Monkey Business in the
Garden of Eden


IN THE BEGINNING, the Lord God made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. Then the Lord God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And Adam opened his eyes, and knew that he was alive. And the Lord made Eve, and presented her to Adam, and he could hardly believe his eyes. And the Lord planted a garden in Eden and set Adam and Eve in the garden, and taught them how to till the ground to grow food. And the Lord said to Adam and Eve, “All that you see, my hands have made. Be grateful, worship and obey me, and it will go well with you.”

Scene One

The serpent: Hi, Adam and Eve. How goes it?

Eve: Just fine, thanks. Who are you?

The serpent: Just consider me your best friend. Tell me, where did you come from?

Adam: The Lord God made us.

The serpent: The Who?

Eve: The Lord.

The serpent: Not you too. Wherever I go throughout this vast universe, many smart beings like yourself want to believe that “someone” made them. You really need to grow up.

Eve: What do you mean?

Adam: Yes, what are you on about? One minute I didn't exist, and the next thing I know this magnificent person is telling me he made me, and then made Eve, too. Why should I doubt it?

The serpent: It was just a hallucination; your brain, sad to say, has obviously evolved a God spot. It's a bit of a two-edged sword, really; believing in a higher power and a purpose in life will help you weather the trials of life, but such a power doesn't really exist.

Adam and Eve: Well, where did we come from, then? You tell us.

The serpent: See that semi-erect, bipedal, tailless primate over there in the top of the palm tree? You know, the one you named Pongo pongo. Look, she's waving at you.

Eve: Yes. We see her. Adam, wave back, she's smiling at you.

The serpent: Well, Eve, she's your great, great, great, great grandmother. She had a mutant offspring who was your great, great, great grandfather. Actually, I'm not really telling the full truth here. That happened thousands of generations and millions of years ago, but your newly-developed brain might have trouble grasping such big numbers. Anyway, to cut a long story short, ancestors of that upright, bipedal, tailless primate in the top of the palm tree had mutant offspring that were a little bit more upright, which had mutant offspring that were even more upright, that had mutant offspring that could talk and, lo, here you are.

Adam: You're pulling our leg.

The serpent:Not at all. It's God's truth.

Eve: Well, where did Adam come from?

The serpent: Ah. Well. Let's not get picky. But let me put it this way. Which do you find more logical? That some intelligent being created you both or that you developed from mutating, semi-upright, bipedal, tailless primates that fell out of trees that descended from one of those cute little tree shrews that screech around here at night which descended from a primitive creature that became extinct a long time ago which descended from a labyrinthodont which descended from a jawless fish that got stranded as sea levels fell which descended from a stromatolite that lost its ability to make food for itself which formed when lightning struck the sea? On second thoughts, don't answer that. Anyway, the point is, you must get out of your head all notions that you were created.

Eve: Well, we ask again, where did we come from?

The serpent: Ah. Well. Um. The big bang. Yes, the big bang!

Adam: Come again.

The serpent: Well, once upon a time there was an infinite number of infinitely dense singularities which all accidentally exploded creating all these parallel universes which all operate on different mathematical systems. Obviously, billions of years later, a proportion of these infinite universes are naturally going to naturally produce a number of semi-upright, bipedal, tailless primates that… well, it stands to reason… will eventually lead to you. Why don't you go give Pongo over there a hug and thank her for existing; after all, if she didn't, you probably wouldn't. Of course, maybe a lungfish would eventually have mutated enough to produce sufficient variation for natural selection to make you by some other route.

Eve: You've got to be kidding. Believe me, when Adam explodes nothing good comes from it.

The serpent: I know it all sounds rather bizarre, but you've got to believe me. Would I ever dream of misleading you, I'm your friend! Look, the truth I have just explained is the only possible scientific explanation. Let us experts worry about the serious problems of how it all happened. Grow up, cast away your supernatural bias, and start looking at the world scientifically. Look, have I got a gift for you. Let me give you both a pair of science-tinted spectacles. Wear them all the time. You'll be able to see the tiniest motes of life with them on and to look out into the night sky and see all kinds of heavenly wonders. And should you ever have another of those God hallucinations, just close your eyes, put on these glasses, and it will go away. Promise me that you will give them a try.

Adam and Eve: O.K. You are our friend, and we know you want to make our lives better and better. After all, what has the Lord God ever done for us?

Scene Two

Eve: Oh, Adam, look at that gorgeous sunset. Doesn't it make you feel a bit romantic? Wasn't the Lord good to give us such a beautiful end to the day? I guess he did do something good for us after all. And that blue sky today was just priceless.

