“So, um…Lord? God? Sounds a bit formal. But I mean you created me from dust and all, so dad doesn’t sound great either. Father…er…hey thanks for putting me in this garden. It’s gorgeous I have to say. I mean I don’t know much about…well anything yet, but I imagine it has everything a guy could need.”
“Yeah don’t worry about that Adam you’re set up pretty good here. This is basically paradise. I’ve put the Tree of Life here, you will literally never die here and you can just enjoy it forever. Oh and I also put the…” God speaks really low in a mumble, “…ledge here as well…ood…evil” mumble mumble, “…perish..”, speaks really fast, “Don’t touch it. Okay and moving on.”
“Lord. God. I…er, didn’t catch what you just said there. What else did you put here. It sort of fell apart after you told me about the Tree of Life.”
“The Tree of Good and, er, Evil.” God looks sideways with feigned innocence.
“The what? Good and Evil?”
“Yeah, bit of a nasty tree really. I know seems a bit incongruous with the whole everlasting life and paradise vibe, but it sort of contains wisdom, knowledge, sort of gives you a lot of my ability to learn from your mistakes and improve and get smarter over time so you’ll become more and more like me. Listen, I don’t recommend it. You eat the fruit and you’ll die. Really moving on.”
In the commanding voice of God, “MOVING ON!”
“Alright, alright.” Adam hangs his head down.
God shifts uncomfortably, “Sorry about that, but the truth is that we really have…or er…rather you have a lot of work to do. Okay, confession time. You know how I’m all-powerful and all-knowing yeah? I mean I can literally make anything happen. But, the thing is, I’m not exactly good at everything. Does that make sense?”
“No, but I was literally just created, and I’m not allowed to eat from a certain tree.”
“Alright, alright, point taken. Well let’s say you know a lot of stuff, but even knowing all that stuff it can be hard to convince somebody of your point of view. Oh or, let’s say I know everything there is to know about carpentry, you know like I read all about it in a book, you know…book smart, but in general I’m just not very good at it. Can’t build a table to save my life. Fortunately I can just think it into existence and it happens, thus I appear to be a master carpenter, but if I actually had to do the work, the results would be terrible.”
Adam with all the confidence of a young child who wants his father to think he is smart replies, “I think I understand, especially if I knew what carpentry was! Or a book!”
“Yeah, um…well one thing I’m very good at is creating. I’ve created a lot of things on this planet, beasts of burden, all manner of wild animals, birds. I’m pretty certain I made the insects too, it just doesn’t seem to have been overly intentional. Well anyway, here’s the thing Adam. Your Lord and God, just isn’t very good at deciding what they should be called. And if I’m completely honest, I kind of feel my time is better spent thinking about other things. I mean my consciousness is pretty massive and can do a lot of important stuff. Do you know what I’m getting at son?”
Adam smiles sweetly and shakes his head.
“Well Adam, you are going to have to name every living thing I created.”
Adam’s jaw drops. “Wait…Father. This doesn’t make any sense. You named me just fine!”
“Actually your name is just a bit of word play, it actually means ‘earth’ as I made you out of dirt. You see? Not terribly inventive.”
“Wait my name means dirt!?”
“Well it also mean red-skin, for the color of your skin. Words sort of have lots of meaning. Ambiguity is something you are going to LOVE! Either way, you’ll admit that my names are far too logical and less than inspirational. So anyway, here’s your etching tool,” God blinks his eyes in a fun and magical way, “and there is a pile of stone tablets to write on. In case you want to make any notes.”
“Oh my, God, there are thousands of tablets there!”
“Yeah, well you know everything is provided for you. And everybody needs a job. Purpose is important Adam. I created this whole universe for you, so it seems only reasonable that you could do this for me. Right?” God grins unconvincingly.
“I don’t know anything about naming either!”
“Hey I’m not completely abandoning you, you don’t have to go and find all the creatures. I’ll bring them before you. Watch them behave a little bit and I have a feeling that your creativity will kick in and you’ll come up with a great name. You’re my greatest creation after all. I know you won’t let me down. Consider yourself the first biologist!”
“Alright, enough with the pep talk Father. Let’s get to work.”
After several days…
“May fly, fruit fly, black fly, horse fly…”
“Why horse fly?”
“Don’t know, don’t care. Tsetse fly, dragon fly…”
“What is a dragon?”
“No idea. Crane fly, sandfly, mosquito, midge”
Several more days…
“Oryx, lynx, ibex, fox, minx…”
“You seem to be using a lot of x’s there.”
“Yeah, I get on a streak, it flows.”
“But that doesn’t sound all too inspired. I mean I could have done that.”
“The thought never occurred to me Father. Pelican, Pigeon, Penguin, Puffin.”
Several more days…
“Weasel, beaver, otter…”
“Great pace Adam. You’re knocking them down one every 10 seconds we’ve hit near 300,000 of these things, we should be done, in about a week or two.”
“Father, I’m running out of names. I’m literally just trying to alternate vowel and consonant sounds to come up with names. I just called something an el-eph-ant. I’m lost at sea over here.”
A look of “Uh oh” washes over God’s face.
“Well as it turns out, I completely forgot about all the animals in the sea. I’m think it might be a bit longer than week or two.” God gives a sheepish grin, which he can now do since Adam already named one of the animals a sheep.
A couple of months go by (It is not clear that months had been defined for the lunar or solar calendar at this point, but one can be certain that for Adam it was a very, very, long 2 months).
“Well done Adam!” God quickly reads through all the tablets and makes a mental note (God can do those sorts of things and remember it)
Adam asks in a beleaguered voice, “So what now father. Do I get to wander the world and see these animals in their native habitats?”
“Er, no, you’ll be staying here. But you’ll get to hang out with the near 100 species that are in the garden!”
“One hundred?! Well why did I bother naming all these animals I won’t even see? I’m the only person around to even see ANY animal!”
“Calm down. I’ve got great news for you, quite related to that point actually. I’m going to make you a helper!”
“I just named like 8 million animals, and NOW you decide to bring me a helper!?”
“The stress is getting to you son. Probably should have let you have a day of rest. I did give myself one after all. I might be omnipotent, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good nap. Although I can assure you that creating the universe was much harder. Anyway, yes in retrospect it would have been more useful to do this last task as a bigger team, but I assure you, you’ll forget all about that when you see her!”
“Quiet son, your Lord God is going to do a little surgery.”
God applies His divine anesthetic and Adam falls into a deep sleep.