Monday, September 13, 2010

The nature of Earthly Pleasures

John 12:25 - "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
What is the nature of the good things we encounter and enjoy on Earth?  Set aside the obvious one, that all God makes is good and therefore the pleasure we see is the expression of His goodness. 
I suspect that marriage, children, nature, indeed all things that we might enjoy and savor are merely shadows or images of the reality that exists in heaven.  The good things on Earth exist to give us a foretaste of heaven, to have them is to get a sample of what heaven will be like, but they were not meant to trap us or keep us.  We ought to take the sample and think "If a watered down pleasure is this good on Earth, imagine when everything is made new what it will be like." We are not to think "This is enjoyable, therefore I will hold on to this because I know I enjoy it." because that is a perversion. It's falling in love with the handwriting of the love letter rather than the person who wrote it. It's to swoon for the shadow of the girl you love while caring nothing for the real person who casts it. It's to fall in love with a mirrors reflection and having no desire to turn around and get to know the reality.
And so it makes sense that if we are willing to cast aside our conception of life and pleasure as intended by God we will find the greater, but if we are intent on keeping the meager shadow and tossing the reality we will ultimately have neither, because we are asking for something that pleasure was never designed for.

And when you consider it further, it does make a little more sense to going back into the OT. Why did God banish man from the garden, or men from Babel? Perhaps also because as a fallen creature the temptation is to latch on to this life to the exclusion of the next.  After falling men were to look to God to make it new again, not look to themselves to enjoy what little there is.

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