“Base, Symbio Mission. Confirmed. Geo Two identical to Pangaean Earth.”
“Symbio, go for interface.”
“Roger, commencing de-orbit. Atmo-interface 400,000 feet. Primary in 20 mike.”
“Symbio, Base. Quantum telemetry received.”
“Base, Symbio. Touchdown. Exiting vehicle.”
“Removing helmet. Never breathed air so pure. Enlivening! Grapes? Grapes!”
“That’s not what we’re after. Expedite sample retrieval. How copy?”
“Lima Charlie. All botany compatible. I’m sampling the sample. Got company!”
“Company. Man and Woman, buck naked. No navels.”
“Zion Command, debrief supports biotelemetry. Your astronaut ate fruit from a tree of life.
“Oh, no! No! He has no idea what he’s done!”
Thank you, readers, for such a great response to this story. For those interested, I am happy to provide the following elaboration to help answer questions and clarify the implications of what occurred in the story.
It is difficult to clarify much on this theme in only 100 words, so here is a more in-depth teaser for a book I am working on. I composed the following narrative directly from my replies to individual reader comments. I thought it might be helpful to consolidate my replies into a contiguous work, so you don’t have to scroll through every comment to pick out details. The following narrative directly relates to subject matter addressed in my forthcoming book.
Our Earth is not the only world where human life begins with an Adam and an Eve. Every world that has indigenous human life had an Adam and an Eve. This pattern of creation happens all over the universe. God continues to create his children in his image on many worlds similar to our Earth. He has done this for time immeasurable before he created our Earth, and he will continue to do so for eternity. The name Adam means many.
Regarding the type of fruit Adam and Eve ate that was forbidden them, it was not an apple. They were forbidden to eat fruit of a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, often simply called a Tree of Knowledge.
They were not forbidden to eat fruit of a Tree of Life, which is a completely different species of tree. They were, however, physically prevented from eating of a Tree of Life after they had eaten of a Tree of Knowledge. Read on, and you will see why.
One of the twists in the flash fiction story, Pre-Fall, is that the astronaut from Earth landed on another earth-like planet and discovered another Adam and another Eve on that planet. That discovery suggests that the same pattern of creation that applies to our earth applies to every other earth on which God creates human beings in his image.
Another twist is that Zion Command was far more concerned about the fact that the astronaut had eaten fruit of a Tree of Life than about the fact that he had stumbled upon another Adam and Eve on a distant world. This subtle difference in emphasis indicates that someone at Zion Command expected to find another Adam and Eve, but did not anticipate the astronaut would eat part of the sample of a Tree of Life.
His mission was specifically to retrieve a sample of a Tree of Life, not to consume it or experiment with it in any way. Another subtle emphasis is that the entire mission had the singular purpose of retrieving a sample of a Tree of Life.
The absence of any directive to collect samples of other species or materials suggests all other species and materials were known to be identical to their counterparts on our Earth. The one thing that had eluded researchers on our Earth was a specimen of a Tree of Life. Mission planners at Zion Command knew this. The astronaut did not, nor did Base.
This further implies that by the time the mission was organized, a specimen of a Tree of Knowledge had already been discovered on our Earth. It was discovered in Northwestern Missouri, in a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman, after severe geological and meteorological catastrophes had devastated the entire Mississippi River Valley and what was once the Midwestern United States. If any sign of a Tree of Life were to be found on Earth, it would have been in that same region. That region had been identified as the site of the Garden of Eden.
Having eaten from a Tree of Life, the astronaut had doomed himself to live forever in his own sins. No resurrection for him. No redemption, either.
If we ever do visit other earth-like planets, we will have a lot more to be concerned about than encountering strange alien monsters. An oversight as simple as the one that led to an astronaut taking a bite of fruit from a Tree of Life could have eternally tragic consequences for him and for his posterity. More on that as you read further.
We’re about to get a glimpse into the fate of the astronaut. But, first, allow me to digress for a paragraph, here, to address a point brought up by a reader.
In the story, the astronaut was not a serpent in any way, shape, or form. Nor did he have anything to do with such a role. A reader brought up that question, and it is great topic for another discussion. It also poses the question of whether or not every populated earth has a serpent or a Lucifer. I have my own hypothesis about that. I think some earths do and others do not. I believe, out of all the earths created by the God who begat our spirits, this earth is the only one where a Lucifer is part of the scene. There is a very specific reason for why I believe that to be the case. But, that’s an entirely different discussion.
