to visualize their exit from the garden and the subsequent troubles with that. And boy does it deliver. Here’s what happens:

  • Adam cries. A lot. So does Eve. But man does Adam cry a lot. He get to thinking about what they are missing out on in the garden and then remembers that he is living in a cave in the desert and just breaks down. He cries for days and days.
  • When Adam suffers these massive episodes of sorrow, Eve collects herself and goes out and converses with the Lord. She asks for the Lord’s help to get Adam up off the ground and out of the puddle of his tears. She talks to the Lord a lot.
  • The book is kind of ground breaking when it comes to human equality. I mean even in the title. Unlike Bible books like Samuel, this is the book of Adam AND Eve. Whenever the book refers to one of them, it refers to the both of them together…equally. Its cool to read.
  • The book talks a lot about God’s sadness for Adam and Eve. Its beautiful. He is a God of his word (not Word) and had to kick them out of the garden. But they are his children. He loves them. And he is watching closely over them. They are so sad that they have messed up and so sad that they can’t be with him any more. I keep thinking about my children and how sometimes you have to enforce things with them that you really don’t want to. And they kick against you like crazy and all you want to do is make them happy but you know that wouldn’t help them in the long run. When Adam cries so hard that he basically goes in to a coma (happens like once a week in the book) Eve asks God for help and God doesn’t hesitate. He sends His Word (not word) to buoy them up and comfort them. The relationship between Adam and Eve and God in this book is really beautiful and helps me understand my relationship between man and deity

The coolest part about the garden expulsion story is that its relatable. We’ve all been there. You know like when you are on a roll with righteousness and you have been really Christlike for like weeks at a time. You’re just straight killin’ it. You are morally clean and you are happy. Its like the garden of Eden exists within you. Full of life and green.

And then you mess up. Those gosh darn magazines at the checkout stand!

And the garden is suddenly gone. Its a miserable feeling. You had it. It was so precious. And you threw it all away and there is no one to blame but yourself. You want to just cry and cry and lay prostrate on the ground in a dark cave because you’ve thrown it all away and you can’t get it back. We’ve all been there.

But we all have a way out of the darkness, out of the cave. There is always a way back into the garden. Jesus Christ is the light to take away the darkness. Jesus Christ is the way back into the garden.

And the irony is, we can thank our first parents for that.

 

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