“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
If the 60’s generation has an anthem it must be ‘Woodstock’, the song about the famous rock concert written by Joni Mitchell and made popular by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The key lyric in the song is “…and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” The garden Joni Mitchell’s lyric refers to is the Garden of Eden. Woodstock was supposed to represent that return. The naive optimism of her generation hoped to realize a kind of utopian world of peace and love. Far from being the repristination of The Garden, however, Woodstock turned out to be a giant rain-soaked mudbath. The Garden ended up being acres of land strewn with garbage – and shattered illusions.
The story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, which modern theology dismisses as primitive and quaint, is actually quite an accurate and profound picture of humanity. The story tells us that we were created for God, for creation and for one another. We were created to take our greatest delight and joy in God, to live within the luxuriant abundance of creation and be lost in love for one another. The story goes on to reveal that a tragic break in all these relationships has resulted in the world as we know it. Now, we are estranged creatures; estranged from God, from the creation and from one another. The fact that Adam and Eve hid from God served to reveal that self-consciousness now dominated them. When one of their two sons went on to murder the other, the trajectory of the ascendant self was seen to be the inheritance of fallen man – and woman.
We will not “…get ourselves back to the garden.” Innocence is no longer possible for us. But God has promised a New Creation. In Jesus Christ that New Creation has begun. In God’s time, this old discordant creation will give way to the new. In the meantime, faith in God’s promises tempers the self so that the restoration may begin; that we may love one another, care for the world, and find our deepest joy in God Himself even as we look forward, in hope, to the final restoration of all things in Christ.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”