God stopped by the arbor the next day, still waiting for Adam to open up about Beelzebub.
One thought tumbling around in Adam’s mind was that “Lucifer” did not present a problem Adam couldn’t handle. God had enough problems of His own, Adam figured. Adam did not need to spoil God’s day by talking about all Adam’s problems. Adam could handle it.
Perceiving this thought, God responded, “Adam, whenever you feel weak, burdened with more than you can figure out, please come right to Me. In fact, even if you can handle it yourself, let me help anyway! I love you, and love helping you. I promise you, Adam, whenever you do, I will give you rest. Just keep doing the work I have given you, and let Me teach you through it, and you will find peace, not just for your body but for your soul. For the work I give you is easy. The load I give you to carry is very light.”
VerseScout: Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Relieved of that excuse, Adam was about to unload on God, but thought of another reason to keep it to himself. He remembered the shameless challenge Beelzebub had made to God’s honesty. Yes, that was what it was. Adam didn’t want to hurt God’s feelings by recounting the proud words. Indeed, Adam anticipated that the news might make God very angry, and Adam didn’t look forward to being around an angry God.
Perceiving this thought, God responded, “Adam, I have made other creatures, besides you and Wo-man, with the power to choose. Not every creature I create will respond to the Love I offer. This is sad, but it does not make me so furious that I cannot Love you. On the contrary, it makes me appreciate you even more, and want to help protect you. Believe Me, at any time a Creature rejects my love, you can be sure he will also reject yours. Please let me help you! Please, Adam, stick as close to me as chicks under their mother’s wing.”
VerseScout: Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Psalm 3:1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. 5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
` Psalm 23 :1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Adam nearly melted with Love. He nearly opened his heart a mile wide for God to reach in and comfort him, and heal all his troubles and doubts.
But not quite. Adam began to form the narrative in his mind of what had happened, only to remember it would include some doubts he had felt about God. Adam was ashamed. He did not want to admit to God that he had doubted Him, even for an instant. Adam thought it would be wiser, before unloading on God, to go back to Beelzebub and do a better job of sticking up for God, so that at Adam’s first occasion to report to God, his report might be more positive. That is, more likely to earn, for Adam, God’s approval.
Perceiving this thought, God responded, “Adam, I want you to know how much I Love you and Woman. You two are the pride of all my Creation. But what you are now is nothing, in grandeur, to what I have plans for you to become as you follow Me! I say this to assure you. You need never fear disappointing Me. When you fail in some small way, you don’t destroy my plans. I made you with a vision higher than what you can accomplish without work, discipline, and lots of time.”
c VerseScout: Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore [breaking us in pieces] travail [bowing down – acknowledging greatness above our selves] hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised [humbled] therewith.
“In fact, when your failures disappoint you, they encourage me, because your disappointment tells me you care, too, about the wonderful vision of greatness I have laid before you to grow towards! NEVER hesitate to come crying to me when you fail! It is only when you do not come to me with your failures, that I grieve, because then I cannot help you learn from them, and heal your wounds. May I also urge you, come to Me while your failures seem so small as to not be worth bringing before Me. Let me use them to immunize you against more serious dangers in the future.”
VerseScout: 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Adam was amazed how God’s responses had corresponded to his own thoughts. Wo-man had noticed the unusual train of God’s statements, too, without knowing Adam’s thoughts which had precipitated them. Adam was uneasy; could it be God knew his thoughts?
Adam finally broke down. He cried as he formed his question, searching for ideas that did not, too much, reveal the disrespectful doubts he had suffered. “What, or who, is Lucifer?”
“Before I created you, I created a race of spirit-creatures to help you. You cannot normally see them. Lucifer is such a creature, but he refuses to help you or obey me. Even in appearing to you, he disobeys Me, though I permit him, sometimes, to defy me, because I love him.”
VerseScout: 1 Samuel 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
VerseScout Relevance Report: This shows how God permits us some freedom to act out our rebellion against Him. See also Job 1. 1 Samuel 8 and the following two chapters record God’s sanction, not of the most righteous human leadership, but of the most righteous leader which the majority would tolerate. God honors our freedom to govern ourselves poorly, if that is the choice of the majority; although God took steps to make sure the stupid choice was at least informed.
