Willy and Grace followed their new friend Jasmine down into the basement of Jasmine's house to look at snakes her father, Dr. Morris, raised down there. Willie was enthusiastic, and Grace was nervous. The stairs were dark and creaky, but when they reached the bottom, the children found themselves in a clean, well-lit room lined with dozens of large heated aquariums.
"Here we are!" announced Jamine. "Hi, Dad. I want you to meet Wille and Grace, my new friends."
Dr. Morris was at the far end of the large room, doing something to an aquarium. He looked sternly at Grace. "Aren't you the girl who was mean to Jasmine at your birthday party? What are you doing here?"
Grace gulped and said, "Yes, I was rude to Jasmine because I'm afraid of snakes, but I'm sorry, and she's forgiven me."
"Is this true, Jasmine?" he asked his daughter.
"Yes, Father. Willie and Grace are my friends now. Can they see the snakes?" Dr. Morris looked at Grace for a while, and then shrugged and said, "Come this way. We raise boa constrictors here, and sell them to zoos and pet shops. Look, here's some recently hatched babies."
Grace and Willies peered into an aquarium, and to Willie's delight and Grace's horror, saw dozens of squirmy striped creatures slithering over each other. Baby boa constrictors!
"These are emerald tree boas, of the species Corallus caninus," remarked Dr. Morris. "They hatched two weeks ago. Would you like to hold one?"
"No!" shouted Willie and Grace simultaneously.
Jasmine giggled. "Father, let Willie hold one."
Dr. Morris handed Willie the 15 inch baby snake. Grace looked on, aghast, and remarked, "I wonder why God created snakes?"
This brought a curious reaction from Dr. Morris. "God? Creation? Surely you don't believe in a God Who created animals! All intelligent people believe in evolution. Don't you?"
"No, I do not believe in evolution!" responded Grace. "I believe that God created the heavens and the earth and the plants and the animals. Don't you?"
"I do not believe there even is a God!" stated Dr. Morris, looking very smug. Grace was thinking of the verse in Psalms that said "The fool has said in his heart that there is no God," but decided now was not the time to mention it.
"I suppose you are one of those people who believe dinosaurs were on earth the same time as man?" he sneered. Willie handed the baby boa back to Dr. Morris. "Thanks for letting us look at your snake collection."
As Willie and Grace were riding their bikes back to Grace's house, they talked about Dr. Morris. "He's an atheist, isn't he? Isn't that what you call a person who doesn't believe in God?"
"Yes, that's what he is, alright- an atheist. Poor Jasmine. What are we going to do?"
NEXT STORY: "Some Things to Consider"