Yes, we live in the wreckage of the first Eden; and yes, the New Eden (the renewed earth when Jesus returns) will be grand, with so many stories and wonderful things to do. But sandwiched between those two things is a question we might ask: what about all the terrible things that have happened in this world, the evil that Satan has caused, the justice that is needed, how does that all get reconciled?
We long for justice in this life, don’t we? There are the examples of extreme evil, like what Adolph Hitler caused during the 1930’s and 1940’s with the concentration camps and brutal killing and experimentation done on innocent people. Throughout history there have been many versions of this. But most of the evil we experience takes place at a lower vibe. You feel it, and I feel it. The hurt of divorce, when two people who once “thought” they loved each other now seem like enemies bent on doing damage. The loss of a job through no real fault of your own, and scrambling to make ends meet and support your family. The pain of sickness and disease that cause a loved one to be debilitated and makes it hard for you to focus on the good things in life. The accidents, the carnage of war, the gossip and back biting – too often within the church; then there’s government leaders who take advantage of their position and benefit themselves while putting their thumb on people. Corporate leaders who allow greed to make unethical practices the norm. It goes on and on. It all started with Satan back in the original Eden, and he continues to play his part, but we all contribute in some way, big or small. We may not be Hitler, but we sin, and we add to this compounding effect of a world gone mad, of a world that is held together only by God’s grace as he patiently waits for as many as possible to repent.
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling for demons, and a haunt for every unclean spirit… All the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.” (Revelation 18:1-3)
We’ve all seen the drunkenness of this maddening wine, haven’t we? Truth is, we’ve taken a few sips. But our sin may be small compared to much that goes on. Jeremiah speaks of the “high places” that were built to sacrifice sons and daughters (Jer. 32:25). Horrible. Yet we still see such, instead of “high places” it’s the mother’s womb.
Yes, evil must be overcome, and we won’t see that in this life, not fully at least. Oh, for a savior, for a pathway to pure relationship with God, oh for all the wrongs to be righted. We have found that in Jesus, haven’t we? God laid our sins upon him and we can be forgiven, we can have a way to be cleansed. But that is only for the “few” who accept Jesus as Lord. What about those who spit in his face, who want nothing to do with him, who revel in their sins and add fuel to the fire of this wreckage? Or, what about those who have been persecuted for their faith, many dying; who have done their best to live a godly life and yet faced repeated heartache? Justice in all that?
It’s why we need to have a clearer view of what awaits us. Not floating on a cloud and singing songs for eternity (that motivates few), but living on a new earth where sin is gone and Eden is restored, where rewards are given for the good we’ve done as we’ve followed Jesus as Lord. Satan and those who align themselves with him will be tossed into the lake of fire, justice will be meted out, and we will have an eternity to gain understanding and enjoy life the way it was meant to be, the way you’ve always wanted it to be! Where have you wanted to go, what have you wanted to do, what dreams have gone unfulfilled? Don’t worry, my friend, all of that will be realized.
“I Can Only Imagine” was a popular song a few years back, I liked it too. The problem is, if eternity is left to our imagination it can become something very vague and unreal. What we face in eternity is a new Eden, an earth that is restored to all its grandeur! Don’t just imagine; it is real, it will be yours, and evil will be overthrown.