In the middle of this beautiful country God planted a special garden with all kinds of trees and flowers, and he asked Adam and the woman to take care of it. There was always lots to eat. Apples grew round and golden on the trees and there were lots of blueberry bushes. Also all the animals in this country were tame. Adam could scratch the necks of the big lions. Sometimes beautiful birds would land on the woman’s shoulders and she would carry them through the garden and talk to them. Pheasants would eat from the woman’s hand. Bees buzzed in the flowers, but none of them had stingers. Snakes played in the branches of the trees, but none of them had sharp teeth.
The special garden was prettier than the prettiest place you have ever seen. The blueberries there grew bigger than any blueberries you have ever eaten. It was safer than the safest place you have ever been. This country was safer than you are when you are in your own bed in your own house when your covers are pulled up around your neck and your father puts his big hand on your head and prays for you. This country was safer even than that. In fact, it was so safe that Adam and the woman didn’t even wear any clothes. They didn’t worry about being naked any more than your little brother worries about it. Shame is one thing that did not exist in the place God made.
God liked to come to the beautiful country and talk to Adam and the woman when the trees made long shadows in the grass and the air blew cool in the evenings. He would ask them how the baby lions were doing, and if they had tasted the first ripe pomegranates yet. Adam and the woman like this time too. They were so glad that God had made them and had given them a beautiful country to call their own. They loved God because He was so wise and kind and holy, and because they were not ashamed and were so happy.
God made a few rules for the special garden. He commanded Adam and the woman to take care of the plants and animals. He told them they could eat of all of the trees in the garden except one tree. That tree was in the middle of the garden and it was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and the woman didn’t mind the rules at all. They knew that God had created them and that He had created this beautiful country. They thought He would know best. Have you ever made something like a paper windmill that had to be held just right in order for it to work? You made it, so you also knew what rules were best for it. Adam and the woman knew that since God had created them, He would know what rules would make them the happiest. This is how God’s rules are.
Adam and the woman liked to care for the plants and animals because even the plants were friendly. There were no thistles, and no thorns on the raspberries; and even if Adam carried water for the woman’s cooking in the hot sun of the afternoon, the air felt as cool as early morning to him and he didn’t ever sweat. There was lots of fruit on all the trees of the garden. Adam and the woman never got tired of the tastes of them. They knew they had no need of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruits from the Tree of Happiness and from the Tree of Cool Sweetness and from all the other trees pleased them very much.
Sometimes when I finish hoeing the corn or making candles, I look at my work and it makes me very happy. God looked at His beautiful country with its beautiful garden and He smiled. He looked at Adam and the woman and saw how happy they were, and He smiled again. There was nothing missing in the beautiful country. There was nothing to be ashamed of.