Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
Desiree had lots of records and she was eager to play them for me. We laid on the floor and I read the album jackets. They were Christian soft rock, and some of the music was really good. I started to think this kind of music could bridge the gap between the kind of cornball music that was permissible in the Unification Church and the hard rock that I really liked. I could get into this.
“Are you really going to stay here in Athens after August?” She was laying on her back on the floor, staring at the ceiling. I was laying next to her -- careful not to get too close -- also looking at the ceiling. The music on her little stereo phonograph perfectly matched the wholesome, platonic happiness I wanted to have with Desiree. At least for now. Maybe later, after August, we could move things along, but for now I had to keep everything with her on the up-and-up.
“It is my intention to stay, yes. I want to stay with you.”
She rolled over on her side, propping her cheek in her delicate hand. “Why haven’t you tried to kiss me? Do you not want to kiss me?”
I sat up. I could feel my cheeks get hot. She was so beautiful, as pure and innocent as Eve before the fall. And nearly as naked. She was showing more skin than clothes, and removing the rest, if I wished, would be merely a formality. But I was resolute. This was the kind of moment that she would look back on and remember, and if I did not conduct myself with absolute God-centered purpose, she would accuse me later of trying to seduce her or take advantage of her. Never mind that she was trying to seduce me. She didn’t know spiritual law. She wasn’t responsible for her actions. I was.
“There are many things we need to talk about first,” I said finally.
“Let me see if I can explain. Would you agree that Adam and Eve, assuming there were a first man and first women, disobeyed God and that’s why they were expelled from Eden?”
“Yes. That’s what the Bible says.”
“Right, well it says a serpent tempted Eve with the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then she tempted Adam. Now, just on a common sense level, if you had a child you loved more than anything else in the world, would you place something poisonous or deadly within that child’s grasp, tell the child not to touch it, and then threaten the child with death if they disobeyed?”
“No, of course not.”
“In fact, you’d probably remove the temptation, especially if it was something harmful or dangerous, right? That’s just common sense.”
“I don’t think God would treat Adam and Eve any differently than any loving parent would treat their child. I don’t think the Bible was talking about a literal fruit like a poisonous apple. The forbidden fruit must have been something that couldn’t be removed from the Garden, so to protect Adam and Eve, God warned them with a commandment.”
“Then the Bible says that the serpent told Eve it was really okay to eat the fruit, that it would open her eyes and she would be like God. So she did, and then she gave it to Adam. But immediately afterward, even before God confronted them, they did something very peculiar, which was to cover their lower parts. It’s human nature to hide the things we are ashamed of, and the fact they covered their genitals is a pretty strong indication of what they had just done.”
Desiree had sat upright and was staring at me intently. “Go on.”
“None of this probably would have happened except there was a third person is the Garden, which the Bible calls a serpent. That person was the archangel Lucifer. Adam and Eve were not yet fully mature adults. They were more like teenagers. They had grown up in the Garden from infancy, and like all small children, they needed a caretaker, a nanny, a full-time babysitter. That was Lucifer’s job. To take care of Adam and Eve and help them grow up. Eventually Adam and Eve, when they matured, would become husband and wife, and because they perfectly reflected God’s masculine and feminine natures, God would dwell in them. God would literally walk the earth. And he would continue to walk the earth in every other person who lived after that, because everyone would perfectly reflect God’s nature. It would be the kingdom of heaven on earth.”
I studied Desiree’s face. She showed no sign of being bored or disinterested.
“Should I continue?”
“Lucifer knew God’s plan for Adam and Eve, and throughout most of their young lives he was completely on board with it. No problem. Raise Adam and Eve to perfection, then let them start a family. Okay. But something strange began to happen with Lucifer as Adam and Eve reached puberty and began to develop sexually. Lucifer became jealous of Adam.
“You see, Lucifer was much older and wiser. He was like the cool professor that a young coed might develop a crush on.”
