Taking my daily walk near our home in Florida, I stroll by an undeveloped area about a square block in size. The rumors are that some kind of housing is going to be built on the location. For now, however, its boundary is defined by chain link fencing with an occasional “No Trespassing” sign attached to the fencing. Within the boundary of the fence grow countless palm trees and other greenery.
Walking the street that borders this natural beauty I’m reminded of the Garden of Eden that our most distant ancestors, Adam and Eve, inhabited before they rebelled against God. They had a perfect place to live with everything they needed, an ideal relationship with each other, a personal relationship with God, and meaningful work without frustration in tending the Garden of Eden.
After disobeying God, our Grandpa and Grandma of hundreds of generations ago were expelled from the garden and had to live in a fallen world, as have all of their descendents up until the present, including you and me. I think about this as I walk along the street gazing upon the beautiful scene inside the chain link fence of a golden morning sun streaking through the palm trees and other lush growth. Every day I enjoy this beautiful scene, but always from the outside looking in.
Living daily in a far from perfect world with broken relationships, illness and disease, people harming people, natural disasters, and frustrated work, we have an instinctive sense that this is not the way it should be! The desire for the Garden of Eden is in our DNA.
The good news is that what we yearn for, a perfect world, is what God has planned for the future! I know, it’s hard to imagine and even harder to believe, but God has made it clear in His revealed Word, the Bible, that there’s going to be a major change coming. Not only is there the perfect heaven to look forward to, but also a new earth, a new cosmos. God’s also made it clear that when we accept His overture of forgiveness and love we’re going to be a part of this amazing future!
It’s this hope for God’s better future that can help us cope with the far from perfect present. We humans have an amazing capacity to put up with and get through tough times when we know better times are coming. It’s been said that some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good, but it’s really the opposite. We can be of earthly good, doing the best with the less than best and helping others do so, when we know something perfectly wonderful is in our future!
We’re currently living life outside the Garden of Eden. We can have the hope, however, that some day we’ll be living life even better than life in the Garden of Eden!
“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13