For more on this particular topic, you might be interested in the articles linked at the end of this narrative.
In the story, the astronaut and his crew did not travel through time. There is no time warp or any kind of spatiotemporal manipulation or anomaly involved in the story. They simply traveled through space to another earth-like planet that had been had discovered in a nearby star system. Zion Command sent out a manned mission because the newly discovered planet was exactly like our earth once was, before the Pangaean land mass was divided into continents.
Details of the earth-like attributes of the newly discovered planet caused the scientists and mission planners at Zion Command to suspect that the newly discovered planet was in an early stage of its history. The other world would provide empirical evidence of what our Earth was like at a similar point in its history.
They discovered, after they arrived, that there was an Adam and an Eve on that planet just as there was an Adam and an Eve on our Earth. This discovery supported their theory that the creation of habitable earth-like planets on which God creates humans in his image all follow the same pattern of creation, and there are many such planets out there.
The grapevine in the story is neither a Tree of Life nor a Tree of Knowledge. It is simply an indication that the same species of plants we have on our Earth also exist on other earths throughout the universe. Had the scientists analyzed the grapes from the newly discovered world, they would have found no way to distinguish those grapes from grapes on our Earth, except for obvious differences in pollutants.
One of the hidden implications in this story is that the astronaut had landed in a Garden of Eden on that world, identical to what the Garden of Eden was like on our world. On the newly discovered world, the Adam and the Eve had not yet eaten their forbidden fruit (Tree of Knowledge), so God had not yet posted cherubims armed with a flaming sword to block access to their Tree of Life.
A Tree of Life is a distinct species of tree. At the time the mission took place, our Earth no longer had any known specimens of a Tree of Life. What happened to that species? It’s not like a Tree of Life is going to die or go extinct. That would be contrary to its nature. We have yet another tributary into this vast river of thought. I’ll give you a hint. The City of Enoch. It’s not on Earth anymore. It was taken off Earth by God shortly before the Great Flood in Noah’s Day.
All indications suggested the newly discovered planet did have this species of botany. That provided the impetus behind the entire mission. Retrieval of a sample of a Tree of Life was the sole purpose for the mission. What was to be done with that sample is an entirely different discussion, but there are hints of the ramifications as you read further.
The astronaut, not knowing the profound, eternal consequences of what he was doing, tasted the sample of a Tree of Life on the newly discovered planet. He breached protocol by tasting the sample. He would have been fine eating any other fruit on the planet, including fruit from a Tree of Knowledge.
Since the astronaut was mortal, eating fruit from a Tree of Life doomed him to remain alive as a mortal forever. In a state of interminable mortality, he would forever be subject to the pains and sorrows of mortal flesh without the sweet transition of death and subsequent resurrection to a perfected immortal body. Worse yet, he could never gain redemption for his sins. He had effectively ostracized himself from the plan of God.
This is precisely why God stations cherubims armed with a flaming sword to prevent access to a Tree of Life after every Adam and every Eve figure out that they need to eat from a Tree of Knowledge in order to fall and begin procreating to populate the world upon which God created them.
A Tree of Knowledge makes them mortal. Once an Adam and an Eve fall and become mortal, a Tree of Life effectively becomes the single most dangerous species of botany on their planet.
A reader expressed some confusion here, thinking the astronaut became a living soul and donned coats of skin. To clarify, the astronaut was already alive. He was already mortal. He continued to wear his own suit, not a coat of skin.
The grapes he saw were ordinary grapes. There was nothing special about them. They were identical to grapes on Earth. He was just surprised to see grapes on another planet. His mission was to collect a sample of fruit from a Tree of Life on that planet, not grapes or any other type of fruit.
A Tree of Life is not the same thing as a Tree of Knowledge. They are two different species of botany. They produce completely different effects when eaten. A Tree of Knowledge causes mortality. A Tree of Life prevents death.
Since the astronaut was already a mortal man, fruit from a Tree of Knowledge would have had no effect on him. Fruit from a Tree of Life would prevent him from ever dying, but would not make him immortal.
Immortality comes only through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It cannot be achieved any other way or by any other means. There is a big difference between immortality and simply remaining mortal forever.
When the astronaut collected a sample of fruit from a Tree of Life, he ate some of it. That made him unable to die, but it did not make him immortal.
