An Abominable Abrahamic Allegory
Not many knew where the Garden had been relocated, or when, or what for. But a few did, a very few. Of course, most people know why. One “being” had been trapped there ever since, well, you know, ever since its gates had been locked and sealed. On this particular day, the one there confined was having a very friendly chat (under the circumstances) with the only son of He who had restrained him.
The day was warm, with cooling zephyrs playing tag, but all the animals and fish and avians seem to have, at some point, disappeared. The flora remained (for the most part) although not in the bright shades of green mixed with myriad colors it had once worn, now, yellows and browns seemed to predominate. Flying insects on the other hand seemed omnipresent.
One of the two there on this particular occasion, the Son, was lying on the grass with his back resting on the trunk of one of two enormous trees, each the focal point of concentric circles. The other, the very first eupodophis, was resting in the branches of the other tree. Neither tree bore any fruit although myth has it that in the past, things were otherwise.
“Past”! Perhaps that requires an explanation. Time doesn’t exist in Divine realms, rather, everything that ever was, is or will be occurred simultaneously (which can be confusing). So “past is really just a place in the Divine continuum. The problem, however, is that without time there can be no motion, and without motion, how does one go from place to place, how does one find anything? One can’t really move to get anywhere. Not even to scratch an insect bite. That may be why the Divine (who some call Dad and others the Big Guy, among other things) has non-Divine realms with other rules: “physics some call them”, others call them “magic. But the Garden is a sort of halfway house set firmly amidst the battling shadows cast by Chaos and the echoes of Order.
Like most children (relatively and figuratively and perhaps even literally speaking), the Son (Nachash always called him Yesh although his name was Yeshua) was very curious and loved to visit and chat with the sole remaining denizen of the Garden, Nachash (sometimes referred to as the Serpent who could not be charmed). Yesh especially enjoyed asking about his family, small though it was (just three, and one, the Spook, was not really corporeal, although every once in a great while, he or she, its gender was never really clear, liked to appear as a white dove). Nachash was a primordial creature both in and out of time and had apparently been coexistent with various alleged demiurges so had quite a store of tales to tell. For example: although Yesh referred to the Big Guy as “Dad” and knew him as YHWH, Nachash had once explained that he’d not always had a “name”. For a time (which meant in the temporal realm), in dealing with his creations in the temporal realms, He’d played with the idea of calling himself “I am that which was before Alpha and will be after Omega”, but that seemed a bit long and tedious, and anyway, on one particularly annoying occasion, when he’d been asked for his name repeatedly and insistently by an impudent nebbish, He’d blurted out, in anger, to stifle further inquiry, “I am who I am”, and the foolish male biped who’d been nagging him and who had a very limited vocabulary just assumed that was a name. “YHWH” (יהוה pronounced yodh, he, waw, and he) in his primitive linear language, and so YHWH it became, but that purported name was never to be pronounced for some unfathomable reason, something about a ‘Tetragrammaton’. How confusing is that?”
Nachash recalled that someone had once written a somewhat sacrilegious and hence fun ditty that YHWH for some reason found amusing. It ran something like “I am what I am and that’s all that I am”. Then went on to deal with something to do with semen (or seaman) and spinach. Olive oil was in there too somewhere. Hmm, semen and olive oil sounds sort of kinky. Why the Big Guy unexpectedly found the whole thing amusing is curious but with Him one could never tell, … which is the way He liked it.
On this particular morning Yesh was wondering why the two trees he and Nachash were sort of occupying no longer bore any fruit, or for that matter, any leaves. Just an enormous quantity of interlocking branches heavy with thorns.
“Funny story there” said Nachash. It has to do with the aftermath of the saga of Adam, Eve and the apple. I get a very bum rap there. Your Dad decided that incident involved an experiment he’d rather not repeat and thus, except for me and a few guys guarding the gate, this Garden has been virtually abandoned for ages upon ages, thus, … no gardeners.
“Yeah, I’ve heard ‘that’ story a gazillion times, but never understood the thing about the apple, … Why an apple”? “Why was the whole thing such a big deal anyway?”
“Ahhhh, uttered Nachash, “there lies a tale” (albeit not a tail).
A semidry stream of sorts waddled lazily nearby and Nachash wondered if he could somehow manipulate Yesh into turning some of it into wine, but, the water was pretty fetid. Plus it was hard to get Yesh to do anything that wasn´t his own idea. Still, … maybe later.
“Actually”, continued Nachash, “it wasn’t the big deal those stupid supposed seers who keep claiming that they’d written the revealed word of He whose name may not be uttered, claimed that it was. Like most everything they said (and which was later mangled in transcription and translation), it was either the result of too much fermented fruit juice or else, just highly ‘creative’ writing to justify the ineffably unjustifiable. But then, I’m a victim of their exaggeration so may not be totally objective.
“It just started out as a wager.”
“The Big Guy loves to gamble but hates to lose; and He has a temper, oy vey iz mir, does He have a temper! Ask the Edomites or the Sodomites (if you can find any; which you can’t), or the Gomorrahites. Why is there so little made of the Gomorrahites nowadays? Sodomy has made a big comeback lately but I don’t know of anything associated with Gomorrah.”
“Or the Nephilim” noted Yesh. Or poor Lot! I know, I know”.
“Yeah, poor Lot! Another series of wagers we made. He won the first part but He always seems to lose when it comes to women and curiosity. Poor Ado, and after she put up with so much crap while the Big Guy and I were betting on whether or not Lot was really a straight up sort of guy. I don’t think He’s ever really understood women. I remember Lilith. Man did she ever piss Him off!”