Desiree smiled with recognition. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
“Lucifer loved the attention he got from Eve. Plus she was growing more and more beautiful by the day. Whereas Adam was like some goofy kid who was clueless about girls, like the stupid jocks you see around campus who act all idiotic when they’re drunk with their buddies, but they have never been in a relationship with a girl and wouldn’t have any idea what to do if they did.”
“I’ve known a few of those, that’s for sure.”
“Lucifer knew that Adam and Eve were meant to be together, but Lucifer started thinking he wanted Eve for himself, or at least to have her first, before Adam. After all, he and Eve had a long and deep relationship. They were very close and loved each other very much.”
“That sounds a little kinky.”
“Not at all. Remember that TV show ‘Family Affair’?”
“That was like the perfect metaphor. Brian Keith was like God, the benevolent but distant dad would couldn’t be around all the time. Then you had Buffy as Eve and Jody as Adam and Mr. French, the butler, as Lucifer. You see what I’m saying?”
“So many years pass and now Buffy and Jody are almost grown up. Now maybe they’re college age, and Brian Keith is off on one of his trips, and Mr. French starts to have lustful feelings for Buffy now that she’s a young woman. It’s wrong, he knows that, but he can’t help it because she is so beautiful, plus she’s very sweet and loving to him because she’s so innocent and pure. Does that make sense?”
“Sure, I guess so.”
“Lucifer began to tell Eve things, sexual things, that he should not have told her. He knew that saying these things would eventually arouse her and she would want to experience them. Lucifer deliberately charmed her and seduced her until she begged him to show her. And when he did, when they had sexual intercourse, Eve understood immediately what she had done. For the first time, she understood good and evil. That’s what the commandment meant: Do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, because when you do you will die. It was a warning not to have sexual relations until God gave them permission. When they were fully mature adults, both emotionally and physically, sex would be fine and good, just like it is among many married couples today. But at this point they were still premature, like teenagers. Almost there, but not quite.”
Desiree was quiet. It seemed she was understanding.
“Eve, now knowing the truth of what she did, and fully understanding that Adam was supposed to be her sexual partner, now went to him. Her motivation was to undo what she had done with Lucifer, because she knew that was wrong. She thought having sex with Adam would make everything right. So she got Adam aroused and showed him what to do and then they fell. Immediately they both felt naked and ashamed and covered themselves. When God saw them, he was angry because he knew what they had done. He had no choice but to throw them out of the Garden, and Lucifer became Satan.”
“That’s an interesting theory.”
“It’s not a theory. It’s what really happened. The fall in the Bible is told with strange imagery that makes it easy to miss the real story. The real story of original sin was the misuse of love, or turning something beautiful like sex into a selfish, dirty thing.”
“Hmm. I don’t know. The way you describe it sounds reasonable, but I've never heard anyone compare original sin to sex.”
“I think the evidence is all around us. Nothing is more confounding to the human spirit than sex. Just look at all the personal problems people have that are rooted in sex. Just look at all the good friendships that are ruined by sex. Suddenly, one person withdraws, or both do, and instead of feelings of love and intimacy, sex stirs up deep feelings of guilt and remorse that no one can fathom. It’s my contention that those feelings are the residue of the fall, which have been passed down from generation to generation.
“How many girls do you know have been pressured to have sex, only to be betrayed after they give in? Sex may seem natural, and it was intended to be, but usually it doesn’t make you feel good when it's casual between two people who don't really care for each other. Just the opposite. Sex can make people feel depressed, even suicidal. The only way to overcome these bad feelings is by first making a lifelong commitment to another person, and even that might not do it. It is far more profound than anyone dares imagine.
“Whether or not you believe me, of one thing I’m certain: If you and I were to make love it would destroy our friendship. You’d hate me and I would resent you, and we’d both blame each other. You and I would understand as clearly as Eve and Adam that we had committed a tragic and irreversible mistake.”
“I believe you,” she said.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. For now, at least, I felt I’d put a damper on the sexual tension between us. I knew it would return, but at least I had a foundation to work with.