The Bible in our house was on a shelf beside Stories of the Bible, which I’d read by the time I was twelve. I wondered what manna tasted like, why people didn’t live as long as Adam or Methuselah, found it hard to understand why Abraham was willing to kill Jacob, and thought about the animals on Noah’s Ark living together for forty days and forty nights. I assumed God fed everybody and kept the wolves from eating the sheep, like he did in the Garden of Eden where everybody lived happily together until He let the serpent loose to mess it up. When I grew older I decided that the pre-serpent Garden of Eden was a vision of how the world could really be. Seventy-plus years later, I still think so.
I enjoyed growing up in a three-generational family, but my own family was nuclear. When the kids left, we got cats and I realized that I had the power to create an Eden for them. It had to be more than food and a warm bed. There must be love and they must never know fear. Adam and Eve feared God, of course, but no one feared any other resident in Eden. My cats and I were residents, and I wanted them to fear nothing inside their private Eden, in which we too could live.
But the outside world was a mess, an unholy jungle, everybody scaring the hell out of everybody, threatening, stealing, fighting, maiming, killing, and doing every crime. Why did God let it get so bad? I don’t believe a word of the spouting fools and con artists who purport to know, yet the sorry state of Earth only strengthens my conviction that Eden is the future, if not of this Earth, then some other, circling some other Sun. Science says that there is an infinite multiverse of universes, and infinity can be divided infinite times and every part is infinite, so you can be sure that some of those—an infinite number in fact—do achieve Eden.
And I haven’t given up on our Earth. There’s hideous evil in it, good heavens! you can’t avoid it, but our two cats live in their own little Eden, and I live in the certainty that an Eden for Humano Sapiens and all God’s creatures is in the future, even if far far far down the road.