“Anyway, about apples, they’ve always been trouble when women are involved” observed Nachash, “look at what happened to that schmuck Paris in Asia Minor”.
“That wasn’t us though” noted Yesh, “Dad had nothing to do with that. Eris and Apollo orchestrated that little “incident” and because Cassandra wouldn’t, … you know, … accommodate Apollo, he’d added a bit of oil to the fire. Ten years and then, those jokes about the stuffed horse: ‘the gift that kept on giving’ (at least briefly); and then, ‘beware of Greeks bearing gifts’.”
“Yeah, .. accommodate, good choice of words Yesh. Apollo can be a schmuck when he doesn’t get his way. Hmmm, so, … speaking of accommodations, any truth to the rumors of you and that chick from Magdala?”
Yesh blushed and didn’t answer, at least not right away. Then he explained that “Miriam was really into salted fish, her Dad’s business I think. I really disliked the smell, it reminded me too much of Ado, so, … no, and anyway, you know, my “immanence” and all that didn’t exactly give us much hope for a future together.”
Nachash and Yesh grew quiet, both seemingly daydreaming, recalling things that had yet to happen, time being somewhat confusing and confused in the Garden. After a while Nachash stirred and asked: “So what did you do to get the Big Guy so damned pissed at you? You don’t gamble do you? I know you drink and like card tricks and prestidigitation, but ….? I thought you knew better than to ‘cross’ Him (pardon the pun).”
“Not sure” answered Yesh. Probably a generational thing. He sent me down to the temporal realm; you know, to get the lay of the land but without ever getting laid, and to report back to him on my impressions. Boy did I get impressed, all over my head, in my hands, on my feet, in my ribs. He did not care for my reports, not at all.”
“I thought he was a bit too much of a stickler for rules that didn’t make any sense. I mean, … no lobster? He especially hated my emphasis on forgiveness and turning the other cheek rather than poking out someone’s eyes. He might have been happier with Moe, Larry and Curly as his progeny. But anyway, after three Hellish days, we were cool.”
“Yeah, he has a soft spot for you! Not for me though. Look at what he’s done to my limbs; and you know what happened to Luci and his friends, and to poor Cain and his parents. And to the predeluvianites.”
“Luci” …, murmured Nachash ruminating. You know, when Luci was reassigned to the role of Shaitan after the unpleasant episode upstairs he became the very first lawyer, the prototype, the archetype as old Joe Campbell will one day say. Talk about curses all around! The King of loopholes, the Prince of Lies but who never quite lies himself. He doesn’t have to; he just confuses the Hell out of everyone. Kind of like a politician.”
Yesh nodded, agreeing, but noticed that his stomach was rumbling. He was apparently a bit hungry but knew better that to seek anything to eat in the Garden. Anyway, he was enjoying the conversation, it was filling in some holes in his memory, or perhaps things he’d never understood, or perhaps, things he’d never known despite his derivative blend of omniscience and prescience. Or perhaps it was all just a load of, … fascinating fiction.
Anyway (again) ….
“Did Luci have anything to do with that thing with the apples and the trees” he asked Nachash? I was pretty young back then (comparatively speaking), and mainly hung around with the Spook. Dad was distant in those timeless days, but then, that’s always been his nature, notwithstanding his omnipresence. He and that fellow who keeps track of things for St. Nick.
“Oh yeah” replied Nachash, “the Yule voyeur.”
“Better not to get into that, it makes me squeamish” observed Yesh (surreptitiously glancing around). “So, how did the two of you get into gaming anyway? I assume there were rules blocking some of Dad’s divine attributes.”
“Well, first of all, Luci was just learning the ropes way back then so he wasn’t involved, although he did play an indirect role. And yes, your Dad promised to suspend both omniscience and omnipresence. Of course, I had to rely on His good faith and the fact that His supposed omnibenevolence would keep him from cheating. Anyway, the Big Guy had done a pretty thorough job evicting Luci and his friends, and the celestial havens were sort of void. Not that He noticed. He was entranced with His new toys, well, at least after he’d replaced Lilith with Eve. He was sure He’d finally gotten everything under control and seemed to have gotten over that debacle with Luci. I just wanted to make things interesting. Things were boring with most of the fun guys gone. So I bet the Big Guy that His new toys wouldn`t be able to resist His ‘you can have anything but some fruit or other but I won’t tell you why’ gambit. You know Him better than anyone, which may not be saying much. I think He’s also omni-inscrutable. But despite all of his power, He has some blind spots, one being that He can’t conceive that He doesn’t always have total control over everything.”
“Well maybe except for cats,” observed Yesh. “He likes cats even if they refuse to acknowledge Him. Free will he calls it, … but only for cats. That’s what humans have never understood.”
“Man was He pissed when he lost” laughed Nachash, “He wasn’t supposed to take it out on me but He did, even if He claimed it was just evolution at work. You know He doesn’t really believe in evolution, He calls it ‘intelligent design’, rules don’t apply to Him, no matter what old Noah believes.
“But why cats” wondered Yesh? “And apples.”
Grinning, Nachash added “why not bananas or mushrooms or cucumbers?”
Yesh didn’t get it. After all, his conception had been immaculate. As he left, Yesh could hear Nachash softly singing: something that sounded like “… blasphemy, is getting the best of me, there goes my eyeball, into a highball, …” to the tune of a song that would someday be entitled, Jealousy.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.