I didn’t like the impression Adam was getting of our race! So I whispered in his ear a clarifying question for him to ask of God. Finally Adam responded: “Are the rest of the race as ugly as Lucifer?”
God said, to my utter relief, “No! When you see an obedient angel, he will seem like an entirely different race! Much more like yourself. Lucifer did not always look so horrible. But disobedience turns beauty ugly.”
Adam smiled, encouraged. This wasn’t going so badly as he feared. “Did Lucifer eat of the tree before You created it?” Adam chuckled as he asked, trying to imagine a sensible answer to so absurd a question, but still uneasy with the subject.
“No. Nor did he EVER eat of this tree. Nor will I permit him to! He lies. A lot! However, the knowledge the tree contains, I gave him at his creation, along with all the other angels. Yes, that is the name of their race: ‘angels’. It means ‘messengers’. Their name shows that their created purpose is to bring you messages from me; sometimes in words, but mostly in invisible actions.”
“Then why didn’t he die?” Adam asked, sincerely confused.
“Knowledge itself does not kill. Disobeying Me kills. The angels who believe me, and obey me, are still alive, healthy, and beautiful. But Lucifer, and others like him, suffer a death greater than physical death. A living, terrible death.”
Woman asked, “You mean, if we eat of the tree, we won’t actually die? Or, what did You say, ‘physically’ die?”
God pleaded, “DON’T eat of the tree! If you do, you WILL die! Trust Me! Don’t quibble over fine distinctions between kinds of death! I don’t want you to have to experience death!”
Woman took God’s answer at face value, as God had anticipated, which had determined the simplicity of God’s answer. Woman saw no reason to analyze farther, or to compare this answer with previous statements to arrive at a more detailed understanding. Woman saw the concern in God’s face, with its expressions of kindness towards her and her interests, and that was enough for her. She believed Him.
Adam, however, ever curious, wanted to know more. What meant this distinction between “death”, and a “death greater than death”? Or, “physical” death?
Then there was the question whether the death Adam would face would be like Lucifer’s, or whether Adam would “die” in the sense of ceasing to exist?
Adam didn’t ask further, though. The questions wouldn’t quite form in his mind. Plus there was Wo-man, smiling at him so pretty, touching him so pleasantly, as if to say “Well, that’s settled, finally! Let’s go play in the roses!”
We held up our hands and waved wildly. Finally God acknowledge our unspoken request and said as Adam was about to leave, “By the way, ‘Lucifer’ was the beast’s name before he turned disobedient and ugly. That is not his true name now.”
“What is the beast’s name now?” Adam asked, puzzled and fascinated.
Adam was no novice at names, having recently named thousands of animal species! Yet as this new name rolled clumsily off his tongue and off Woman’s, they both laughed, loud and long!
Beelzebub heard it. Suspecting its cause, he boiled inside until smoke issued from both ears, dark and black.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Time to type up my notes from our previous Q & A.
“I made My standards as high as I made human ability”, God had said. “It will take much time to meet them. In fact, reaching them will only be theoretically possible.
“Therefore, were Adam and Wo-man to eat of the Tree now, they would experience the shame of failure for a long time. And because they don’t know Me well enough yet to know My mercy, they would feel much fear of My response to so much failure.
“Knowledge of right and wrong, without faith in Me to love and justify sinners, which may require time and experience to acquire, can only provoke shame and fear.”
God had previously explained, “When Adam has a baby, who grows and takes piano lessons, what if the teacher tries to teach all twelve key signatures before the child has even learned five notes? No more music theory should be taught than enough to clarify what students already hear and can distinguish, or to prepare for the next experience.”
My hand shot up. “What is ‘piano’?” I wanted to ask, but God wasn’t taking questions.
God continued, “If suddenly Adam knows way more rules of life than he can remember or meet, he will feel shame when what I want for him is the thrill of adventure.
“Shame can heal failure very quickly. It is very useful after failure.
VerseScout: Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
“But failure can be reduced by keeping information about how to live only slightly beyond one’s capacity.”
I checked Beelzebub’s Buttbook page. I was unenemied so I can’t post, but he has left his posts “public”.
He wrote, today, “I have learned recently from God’s Tree of Laws that too much information, too soon, kills.
“That must be what is wrong with me, in God’s opinion. Right from the Start, God stuffed me full of rules. I’ve been gagging ever since.”
OK, heart, slow down.
