Gabriel! ) Where are you again, you good-for-nothing?”
Gabriel, the archangel1), winced. It1) was just sitting comfortably in front of NUMBER 2, the big computer, playing an exciting simulation game. On the three-dimensional screen, the enemy satanic spaceships were just shooting back and forth, but couldn’t do a thing against his armada of angelic cruisers. Wisely, Gabriel had adjusted his playing strength so that it would always have the upper hand.
Unfortunately, this did not correspond to reality, otherwise it and its millions of brothers and sisters would not already have been holed up for several million years on this quite pretty but otherwise terribly boring third planet of a yellow sun in the third spiral arm of a nameless galaxy. But even their Guiding Deum, ) who had created them all from His thoughts, had thoroughly had enough after several millions of years of uninterrupted space battles with the so-called Satans. No angels or satans had died in these relentless battles, for they were immortal and invulnerable, but countless spaceships, planets and finally even entire solar systems and galaxies had been blown to dust. After the last battle, Deum had gathered His creatures in the remaining angel cruisers and made off in a strategically ingenious drop manoeuvre. After long odysseys, they had found this planet, buried their spaceships in the earth or hidden them in the oceans and founded a colony in this beautiful land between two great rivers, which Deum had named “nudist club ‘Garden of Eden'” for some inexplicable reason. None of the archangels and angels had a clue what this strange name was supposed to mean, but they had given up trying to wrap their heads around it. Since then, they had been living in self-built straw huts that nevertheless offered them every comfort thanks to their superior but inconspicuous super-technology that produced no pollutants whatsoever, the contemplative life of philosophers who argued over the question of whether two intelligent species needed to make each other’s lives difficult when the universe was so immensely large. Of course, they strictly avoided any technically elaborate activity that could have betrayed them by electromagnetic or hyper dimensional scatter radiation out into space. Against the sometimes somewhat aggressive wildlife of this planet, they had built a high energy fence around their colony, and NUMBER 2, the large computer, used a small fraction of its capacity to gently scare away possible dangerous intruders or, if necessary, to render them harmless.
“Gabriel!” Again Deum called him, and His voice already sounded menacingly close and very impatient. “I already know where you are and what you are doing. Come out willingly or I will have to come for you. And you know that can be very unpleasant. You’d better not let me catch you playing computer games again.”
Archangel Gabriel hurried to get out of the game as quickly as possible without losing the last score. It did not understand why Deum did not like playing with the computer. NUMBER 2 could do the simple surveillance tasks gamely in the background, and any approaching Satanic cruiser would be detected and reported in time by the countless satellites stationed all over this solar system. Then the automatic defence system would immediately go into action, putting a cloaking screen around the entire solar system that would give any curious spaceship the perfect illusion that none of the planets carried intelligent life. But unfortunately, Deum often needed the immense computing power of NUMBER 2 himself, because ES was engaged in some mysterious genetic research. It was rumoured among Gabriel’s siblings that Deum wanted to create new intelligent beings, ones that could reproduce themselves! Gabriel could not believe this. Why should their great leader bother with such a useless activity when ES had already created them all? His quadruplet siblings Uriel, Michael and Raphael, on the other hand, were inclined to grant this thesis a higher probability.
Reproduction? Like the primitive plants and animals of this planet? They, the archangels and angels, had been very surprised when they had landed here and seen that the living beings of this planet were not intelligent, but were born, could become ill, aged and finally died. Once again, Deum had known all this beforehand. But for them it had been a great surprise and a shock when they had realised that their immortality and invulnerability were not at all the norm on this planet.
Strangely enough, Gabriel feared that Deum could ever succeed in creating intelligent creatures that reproduced themselves. Gabriel’s highly intelligent brain drew the necessary conclusions of its own accord: intelligent creatures would very soon – Gabriel was used to thinking in terms of centuries and millions of years – learn to largely avoid disease and accidental death, to increase their life span, and they might even try to become immortal. But then their numbers would increase exponentially, and very soon their planet would no longer have room for them, the angels, not to mention all the other living beings they had found when they landed here.
