But the bad angel was not happy. Satan was scowling. He hated that God was so good and could make things as good as the beautiful country. He had forgotten that long ago when God had made him, that he had been beautiful also. He couldn’t even remember what good felt like anymore. Back when God made the angel who became the bad angel, God had given him the power to choose and to create. In this way God had actually put a little bit of Himself into him. But the bad angel had taken that little bit of God’s own self and had chosen to make himself, the bad angel, full of badness. He hated goodness and happiness, he hated beauty, he even hated God.
The bad angel had been watching God create the beautiful country. Everything about it was disgusting to him. He especially didn’t like that there was no shame. But one thing puzzled him about the beautiful garden. He could not understand why God put one tree in the garden that Adam and the woman were not allowed to eat of. Adam and the woman didn’t think very much about this tree. There were lots of good trees to think about. But the bad angel thought only about the tree that was forbidden.
Except sometimes he also puzzled over Adam and the woman. Why had God given them the ability to choose? Why hadn’t God made them just like the bees and the buffalo? All of creation could do nothing but praise God. All of creation except Adam and the woman. They alone could choose to disobey God and eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The bad angel wondered if they would. He thought about this very much. Adam and the woman thought about it not at all.
Until one day, the bad angel asked them to think about it.
The bad angel wanted to trick Adam and the woman. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t like them, it was more because he didn’t like God; and he thought that if he could trick Adam and the woman into disobeying God, that then God would be very sad because the beautiful creation would be ruined.
The bad angel knew he would have to be very sneaky. And he also knew that he himself was so full of badness that if he tried to trick Adam and the woman, they would probably see right away that it was a trick. The trickiest things aren’t usually the baddest things.
So the bad angel talked to a snake. It is very hard to tell when a snake is smiling. It is also very hard to tell why a snake is smiling. The bad angel found the trickiest most smiley snake of all. “I have a job for you,” he said.
The snake smiled, “What is a job?” he asked.
“I am going to be very busy tomorrow,” the bad angel said, “I need someone to ask some questions for me.”
“What kind of questions?” the snake asked.
“Questions about God,” the bad angel said, “I want to see how much Adam and the woman know about Him.”
“Don’t they know enough?” asked the snake.
“Go tomorrow morning to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When the woman comes close by, lean down and ask her if God has told her to eat of all of the fruit of the garden. See if she knows,” the bad angel sniffed.
“Knows what?” the snake was not sure about the bad angel’s ideas. He turned and looked out across the beautiful garden.
“Her eyes see only part of what they look upon,” the bad angel squinted. “She has tasted of all the trees of the Garden. She has tasted of all the things God calls good,” he spat toward the snake. The snake turned back toward the bad angel who was speaking quietly now. “She knows nothing about evil, about me, about all the other things God knows. And the moment she takes one bite of the fruit from that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, she will know it all, just like….just like God.” He had meant to say, “just like me,” but right when he tried, he remembered that there were things that he had forgotten. He decided he had better not lie to this tricky snake, at least not yet.
The tricky snake looked like he was smiling. But really he was thinking about Adam and the woman. They had been kind to him. Many times he had played fun tricks on them and they always scratched his nose or tickled his feet afterwards until he rolled on his belly with laughter. This sounded like a different kind of trick. He tried to frown. But the tricky snake liked jokes very much, and he didn’t think about it for very long. He winked at the bad angel and ran away to his home.