SATAN PROMISES HEAVEN BUT DELIVERS HELL (PART IV)
“Eden, a Taste of Heaven”
Eternal bliss, i.e., that state of unending, complete, all-encompassing joy and utter satisfaction, is the holy grail of all mankind. For the entire length of his earthly existence, the attainment of eternal serenity is man’s never-ending quest.
Man spends his entire life in relentless pursuit of things that he believes would grant him everlasting bliss. After acquiring all the desires of his heart, he suddenly realizes he has been chasing shadows all along. The bliss he seeks cannot be found in any of his life’s pursuits.
Despite all his best efforts, blissfulness remains elusive. Like chasing after the rainbow, the bliss constantly beckons, but it’s always just beyond reach. There’s always another dollar to gain, a better job to have, and another pound to lose. There seems to always be a better car to drive, a nicer place to live, a bigger prize to win, and a far more beautiful woman to marry.
Lamenting his own futile chase after eternal bliss, King Solomon concluded, rather sardonically, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity, a futile grasping and chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1).
Solomon was absolutely spot on.
That man is embarked on a perpetual quixotic adventure for eternal bliss is not random or accidental. Behind man’s incessant search for such an unattainable state of contentment is a subconscious yearning for something he once had but is now lost.
Deep down in the soul of man is an emptiness, which is the state of blissfulness he once enjoyed in a distant past in the loins of his forebears. Without really understanding why or how, there’s a longing in man for a missing past that keeps gnawing at the pit of his stomach.
That feeling – that constant craving for something more – in man is an instinctive yearning for the blessed existence that Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden before the fall.
The eternal bliss that man spends his entire life chasing after is really a nostalgia for the good life the progenitors of mankind tasted before they sinned and lost it all. The traces of this past blessedness that must have been left embedded in man’s subconscious mind.
Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve did experience eternal bliss. Of all the people that have ever lived, they were the only ones to have savored the fullness of the blessedness of God on earth.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and neither has it entered into the heart of men what Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden. We cannot even begin to imagine the extent of the great life they had. Eden was really Heaven on earth.
Tragically, they lost everything when they fell for Satan’s lies. All they were left with were memories and reminiscences about the good life in the Garden of Eden. For the remainder of his 930 years on earth, Adam must have told his descendants stories upon stories of the wonderful life in God’s Garden.
Part of their story would have been of an existence without sin. One can imagine Adam painting a vivid picture of what the earth looked like when there was no such thing as aging, disease, sickness, or death, all of which are consequences of sin.
The stories must have included that of a ground that yielded its increase with no toil or sweat on their part, and their children must have particularly loved the part about farming a ground devoid of thorns and thistles.
Adam and Eve must have regaled his children with accounts of a time when animals wouldn’t hurt or kill anyone, and of harmless serpents just doing their thing. Their descendants must have heard, ad infinitum and ad nauseam, of wolf and the lamb walking together, leopard sleeping side-by-side with a baby goat, calf and lion eating from the same trough, cow and bear grazing the same pasture, calves and cubs growing up together, and the lion eating straw like the ox.
Most importantly, Adam and Eve must have agonized when they talked about how God would come down and take a walk with them in the garden in the cool of the day. It must have been especially painful for them to narrate the fellowship with Elohim and all the things He told them about His redemptive work in creation and how they fit into it all.
In anguish, Adam and Eve must have bemoaned how they threw everything away because they bought into Satan’s lies. Citing their own experience, they must have issued stern warnings to their children never to fall of Satan’s deception.
Surely, Adam and Eve forewarned their children of the certainty of death as the penalty for sin. Having painfully learned that no man can enjoy the taste of Heaven when the bone of hell is crushed between his teeth, they must have counseled their offspring of the futility of enjoying eternal bliss apart from the Almighty God. Their descendants must have understood that the ultimate purpose of man, therefore, is to fear God and worship Him all the days of their lives.
As we shall see later, all of the warnings fell on deaf ears. The children of Adam repeated the error of their forefather, and the sins of Adam and Eve continued in perpetuity down their lineage.