Far back in the past, more years than you could think or count, God made the world. It did not look at first as it does now, for there was no live thing on it, no men, beasts, or birds, not a bush, tree or plant, but all was dark and drear.
Then God said, Let there be light! And the light came. And God saw the light, and it pleased him, and he gave it the name of Day. And when the day was gone, and the dark came back to stay for a while, he gave the dark spell the name of Night. And God did these things on the first day.
The next day God made the clouds, and the sky in which they were to move; and he gave the sky a name; he called it Heaven.
Then he drove the waters to one place where they were both deep and wide, and he called the waters Seas, and to the dry land he gave the name of Earth. And God made the grass to grow up out of the earth, and the trees and shrubs that have fruit on them. And the grass and the shrubs and the trees were to bear seeds, so that when these seeds were put into the ground more grass and trees and shrubs would grow there. God did these things on the third day.
And God put two great lights in the sky, the Sun to shine by day, and the Moon to shine by night; and he made the stars, and put each one in its place. And these things he did on the fourth day.
And he made the great whales, and all the fish that live in the sea, and the birds that swim on it, as well as those that fly through the air, and make their nests in the deep woods. And these things God did on the fifth day.
God made the beasts: those that are wild and live in the deep, dark woods, far from the homes of men; and those that are tame and of use to men, and live where men live—such as the horse, the cow, the ox and the sheep. And he made the things that creep on the ground, and flies and bugs that course through the air.
And then God made Man, and told him that he should rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all else that lived on the earth. And he told man that the fruit which grew on the trees and shrubs should be his food, while the beasts were to feed on the leaves, and on the grass that was spread out on the earth. These things were done on the sixth day.
The next day God did no work at all, but made it a day of rest.
God made man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed in him till the man breathed and moved, and showed signs of life. Then God made a garden for man to live in, where all sorts of trees grew that were nice to look at, and that bore fruit good to eat. And this place was called Eden. And through it flowed a large stream that kept the earth moist.
And God took Adam, the man he had made, and put him in the garden, and told him to take care of it. He told him he might eat of the fruit that grew on all the trees but one. God said he must not eat of that tree, for if he did he would be sure to die. And all the birds and beasts came to Adam, that he might give them their names. And the names he gave them are those by which they are known to this day.
And God saw it was not good for man to be alone; he should have some one to be with him and help him. So he had a deep sleep fall on Adam, and while he slept God took out of his side a bone, and out of this bone he made a woman. Then he brought this woman he had made to Adam, and she was his wife.
Now there was in this garden of Eden a great big snake. And this snake spoke to the woman—as Satan speaks to us—to tempt her to sin.
The snake said: Has God told you not to eat of all the trees in the garden?
And the woman said that they might eat of all but one; if they ate of that or touched it they would be sure to die. The snake told them they should not die, and that God did not wish them to eat of it for fear they would grow wise, and know more than he thought was good for them.
The woman heard what the snake said, and when she saw that the tree was nice to look at and the fruit seemed good to eat, she gave no thought to what God had said, but took some of the fruit and ate of it; she gave some to the man, Adam, and he did eat.
In a short time they heard a voice, and knew that God spoke to them. Yet they did not come near him when they heard his voice, but ran and tried to hide from him.
But God spoke once more, and said to the man, Where art thou?
And Adam said, I heard thy voice, and my fear was so great that I hid from thee.
And God said, Did’st thou eat of the tree I told thee not to eat of?
And the man said, She whom thou dids’t give me to be with me brought me some of the fruit, and I did eat.
And God said to the man’s wife, What is this that thou hast done?
And she told God what the snake had said, and how she came to eat of the fruit, and God was wroth with them all. He said the snake should crawl on the ground and eat dust all the days of its life; and he told the wife she should know what it was to be sick and sad, and should have much grief and care.
And God drove the man and his wife out of Eden, and would let them live no more in that fair place. And he sent angels to keep watch, and a sword of fire that would turn in all ways, so that the two whom God for their sins drove out of Eden could not get back to the home they had lost.
And God told Adam that as he had paid heed to what his wife said, and did eat of the tree which the Lord had told him not to eat of, the ground should bear no more fruit for him by itself, as it had done up to this time, and Adam would have to work hard all his life to raise food to eat, and when he died he would go back to the dust out of which he was made.
But God told Adam and his wife that there was a way by which their souls might live on high when their flesh was laid in the ground. He said he would send One from the sky who would give his life for theirs: that is, he would be put to death for their sins. Then if they would turn from their sins, and give their hearts to the One who was to save them, God would not turn his face from them, but when they died they would have a home with him, and have no thought of sin.
So Adam went forth to till the land, and he gave his wife the name of Eve. And they made coats out of the skins of beasts.
Adam and his wife had two sons: Cain and Abel. When they grew up to be men, Cain, who was the firstborn, took care of a farm; Abel kept a flock of sheep.
They both had bad hearts, and at times would be led into sin, just as Adam and his wife had been. But when Abel did wrong he was grieved, and sought to make peace with God. One day he brought a lamb from his flock, and killed it, and burnt it on a heap of stones. And the smoke went up on high.
This act of Abel’s pleased God, for it was the sign that a Lamb was to be sent to the world to save men from their sins.
But Cain kept on in his sins, and paid his vows to God not with a lamb, but with fruit or grain out of the field. This did not please God, and the smoke went not up on high. When Cain saw this he was in a rage, and showed by his looks that he was wroth with God. Yet God spoke to him in a kind voice, and said, Why art thou wroth? and why art thou so cast down?
If Cain did right God told him he would be pleased with his gift; but if he did not do right, the fault was his own.
Then Cain was wroth with Abel, for he saw that God was pleased with Abel’s gift and not with his. And one day when both of them were out in the field he rose up and slew Abel, and the blood ran out of Abel’s wounds and sank deep in the ground.
As soon as this deed was done, God spoke to Cain, and said: Where is Abel?
Cain said, I know not. He is not in my care. Then God, who had seen the crime, and knew just how bad his heart was, said to Cain: What hast thou done? The voice of Abel’s blood cries to me from out the ground.
And God told Cain that for his great sin he should move from place to place, as one who was in fear of his life, and had no home to stay in. And if he should plant aught in the field to bear food, it should not grow well. Weeds would come up and choke it, or it would bear leaves and no fruit, so that Cain would not have much to eat.
And Cain said if God drove him here and there on the face of the earth, and would not take care of him, all those who met him would want to kill him.
But God said the man who hurt Cain would have a worse fate. God set a mark on Cain; what kind of a mark it was we are not told, but those who saw it would know it was Cain, and it would bring to their minds that God had said no man should kill him.
Adam lived to be an old, old man, and had a large flock of children, who grew up and were wed, and they went off and made homes, and day by day were folks born into the world. When Adam died he was laid in the ground and went back to dust, as God had said he should when he went out of Eden.
One of the men who lived in those days was named Enoch. It is said of him that he walked with God. That means that he loved God, and thought of him, and kept near him all the time, and did his best to please him.
And Enoch did not die, but God took him up to be with him while he still lived, just as if he were to take up one of us.
And Enoch had a son whose name was Methuselah, who died at a great old age. In those times men lived more years than they do now, but in all the years since the world was made no man has been known to live to be as old as Methuselah.