Adam and Steve
by Toby Johnson
In my books Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and
Transformation of Consciousness and Gay Perspective: Things our
[homo]sexuality tells us about the nature of God and the Universe and
maybe especially in my sci-fi novel Secret
Matter, I argue that gay people's spiritual path has to
lead through their
homosexuality (not in spite of it) if it is to be successful in
changing their lives. The goal of spirituality, after all, is to
experience being in heaven now. One's spiritual path should lead one to
greater joy, bliss, happiness, and acceptance of life right now.
There are multiple ways
to understand one's sexuality and homosexuality in positive ways. What
I have written about in my books is how to think about the nature of
homosexuality itself in a positive, spiritual light, to see your
homosexuality as an important part of your spiritual journey.
One way to think of homosexuality is as an experience
of human consciousness "before" the division into male and female.
In mythological terms, one might say homosexual
orientation--and modern day gay and queer, consciousness--derive from
an Edenic state before "original sin."
In the metaphoric language of
myth, you might ask: "Where were the homosexuals in the Garden of
Well, we frequently hear Christian preachers deride gay
people's struggle for equality and fairness by joking that God
created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
Well, maybe they're wrong. Maybe He did.
The Book of Genesis begins with
story of how the gods, referred to in the plural as the elohim,
created the cosmos in six days, creating human beings on the sixth
day and then resting on the seventh. The story then goes on tell how
a particular God, referred to in the singular by the unpronounceable
Hebrew name YHWH, who seemed in charge of sending rain, wanted a
gardener for his Garden on the east side of the Fertile Crescent called
In the second chapter of Genesis, this God YHWH formed
a man out of the dust to be His
YHWH was a strict and demanding God and set a rule for this gardener
He'd made that he could eat any of the fruit in the Garden except the
fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And He instructed
him to give names to everything in the Garden. As we know, the
gardener named the Garden Eden.
What isn't mentioned in the second chapter of Genesis
there were other people in Mesopotamia. That was told in the creation
story in the first chapter. Before Adam, the elohim had created human
beings, male and females, and they followed instructions and went forth
In fact, just down the road from
Eden, this creative myth we're making up here tells us, there lived a
cute young fellow.
Let's call him Clay because he was probably born from the dust of the
like YHWH's gardener. But he wasn't created by YHWH. He was created
by the elohim. Since the elohim were plural, among them were
masculine and feminine gods, that is powers and spirits of creativity
and intellectual acuity and also powers and spirits of receptivity
and feeling sensitivity.
As it says in that first chapter of Genesis, the elohim
man in their own image, that is, both masculine and feminine. The
text in Chapter 1, line 27 says in the image of God He created him,
male and female He created him. The writers of ancient Hebrew weren't
sophisticated enough to understand the distinction between gender and
sex, so when they wanted to say the first man was masculine and
feminine, they said he was male and female.
This was Clay, the cute young fellow who lived down the
from Eden, who was both masculine and feminine.
Modern day Scripture scholars
explain that the two different creation narratives in the first and
second chapters of Genesis, first by the elohim and second by YHWH,
are actually two separate traditions in the development of Hebrew
Scripture. The Northern Kingdom of Israel called its God by the more
abstract, philosophical plural term, while the Southern Kingdom of
Juda called God by the more personal and homey YHWH. The elohim
create by word and thought. YHWH, the more personal in spite of His
difficult name, created by shaping dust and breathing into it; He
walks in the Garden with his creation, a kindly fellow though also a
strict and demanding employer.
The creation story occurs twice, the scholars tell us,
because there were two creations, but because there were two myths
that got woven into one when members of the priestly clan organized
the nomadic Hebrews into a single tribe with a written tradition.
It's their stringing the two narratives in sequence that results in
the two stories.
But those Fundamentalists--the ones who grouse about
Steve--generally don't have any truck with modern scripture scholars.
They dismiss all that book learning and research as unnecessary at
best and the work of the Devil at worst. They don't need scholars
explaining the different stories. They say you can take the Bible
word for word, exactly the way God wrote it.
So it's according to that kind of literal belief in the
that we can weave our myth about the androgynous fellow who lived
down the road.
We're calling him Clay. He wasn't assigned any particular
by his creators like that gardener YHWH created. (Those scripture
scholars tell us that name would have been pronounced Yahweh, if
anybody had dared say it aloud. Yahweh was a friendly personal
fellow, but obviously a little neurotic. He didn't like anybody
getting chummy enough with him to call him by his personal name.)
