Getting back to
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord.
We continue in our Lenten preaching theme – Getting back to Eden.
What was life like in the Garden of Eden before sin? Well it certainly was not like today’s world although if we look closely enough we see the beauty and perfection God meant for the world. When we look past crime, violence, sin, and deprivation we see hints of Eden.
In the first place Eden was sinless. There was no corruption. There was peace – not any peace – but the true peace of God because we walked in unity with God.
Eden was an environmental paradise. There would have been no storms or harmful natural occurrences. Everything was created “very good.” Perfect temperature, perfect humidity, no pests or diseases.
Eden was innocent and without shame or guilt. Relationships were perfect. Adam and Eve enjoyed a relationship with God that was up close and in person. Their mutual relationship had no conflict, jealousy, or disruption. Man and woman was to be “one flesh.” No matter how the world corrupts human sexuality, God created this part of humanity as a beautiful sharing between a man and woman, husband and wife.
There was no violence. The biblical record tells us that both man and animals ate plants, not each other. This would have allowed them to have a peaceful non-violent relationship.
Relationship was cooperative. Adam and Eve worked together to tend the garden, not in toil, but in joy. On the Sabbath, like God, they rested and enjoyed His company and each other’s.
St. Paul tells us that as Jesus’ faithful people we have citizenship in heaven, in paradise, in Eden. Jesus has reopened Eden for us. We can still be held back by sin, have a bit of a hard time getting there, but it is our calling, our destiny. As such, Paul tells us to stand firm, that is, to live and show forth in our lives a preview of what awaits all Christians.
Living the Christian life we get a taste of Eden and bring a little bit more of it back into the world. The better we do the more we enjoy the flavor of God’s perfect life. We show people who are unsure of Jesus the true promise of life in Him – Eden. The new pre-Fall Eden is in our grasp. In Jesus we have been freed from our former guilt and shame, and the new Eden blossoms in our lives anew.