“Gabriel!” The door to the main hut, where the NUMBER-2 computer had been standing and doing its duty tunelessly since they landed a few million years ago, was suddenly yanked open. On the huge screen taking up the whole back half of the hut, the last hologram of the computer game just went out and NUMBER 2’s pleasant voice said programmatically, “Goodbye, Gabriel! See you at the next game.”
“Shh,” hissed the Archangel to the computer. But Deum, who rushed in – as always, His appearance was surrounded by a strange glow that gave His creatures the impression that Deum’s form was not a material body but only an arbitrarily assumed shape, perhaps only a holographic projection of a higher-dimensional body – was not at all as angry as Gabriel had feared, but even seemed to be in a dazzling mood.
“Look, my darling, who I have brought with me,” said Deum and commanded Gabriel to come out. In the meantime, Deum’s shouting had also brought a host of other angels out of their huts, including the other three archangels, Uriel, Michael and Raphael.
Gabriel’s breath caught when he saw that Deum had not come alone. Outside stood two strange figures: outwardly they looked remotely like him, but they were slightly smaller. They had the same smooth brownish skin and, unlike most of the native species here, were largely hairless. Only on the head and between the legs was hair visible. Between the legs?! What strange appendage hung down from between the legs of the one creature in the midst of all this hair? Gabriel’s gaze turned to the other figure, which lacked this appendage. Instead, this creature had two equally large hemispherical outgrowths on its chest. Involuntarily, Gabriel looked down at himself. Of course, his body was not only completely hairless from head to toe, but also had no protuberances, neither on his chest nor between his legs. A human of a much later time would have noticed that the angels had immaculate athletic ideal bodies but no breasts, not even nipples and no navels. Angels were sexless. Yes, but of course we must not forget the mighty wings that grew on their shoulder blades, but which they now very rarely used for flying. All the greater was Gabriel’s and his siblings’ astonishment at these two figures standing before them, lost, uncertain and very afraid.
“That’s Adam and Eve!” announced Deum proudly. “The first two humans.”
Deum had actually put into practice what ES had once blurted out in an affable mood – apparently the juice they extracted from certain yellow or blue berries growing in the form of grapes had inadvertently fermented and become spoilt – (in organic terms, His body seemed to react in a very real way): There were various kinds of animals whose outward appearance bore some resemblance to them. At least these animals also had a roughly cylindrical torso, a head with two eyes, a nose and a mouth, and four extremities. Unlike most other animals of this world, however, these “monkeys”, as Deum called them, sometimes used only their lower extremities for locomotion, so they walked upright like them. Gabriel did not know much more about these creatures, as he had not yet seen any himself.
Gabriel heard a snorting sound.
“And what, pray tell, is that supposed to represent?” blurted out Uriel, before bursting into an almost satanic laughter and writhing in amusement. It didn’t even stop when Deum gave it a punishing look that would have instantly turned any other living being on this planet into a pillar of salt. As the leader of the archangels, it probably thought it could afford to do that.
“That’s two people, I said! The first human couple. Weren’t you listening? I guess laughing stupidly is all you know how to do!” Deum turned away from Uriel angrily.
“And why do these two look so funny? And why this difference?” asked Michael, glancing at the places between the legs of the two creatures. It was so amazed that it couldn’t laugh.
“But that’s only a small difference! Besides, it’s very practical. These organs are for excretion and reproduction,” Deum began to lecture, but with an angry look at Uriel, who still could not calm down, ESes gave up.
“Oh, what do I bother with you! Go on, Gabriel, fire up your computer and call up the file with the list of members of the nudist club ‘Garden of Eden’.”