So Clay hung around the
of land the elohim had given him. He played with the animals and
birds and enjoyed life. He especially enjoyed having the beautiful
body the elohim had given him.
He loved to look in the water and see his own
sight of his lithe body reflected in the water excited him and
pleased him. It made him feel such love and wonder for the gods who
created him so marvelously. And he loved to caress himself and wrap
his arms around himself and squeeze and squeeze in boyish bliss. And
also boy-like, he loved to excite his body. He discovered the
wonderful wand the gods had given him and he loved to stimulate
himself and come to orgasm, so that he felt at one with all the
beautiful nature in the garden world he been given for a home.
Sometimes the gods would come to watch. They would laugh and applaud
when Clay came because they were pleased they could enjoy Clay's
embodiment with him.
Clay was perfectly content living down the road from
When they were both young and fresh from their
Clay and the gardener (whom we all know is going to get named Adam a
little later) used to play together. Clay showed Adam how he could
get his body to respond to touch and friction. Clay taught Adam how
to kiss. And how to see his own reflection in the water. They had
wonderful times together, though Adam would sometimes get very
nervous and worry that Yahweh would see what they were doing and not
like it. Adam enjoyed his job and especially liked walking with
Yahweh in the cool of the evening, but he was always on edge cause
Yahweh seemed so easily ticked off.
Well, of course, the story goes on to tell that Yahweh
Adam should have a helper. So he cast Adam into sleep and took a bone
from his side and fashioned a woman to be Adam's helper and mate.
This was Eve.
Once Eve came around, Adam took to visiting Clay less
And since he was having an adult sexual relationship with Eve, Adam
didn't want to play the boyish games with Clay Clay had taught
Clay sometimes got lonely when Adam didn't come around.
that he needed anybody; as an androgynous being perfectly balanced
between masculinity and feminity, he never really had a bad mood. But
he did miss the camaraderie.
He'd go down and visit Adam and Eve. Indeed he got to
friends with Eve than Adam. Adam had gotten so bossy and patriarchal.
He wanted his own way all the time. Eve was much easier to get along
with. Clay and Eve loved to sip tea together in the morning and talk
about the problems they were having with Adam.
One day while Clay was down at
little grove, enjoying the beauty of the morning, he heard an
enormous commotion over at Eden. There were lightning bolts flying
and booms of thunder rolling across the countryside. Clay went
running to find out what was happening to his friends.
He arrived to discover that Yahweh was standing out by
of the Knowledge of Good and Evil having a hissy-fit, and stomping at
a big snake curled around the foot of the Tree, while Adam was
alternatingly begging God to calm down and whacking Eve on the side of
the head, shouting, "This is all your fault!"
Suddenly another big explosion and an angel with a
sword came swooping down out of the sky and forced Adam and Eve to go
fleeing out of the garden.
Clay ran up to his friend Eve and asked what had
hurriedly told him how the snake had tricked her into tasting the
fruit of the tree and it was so tasty she got Adam to try it also.
Then God had shown up and all hell broke loose. "Now he's fired us
and put a curse on us," she said. Then added, "Look, Clay, he doesn't
have any control over you. And I know he likes you. Won't you go back
in the garden and see if you can talk Him into changing his
So Clay slipped back into Eden. When the cherubim with
flaming sword demanded to know his business, Clay reminded him he was
the androgynous first creation of the elohim and the Cherubim let him
pass. "For you, the two sides of the sword have no power; they are
male and female; you are beyond their power to cleave, for you
comprise both sides in yourself."
(People who are androgynous can always slip into Eden
by the front door--but most of us just haven't thought we'd been
Clay arrived just in time to find Yahweh satisfied the
was gone. He was still huffing and puffing, but his anger had cooled
When Yahweh saw Clay, he sighed loudly and exclaimed,
father to do? I gave them everything they asked for. But they
couldn't obey one simple little instruction. You tell me, Clay,
what's a father to do?"
Clay smiled, a litle sheepishly and a little
"You could forgive them."
"Well, I am sure I will," Yahweh answered. "But not
them stew in their own juices for a while."
"Now, don't be cruel," Clay said.
"Cruel? It's for their own good," Yahweh retorted.
if I had given all this to you and the only thing I'd asked is that
you not eat the one apple, what would you have done? Yeah, tell me.
