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IFI: Paradise Lost and the Message of Christmas



-Written By Rev. Thorin Anderson

We all hunger for paradise. We had it once and it was good!  In fact, based upon the words of the best Judge of such things it was “very good!” (Genesis 1:31). And, considering who He is, that might be an understatement! I can imagine, (and I would have to imagine it for the Scriptures are silent about such things), Adam and Eve enjoying a brilliant and beautiful sunset sipping on a newly discovered beverage we now call coffee or wading into a crystal-clear stream of perfectly tempered water having no fear of drowning. No mosquitoes, no flies, no sunburn to worry about. They could wander about bare footed having no concern about such things as splinters or anything that might cause discomfort or pain, eating every sort of fruit, each one sweeter and tastier than the previous. Unique, beautiful, and interesting animals romped and frolicked on the forest floor unintimidated by each other or by the presence of humans. Only one restriction then, one forbidden tree. With the abundant, beautiful experiences available to them only one door was closed. Just one.

But how typically human Adam and Eve turned out to be! The only option they could not have was the one they could not live without! So, they chose Paradise without God, opened that closed door, and tried to kick God out. That could not be of course, so God had no choice but to remove them from the Garden and allow them to go their own way. We all lost Paradise that day, and we have been searching feverishly and vainly for it ever since.

History’s every page is replete with mankind’s efforts to reenter the gate God closed and locked that day. Some have sought it in gold, some have sought it in fame. Others thought Paradise could be found in a life of unfettered pleasures, while a few hoped longer lives would bring it to pass. Many still believe it will be found in love. Many tyrants have multiplied  the suffering of others, seeking to establish their own paradises on the backs of the masses.

But Paradise cannot exist without the smiling face of the Creator. For more reasons than we can address God cannot permit us the bliss of Paradise while our backs are turned to Him. But we have tried over, and over, and over again, so unwilling to accept His verdict, hating Him as if He were to blame!

The reader might respond that Paradise was the last thing on the minds of the millions who have struggled through the centuries to simply put enough food on the table to stave off starvation one more day, or to keep a deadly plague from the door. Well, it may not have been their first thought, but when they had a moment’s reprieve it showed up in their literature and in their myths. It may have been styled according to their culture and their time, yet it never disappeared completely. It was the glimmer of light in their dreams and the dressing of their celebrations.  Every genuinely good story expressed the hopefulness of a champion who would bring them home, make things right once more.

But more often than we would like to say, they turned away from the only One who could, and who would one day bring Paradise back.  Now we see even here in America, a place where His name, “Jesus,” was for over two hundred years nearly ubiquitous, the same turning away.  Supremely sad is the reality that many, who in private would claim Him, publicly shun to speak His name for fear of what others think!

And so, to the many previous futile attempts to bring in Paradise are now added, in America, more futile attempts at utopia, and those by multitudes who have no real idea for what they look, nor from Whom they hide.  They have become so confused that they understand neither the blessedness they have inherited, nor the pit to which they are destined.  As Scripture notes, they are “ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth,” (II Tim. 3:7) because they have rejected God, who is the embodiment of and source of truth.

It would be rather humorous if it were not so tragic, to think of how on one hand it is so near, yet, because they hate Him, always beyond their reach.  And, because they will not have Him, they get His antithesis.  They may cry for Paradise, or use another name, “Utopia,” but every attempt leads them only to a Hell-like prison.  They ignore the Gulags of Russia, the prisons and murder of millions in China, the torture and restrictions of North Korea, and the sufferings in Venezuela, Cambodia, Romania, and every other place Socialism has been tried.  They will not learn.  They merely pick themselves up and throw themselves against the bricks one more time.  Better to go down in flames doing it their way than to yield to their Creator and find Paradise to be just around the corner.  Apparently “around the corner” is too long to wait.  Like so many other things, they want it now or not at all.  And, strangely, after all the fuss, they do want Paradise, just not if it means dealing with Jesus Christ!

What we are witnessing right now in America is a dark metaphor of man’s seemingly endless quest for “Utopia” without God.  So grand in vision, so tragic in reality.  They promise hope and love yet burn the whole thing down, oblivious to the irony.  The billions of dollars of damage to property, the dozens of deaths, and the chaos that has rocked the nation at the hands of BLM and Antifa over the last several years has exposed the true nature of the utopians.  America was never intended to be Utopia, but simply an experiment in man governing himself guided by biblical principles, placing as many obstacles as possible in the pathway of would-be tyrants.  It is, however, being judged by Leftists, not by comparison to other nations of the world, against which it stands tall and bright, but against the perfections of a myth, a lie, an impossibility, a man-made utopia which cannot be.  Blind to their own parody, ignorant of their own destiny, violent thugs seek to tear America down and replace it with what? An egalitarian dream, forgetful that mankind has been here many, many times before.  And it always ends the same.  And it always will.

Until that day.  Yes, THAT DAY when He, the One who began it all, who gave us the idea of Heaven in the first place, determines that it has been long enough, that those who have chosen Him over their own way can finally come home to the place He has prepared.  Yes, to Paradise!  And it will be fine, indeed.  No words of men can fitly describe that place, for it is beyond anything we have ever seen or heard (I Corinthians 2:9). I wonder if He will be satisfied then to call it “very good,” or if He will ascribe it an even grander appellative, for there will be no disappointments there! Not one.  Just Christ’s perfections, and ours who trust in Him alone!

I wonder how many understand that this is THE message that should shine forth from every Christmas celebration and should be show-cased by every church. When Adam and Eve were escorted out of the Garden, they were incapable of returning, being unfit for paradise. The only avenue back was by way of the cross of Jesus Christ, by which all who believe are forgiven and transformed into children of God, (John 1:12). That was the source of the Angels’ anthem and the shepherd’s joy at the Nativity!

All the other “messages of Christmas,” as fine and sweet as they might be, fall short of the truth of the Gospel and often distract from it. And every attempt throughout history to return mankind to paradise without Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior has led only to disaster. If you wonder why Christmas is so hated by Leftists, it is because Christmas underscores the futility of their attempts at utopia!

Paradise will arrive only when Jesus Christ returns to make all things right, and right they will be!

So, I will wait!  Yes, I think I can do just that.

Original Link: https://illinoisfamily.org/faith/paradise-lost-and-the-message-of-christmas/

Illinois Family Institute
Illinois Family Institutehttps://illinoisfamily.org/
The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is an independent 501c(3) non-profit ministry dedicated to upholding and re-affirming marriage, family, life and liberty in Illinois. Since 1992, IFI has worked to advance public policy initiatives consistent with Judeo-Christian teachings and traditions, educating citizens so that they can better influence their local communities and the state. IFI does not participate in, or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. This post was made with a working relationship between IFI and Illinois Review.


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