“I beg your pardon?” made Gabriel, perplexed. It couldn’t get out of its amazement today, but Deum paid no attention to its stammering and pushed it into the hut from which it had just emerged.
“NUMBER 2!” roared Deum in a commanding voice.
“But yes, my darling. Why are we so gruff today?” purred the computer, whose performance dwarfed anything that people of a later era imagined an “electronic brain” to be, in a honeyed voice.
“Don’t talk so stupidly, but show me the membership list of our club!”
“I’ll have to dig very deep in my memory banks. You haven’t wanted to see them for 1,573,743 revolutions of this planet around its sun and 125.7 revolutions around its own axis, in fact not since we landed here,” NUMBER 2 continued to grumble, while the large screen immediately showed a beautiful three-dimensional image of a huge scroll lying on a large imaginary wooden table. The top of the scroll was unrolled, and at the top edge it read in squiggly letters:
Nudist Club “Garden of Eden
List of members
“Besides, nothing at all has changed since then,” the computer babbled on.
“I know,” said Deum, somewhat mollified by NUMBER 2’s prompt reaction. “But now two new members are joining.”
“But, but, what’s that?” Gabriel stammered, stunned, staring uncomprehendingly at the screen. But Deum paid no attention.
Just below the heading began a long list of names, and next to each name was the member’s respective affiliation to one of the three possible groups, the third group, that of the ordinary angels, far surpassing the other two. The first group contained only one name at all. It said:
1DeumClubPresident for all eternity
Below that followed at a certain distance:
2UrielArzengel , Warden 3GabrielArzengel , Secretary
4MichaelArzengel , Treasurer
5RaphaelArzengel , Groundsman
This was followed by a gap again and then countless names, but next to them there was always more “angel”.
“Our membership currently stands at 2,799,525 and, as I said, has not changed since we landed on this planet,” NUMBER 2 commented further without being asked.
Gabriel was still staring spellbound at the picture: “There…, there…, I’ve never seen that before.”
“Of course you’ve already seen this list, you blockhead. Dig a little in your memory! You can’t forget anything,” Deum said jovially, tapping Gabriel on the wings so that he almost stumbled into the holographic screen. “Now go to the end of the list, NUMBER 2.”
The scroll on the screen began to spin furiously and in a few moments the other end was reached. In front of the last name “Zzzschyskwitz, Engel” was the number 2,799,525, and then the scroll was empty.
“So, now make a blank line and now add the following lines,” Deum instructed the computer. “Adam, man” and “Eve, woman”. Immediately the two new entries appeared and before them the corresponding membership numbers. After that, the end of the scroll looked like this:
“There, that’s it. You can switch off again.”
Without further comment from NUMBER 2, the screen went out. Deum left the hut again and Gabriel trotted behind.
“That should have been your job, Gabriel,” Deum said with some sharpness.
But Gabriel was far too confused: “What is this, a man and a woman?”
“These are the two creatures you have just seen. Adam is a man and Eve is a woman.”
“I thought they were two ‘people’, whatever that is,” Gabriel ventured shyly. “And where did they come from anyway?”
“I bred them from apes,” Deum explained, feeling taken by Gabriel’s obvious interest. “It took me quite a long time, 1000 generations to be exact, to get their intelligence quotient to the point where they at least somewhat understood what was happening to them and developed something like a personality. Unfortunately, they lost their body hair during the genetic manipulation, but that’s not so bad. As long as they stay in the Garden of Eden, they will never be too cold.”
The mocking laughter of Uriel came in from outside.
“Look at that,” it cried. “Look how ridiculous they look. Those stupid hairs on their heads, those ridiculous outgrowths and appendages on them. Such ugly creatures! I am against them staying here. Why doesn’t Deum send them back to where he brought them from? If anything, they should look for a hut in the farthest corner of our garden, and if they look for food, they should not dare to tamper with the Tree of Knowledge in the middle of the Garden of Eden. That is where my favourite fruits grow. Besides, I insist that they cover their ugly outgrowths with something.”
