Living Word Church
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Down-to-earth people looking upward to God
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Counterfeit Eden’s
Copyright 2007 by Shea Oakley
All rights reserved
 
It was unbearable for the human race to lose the reality of Eden and so, almost immediately, the human race began trying to establish its own “gardens”. From the first discovery of the intoxicating effects of alcohol to the billion-dollar theme parks and resorts of the Twenty-first century human beings have grasped at every pleasure, licit or illicit, in an attempt to find some semblance of paradise on earth.
 
I believe the desire itself is not inherently evil. We were originally designed for bliss. Adam and Eve knew this bliss in the Garden and we who have become God’s adopted children will someday know it to an even larger degree in the new Heaven and the new Earth. Pleasure and fulfillment is ordained by our Creator. It is only our rebellion against that Creator, and the elevation of pleasure above His worship, which has closed the gates of paradise to us in the here and now.
 
Much of human life is haunted by a vague corporate memory of what our First Parent’s lost. The sense we have that things have gone very wrong is not limited to people of Judeo-Christian faith. It is a universal experience common to every man, woman and child who walks the Earth. Unfairness, loss, pain, meaninglessness; every one of these negative experiences, and many more, weigh so heavily upon us because we know we were meant for something better. As the group “Switchfoot” sings “The shadow proves the sunshine.”
 
The greatest tragedy springing from this state of being we share as a race is that the vast majority of us either do not know, or do not want to take, the only road back to the perfect sunshine we have forfeited. This path of full restoration can only be taken through Jesus Christ. But the majority of the human race continues to look for it in journeys down literal dead-end roads.
 
In most cases the roads in question are designed to facilitate a sense of escape from ourselves. Whether it is through drugs, sex, travel or any number of other potentially pleasurable activities the idea is to temporarily lose the gnawing sense that we have been denied a self that is in harmony with God and His universe through our own wrong actions. Most of us are unconscious of the fact that this is the source of all our Hedonism; all our pleasure for pleasure’s sake. But such an escape from the self is impossible. Whether we take a trip by hallucinogenic drug or by airplane we ultimately take our fallen selves with us, and either way we “crash” in the end.
 
Building counterfeit Eden’s is the response of a soul estranged from God to its condition. The reality of our fallenness will trump the unreality of these castles we build in the air every time. We do infinitely better to take the “road less traveled” and turn our eyes upon Jesus. The transformation He brings us will not always be pleasurable in the receiving but its end is the entrance of Heaven into our souls and thus our soul’s entrance into Heaven, where, someday, truly perfect pleasure will be known forevermore.