Well, that is one way to look at it all. But there is another way. I am telling you that in the beginning, God created not one or two but a whole bunch of us. Lots of us. Because God knows that we love to play. So we did play all day and into the night. We splashed in the rivers. We rolled down the hillsides. We ran with the wind.
Until one day the snake came. At least they told us it was a snake. It might not have been a snake. It might have been someone in a three-piece suit with a cellular phone. Or it could have been a theologian with a very fat book. But what they told us was that it was a snake.
And the snake came to us, to all of us who were playing on the hillside and splashing in the water, rolling and playing and tumbling, and said, "This is foolish! You are wasting time. None of this makes any sense unless you learn to keep score."
We had no idea what the snake meant. But then the snake said something really interesting. The snake said "Whoever gets the most points will get this apple!" But we had no idea what points were. So then the snake said "I will teach you. . . ."
And so the snake did teach us how to keep points with our running and our jumping and our climbing. And so that whoever climbed highest got points, and whoever ran fastest got points, and whoever could roll down the hill fastest got points. Some things however, like frolicking, were too hard to score. So we gave them up all together.
Soon we were keeping score for everything we did. We chalked up the points for everywhere. We kept track so that we would know who had the most points because surely all of us wanted to get the apple.
Soon we were spending so much time keeping score that we didn’t have time to play.
Then God came into the garden. And God was wroth. God was very, very wroth. And God told us that we would have to leave the garden. Not only that — God told us that we were going to die.
Well, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s God who didn’t understand things! My cumulative lifetime score is now 12,263. By the time I die, it will probably be even more! We were like God’s slaves in the garden. We had to do everything that God told us to do. It was the snake who taught us to keep score, and now I’m teaching my children to keep score. I think they could reach 15,000. Maybe 20,000. Now we are free to make as many points as we can, to keep making points till the day we die and to teach all our children and our grandchildren how to make points.
I’m really grateful to the snake. . . .
Barbara Lundblad adapted this tale from stories of "The Pointless People" told by Lutheran pastor and theologian Dan Erlander, who in turn found his inspiration in Ann Herbert’s retelling of the creation story.