Gabriel saw with a shudder how Deum’s forehead darkened and ES became more and more angry. But it was still in control. Only the normally bright blue aura surrounding Deum’s form flickered and the colour turned a bright red.
“Gabriel,” Deumda’s archangel pulled aside and spoke unusually softly so that ES was not audible throughout the Garden of Eden. “Please, look after them a little. And pay special attention to this Uriel. It’s not a good influence on the rest of you archangels, and on the angels either. Always mocking and being cynical, that’s all it can do. And woe betide if it now also plays its tricks on my two creatures. Then I’ll throw it out of the Garden of Eden!”
It spoke and angrily rushed out of the hut. Gabriel stayed behind and listened fearfully from inside as Deum stomped Uriel like he had never roared with one of his own before. Then Deum departed with his two utterly terrified creatures and assigned them a beautiful hut right in the middle of the Garden of Eden.
“And of course you may eat of all the fruits of this garden. Take whatever tastes good to you. And pay no attention to what this Uriel says. You need not fear him, for you are under my personal protection. In this garden there is no lie, no deceit, no envy, no mockery or scorn, no violence, no threat and no fear.
There is only one commandment that you must keep under all circumstances:
Never deny your beautiful bodies that I have given you!
And Deum pointed with his hands and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Go and enjoy life. Do what you will. Enjoy life and your love with the organs I have given you for this purpose. You will find them between your legs. Just try it,” said Deum to Adam and Eve on their way.
And Adam and Eve lived henceforth in the tabernacle assigned to them, and Deum came to visit them every day and talked with them for a long time. And they ate of all the fruit, even of that of the tree of knowledge in the midst of the garden of Eden, and grew daily wiser and wiser and more beautiful, and they enjoyed their life and had joy in one another.
Nevertheless, it could not go well in the long run. During the next few revolutions of the planet around its sun, Deum took care of the two new members of the nudist club “Garden of Eden” without interruption, but could not quite prevent Uriel from finding opportunities to mock Adam and Eve again and again, as soon as they dared to show themselves. Again and again it made fun of the physical differences between the two of them and between them and the angels and demanded in all seriousness that they cover especially their hairy parts between their legs with the help of the large leaves of the fig tree, and Eve should also always hold one arm over the two hemispherical outgrowths on her chest, which Deum had called breasts. It was simply ridiculous, thought not only all the other archangels but also all the 2,799,520 lesser angels.
And one day Deum stayed away for a very long time. None of the archangels knew why, whether Deum perhaps wanted to breed more intelligent beings, or whether ES was perhaps roaming around somewhere in the universe, exploring what the Satans were up to in the meantime. Uriel made good use of this time. However, it had changed its tactics in the meantime: It no longer ridiculed and frightened Adam and Eve, but tried to gain their trust. Adam was the first to fall for Uriel. The archangel approached him one day strangely cloaked: It wore an apron around the middle of its body, which it had woven from fig leaves.
“Look, Adam,” Uriel purred to the man when he once found himself alone in front of his hut. “Look what I have for you,” and handed him a second fig-leaf apron. “Why don’t you try putting this on? You’ll see how nice it looks. You’ll make an impression on Eva with this.”
“Impression? Why should I make an impression on Eve? After all, she only has me,” Adam said, not without repartee, although he was scared shitless of Uriel. “Besides, Deum has strictly forbidden it.” And just left.
Although Uriel turned bright red with rage after this rebuff, it controlled itself and tried again and again in the following days. It skilfully ensnared Adam with lies, promises, praise, threats and intimidation, and when Uriel even claimed to Adam that he knew very well that Deum was not serious about the veil – after all, he was Deum’s closest confidant and should know that – he finally let himself be persuaded. One day Adam returned to his wife covered for the first time.
