Chapter 16 Adilah: Animals and Laughter

The scream echoed around the cabins, and everyone stopped what they were doing.

Adilah came running from the trees, fear on her face.

“What’s the matter?” called Harmony, brushing dirt from her hands and standing upright in the vegetable patch.

“Snake!” yelled Adilah.

Harmony’s heart leapt into her mouth for a split second.

“Wait, Adilah! Wait!”

Adilah turned, continuing to stamp her feet and waving her hands as though trying to shake off an invisible assailant.

Harmony approached her with hands held out. She very gently touched Adilah’s elbows, bringing her to a breathless pause.

“Adilah, no animal will attack you here. They no longer need to kill other things in order to eat and protect themselves. It’s ok… It’s ok.”

Adilah looked at Harmony, wide-eyed.

“It was a big one!”

Harmony led Adilah to her cabin, where she was soon sunk deep in her favourite armchair, gratefully sipping a hot cup of cocoa. “I have a question, Harmony, but it’s ok if you don’t know the answer.”

“Sure thing, honey. Ask away,” said Harmony, who was sitting next to her, sewing a colourful quilt.

“Animals. Why was it that so many animals would kill and eat one another in the Previous Age? And some would kill humans too. Why was nature so violent if God made it all and God is love?”

“Gosh, that’s a big one, Addy! I’ll try and answer from what I’ve understood so far. Basically, everything in the Previous Age was designed to ensure the increase of sentient beings, as Papa wants to have a relationship with as wide a variety of beings as possible. However, it’s possible for a species to multiply beyond the ability of its habitat to support it, and that’s why he created predators to keep the balance of nature in place. He knew that he would resurrect the essence in each sentient creature, so that’s why he accepted this design compromise. Things are different on the New Earth, as populations don’t increase through reproduction any more, only resurrection. So God can ensure that the essential balance required in each ecosystem here is maintained, without the design compromise of animals killing each other.”

“Where I come from, we had to be so careful. Snakes, scorpions, spiders – they could all kill you.”

“Wow, yes. I remember reading about those. America had some dangerous wildlife too, but not as much as Africa. I believe that each species was designed to fit within its local ecosystem, where it was provided with ways to obtain food and protect itself and its kind. There was no evil in this, only a natural desire to survive. God has now removed those previous desires and established different ways of ensuring that the ecosystem on the New Earth can be sustained for eternity.”

“I still don’t understand why death had to be in the process at all,” said Adilah thoughtfully.

“On the Old Earth, death was essential to preserve the balance of populations. Local environments would soon have become overloaded if numbers had increased without a corresponding decrease due to death. Death was an essential part of that stage in God’s overall plan. It also marked the transition from one age to another. It looked very frightening from the perspective of a creature in the Previous Age, as most hadn’t learnt to trust in their creator to hold them through the transition and they didn’t know what lay beyond it. Now, can I ask you something about your own experience?”

“Yes,” replied Adilah, with her beautiful shy smile.

“When you died, did you feel frightened?”

Adilah thought for a moment.

“When I was in the flames the pain was so bad that I couldn’t think clearly, but, yes, I was frightened. I survived for about a week but I knew that my body had begun to shut down. My hair had all been burned off and my face disfigured, but somehow underneath all the pain and suffering, I had peace. I knew that Friend was with me. In the last two days I felt no pain and I was in some kind of a strange sleep. I didn’t dream but I did know that someone was with me and that I was happy to leave my suffering behind. Friend gave me the feeling that I was going to be ok. I can’t tell you exactly when I died. At some point I was in a vast space moving toward a beautiful light. I don’t know if I was dreaming or whether my body had given up by then. The next thing I knew I woke up in Jesus’ home and … here I am.”

“Yes, Ruach, the Holy Spirit, the one you call ‘Friend’, helps every living being in those final moments to let go. Most people do not recognise her, but she works with each person and creature at those times. Even those who die suddenly and unexpectedly, she comforts during their transition. It seems our spirit leaves our bodies and is then re-homed in our resurrection bodies. We become whole again; mind, body and spirit.”

“So, every animal is raised as well?”

“Not every individual creature, but the life force that was hosted by a particular body returns to Papa and it can be re-assigned. All life comes from God. All life is Papa sharing consciousness with creation.”

“So, creation is God?”

“All creatures live and move and have their being in God. They are each an embodiment of the divine life, but not the totality of it. Nothing exists apart from Papa.”

“Is that why you and Jesus call God ‘Papa’?”

“Yes, Jesus is the great example of the character of God. He is a human being just like us but has the full nature of God, so he shows us our maximum divine potential. And he shows us how we can relate to God – the ground of all being, the source of all, the one Jesus calls Papa – as a parent. That’s why we can call God Papa – or  Mama, it makes no difference. God is love, and love is the reason for everything. It’s the heart of the whole process and where all things are heading – even snakes!”

“These thoughts are so big!” gasped Adilah and laughed.

“They certainly are,” chuckled Harmony, “but everyone has ages to explore them.”


Evenings, when several of the women in the community would gather in one of the cabins to sing, were Adilah’s favourite time of day. Communal singing was the warmest memory from her childhood. She loved the sound of female voices rising and falling in unison, and she took pride in her ability to harmonise.

“Given my name, this should be something I’m good at,” joked Harmony one evening.

This amused Adilah so greatly that she was unable to stifle her laughter even after the singing began. It eventually sent the others off into contagious giggles until everyone in the cabin was laughing so hard that Margot, hearing the cacophony from the other side of the camp, dropped her knife and fork and came running to see what was wrong. Bursting in to Adilah’s cabin and finding women strewn about the main living room in stages of incapacity, Margot was soon leaning on Harmony, infected with laughter too. Before long the remaining women in the settlement were caught up in the firestorm of mirth that echoed through the trees.

In the coming days Harmony was amused by how funny her simple pun had seemed to Adilah, but she was also aware how the outbreak of laughter had released something in the community. Humour had begun to become part of everyday interaction.

“This has begun to happen in our settlement, too,” Anne said to Harmony as they compared notes on an evening walk. “And it seems to me that the women are more easily able to access their full range of emotions because of it.”

“Yes, it’s as though laughter has helped to break down the dam that was holding back all kinds of emotions. And tears of sadness can flow more easily too,” agreed Harmony. The two friends continued their walk and returned home full of thankfulness for the ways in which Papa God’s purposes were so clearly being worked out amongst the women, whom they had grown to know and hold very dear.