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This is a short-story I wrote about Adam and Eve. Of course, this story is (c) elwoodblues 2001.

I appreciate feedback or other points of view.

The Meek
or
The Burden of the Blessing

God looked down upon the world, and was not pleased.

His Creation was complex and intricate. He had given all the animals a tool with which to survive in this dangerous world. To lions He gave fearsome claws and fangs to bring down the zebra. To zebra He gave stripes that confused the lions. Cheetahs were given the swiftness of the wind, and turtles were blessed with a protective shell. Birds had wings, elephants had size, and kangaroos could kick with deadly force. The Creation was almost complete, but for one beast. God looked upon His final race, and grunted in annoyance.

It was ugly and pink and blobby. It had neither swiftness of feet nor strength of muscle. It was ungainly, and had only average seeing, smelling, and hearing. It lacked the grace and power of the lion, and had not the wings of the bird. For an eternal moment, God was at a loss. Then, with a haunting laughter, He came upon a solution.

"Indeed, these are the humblest of creatures. They have nothing with which to survive in this world, and will surely die. So let it be known: The meek shall inherit the Earth."

God looked down upon His garden, where the first two of this odd race still lived. He willed into being a tree, bearing but one fruit. The two in the garden ceased their frolicking, and were drawn to the tree. God's voice thundered down from the Heavens.

"Be forewarned: this fruit carries both a burden and a blessing. To embrace one is to embrace the other. With it comes great riches, and greater power, and also a terrible price. Choose well, my children."

The two hesitated for one moment, and the breath of the world seemed to catch, as if everything hung in the balance. Then, as they stepped forward, and one plucked the apple, the world breathed again. They each took a large, large bite from the fruit, and their eyes lit up, as if seeing the world for the first time. God smiled down on them, but looked a bit sad.

"Bask in the blessing, my children, and let me tell you the nature of it. I have given you a gift that is unique in my Creation. You have neither tooth nor claw, neither hide nor fur. Despite this, your gift encompasses the fang of the lion, the speed of the cheetah, and the wings of the bird. In time, your gift will surpass all of these. The gift I have given you, my children, is a mind."

"You have been given the ability to think, to reason. You will be able to look at the world around you and manipulate it to your own ends. You will make tools to fend off predators, tools to kill your prey. You will discover knowledge of crops, and pass that knowledge on to your children. Your descendants will be fruitful, and multiply across the land, to every corner of this Earth. By using this one tool, your mind, you will fashion thousands, millions of tools that make your life easier, longer, and richer. By always looking reality in the face, never denying that which is, your race can inherit the Earth whole, and maybe more. It is but a simple matter of using with clarity that which I have granted you."

The man and woman in the garden had sat down to listen. They were attentive now, with very serious faces, and eyes that sparked.

"With every blessing comes a burden. For every gift there is a price."

The two small figures in the garden could not conceive what price would be levied for such a gift, but they feared.

"You have been given the ability to think, to look at the world and apply reason to it. This is the only tool that man possesses. It is, at root, both much more powerful and much different from the gifts I gave the animals. They are born with tooth and claw and wing, and with much of the knowledge needed to use their gifts. Man, on the other hand, has a choice. Therein lies the curse."

"You, and your children, and their children, have a choice, whether to think or not. To think, to reason is to use the tool I have given you, the one tool by which you live, your mind. To not think, to refute reality, is to deny the one tool that sets you above animals, allows you to even compete with nature, red in tooth and claw. The choice of thought is life, just as the choice of ignorance is death. The choice is just that simple, and it must be made every minute of every day of every human life yet to be born into this world."

"And not everyone will choose to think, my children. It is a difficult thing to admit that something is true even if you want it so much not to be true. People will ignore reason, or brush it aside, or try to somehow transcend it. They will use words like 'feel', and 'believe', and 'faith'. With these words they will commit sins and atrocities the likes of which you cannot imagine."

"The worst, most lasting, most prevalent form of denial of thought will be in the hatred of that which is different. Humans who do not think will encounter things they don't understand, and will therefore fear. People who don't think hate what they fear. And when people hate… At best it will lead to subjugation and suppression. It could lead to war. It might even lead to genocide."

"And this is not all. Your own cleverness, your own intelligence will only make it worse. Just as you use your mind to survive, to better your lives, other men will use their intelligence to create hateful rhetoric, poisonous ideas, and weapons of war. Entire nations will be subjugated and led to grim wars for no reason. Entire races will be oppressed for false ideologies. Entire cities will be annihilated with a single weapon, and it's soil sown as with salt."

The man and woman in the garden were now clutching each other desperately, horrified at what they had accepted. The man sent up an entreaty that God help strike down such wicked men.

"This cannot be, my son. Indeed, I have given you a coin with two faces, and to erase one would be to rob the other. This I will not do, for your choice is made, and cannot be taken back. In any case, much of that evil will be done in my name, in the name of God. The future of your race is hazy in my eyes, but that much I can see."

The woman asked how this could be, how the Father of Creation could not know what would happen.

"I have given your race the burden of choice, free will. I cannot know or dictate what you will choose, what you might accomplish. You might never climb out of your barbaric beginnings. Or, you might achieve greater heights than you can imagine, and spread the seed of man to the stars. It is in your hands, now."

"I mean that more than you know. I am forever gone from your lives. With free will, you now possess self-made souls. The choices you make are the form and verse of your character, your consciousness, your soul. At the root of this is whether you choose life or death, thought or ignorance. A warning to you: ignorance is often the easier path. The wisest among you shall always be wary of the easier path."

The two tiny figures slowly stood up, then spoke boldly. The man said that this is as it should be, that a fool is undeserving of such riches, and that he felt no remorse for the mistakes of idiots.

"Be that as it may, there may come a day when the thinking men will walk alone among fools, and be their slaves, because they fear to see what has become of this world, and have not the courage that you do. What should your descendants do then? Will the fools be harmless still, even when they outnumber the thinking a thousand to one?"

The woman looked up, meeting the eyes of God. "They shall live. They shall think. They shall see. There is no other way. If that is not enough…"

God looked upon her and smiled. "That may be enough. I have made your species both resilient and adaptable. As long as you are upright and moving, there is hope. I look forward to the day I might look your descendants in the eye, and not find them wanting. I wish you luck, man and woman born of God. Fare well."

With that, He left. The two in the garden could hear rapidly approaching beasts, eager to broach their paradise, whose protections were now dissipating. The man experimented a bit with some twigs and a few rocks, finally lighting a fire. The woman fashioned several spears from strong limbs lying about, thinking about how to build one that could be thrown longer and straighter. They sat in that circle of light the whole night through, wondering at the flame, and thinking of the future.

Whether you like the story or not, thank you for reading it. Feel free to post any feedback you have.

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