The following is an excerpt from my new book Eve. Here, a hurt, abandoned girl named Lilly is able to witness creation with the mother of all humanity as her guide. I hope you enjoy this exploration of the very first story.
A hand took hers. A mother’s fingers. Warm and soft. Sensation rushed back into extremities and chased away her fury.
“Lilly!” Eve’s voice was a breeze whispering low in her ear. “Come back now. Come and see!”
The joy in her tone, the security of her hand, overpowered Lilly’s resistance.
She looked up, expecting Eve’s face, and gasped. Only an arm’s length away stood the towering barrier full of lightning flashes and thundering waterfalls. But as she took a step and lifted her hand to touch it, a whisper deep inside her heart said, “Unworthy.”
Pulling away, she turned and gazed instead at the horizon, where a fiery sun was slowly sinking. Like a flower girl at wedding march, the night threw shadows as announcements of a Beloved’s approach.
Quietly she asked, “Mother Eve, what is this wall behind me?”
“We are outside Eden’s boundary.”
“Eden, like the Garden of Eden?” The name surprised a memory that had long lain dormant. “My mom used to walk me down to this corner church when I was little and leave me there to learn stories. I thought Eden got drowned in a flood.”
Eve laughed, clear and clean as mountain spring, but Lilly felt embarrassed. The woman drew the girl in close to her side.
“Lilly, you are not at risk with me. My amusement is because you said something funny. I will never laugh to shame you.”
She didn’t know how to respond. Finally, when she did it was a confession. “I feel stupid when I don’t know something I should.”
Again Eve laughed, but this time Lilly didn’t flush. “My dear, how will you ever learn unless you first don’t know?”
“I don’t know.” Then Lilly giggled herself. “Hah, I get it.”
Eve pointed. Up, down, side to side, near and far. “Eden has six boundaries, if you include the ground. Eden is a cube. You understand a cube, Lilly?”
“Yes,” she muttered. “I did go to school. But listen. I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s just a fairy tale. All of this. Even you. I’m going crazy, remember?”
“Lilly, you do know that God created everything that exists?”
“Only in these dreams,” she began. “In my real life, when I’m not hallucinating, I don’t believe any of this. What I believe is that everything came from nothing.”
“I did not ask what you believed. I asked you what you know.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Interesting! Seems these hallucinations might persuade you of things you don’t already believe. Experience is a force not easily discounted.”
Lilly didn’t miss the irony of the challenge.
“It’s safer to discount everything,” she said. “Especially if it seems undeniably real.”
Eve fell silent for a time, then turned her attention back to the garden. “Eden is the Grand Delight, the deepest and the truest. There will come an age when this garden will encompass all creation and all dimensions.”
The declaration caused something in Lilly to flicker, like a spark stirred to life by a passing eddy of wind.
New movements drew her attention. Gigantic sentinels of fire like multicolored, raging bonfires had stationed themselves precisely around the plateau’s perimeter. Within the border established by these pyres, rank on rank now closed: spirit beings positioning themselves with choreographed exactness. Beyond that boundary, emerging as if from ground and sky and tree, came all manner of soulish beast and hominid and bird. She had a sense that beyond these there gathered multitudes of creeping things: amphibian and insect, the reptile, the seen and the unseen. And in the ocean leagues away, all were attentive. The universe had paused from all its effort, from simple chores of motion and daily rigors of survival, to pay rapt and worshipful devotion.
As night ascended, a myriad of elegant, flashing lights in wildly mottled colors became distinct and obvious. Waves of countless nimble beings gathered in the skies arrayed in spectrum-brilliant shades. The assembly grew, as did anticipation. The entire cosmos drew together, here in this place at this appointed time. It was an unhurried but resolute inhalation, initiating labor.
Lilly found herself at the center of the gathering, surrounded by light-beings and an onslaught to the senses. Music wove like threads into a living, scented tapestry. The strings of myrrh and sandalwood, the horns of frankincense and fruits, woodwinds breathing hyacinth, pine, lilac, lavender and honeysuckle, the rhythmic beats of cinnamon and clove, turmeric and ginger. Even the distant stars joined in with their songs as all creation paused.
Once gathered they did not wait long for a doorway majestically opened within the wall of Eden. Intense radiance tumbled out. In an instant Lilly and Eve were standing alone. Everything else bowed face to the ground in awe-full, joy-filled adoration.
Eve nudged her. “They come.” But Lilly could only stare at the approaching blaze. It was a whirlwind of blazing sardius reds with living emerald greens, set in the brilliance of spinning jasper, coalescing until from its center a single personage emerged . . . a Human Being.
“Who’s that man?” she whispered.
“Not just a man. Eternal Man! Who is Everlasting God! Adonai!”
“A man is God?” But Eve didn’t explain.
Eternal Man seemed to dance, dressed in white robes of light. A humble crown of vines encircled his head. Lilly felt entranced; every part of her longed to run to Him and tell Him all her secrets, to be remade, to melt into his magnificence, to find rest from her shame. Here stood Trustworthiness.
Smiling welcome, He lifted hands, and the prostrate rose to kneeling.
What happened next surprised her. Eternal Man also knelt upon the ground, and with His hands, like a child in a sandbox, began to gather into one place a pile of reddish-brown dust. He was playing, but His demeanor intensely focused and brimming with unbridled joy. Then He sat down and gathered it in between His legs. A gentle breeze arose, toyed with His hair and then helped Him collect His treasure.
Lilly craned to see. They were careful and seemed to make certain that not a single mote was lost but all included and essential. Lilly heard two voices laugh. One came from Eternal Man, another from the Wind. It was a clean laugh, like the giggles of children. Tears, too, came easily to Eternal Man, joyful tears, and spilled from His eyes onto the dust piled between His thighs by His strong hands.
He began to sing. It was a new song, distinct from the melodies Lilly had heard here before. The song washed over her and dropped her to her knees, filling her with something greater than excitement. For the first time in all of her limited memory, Lilly felt hope. Hope for what, she couldn’t say. Her heart picked up its pace.
From inside out, this mound of dirt now bubbled up blood-red water, gushing from an unseen aquifer. Adonai sang into it and then with tears and laughter plunged His hands into the Holy Mess with a shout that brought Lilly to her feet. The labor was nearly finished. Then, with piercing, wrenching scream, Adonai raised above His head a newborn baby.
“A Son is born, a Son is born!” All creation erupted into jubilant sound, and Lilly rode the crest of birthday’s celebration. She yelled to be heard over the crowd: “Mother Eve! Did you see?” It was impossible to find her.
But as Lilly turned, a whisper of truth settled on her shoulders: She had seen. And she did not regret it at all.
The crystal clear and gentle voice of Eternal Man now sang above the cacophony: “This is My heart’s delight, the crowning of all creation. I present to you My beloved son, in whom My soul delights. They shall be named Adam!”
The baby was not moving.
Lilly’s hope faltered. Bewildered and then alarmed, Lilly desperately cried out, The baby is not breathing!
To read the rest of Lilly’s journey, purchase EVE here.