Eve had a fit of laughter when she saw Adam like that for the first time, but it was no use to her, because Adam, who was enraged by his wife’s laughter and did not want to admit that Uriel had talked him into something completely idiotic, beat Eve black and blue and finally forced her to tie an apron of fig leaves around her hips, and even went so far as to plait a second apron for her, which Eve had to wear over her breasts. The other archangels and angels, who had to listen to Eve’s wails when Adam struck her, covered their ears in horror and turned away in shock. Only Uriel smiled with satisfaction. Thus, for the first time, fear, violence, lies and resentment had entered the Garden of Eden.
Since that time Uriel and the human couple wandered through the Garden of Eden dressed in fig-leaf frocks, and none of the other archangels and angels dared to make fun of the fourth archangel in a similar way to Uriel before. They were all afraid of him.
After two orbits of the planet around its sun, Deum was suddenly back. ES brought disturbing news. During its explorations in the outer regions of the solar system, ES had come across a satanic scout. Deum had withdrawn as inconspicuously and quickly as possible, which had not been a problem for Him thanks to His incorporeality. Then ES had launched a diversionary manoeuvre from the neighbouring solar system and thus actually lured the satanic ship away from its home sun.
But Deum feared that the scout ship might have managed to drop a spy on their planet.
“Perhaps one of the angels is Satan in disguise,” Deum said to Gabriel, who had been the first to cross His path after His arrival. Gabriel had become Deum’s closest confidant since Uriel had poured scorn on His newest creation, Adam and Eve.
“But I’ll soon have that figured out,” Deum said, “I just have to go through Garden of Eden once and pay a little attention.”
“So, what’s the news here, Gabriel, my dear? Have Adam and Eve settled in well, or has Uriel continued to taunt them?”
Gabriel fussed a little and was about to start telling everything when Deum suddenly jumped up. He had discovered something strange through a crack in the door of the hut and rushed out. Outside, Uriel was strutting around with his fig-leaf apron tied around him. Deum seemed to be gasping for air, although ES obviously had no material body that needed air. ES said nothing, but had already seen through everything. Deum sped away and went in search of Adam and Eve. But Adam and his wife hid from the face of Deum under the trees in the garden. And Deum called to Adam and Eve, until they finally came out from behind a bush, completely intimidated, but covered with their aprons.
Full of anger and infinitely disappointed, ES looked at them, “Did I ever tell you to put on something so ridiculous?”
“No,” Adam stuttered, “but Uriel gave us this because we are so ugly.”
“How dare you call yourselves ugly when I created you?”
“You see!” Eva whined between them. “I’ve always told you! But you wouldn’t listen to me.” She wanted to tear her hair off.
“Don’t do that,” Deum drove at her sadly. “It’s too late for that now.”
ES grabbed Adam and Eve and dragged them behind him until they arrived at the square in the middle. Uriel was still there. It did not even try to hide from Deum. With a strangely triumphant, superior smile, it awaited its counterpart.
“So you think you have to oppose me?” said Deum with deep disappointment in his voice. “You who used to be closest to me? Don’t you know that nothing is hidden from me? That I have known for a long time that you have been constantly working against me for many orbits of this planet, trying to undermine and ridicule my authority? But now you have gone too far. Because of you, violence, fear and stupidity have entered the Garden of Eden. I will not tolerate it.”
Deum became terrible in His anger. Gabriel, who was closest to ES, saw how Deum’s aura began to glow bright red and the edges flickered like flames.
It addressed the two humans first: “You have been disobedient to me and more stupid than I can allow because you have let this idiot talk you into something so stupid,” with ES pointing first at Uriel and then at the fig leaf curls of Adam and Eve. “For two planetary orbits you have continually violated the society’s bylaws, which state that no covering or clothing of any kind is permitted in the Garden of Eden. You are banished from the Garden of Eden for all eternity. In the sweat of your face you shall eat your bread, and in pain you, Eve, shall bear your children.”