That is the tragic paradox. He will be mortal forever. He will live forever without redemption from his sins. He will forever be subject to the pains, discomforts, imperfections, and limitations of mortal life, both physically and spiritually, except that he will not age, and he will heal from wounds that would ordinarily be fatal. Injuries will still hurt him, and he will not heal any faster than he would have before tasting the sample.
Okay, I know somebody is going to ask what would happen if he got blown up or vaporized. I imagine the elements that compose his body would be drawn back together over a prolonged period of time. I suppose the process would be excruciating, worse than a burn victim slowly recovering. Perhaps it would feel like taking every molecule of your nervous system and tearing it apart while the connection between your spirit body and the elements of your mortal body continues to allow you to process the pain with unmitigated acuteness. Whatever the case, the astronaut would eventually reconstitute and continue living his mortal life for eternity.
The Adam and the Eve on the newly discovered planet were already living souls. God had placed their spirits into their bodies. They were walking about, alive and in the flesh. The astronaut saw them, and they saw the astronaut. But, they had not yet eaten the fruit of a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil on their planet. That means they were still in their state of innocence, alive but unable to reproduce. They were still unaware of their nakedness. So, they had no need, yet, for coats made of animal skin.
In fact, they could not yet make coats from animal hide, because the animals on their world were not yet mortal, and thus could not be killed. No life on that planet could become mortal until the Adam and the Eve on that planet had eaten fruit of a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The same concept applied to our Earth in our early history. More on this, here. The astronaut was not naked, so he had no need for a coat of skin, either.
Another reader brought up some other excellent questions about navels, Pangaea, and the age of our Earth.
My personal opinion is that every Adam and every Eve, on every planet upon which God creates them, are created without navels. Adams and Eves, being the first humans God creates on every earth he creates, are not gestated in wombs. Their physical bodies are created by God, in God’s image, directly from the elements of the worlds upon which he creates them. There is no umbilical to be severed, thus no navel. There are other valid arguments that suggest they do have navels, and that the navel represents the closure of their skin upon their bodies as God completed the creation of their bodies.
I tend to think they do not have navels and that the absence of navels serves as a tangible testament to the fact that they are, indeed, the first parents of the entire human family assigned to their world, and the only way they could exist is to have been created directly from the elements of their world by the hand of God. That could help prevent arguments among their early posterity who might be tempted to deny their origins.
In the story, the astronaut does not doom the newly discovered planet to any original sin. The Adam and the Eve who pertain to that planet are the ones from whom the population of that planet will proceed, after the Adam and the Eve there figure out that they need to eat forbidden fruit, that is fruit from a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, in order to fall and become capable of reproduction.
The astronaut returns home to Earth. The Adam and the Eve on that other world were still in their state of innocence. The presence of the astronaut did not disturb them in any way, nor did his presence influence events on their world.
The tragedy is that the astronaut, having eaten from a Tree of Life while mortal, is now doomed to remain mortal forever. In a sense, as one reader put it, the astronaut piled more sin upon himself. By dooming himself to a state of interminable mortality, he will continue to sin, as all mortals do, from day to day, forever.
Since he will remain mortal for all eternity and will never experience death, he can never be resurrected to become immortal. Mortal life and death are prerequisites to resurrection. Again, there is a big difference between being immortal and being forever mortal.
The weightier issue is that not only will the astronaut be forever subjected to the pains and sorrows and limitations of mortal life, he will remain in his sins, forced to live out the consequences of his own sins without hope of redemption. As a side note, all individuals are accountable for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression; this applies to all populated worlds.
The collateral effects of the astronaut’s consumption of fruit from a Tree of Life is an insightful question. I am impressed that readers picked up on that. I do not know what all the collateral effects would be, but I have my own hypothesis.
Perhaps, when the astronaut procreates with his wife, who has not eaten from a Tree of Life, their children will be endowed with an unusual capacity to prolong their mortal lives at will. We could coin a new term. Voluntary Indefinite Mortal Longevity, VIML.
This is consistent with the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was literally sired by God and born of Mary. Having a mortal mother and an exalted, immortal father made Jesus mortal but endowed him with divine power to control life and death.
In spite of being mortal, Jesus Christ was capable of forcing himself to remain alive while enduring unimaginable torture and agony that would have quickly killed any other man. When Jesus died on the cross, he did not succumb to his wounds. He deliberately chose to die. It was the precise time for him to do so. He was in complete control throughout the entire ordeal. Because God is his biological father, Jesus Christ also inherited power to resurrect himself to complete the atonement.
