The only person in existence.
Utterly alone, amidst nothing but the waving grass in the growing sunlight, I ran for hours. At one point I saw a forest of enormous trees rise up to my left, but I didn't stop, didn't feel like I could ever stop running from Eve.
I want to die.
When my strength finally gave, I collapsed at the shore of a massive river.
My face crashed into the mud at its bank. I simply lay still for a moment, trying to find something, anything, to grasp at, to make myself feel whole again.
I need to die.
Suddenly I felt a familiar shakiness wrack my body. I was beginning to recognize it as the sign of an impending vision. I screwed my eyes shut tightly against it and curled up in the filthy silt. I wanted no more scenes of death and decay. There was enough of that working its way through my veins and arteries. Decay shuffled through my lungs, was the air I breathed and the blood pumping in my heart.
I deserve to die!
But the engines of prophecy were not slowed by my efforts, and I was soon swept into another time and place.
Water washes over me in a torrent that brings me to my knees. I try to stand and merely slip, my body crashing against the hard wooden deck of an enormous ship as mighty as a mountain. Confused thoughts begin to pile up as I struggle to keep from being washed away. It is as if the blue sky is nothing but water held back by a veil of Yahweh's design.
A veil that is now torn away, allowing an ocean to crash down upon the earth. I can't see, I can't stand, I can't even breathe.
As the water has it's way with me, I can hear the lowing of a strange beast from within the depths of the ship that is holding me above the water, meaning there must be animals inside. I barely have time to process this thought before water fills my lungs…
"Such is the power of God, to make a grown man weaker than an infant."
Still curled up in the mud, I came back from the vision coughing and gasping for air. The angel's voice found me with lungs miraculously clear and ears empty of water.
I simply lay there on my back and ignored him, still sputtering raggedly for air. A seed of rebellion blossomed in my heart, into a flower thick with thorns. I wanted to blame him for what I'd done to my wife. I wanted to blame God.
You gave me life.
"Eventually," the angel continued gravely, not waiting for me to acknowledge him, "the wickedness of your children will bring about the destruction of the entire planet. More water than the world has ever seen or ever will see again shall fall in a rain that will mark the end of civilization."
Why didn't you make me stronger, Lord?
"The only hope for humanity will be placed in the hands of a man named Noah, a man who loves God the way you will teach your sons to love God, and the way their sons will teach their sons to love God."
Why is life so hard?
The man, the angel sighed. "Come away from there, Adam. I've much to teach you about the way of things."
I didn't want to hear a word he had to say. I am stained. There is no hope for me. I tilted my head back without lifting it and caught a glimpse of the river raging behind me, and thoughts of drowning filled my mind.
Another sigh. "Of course you're stained. That stain is called sin. I told you, you've been sealed for eternal damnation. When you die, you'll be devoured by the flames of hell and rot in your sin forever."
I cried out in anguish and began to drag myself towards the river
"It takes death to cleanse the stain."
"Then let me die!" I roared, finally speaking. I was at the very edge of the water now. The ground grew softer, absorbing my hands.
"Drowning in the Euphrates will do you no good! It takes innocent blood!" his voice began to rise, as if he were panicked I might actually kill myself. You must have innocent blood covering you before you die!"
I stopped, and looked up at him for the first time. He was less than ten feet away, his handsome features controlled and calm as before.
"I don't understand." I said, still close enough to the river that its spray washed over me. "What innocent blood? Eve and I are both guilty. We stole the fruit, she spoke to me with hatred. I…"
I had to stop for a moment. "…I hurt her." I said softly. I gently pushed myself away from the water and stood.
"I need to die." I whispered. But still, I hesitated on the water's edge.
"If death is what it will take to help you see, then I suppose you will have to die after all," the angel said, walking up behind me. He gave me a mighty shove and I fell face-first into the water, and this time, the water that my lungs absorbed was real.
As soon as the breathtakingly chill water of the Euphrates wrapped me into its folds, my body began to shake, and a brilliant vision lit up in my head as bright as if the sun were being born all over again.
This time was different. I left my cold, drowning body far behind and floated high into the air. As I soared upward, above the river, the air seemed to change, to shimmer and take on a silvery quality. When I looked below me, I saw the earth itself changing. Buildings rose and fell, or remained and grew old and dilapidated.
I began to descend. There were no people, but roads spread themselves across the plains, and towns sprouted like unfolding flowers. I didn't see any animals, but sometimes I saw their bones. The skeletons of horses, dogs, birds, and once the hulking bones of an elephant.
I saw the river Euphrates flood its banks and withdraw, I saw rains fall soaking the ground, saw grass wither and die, everything moving at an unnaturally fast pace, years seemingly flying by before my eyes.
The buildings began to change, over time. Little tents and cabins eventually gave way to great walled castles and towers that soared into the sky, like little man made mountains.
I saw the flood the angel told me about. The water surrounded me, and rose hundreds of feet over my head till I should have been drowned or crushed or both, but I didn't feel a thing. I simply stood there and watched great fish the size of small buildings float where they didn't belong.
And then the waters withdrew, and after a time, buildings came back, even more elaborate and ornate than those that came before. And taller. One tower in particular soared so high into the air I couldn't see its top. At least, I couldn't see it until it came tumbling down in the firestorm Yahweh had shown me in a previous vision.
After what had to have been a couple thousand years, things began to get crazy, and suddenly the time and place would change without warning. I would be watching a thousand men armed to the teeth tearing down an emerald green countryside on horseback one second and then the ornately dressed warriors would vanish and I would be floating in the air, staring through the windows of a great contraption shaped like a bird that carried people through the air.
I saw great stone pyramids, gray roads filled with zipping vehicles that looked like shiny beetles, an immense green statue of a lady presiding over an ocean, with an upraised torch, I saw people killing each other, brutal wars that left land bloodstained or pitted or both or worse, I saw countless little petty abuses and kindnesses, death and pain and murder and theft, all roaring by too quick to take in.
Eventually it all slowed to a halt, and I was finally able to get my bearing. But I wasn't back. Instead of the river Euphrates, I seemed to be standing on a dusty hill that looked painfully, blisteringly hot.
There was a jeering, jostling crowd standing around what looked like three crucified men that had just been executed. Three crosses stood baking in the sun, the poor men pinned to them as still as stone. But then after a moment, the one in the middle stirred.
He lifted his head and let out a loud cry and then sagged.
My heart jumped. I don't know how I knew, but I knew, knew that somehow this man had died because of all that I had done. He had been the payment, the angel's innocent blood.
That was God who died right there.
I closed my eyes, unable to absorb all I'd seen. When I opened them again, I was back on the river bank, the angel standing behind me. I turned and looked him in the eye.
"Time to get to work, farmer." He said with a grin.
He put his arm around me, walking me away from the river and back towards faraway Eve.
A thought occurred to me as we left, a thought simultaneously wonderful and terrifying.
God will walk the earth again.