Occasionally, I look at some of the things I’ve done and think, “How could I screw up so badly?” Indeed, how could I? I’ve got everything going for me. I have enough money at my disposal to be comfortable. I have enough life experience under my belt to have gained at least a modicum of wisdom. I live in a country that affords me the freedom to think and do whatever I want (within reason). I know the Truth, and he has set me free from my own sin. So what’s the problem?
I think the problem is complicated, but one facet might be this. I wasn’t built for these conditions. I don’t think any of us were.
To explain what I mean, I would point you to the first few chapters of Genesis. In those few pages, we see the Biblical account of Creation. Many parts of the story are undoubtedly familiar to you (although I’ve discovered that most people don’t really know the actual story). I commend it to you for a re-read.
“Things were great.”
What you will see there, in short, is that our heroes (Adam and Eve) are placed in a marvelous environment. We know it as the Garden of Eden. Eden appears to be a utopia of sorts. It’s full of edibles, friendly animals, and topped off by a visit from the Lord, himself, every evening. Things were great.
The one part of the story everyone seems to know is that Adam and Eve screwed it up. Consequently, they were summarily ejected from the Garden, and things went south after that. Curses were placed on everything under the sun, and the whole enchilada got really messed up. We’ve been attempting to get back to the Garden ever since—quite unsuccessfully, I might add.
This brings me back to my original point. We live in a fallen world. It’s a world where sin and evil abound. It’s a world that has been darkened by people like me who continually mess up. It’s bad enough that I mess things up, but when everyone else is contributing to the mess… Well, you get the picture.
Who can we blame?
We’ve got no one to blame but ourselves, of course, but at least we’ve got one fallback position from which to argue our case. We weren’t built for these conditions.
Think about it. We (the human race) were built to live in utopia (Eden). We were supposed to live in a place where we’d have plenty to eat for everyone. This was supposed to be a place where the animals were our friends, not our lunch. Better still, we were supposed to get regular visits from the Lord.
How many times have you been in a discussion during which someone said, “I want to ask the Lord that question when I get to Heaven.” Frankly, it would be nice to have the information now.
Someday I’m hoping to get back to Eden. How about you?
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]