Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Why is this blog called "EdenExit"?
The title of this blog is my answer to the question, "How did we get here?"
How did we get here?
Who turned the lights on?
Who's paying the electric bill?
Currently, I am supposed to be studying some P.Chem. But, instead, I'm tapping away at a keyboard. But this important: I'm wrestling with the question of existence!
Do you ever feel like you're in the midst of a novel: one day a long ways back you opened your eyes and waalaa! you saw a world you'd never imagined. Maybe you first saw a lady's smiling face. Chances are you soon saw diapers, carpet, and lots of plastic toys. Then, at some point, some day (maybe it was in your highchair), you realized -- I myself exist. But you weren't the first to realize this. Descartes expressed his "lightbulb moment" with the words "Dubito ergo sum," or "I doubt, therefore I am." If you've not yet contemplated your own existence, get busy. If Peter Singer had his way, it would always be open season on kids until they became self aware!
But, what's the point of realizing you exist? Why are you here? How are you separate from the world you live in? What is your place in this universe? How did the universe get here, and where's it going?
The 1977 Webster Dictionary defines teleology as "[Gr. telos, teleos, an end, and logos, discourse] Philos. The doctrine of final causes; the study of evidence in nature indicating that final causes exist; an explanation of natural phenomena by final causes; the metaphysical doctrine that final goals and purposes rather than mechanical causes order reality."
For the question "How did the universe get here," there's basically 3 answers: 1) It had a beginning which came about by chance, 2) It had a beginning which came about by design, or 3) It has always been.
As others have pointed out, the third alternative is basically an evasion. How could this ever be proved? But then, the debate is raging between the first and second options!
For the question "Where are we going?" there are 2 options: 1) The universe is becoming better, 2) The universe is becoming worse. Some attempts have been made to combine the two viewpoints, with interesting results.
Some people see the universe on the upward swing, with animals becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated ever since matter popped onto the scene. Others believe that this earth is on a downward swing with a formerly perfect world becoming more and more decayed. Still others cycle between these two theories, subscribing to evolution but freaking out at every new threat of disaster (bird flu, global warming, etc.) Evidently, in this view, the universe is progressively improving, but the improvement is a function of human worry and handwringing. Oh yes, and new environmental legislation.
With so many options, how can we know what's really true?
I don't know who you trust, but I'll tell you where I'm coming from. The authority I trust is God Himself. The words He gave you and me in Scripture agree internally and have external proof as well. It's from His Word (the Scripture) that I know about the creation of the world. In six days God created light and energy; seas and atmosphere; dry land and plants; the sun, moon, and stars; sea animals; land animals and humans. Humans were His special delight because they were made in His image. He breathed "the breath of life" into the first man, Adam. Then, from Adam's rib, He created a wife for Adam. Her name was Eve, and together they enjoyed life in a perfect world. Adam was the caretaker of the garden he lived in, which was called Eden. There was millions of things to do, but only one thing they were told not to do: eat fruit from "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." God told them that on the day they ate that fruit, they would die. But one day, thanks to Satan-in-snake's-clothing, Eve was deceived into eating some of the fruit. Then Adam sinned deliberately and ate it. Through his deliberate disobedience (sin), Adam brought death into the perfect world God had designed. Adam and his wife were punished several different ways. Up until the point when Adam disobeyed, all he and his wife had ever known was LIFE. But now, their bodies would begin to age: before, their cells might have continued living forever. Now, their cells would continually die and have to be replaced. They would get wrinkles and dry skin, and ultimately they would die of metabolic acidosis. Every other living things, plant and animal, would suffer because of Adam's sin. And not only would the first human couple have to face death, they would find living much harder than before. Adam would have to fight thorns to grow crops, Eve would have pain during delivery and would desire her husband to rule over her. The snake would crawl on his belly in the dust. Plus, both Adam and Eve would be evicted from the Garden of Eden.
It's from this event that I titled my blog: EdenExit.
But if that was the end of the story, I think I'd become maniacally depressed. Before Adam and Eve left the Garden, God gave them a promise: a vision to live by. He told them that from their descendants, a deliever would come. The snake would strike His heel, but He would crush his head.
Adam and Eve brought evil into the world, but God showed how faithful He was, even in the midst of their pain and His disappointment. As Adam and Eve left Eden, they could look forward to a deliverer. This deliverer was "the second Adam." His name is Jesus, and He is preparing a place even more beautiful than the Garden of Eden. Today, even in those moments when I realize that I've thwarted God's plan, even when I see my own stupidity, I become even more aware of God's holiness. I see the divide between God and me -- I've deliberately disobeyed Him. I wonder how He can stand to look at me when I'm covered in sin.
It's only through Christ that I have any hope of being forgiven. You see, even though Jesus' first birth announcement was given out a few thousand years ahead of time, God sent His Son into the world at just the right moment (the "fullness of time"). Even though His conception was supernatural, this perfect Son was born the "normal" way ("normal" ever since that day in the Garden). Until the time He was 33 years old, He never sinned. And when He was 33, and the deliverer who was promised, He died. This was not an accident. It was not a suicide. It was the offering up Himself, so that we could be restored to God.
Ever since that day in Eden when Adam bit into that fruit, ever since the juice from that fruit trickled over his tongue and stimulated his taste buds, ever since that deliberate act of rebellion, all of us had been living in sin. Or, actually, we'd been dying in sin. The most moral person living between Adam and Jesus' time had nothing to bargain their way into Heaven with. Because of the rebellion each of us had shown, each of us deserved to die without ever seeing the place more glorious than Eden.
But remember: while Adam and Eve were still sinners, Christ was promised to come.
And: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Because I can remember Jesus Christ, I can remember God's love me. It's His love that lifts me out of my own swamp of selfishness and sin and shows me life again.
This Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. While He owns every molecule that makes up your body, He will take none of them by force. His words are, Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He created you, and through His promise, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ," you can know Him and start living the life He calls you to live.
I know that my life has meaning through Christ. It's through Him that I was given the gift of life, and I live for His glory. Often I struggle to obey God's commands and my parents' advice, but I realize that when my eyes are fixed on Jesus Christ, my hope is sure. Like Peter floundering in the water, I am learning to cry out to God. And I am also learning that He is the ultimate source of every joy in my life. Even on this side of Eden.