Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

                                                                                Matthew 6:10

What if the whole point of being a Christian or becoming a Christian or converting people to Christianity is not about going to heaven? What if heaven isn’t our goal at all? Suppose hell is not a place for people because they have been so bad, and so they are condemned to an eternity of fire and brimstone; pain and suffering? What if?

Maybe some of us have it wrong. I know I did, and that’s why I started this search for—well, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for or how I would find it.

Interestingly, the Bible says God made man from the dust of the earth. Our bodies are simple chemical compounds from dirt…..but God. But God breathed life into us—His Life. Adam, the first human, walked and talked in perfect relationship with God, his Creator. There was no shame or blame. There was unity, peace, and safety because there was no fear.

God gave Adam and soon Eve the job of caring for the perfect garden where they lived. It never rained because springs watered the earth. It was all good! In the middle of the garden were two trees: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. The name “Knowledge of Good and Evil implies there already was evil in the garden, and if not in the garden, it must have been at the time of Satan’s fall from heaven.

God told Adam and Eve they should not eat from the Tree of Knowledge, but they could eat from all the other trees and plants. So why put something in the garden and tell them not to eat from it? According to the commentary in my Bible, it was because although God wanted the two to obey Him, He gave them a free will or freedom to choose to obey Him. God is about love and liberty. He did give them some warnings, though.

Most of us know how the story goes. Adam and Eve did eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The Serpent, the fallen angel Satan, had convinced them
God was holding out on them. He convinced them that if they wouldn’t allow God to influence their decisions, they could be gods themselves. (Genesis 3)

Many have suggested this is just a fairytale, and it never happened, but it does happen every day. We get the idea God is not loving and is holding out on us. We think God is about control that we don’t want to abide by, so we become our own gods by masterminding our own decisions. Often without considering any warnings from God or those who may be wiser. Yes, we are the masterminds behind every arrangement we make, no matter how good or bad it may be.

Everything was perfect for Adam and Eve until their rebellion and their fall from ideal harmony with God. Something in them did die, and that was the Life that God had breathed into them. (that is what is called their spirit) They didn’t leave earth, nor were they condemned to hell. But the earth was different. It would be fallen from perfection as well. And for thousands or millions or billions of years, things have been getting worse until here we are with people talking about how the earth is ruined.

But two thousand some years ago something happened that changed everything. Something happened that reversed everything that happened because of Adam and Eve’s doubt of God’s love. We are still left with a choice because God never takes away our freedom, even if we choose poorly, hurt ourselves and others, ruin the planet, or make decisions leading to sickness and death. God does not micro-manage, but He is always available to help or listen.

God has always wanted to live among us. In Eden, God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. In the desert, when God wanted to dwell with his chosen people, the Hebrews, He designed a Tabernacle for them to build, and He met with them there, even thought He had been with them in a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day. The whole story is in the Book of Exodus. God wanted to be more involved with them, and knowing they were already overwhelmed with the entire deliverance from Egypt and desert life, He gave them a gift. The gift was ten instructions on how to have a relationship with Him and with each other. They were ten little rules that would save them heartache and relationships. So simple, and we have been rebelling against this gift for years!

This part of the story is old news. In fact, the story is in the Old Testament in its entirety. People rebelling and God restoring, but the
Significant Restoration of Life, earth, and relationship are yet to come. And that Restoration is what I have learned in N.T. Wright’s book, Simply Jesus. (copyright 2011, HarperCollins)