Long ago, before dinosaurs roamed the earth, and before lakes of oil pooled below the ocean floor, there was a great king.
No one knows where this king came from, or what he did before giving us the greatest story ever told. All we know about him began when he appeared with a vision for a free world that would share his life and happiness. What follows is his story—and ours.
BY HIS WORDS
The king’s first act was to make a place for his plan to unfold. With power no one can explain, he gave a command and the universe exploded into existence. Later, as a newborn planet cooled under the cover of water and darkness, the king said, “Let there be light,” and the darkness ran from him.1
While most of the cosmos remained barren and empty, the king reached down and lifted vast islands from the deep waters that covered his chosen planet. Then he transformed the dry ground into a paradise of rain forests and grasslands. He made high mountains, deep valleys, and white sandy beaches. He designed environments of enormous complexity. With unending attention to detail, the king filled the earth with color, texture, sound, and fragrance. By everything he made, he showed the breadth of his personality and greatness.
With endless wisdom and insight he filled the air, land, and oceans with living creatures of every shape and kind. From camels to chimpanzees, from microscopic insects to giant redwood forests, the king designed an endless variety of plants and animals.
In all that he did, the king showed his ability to make something out of nothing and to bring order out of chaos. By the immensity and complexity of his universe, he showed that nothing is too large or too small to escape his attention or concern.
IN HIS LIKENESS
To put the finishing touch on all he had made, the king reached down and took a handful of clay. Under his gaze the lump of earth took shape. Then the king breathed his likeness into the form, and it became a man.2
As the man’s eyes opened, the mist and soft light of first dawn filled him with wonder. Everything was new. The air was clean. The colors and fragrances were fresh and gentle.
As he walked among the trees, the king’s likeness sensed that all eyes were on him. He caught the gaze of a white-tailed deer that stopped grazing to look up. He reached out to stroke the coat of a wolf that came to greet him. He laughed as a lamb pushed the wolf aside and rubbed its head against his leg.
As the man became familiar with the garden, he grew in his admiration for the wisdom and creativity of the king. There seemed to be no end to the king’s imagination and goodness.
“All of these are mine,” the king said. “I’m entrusting them to you.3 Care for them and you will see how I’ve cared for you.”
BY HIS LOVE
For a while, the caretaker basked in the solitude of his work. At some point, however, he became aware of an emptiness within himself. Even though he enjoyed regular visits with the king and was surrounded by friendly birds and animals, he had no one like himself to share the emotions of discovery and wonder.4
The king understood the caretaker’s loneliness. But instead of taking another handful of earth, he put his likeness to sleep, removed something from around the man’s heart, and from it formed a second likeness.5
When the caretaker woke and saw what the king had given him, he smiled. The second likeness smiled back. They were alike, but they were different. They laughed at their ability to see what the other overlooked. Before long they were enjoying together the work the king had given them to do.
These were good days for the first couple. They had a wonderful relationship with the king and with each other. On balmy evenings they all walked together among the trees the king had placed under their care.6