Welcome to Eden

Tie Li felt the box begin to vibrate and sway back and forth, as if it were hanging from a long rope. She glanced up at Tony. His eyes and fingers moved in complex rhythms among the screens, dials,
and relay switches.

The walls of Voyager seemed to pulsate with an eerie and beautiful blue light. Tie Li reached out and touched a panel of instruments beside her left arm. Her hand detected no heat, yet the panel was
beginning to glow with a soft white light. A sound like a strong wind filled the confines of the wooden structure, but she could feel no breeze playing around her hair.

“Hold on, Tie Li,” she heard Tony shout over the ever-increasing roar that built around them. “We’ll be hitting the time wall any second now!”

The words had barely left his lips when suddenly Voyager seemed to slam into something very hard. Tie Li cried out and fought to keep her balance, while Tony braced himself against the shock and
continued manipulating the keys and switches that crowded the wall before him. “It’s OK, Tie Li,” he said, not looking in her direction, “The worst is over now. We’re almost there.”

The vibrations began to lessen, and the swaying sensation diminished into an occasional stagger. Normal colors returned to the wood and metal parts of the machine. The wind sound softened into
silence. With a final bump, Voyager stopped moving altogether and became very still.

Tony let out a long sigh and quietly closed a relay switch above his head. Turning to Tie Li, he spoke in a voice not much above a whisper. “We’re here.”

Tie Li looked toward the door. Sunlight flooded in through the cracks in the wood. She could hear the sounds of nature carried along on the occasional breeze that passed by outside. Voyager rocked on
its base as each gentle gust whistled through the wooden slats. “Where here?” Tie Li didn’t move.

Tony unfolded a tiny bench that had been stowed against the wall behind him and pointed toward a chart above his head as he sat down. “The Book calls it Eden–the Garden of Eden, to be exact.”

“What is here for us to see?” Tie Li stared up at the chart. “WhyVoyager come here?”

“The Book says that God created this earth, the whole earth, and that He made a garden for man to live in.”

“God?” Tie Li looked at her brother. “You say God created the earth?”

“That’s what the Book says.”

“Then I don’t like God.” Tie Li’s face clouded in anger. “The world filled with hate and death. The world not good. I don’t like God. He–”

Tony interrupted the girl’s growing rage. “No, wait, Tie Li! The Book says there were no hate and death when God created the world. There was no evil at all, only love and life. Death came later. The
Garden of Eden had only love in it. No one was supposed to die, not ever.”

Tie Li sat listening, her mind trying to picture a world without death.

“That’s why I brought you here, to see a world where no one hurts anybody. I wanted you to see it.” Tony reached across the small space that separated them. “Will you come with me, little sister?”

Tie Li took the outstretched hand in hers and nodded. “I want to see a world where no one dies,” she said. “I want to live in this world.”

“No, Tie Li, we can’t live here. We can only look at it. You see, we’re really not part of this world; we’re only visiting. No one will see us or hear us, not even the animals. It’s like we’re looking at a
three-dimensional motion picture. Yes, we can walk around in this world and feel the breeze and hear what’s going on, but we’re not part of it. We’re only visiting. Voyager will give us two hours here,
then we have to return to our own world again. Do you understand?”

Tie Li looked toward the door again. “I understand, Tony,” she said simply. “I only visit.”

“That’s right,” Tony said, stowing his bench. “Let’s go, little sister.”

As the door of Voyager slowly swung open, Tie Li and Tony both lifted their hands to their eyes, trying to ward off the brilliant sunlight that flooded the dark recesses of the machine. As their eyes
grew more accustomed to the strong daylight, they began to make out the gently rolling form of the land as it fell away toward the horizon. Voyager had settled on the top of a small rise.

Close by, a stream gurgled from the ground and ran haphazardly down the hill, finally flowing into a wide pond whose sparkling waters nestled against the forest.

The songs of a hundred birds filled the air with melody as feathered choristers swept the blue sky with their wings. Down along the shore, a deer drank deep from the cool waters.

“Oh, Tony!” Tie Li kept repeating the words as the beauty she beheld rippled through her senses. “Oh, Tony, oh, Tony!”

Her brother stood in the doorway of Voyager, unable to fully fathom the wonders before him. He seemed transfixed by the sight, as if in a dream. No words would surface in his mind, only
astonishment and unspeakable delight.

