Haunted by Eden

We dream of an ideal world. We want to see it. Organisations like Greenpeace and Amnesty among the highest profile ones but there are other smaller organisations doing similar work to try to see balance restored in nature and humanity treating each other in a humane way.

We were designed for such a world. Man was made in the wilderness, but placed in the garden. God was of a single mind when He created us. We were made in His image. Designed to run on Him and with Him as our friend. In a world without sin and where evil was never a consideration.

We are haunted by the image of the paradise we didn’t see, but we somehow retain a memory of. We sit and dream of Eden. We long for perfection but we can’t reach it. Something in us knows it, but we strive for it anyway.

While I didn’t enjoy the 2nd and 3rd “Matrix” movies as much as the original, there were elements that struck me. The “Architect” character who designed the program Neo and Morpheus are trying to free humanity from tells Neo the first version of the Matrix was rejected as the human brain could not process a “perfect” existence. Humanity was designed to run on God in a perfect world. We spend our lives trying to create exactly that. Satan spends his time trying to drive us away from that.

In “Batman Begins”, Bruce Wayne is told by Raz al Gul that the League of Shadows tried to destroy Gotham with economics – a new tactic. It’s what Satan has done in the last 200 years. We’ve been hoodwinked into believing economics will give us back Eden. We move towards generating more and more money fro the sake of having more money. Apparently when Howard Hughes was asked how much money it takes to make you happy his response was “Just a little more”. I don’t know if that is true or an urban legend in terms of it’s factual accuracy, but it’s certainly how we live these days. We live and work and separate ourselves from our hearts to earn money so we can go to work and separate ourselves from our hearts a bit more. 

Every day we move ourselves voluntarily away from what God designed us to be, and without even realising it. It’s become so indoctrinated into us that we don’t even see the cage and the chains. It’s exactly what Jesus came to free us from, and exactly what Satan came to trap us with. We can’t see the pain often, in spite of us being steeped in it. We struggle onward in agony we’re unaware of. It’s not that we want the pain, it’s that we are numb to it.

I believe in healing as part of the atonement Jesus bought us, but not all of my body is fully aligned with my heart yet. I am a diagnosed diabetic, but my symptoms of this “progressive” illness have not got worse for 10 years now. Assorted different tablets, and more recently an injection have allowed it to be stemmed, butbefore I got the handle on God wanting me healthy I lost feeling in my feet. OK, I know this sounds like it’s off topic. The thing is, it’s actually right on topic for this. My feet are numb. Right now I have a bad infection, a cellulitis, in my left foot. If it weren’t for the numbness of my feet, it would make it impossible for me to walk. I’m on antibiotics now for it, and a few days and it will be cleared up again. The point is that the infection is there and the damage is done. And I couldn’t feel it. If my wife hadn’t noticed my foot was swollen the first indication may have been gangrene setting in. Part of me dying and I didn’t realise.

We live in this world, dying each day and totally oblivious to it. Like me and my foot.

It’s killing us and even as Christians it’s driving us away from a full knowledge of God. Somehow the third world is better off than the West. The economics that drives the West is selfish and divisive. It tears families apart and destroys lives. Sadly the Third World countries strive to be like the West. We look for ways in South Africa (my current location) to be more like the US or UK. It’s working in the cities – to an extent. The townships on the edge of the cities are growing fast. The largest in Cape Town has more than doubled in size over the last 10 years and now has over a million people living in it – and there are several around the city.

At the same time the “leaders” of the country live in mansions and build bigger and more expensive houses for themselves while these informal townships expand without proper sanitation, roads or other basic amenities. In winter the shacks burn down and lives are lost in the cold and the fires. In summer the tin shacks get too hot to sit in during the day. Without running water or sanitation the result is rapid spreading of communicable diseases like TB, HIV and a host of other preventable illnesses. The moral breakdown that started with Apartheid has been expanded into the post-apartheid era and the immorality of the white minority leadership has been expanded on by the new leaders. Economics to build their personal Edens.

We are all victims now. The “leaders” as much as the general population. The struggle to free this country is the same as it was 20 years ago. An oppressive regime striving to keep itself in power by building on the lowest ranks of the society. The leaders live in splendour and riches. They think they have a measure of paradise in that lifestyle, but it’s smoke and mirrors.

Haunted by Eden and a true Paradise they never actually saw they try to recapture it and build ever more impressive palaces for themselves. But it misses the point. Eden was selfless. The paradise was equal for everyone.

Even those not in powerful positions strive to build our own little paradise. From mansions to shacks and everywhere in between we try to carve out Eden again from what we have.

Haunted. Dying. Oblivious.

But there is one way back. 

‘“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”’ (Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV)

We can have something of the promise here. By turning to Christ and leaning on Him we can begin to live again. Life, and life abundantly is offered. John 16:3 says knowing Jesus is Eternal Life. That’s where Paradise starts.

That’s where we can put the ghost of Eden to rest.

That’s where we can finally be free.

In Christ.

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