We are continuing with the third story in a series of stories designed to evangelize an animistic culture, although, the stories can be used in other situations and cultures as well. By looking at the categories on the right you will find the category of Discipling Through Stories that will take you to all of the articles in this series beginning with the importance of storytelling in an oral culture, to methods to storytelling in a way that makes them memorable and repeatable, to individual stories in a group of evangelistic stories such as this one.
Why I tell it like I do
Before assembling a story, you must ask what you want the story to convey. That question can only be answered based on the culture for whom you are using the story. For example, the Aymara people of Bolivia have a story of a creator that does not want a relationship with his creation, so it is important to demonstrate that God, the Creator, is good. This is why in the story of how God made the spirit world, I repeat over and over that God is good. (See the first story: God Created the Spirit World).
In summary, the first story of God Created the Spirit World shows that God is all powerful, creating angels and demons and that He is good, that He did not create spirits to be evil, but that their own pride brought them to evil. The second story of the creation of the world shows that God made the world to be good, reinforcing that God is good, and a key line is found at the end of the story when in the creation of man and woman, God walked with them and talked to them, in other words, He was in relationship.
This third story introduces sin through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, but again stresses that God wanted relationship with Adam and Eve and that He looked for them after they sinned. Plus, God sets a plan in motion to return Adam and Eve to the relationship. This again, reinforces that God is good and that He wants a relationship with us.
The Aymara people of Bolivia don’t have much of an understanding of sin and even less of an understanding of responsibility for sin, so this story is important. In their own creation story there is disobedience by the Aymara people, but there is only punishment for it, no repentance, no forgiveness, no redemption, and no longer access to the relationship with the creator. He simply leaves them.
The Story: The Disobedience of Adam and Eve
[This story works well with object lessons for memory. For each paragraph there is a symbol. When it says breath, I breathe out sometimes across my finger and then I begin the paragraph. Follow the symbols for each paragraph.—Also note that there are 7 sections and 7 corresponding symbols as there were 7 sections to the first 2 stories. The 3 stories taken together are a set of creation stories. The 4th story changes in form and in subject matter.]
1. [Blow a deep breath over or across your finger and then begin—or you can scoop dirt up and together then blow into it.] When God, the Creator of everything, made the first man, he formed him from the dust of the earth. Then, God blew into the man with his breath. God’s breath was the breath of life and the man became alive.
2. [If outside bend down and pick a blade of grass or plant, if inside bring a small plant with you.] And the Lord God planted a garden that he named the garden of Eden and He put man in it. In the garden was every tree that is pleasant to the eyes and good for food. And there was also the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told man that he could eat of every tree but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if he ate the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would die.
3. [Pretend to take your rib out of your side and present it before you as you tell this paragraph] But God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and so he made the man sleep. Then, God took one of the man’s ribs and from this rib he made woman to be the man’s helper. The man called her woman because she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh and taken from man. And man was called Adam and the woman was called Eve. This is why man leaves a father and mother and takes a wife, it was the first marriage.
4. [Slither your hand in front of you like a snake and then make it point at the listeners while using a sinister voice.] The serpent, who was very crafty, came to the garden of Eden and spoke to Eve saying, “Did God tell you not to eat from any tree in the garden?” [Using a female voice respond] “He said not to eat or even touch the tree in the middle of the garden because we would die.” [Serpent voice again.] “You will not die but you will be like God knowing good from evil.”
5. [Take a bite of an apple or pretend to bite.] Eve saw that the fruit looked good to eat, so she ate from the fruit of the tree and gave some to Adam to eat. And immediately, they realized that they were naked and hid themselves from God. [Put your hands over your eyes and look from the left to the right.] And when it was cool, God came to the garden but he could not find them. He called out, “Adam, where are you?” And Adam answered and said the he heard God and was afraid because he was naked, so he hid himself. God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” Adam said it was the woman who gave him the fruit, so God said to her, “What have you done?” [Use your hands again, like a snake slithering when Eve answers.] Eve said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
6. [Use your hands to slither once more, then throw them toward the ground, pointing at the ground and talking toward the ground.] So God cursed the serpent and said, “Because you have done this you are cursed to go on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.” And then he said, “And I am declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and her offspring. You will bruise the heel of her offspring but he will bruise your head.” [Then stomp on the ground with your heel.]
7. [Then turn to your right to address the woman and your left when you address the man as God.] To the woman, God said that she would have pain in child birth and that she would desire her husband, but he would rule over her. To the man, God said that he would have to work the ground in pain and with sweat until he dies and returns to the ground. And then God put them out of the garden of Eden but He did not leave them. He made garments of the skins of animals and He clothes Adam and Eve and later He blessed them with children.
Summary: The disobedience is called sin, but God began a plan to remove the stain of sin from Adam and Eve and their children that separated them from God.
Some may feel that the summary is too much editorializing and so it can be removed if the storytellers have the time to go through more stories so that the summary is demonstrated in those later stories. Otherwise, the summary is important to point out that God did not leave man completely, but began the plan to restore man to a relationship with him.
My wife and I do this story differently when we do it as a drama, when we have others to help us. In the drama, each character has a sign around their neck saying who they are, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. If we are doing an outreach we also make a Jesus character to step in to the scene and defeat the Serpent in the end. There is also a narrator who also does a voice for God. Whenever the narrator says “the Serpent,” the crowd is instructed to say, “is a liar.” Whenever the narrator says, “God,” the crowd says “is good.” At the end, when the Serpent is defeated by Jesus, the Serpent turns his sign around and the other side of it says, the Devil. It allows the crowd to participate and it makes them very enthusiastic to follow the story and find out what happens. We have had good success with this method. It usually starts with lots of children watching the story unfold but by the end all of the adults are also involved.
Recap of Story list for evangelism.
God created angels. I like to say that God created the spirit world. This immediately introduces God as the creator of all and above all. This eliminates the idea that the devil and Jesus or God are somehow equal forces.
God created the world.
Adam and Eve disobeyed God. This is the introduction to sin.
God delivered Noah. It is amazing how many cultures have a flood story.
God created new languages. This story explains man other than the group you are speaking to. Most animist cultures have a creation story for their own people group but have no idea where anyone else came from and assume that other peoples have their own god.
God set his followers free. This is the exodus story, which gives the foundation of the illustration of salvation. Other story tellers feel that a better story here is the sacrifice of Isaac and his rescue because it better prepares the listener for Jesus as the sacrifice. You may decide to use both.
Elijah and God’s test.
God became man and is worthy of worship. This is the birth of Jesus and visit from the wise men.
Jesus has authority over Satan. Again, important in animistic cultures. Matt. 8:28-34.
Jesus has authority over death. Important to eternal life, not becoming part of the spirits or god.