“And you, Uriel! Because you have done this, because you have violated my will and mocked me, you are cursed and expelled from the Garden of Eden. You are no longer an archangel!” With a snap of a finger, Uriel’s beautiful white wings fell away. “As a serpent you shall live out your life henceforth. You shall crawl on your belly and eat earth all your life, and I will put enmity between you and men.”
And with a fearful voice Deum said, “Thou art fallen from my favour! Away with you from my sight!”
But then something happened that seemed to surprise even Deum: Uriel, who had endured Deum’s outburst and cursing more or less unmoved and with a victorious smile, did not turn into a snake, but the transformation was even more horrifying for all the archangels and angels and for the two humans who watched, trembling in fear and shuddering: Slowly, enormous horns grew out of Uriel’s forehead, and his skin covered itself from head to toe with a reddish down! His bare feet also changed: they took on the shape of hooves, such as Gabriel had seen on some of the animals of this planet that Deum had called goats. An enormous tail grew from the lower half of Uriel’s back. A strange smell of pitch and sulphur suddenly permeated the air.
“A Satan!” Deum snapped. “So that’s where the spy is!”
Satan pressed a curse from between his lips and roared: “As long as I was able to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge alone, I was able to maintain my cover. But since these people are here and also eat from it, it is no longer enough. That is the only reason you have discovered me now.”
“What is your name?” cried Deum.
“I am Lucifer!” )
Slowly, it lowered its head with its two protruding horns, which would have done credit to any earthly longhorn cattle. Gabriel, who knew from Deum’s teachings that extremely effective energy emitters were hidden in the Satans’ horns, thought with regret that the beautiful Garden of Eden would now probably be completely destroyed. It did not worry about Deum, itself or the other archangels and angels, for they could neither be wounded nor killed. But the first human couple would certainly not survive the energy storm that would inevitably follow.
But Deum was not completely unprepared. ES still held a trump card. Apparently, in the millions of years since their arrival on this planet, ES had also found an effective means against the satanic energy beams against which they had previously been helpless.
A wave of Deum’s hand and a closed energy bubble formed around the unmasked Satan, on the inner wall of which the two powerful energy beams that he now emitted from his horns were reflected. And so the energy storm that Lucifer wanted to unleash against the Garden of Eden and the disturbed human couple now raged inside the bubble, where temperatures must have been like those inside the sun. When he saw that it had no effect and that he was merely getting uncomfortably hot, Lucifer gave up, but the energy bubble remained. Even a Satan could not be wounded or killed, but at least Lucifer looked a bit dishevelled after this heat bath. All his magnificent hair had been burnt away and, what was probably the greatest surprise, Lucifer’s horns had melted down to a pitiful remnant and now only resembled those of an ordinary cow! While the satanic organism was well protected against all harmful influences, the built-in energy emitters had obviously not withstood the heat of the sun.
Deprived of his only truly dangerous weapon, Lucifer was finished. Whimpering, he collapsed within the energy field and transformed into a large snake that crawled helplessly on the ground. Deum made the energy field disappear and spoke to Satan in a powerful voice:
“Get thee away, Satanas! Away with you and trouble us no more. And take with you the two people who have so willingly succumbed to your seduction. I will see them no more!”
All the lamenting and whimpering of Adam and Eve was of no use. While the giant lash of Lucifer meandered away unopposed, but with an evil eye on Deum, towards the only exit of the Garden of Eden, the people threw themselves at Deum’s feet and begged for mercy. But Deum no longer heeded them. Even Gabriel’s plea, who felt compassion for the human couple, achieved nothing with Deum. He had to lead Adam and Eve to the exit and send them away. Sadly, he beckoned to them once more, but when the people looked back longingly, the archangel appeared to them more powerful and fearsome than ever before, and his raised hand seemed to them like a flaming sword.
The rest of the story is well known.
And the moral of the story: it was not God who persuaded people that nudity was sinful, but the devil.
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