The astronaut, of course, is not endowed with power to resurrect himself, so he cannot pass such a capacity on to his posterity. He may, however, pass down a truncated version of his inability to die.
Since the astronaut’s wife is a normal mortal, she would impart to their children the ability to die. But, because of the astronaut’s condition, their children would likely be born with an ability to live as long as they choose. That is, in itself, a problem, because it introduces a lineage of what you might be tempted to call superior humans who were not foreordained to such a condition. Adolph Hitler tried something like that. We know how that turned out.
The inevitable misuse of their ability to indefinitely prolong their own lives would wreak havoc upon mankind on our Earth in ways we may be incapable of fathoming. The ability to indefinitely prolong their own mortal lives shoulders the astronaut’s posterity with a level of responsibility and accountability they are not prepared or capable to bear, and thus condemns them.
It would be like burdening kindergarten students with the responsibilities of a tenured university professor and then holding the kindergarteners accountable to the same standards as the professor. It would force them into a no win situation. Miserable and swift failure would be unavoidable. Such a scenario is beyond the scope of the purpose of mortal probation.
My use of the word Pangaea is intended to express the idea that our Earth, and every other earth created by God to be inhabited by children he creates in his image, is initially created with one contiguous land mass. In the case of our Earth, the continents were separated in the days of Peleg, about a century after the Great Flood of Noah’s day. The name Peleg means division. Genesis 11 touches on this subject.
Our Pangaea split apart around the time of the Tower of Babel, when God confounded the language of the inhabitants of Earth and scattered the people abroad. I believe one of the factors in the scattering of the people was the dividing of the continents.
There was a specific group of people called Jaredites living in or near Babel who were led by God across land and ocean to the Western Hemisphere, shortly after the continents were divided. It took them 344 days to cross the ocean in eight wind-driven barges. The Jaredites landed in what we now call the Americas, probably on the North American Continent.
This land to which the Jaredites were led was described by God as being a land of promise to all whom God would bring into the land. God promised that this land would never be overrun or subdued by foreign forces, as long as the people on the land would remain faithful to God. The Jaredites were a righteous people and had pleaded with God to spare their ability to communicate with each other.
God answered the Jaredites and did not confound their language. They became a great nation after settling in what we call North America. Tragically, the Jaredite nation fell to pride and misuse of the knowledge entrusted to them. They were destroyed because they embraced secret oaths and secret combinations and socialist politics, similar to what is going on in America today.
The last known survivor from the Jaredite nation was Coriantumr. He was discovered alive by a group of people called Mulekites sometime after 587 BC. The Mulekites were a group led by God to the Americas around 587 BC, just before Jerusalem fell into captivity in the days of King Zedekiah. Mulek was the only surviving son of Zedekiah, king of Judah.
As for the notion that Earth is hundreds of millions of years old, or older, I think there is some confusion in the non-creationist approach. The elements from which the earth is created do indeed range in age from millions to billions of years old, but the earth itself is closer to 13,000 years old.
God created the earth in six days and rested the seventh day. One day for God is a millennium for our Earth. That means Earth was 7,000 years old by the time our Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and became mortal. That happened around 4000 BC. Roughly 6,000 years have passed since that time, making our Earth about 13,000 years old.
To illustrate, think of the wooden table analogy. A brand new table can be constructed from wood that is hundreds of years old. The table is obviously not as old as the material from which it is made. Same concept applies to Earth.
The story is not intended to suggest going from our high-tech world back to basics in a long, out of the way journey only to discover what has already been. There is oh, so much more to it than that.
The significance of the discovery in the story is that it involved another planet, not Earth. The other planet was going through the same stages of creation and early history that our Earth has been through. The implications include the fact that there are many earth-like planets inhabited by human beings, children of God, created in his image. The discovery suggests that all worlds inhabited by humans are created by God according to a specific and perfectly designed pattern. Our Earth, in that sense, is not unique in the universe.
This Earth upon which we live is one of countless worlds created by God and inhabited by his begotten sons and daughters. What does make this Earth unique among all the creations of God is that this Earth is the seat of the atonement of Jesus Christ. That quintessential event happened here, on this Earth, not on some other world, yet it has infinite and eternal efficacy for all the children of God, regardless of the world to which they are assigned for their mortal probation.
There is a lot to cover on these topics. I am still learning, and I am working on a book on the subject, as a long term project. I find these things fascinating, and I welcome reader comments and questions. Thank you for showing an interest.
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