In the pasture beside the little lake, several animals moved gracefully among the flowers that spread red and yellow rivers of color over the green carpet of grass. The trees, not to be outdone by the
fields and grasslands, lifted shining leaves into the sky, allowing their silver undersides full access to the sun’s rays as the wind rustled among the branches.

Tony finally spoke, his words choked with emotion. “No sin–there is no sin here! God made this world. God made it all.”

Tie Li sank to her knees in the soft grass. “Look, Tony,” she whispered, running her hand along the velvet-smooth vegetation, “there are no weeds, no thorns, no brown, dying leaves. Only life; only
good things.”

Tony walked slowly away from the machine and sat down beside his sister. “Look at the forest, Tie Li.” He pointed in the direction of the lake and pasture. “Look at the animals, the birds, the flowers.
Everything is perfect, so very perfect. God created the world without one mistake in it.”

Tie Li studied the scene before her, letting its loveliness completely saturate her mind.

Tony continued. “The Book says that He made all this in six days and that He said it was good. Then He rested on the seventh day.”

“He rested?” Tie Li looked surprised. “God rested?”

“It says that He blessed the seventh day and said that everyone should rest on that day. It seems strange to me. Why would the God who made this whole world tell everyone to rest on the seventh day?”

Suddenly Tony and Tie Li heard a voice in the wind that blew from the lake. Their conversation stopped immediately as they strained to hear more. They didn’t have long to wait. Two figures emerged
from the forest, walking slowly along the water’s edge. A soft light shone from them as if their skin were made of a luminescent cloth.

Tie Li and Tony moved down the hill toward the couple, the boy grasping his sister’s hand. Quietly they made their way closer to the pair walking along the shore. Their voices carried clearly in the cool
air. “He said He would meet us here,” the tall man was saying to his companion. “We’ll wait for Him beside the lake.”

Tie Li could not take her eyes from the woman. Her face was radiant, with no blemish or scar. In her eyes shone only love and joy, no fear or worry, no hunger, no thought of pain. She moved with
grace among the wet rocks that lined the water’s edge. She was by far the most beautiful woman Tie Li had ever seen.

“Eve.” Tony answered her unspoken question. “That’s Adam and Eve, earth’s first people. God created them, too, on the same day He created all the animals. The Book says He formed them in His own
image. It says that this whole world was made for them to live in and care for. He told them to have lots of children so the world would be filled with people as perfect and loving as they were.”

Just then another Being emerged from the trees and walked toward the waiting couple. Tony drew in a sharp breath.

“What’s wrong, Tony?” Tie Li cried in alarm. “Who that other person?”

“Tie Li, that must be God, the Creator, the One who made all of this!”

The Being joined the couple by the lake. His manner demonstrated a deep love for the handsome creatures He called by name. They smiled and laughed together until the shadows of evening stretched
across the waters, their happy voices mingling with the sounds of nature that echoed from the forest and fields.

Tony and Tie Li sat listening and watching, totally captivated by the joy shining from the faces of the three beings by the shore, especially the face of the third Person. As the sun began to slip behind
the horizon, the Creator put His arms around the shoulders of His two companions and spoke in a soft, loving voice. “Adam, Eve, it’s time now for the Sabbath to begin. I created this day so that you,
your children, and your children’s children would take time to remember Me and not forget who made this world and everything in it. The Sabbath is not to be a day like the others. It’s a special day, a
holy day. Whenever you keep My Sabbath holy, you are telling Me and those around you that you remember. I am pleased by your praise. My greatest joy comes from hearing you call My name in
love.” With that, the three slowly walked toward the forest and disappeared among the trees.

“Tony?” Tie Li broke the evening silence.

“Yes, little sister?”

Tie Li continued to gaze in the direction of the forest. “That God could not create hate or death. I know. I can tell. He loves Adam and Eve. He loves the world. What happened? What made everything

A beep sounded from the watch on Tony’s arm. Glancing at the numbers on the timepiece, Tony got up quickly and offered his hand to Tie Li. “Come, we have to go. Our time is up.”

As they climbed the hill toward Voyager, Tie Li and Tony walked in silence. Just before entering the machine, they both looked again at the scene surrounding them. With reluctance, they entered
Voyager and closed the door. Soon there was no evidence that two children had ever visited the spot.

Down below, in the pasture, there was a movement among the branches of one of the trees. As darkness wrapped the world in night, the creature stirred in its leafy loft. The children had not seen
everything that lived in the garden.

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Welcome to Eden

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