I’ve been thinking all this time about God’s plans for Adam and Woman for slow but steady progress towards nearly infinite capacity, from his much simpler beginning.
But Beelzebub and I began with mature capacity.
When the humans have a baby, we have learned, the baby will not begin with even the capacity to avoid soiling his shorts. And here’s the amazing thing: everyone will accept that as perfectly normal! But after the baby grows into an adult, still soiling his shorts, not because he can’t help it but because he likes to or is to lazy to take his business where it belongs – that is a metaphor of Beelzebub, with all his maturity, complaining about meeting a few standards which he easily could!
What happiness can any adult find – what meaning in life – what reason to live – in behaving like a baby?
VerseScout: Matthew 25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Matthew 10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
“Souls need the faith that I will be merciful and not hold anyone responsible for more than he can do but will extend grace, crediting his intent.
VerseScout: 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore, stop judging prematurely, before the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is now hidden in darkness and reveal the motives of our hearts. Then each person will receive his praise from God. [ISV]
“That is a balance he must experience over time, a step at a time. A long range goal is fine but awareness of all the details of one’s immaturity can be overwhelming.
“Men must first feast on My Love, and must grow in the strength of Trust in Me. When their love and trust in Me is secure, obeying my laws will delight them. They will know My Laws are written for their own protection and happiness. Knowing that My Laws are for their benefit will help them, as they interpret and apply My Laws, to bless each other.
“If they do not – if, not trusting My Love or Grace, and forsaking My Love, they see in My Standards only judgment without mercy of themselves – how much more will they see My Laws as a cruel tool for judging and oppressing others?! Pray this will never be, but Beelzebub demonstrates the possibility.”
The dark warning sent us to prayer.
For us, and for all angels before Beelzebub became so “amazing”, goals as high as we can see provide the thrill of adventure. But that is because we know God’s love for us. We know God will leave no goal impossible for us, walking with Him. And we know God will wait patiently for us to climb, encouraging us all the way up.
“I want souls to grow and become more like Me!”
VerseScout: Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Month seven, day seven, morning: Woe! Woe! Would this day had never dawned! Adam and Woman have chosen to die!
It started with Woman. Her eye fell on the forbidden tree. She quite forgot about Beelzebub, or God’s most recent warning. She didn’t really need to think about them anyway, she pointed out to herself, since she wasn’t planning to actually eat anything anyway. Even though the books looked very tasty. As sweet as honey, she thought. Her mind rested for a moment on the pleasure which eating one of them would surely give her.
Where did she get that idea? God never said it would give her pleasure! God only said don’t do it! Pleasure?! If Hell is pleasure, I suppose eating one of those fruity books would be, at Eve’s stage of development!
Is it possible for a frog, caught in a whirlpool, to concentrate on the exhilarating rush of currents so intensely that it doesn’t notice its own struggle to breathe?
Is it possible for a man, jumping off a cliff, to enjoy the feeling of weightlessness by blocking out of his mind the inevitable cruel end of his experiment in a few seconds?
If that is possible, then it is just as possible for a human to concentrate so much on some physical aspect of the ordeal of doubting God which, in isolation, out of that context, might be seen as pleasant!
Perhaps, then, it is possible to doubt God without thinking about pushing God away, and with Him, all that makes life worth living!
Perhaps then, it is possible to forget the flames of God’s consuming love being transformed from a Friend, protecting one from the dreaded Darkness, into a Ruthless Enemy, savagely burning away the now beloved Darkness, whose pain has been named the agony of “Guilt” or “Conscience”!
And that’s just the pain and suffering resulting from knowingly doubting God! That’s not counting the natural consequences of taking that God-forbidden action for which Wo-man lusted.
Adam had told her God’s command that they could “freely eat” of every other tree in the whole garden, but just not that one. Now she began to wonder why the exception.
VerseScout: Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Then she began to minimize the quantity of the danger by thinking about the pleasure that would be hers if she ate “just one. In fact, just one bite. Just one page. Why, I could even tear out a page or two and put the book back on the tree shelf and no one, walking by, could even see the difference!”
But wickedness, even diluted, is still deadly, she reminded herself. So she might as well stop thinking about it.
But Beelzebub by that time had stepped into her view. With his still-beautiful, though only on the exterior, smile, he said “Hello, Woman.” And then turned to stare with a smile of longing at the tree.