TUESDAY: Genesis 101

BY JOHN K. HALDANE

Copyright is held by the author.

THE SUN ROSE on an empty world.

It shone down relentlessly and the embryonic organisms responded. Plant life sprouted, grew, evolved and flourished. Slimy creatures crawled from the primordial ooze and exchanged their gills for lungs. Through trial and error, they adapted to this new, virginal environment and developed into a seemingly infinite number of species.

The Sun set and the world slithered on.

The Sun rose again and a bipedal creature emerged from his cave. He scratched at his furry chest as he surveyed his surroundings. Life was good but fairly short. Too many of his litter died before they were old enough to grow fur on their hides and become hunters or bearers of offspring themselves. He felt an inborn need to find better ways to feed, clothe and house his brood. Slowly he was beginning to become the master of all the other creatures and he was learning how to take sustenance from his environment but he still felt incomplete.

As the Sun set, he fell asleep beside his fire thinking about a big stick that he had seen near the stream earlier in the day. He thought that he might be able to use it to hunt food and protect his family. As his thoughts crystallized, the world stood on its hind legs and howled.

The Sun rose again and shone down on the continuing struggle of the biped clans. Here a group hunted with its clubs and spears; there another group scratched and clawed its way back to its cave under the burden of a great wooly mammoth carcass; and beyond the hills, yet a third group looked down enviously upon the fertile valley of its neighbours and planned to do a little hunting of its own — this time with other biped beings as its prey.

As the Sun set, the various groups dreamed stimulating dreams – one group envisioned better hunting instruments, another group thought of a better way to transport its kill and its belongings when it moved to a new hunting ground and a third group lusted after a better living space even if it meant killing its own kind.

The Sun set; things changed yet again and the world shivered in anticipation.

The sun rose once again — this time on a medieval castle under siege. Arrows flew, horns blew and steel clashed on steel. Territorial advantage was to be had this day and the Normans would not be thwarted. Blood flowed like wine as they overran the castle’s defenses and slaughtered the Saxon baron, his family and followers. An empire expanded as another enemy was conquered and the world became a more civilized but ever more dangerous place in which to live.

As evening approached, the blood of the battlefield was reflected in the sun’s ghastly fading light.

The Sun rose on a suburban neighbourhood. A little girl took her first hesitant steps and yelled giddily, “Look mommy, I can walk!” Down the street, a little boy looked up at his father and asked, “Daddy, why is the grass green?” The proud parents did their best to encourage their children to take that first step and ask questions so that they would be better prepared to meet tomorrow.

The Sunset was golden that night and the world forged proudly ahead.

A new dawn saw two excited teenagers preparing for their first date. He was worried about a blackhead that appeared on his chin overnight and she wondered whether or not she would impress the boy enough for him to ask her to go steady.

That evening after burgers and a movie, they went exploring down by the lake — searching for ecstasy in the moonlight. They found it and the world, in its orgasmic afterglow, shifted into overdrive.

The new morning was cloudy and cool as the middle-aged executive fought his way through traffic to the office where he spent far too much time. Meetings, office politics and business lunches filled his day to the extent that he almost always brought work home in the evenings. His children missed his attention and didn’t understand when he told them that he was “doing it all for them” and that he “soon hoped to have more time to spend with them.” Although he didn’t know it that day, the man had developed high blood pressure and had the beginnings of a stomach ulcer. A clairvoyant would have been able to tell him that he would not live to see the age of 55.

Thunder rattled the windows just after Sunset and the world slipped into neutral.

The rising Sun fought to push its rays through the smog and drizzle. To the old woman, the smog coupled with her fast-failing eyesight made it seem as if the Sun wasn’t there at all. She sat in her rocker and pulled the tattered blanket more tightly around her shoulders. “If only…,” she thought. She peered across the sparsely furnished room at the fading pictures of the long dead husband and the two children who rarely had time for her any more.

Later, she was unaware of the Sun setting as the day had become increasingly dark and the rain fell in sheets. But indeed, the Sun had set and the world rolled over on its back with a whimper.

The new day dawned with no sign of the Sun. It was still there, so the astronomers said, but the approaching asteroid blocked out its light. The notice of impending disaster had been mercifully brief so when the asteroid hit causing massive physical destruction, skyscraper-high tidal waves and a thick, black planet-engulfing cloud, people hadn’t had much time to worry about it.

The Sun didn’t shine again for many days and the world moved on but now it was almost as empty as it had been in the beginning.

Then one day, the black clouds started to dissipate and the Sun shot sparse rays down upon the world once more.

A new day dawned. The Sun rose on an empty world. It shone down relentlessly and the embryonic organisms responded…But this time, things would be different — very different!

God looked down from his spaceship on this regenerating world and, ever the optimist, he said: “OK, this time I will send my Daughter to guide them.”

And he did.

So this time things turned out perfectly.

2 comments

  1. cameron

    I enjoyed this very much. To the expanse of time our universe can be seen as a series of a few days. Love the concept. I also like the closing … nicely done.

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>