Adam: Well, Eve, I can understand why you say that. But why don't you put on your science-tinted glasses. They're really spectacular. I'm so grateful to the serpent for giving them to us; now I really get inspired by sunsets. Go on, put them on and tell me what you see.

Eve: Ah, I see what you mean. I see the sunlight coming in at a very steep angle, having to traverse much more atmosphere than it does when it's high in the sky. Oh, Adam, look, look. Can you see all those suspended dust particles scattering the light? Oh, look at that. It would seem that somehow all the colors except red are getting filtered out. Yes, yes, I see it. Hallelujah. Surely the Lord could never have been smart enough to come up with that idea. And to think he wanted us to give him the credit. Now we know it's the dust particles that do it. Adam, isn't the big bang amazing?

Adam: Yes, Eve. And if you had worn your science-tinted glasses today you would have seen why the sky is blue, too. It's got nothing to do with an intelligent designer; it can all be explained by natural means. With these glasses on, you could even unweave a rainbow, if such a thing existed.

Eve: Well, Adam, I can understand better now why you say that. But on the other hand, I'm not so sure about all this. Maybe the Lord God actually was smart enough to have made science work the way it does when, as he claims, he created everything. I mean, if he is really brilliant he could have figured out the bit about dust particles and sunset. I don't know; maybe our friend is hissing up the wrong tree. Anyway, take off your glasses and let's be romantic for a while.

Adam: Oh, Eve, you are so naïve. You are letting that God spot deceive you. You know, since I started wearing those glasses I have come to understand why I love you.

Eve: I already know why you love me. You told me once.

Adam: No. no. I mean the real reason why I love you. It hit me the other day when I was gazing into that puddle behind the kitchen and watching the antics of those amoebae. Boy, do I love these glasses. Anyway, just imagine where we would be if that first boy amoeba hadn't been attracted to that cute little filly with all those sexy pseudopods. I mean, their DNA could never have co-mingled to produce all those cute little ones that were all a little bit different from Ma and Pa amoeba and from each other thus producing the raw materials for natural selection to work on.

Eve: But I thought our friend said it was mutations that produced the variations.

Adam: Don't worry about it, Eve. It's too complicated for me to figure out. Anyway, it's obvious why I find you attractive. Natural selection has ensured that we Homo sapiens not only all have a God spot in our brains, but that we males of our species are hard-wired to find you females attractive. And don't you think I'm quite a hunk, too? Without such attraction old Pongo over there could never evolve into more of us people. Love is all a matter of neurons and hormones. With these glasses on, all the puzzling things that I thought must be magically-done have a scientific explanation. We don't need to call on divine creation by the Lord God to fill the gaps anymore.

Eve: Oh, Adam, I just love it when you talk scientific.

Scene Three

The Lord: Adam, Eve, I want to talk with you. Who has deceived you that you should reject me?

Eve: We are not deceived. Since our friend gave us some science-tinted spectacles, we now see that flowers aren't beautiful because you designed them, but because our post-Pongo ancestors mutated to produce a spot in our brain that interprets certain geometrical shapes and colors as if they are beautiful. Otherwise we would find it hard to endure such an ugly world. We have been liberated. We now think rationally instead of superstitiously. You didn't make everything, the big bang did. And we are really grateful we now know the truth. It has given us a whole new way of looking at the world. Since you didn't make everything, you have no right to try and tell us how to live. Hmm. I think I'll go and have some of that fruit.

The Lord: So that's it, is it? You are determined to give the credit that is due to me to this big bang, mutations and natural selection, are you?

Adam: Of course, what other explanation can there be? The spontaneous creation of matter and of life are the only scientific explanation. And besides, you are not really here. You are only a hallucination. Get out of my garden. You don't exist.

And using ignorance, blasphemy, sinfulness and foolishness as his weapons, Adam drove the Lord out of his garden.

Scene Four

The serpent: See, I told you God was a figment of your imagination. If he really existed, he would never have let you throw him out.

Adam: You're right, Sir Hiss, but I think you are only a hallucination, too. But because you are our friend and we like you, and know that you are on the side of truth, you are welcome to stay in our garden.

Eve: Yes, and thank you for setting us straight. How good it is to know the truth.


And Adam and Eve set up “God Not Welcome” signs all around the perimeter of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the garden — just in case he did exist.

And they both lived ignorantly ever after.

See also No-God of the no-gaps and Why the sky is blue

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