What would you have done?"
"Well, Lord God," Clay answered carefully, "you're
wouldn't have eaten the apple. There's so much abundance here in
Mesopotamia, there's no reason to eat something marked dangerous.
But, still, you've got to be merciful with them. They have such a
hard time making up their minds because their feminine side is in Eve
and their masculine side is in Adam and they have such difficulty
ever figuring anything out beween them."
"You're damn right about that," Yahweh said, with a
to punctuate his point.
Not seeing what more he could do
friends by imploring God, Clay left God in the Garden and went out to
help the Adamses carry their stuff to town where, maybe, they could
find a cheap apartment. They were unemployed now and finding housing
wasn't going to be easy. Clay offered to help with the first and last
A couple of days later, Clay was back in his own grove
by the water side, relishing the feelings and sensuality in his
body--and occasionally feeling sorry for Adam and Eve, but also
understanding it was their own fault. Though Clay liked Eve a lot, he
certainly saw that the marriage had changed Adam. It was that
cocksure thing that Adam did around Eve that made him distrust
Just as Clay was getting into his morning sex ritual,
elohim arrived at his door. They tittered a little, but said they
were hoping to get a look at his play. He reminded them that they
were always welcome. And then they said, "Well, we have a surprise
"We were talking with Yahweh and learned he'd fired his
gardener and Eden is down there without anybody to tend it or keep it
beautiful. We think you should take the job."
"It's a lot of work. Adam had to get Eve's help to keep
Clay replied. "But thank you very much for the offer."
"We'll give you help too," the elohim replied with a
knowing in their voice.
"Clay," they said, "look in the water. See your
how you encompass all the masculine and all the feminne traits in
yourself. See how beautiful you are. Gaze upon the beauty of your
reflection in the pool of time."
Clay experienced the voices of the elohim drawing him
profound mystical experience. He sensed how, as their creation, he
was a manifestation of their divinity in the stream of time. He saw
his own beauty--and God's beauty--reflected back at him.
And then to his great surprise, Clay saw his reflection
take on flesh and to rise up out of the water.
Yahweh appeared next to him at that moment. "As a
your willingness not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of
Good and Evil, I pass on to you the land I'd created for my servant
Adam. And I create for you a partner, an equal, a reflection of
yourself, a lover beyond the duality of male and female."
So when Clay's reflection came up out of the water, he
himself with great love and affection, and he felt wonderful
sensations of sexual pleasure rise up in his body. What a wonderful
thing this is, Clay thought.
"Thank you, so much, Lord God Yahweh," Clay explained.
wasn't expecting a reward for obedience. I just thought you must have
had a good assessment about the edibility of that fruit."
And Yahweh said, "You shall always have your reflection
helpmate. Your attraction to one like yourself is my gift to you in
acknowledgement of your virtue."
Another thunderclap and Yahweh was off.
The elohim gathered around Clay and his beautiful new
boyfriend. "Clay," they whispered, "what are you going to name
Clay thought about a name. He'd liked Eve a lot. She
great partner for Adam, even if Adam didn't always see it and
appreciate her. Clay thought he'd name his partner for Eve. But since
Eve was a woman with a woman's name, Clay chose a more manly sounding
version. He called his partner Steve.
So, see, there was a Steve in the Garden of Eden. There
Well, Clay and Steve moved into
garden and took very good care of it. They decorated and designed and
beautified til there was just nothing more to do.
The Adams family was still living in town and Adam and
to bring the children out to Eden occasionally to visit. Their
teenage boys were terrors, always getting into fights with each
other. Everybody in town knew they were going to come to no good.
But Adam and Eve had other children and they all came
Sometimes Clay and Steve discovered they could see reflections of
themselves in some of the kids. They weren't going to be parents
themselves. They understood Yahweh's gift of living in the garden and
not having to cope with the problems of original sin the way the
Adamses did meant they wouldn't have their own children. But always
among the children who came to visit, there were those like them.
Clay and Steve always invited the cute gay boys and the sissies and
the tomboy girls to come back without their parents so they could be
instructed in the secrets of cultivating the Garden.
The Secret of the Garden is that we've never really
world, as it is, is the perfection of the Garden, the Kingdom of God
on Earth. This is why the "children" of Clay and Steve can bless and
forgive all the others.
That's why we're here.