The Kingdom of heaven is here. Do we believe this?
What if I were placed under the tree of Life and I saw it laden with beautiful sweet-smelling fruit. And what if I was Adam and had just to reach up and take a bite? Would I have been removed then from the garden and taken up into bliss? Or would I simply have lived a good pleasant time in the garden and after a long earthly stint of peaceful walking with God enter into the beatific vision? Did God not originally intend the Garden to be the Paradise for man so that man in union with his God could till the soil and participate in His creation; show gratitude for his love? And how would I show gratitude? Would it be perhaps by taking the very best of the work of my hands and offering it to God-a sacrifice like Abel's? Sacrifice is giving to God. Would eating of the Tree of Life assure me that I wouldn't get blisters from the plow, stub my toe, or that my arm hairs wouldn't get singed when I put another stick on the fire? Would the immortality of Eden have been an otherworldly existence or would it simply have been the journey through God's plan for my earthly existence until such time that He should deem fit to sweep me up in a fiery chariot like Enoch, Elijah and Our Blessed Mother? Would I not till the garden with the knowledge that I was immortal? Would I be yearning for God to take me up as soon as possible so that I wouldn't have to work? If I were Adam would it cross my mind to ask God if I could share in His own intimate life?
We always seem to think of heaven in terms of our future. We think that this earth is a place we have get out of. But, even Adam(remember--no sin, straight from the hand of God) was put down here with a job to do and a life that was distinct from the eternal bliss of heaven. So, no matter what, we as humans were meant to be here right where we are, walking in the footsteps of Adam some thousands of years later. Be patient, we have it lucky, we get beatific vision in 70 +/- years. Adam lived over 900!!
SO here is the $64000 question: SINCE CHRIST HAS COME HOW IS THIS PRESENT LIFE DIFFERENT FROM EDEN? INDEED COULD IT IN A WAY BE BETTER?
We, of course, yearn for an end to pain and suffering or rather an end to the evils that cause them. But having said that,"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."Romans 8:18 Could this be saying that we have, right now, a glory that will on that day be revealed? This is exactly what Christ came to tell us."You have already been made clean by the words which I have spoken to you"(Jn:in the teens somewhere...I'll google it later...ok)
I don't see any good reason why a Christian would wish away his own physical death. Though, unlike Elijah, we may not go out "in style" we still won't have a whole lot to miss, really. All we need to know is that we are really immortal "I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."John 8:51...immortality--check!...and our loved ones won't be long coming(as soon as we are outside of time they'll come by for a visit).
What is the point of "imagining" that we are in Eden now, through the Second Adam's obedience? !!!Because it means that we can live as IMMORTALS!!! Although an immortal would avoid pain and suffering He/She certainly wouldn't feel threatened by it. Does an immortal fret about money? He just quietly works and pays bills knowing that it is the game we play down here. Does an Immortal fear death--all the time--look around. ---WE ARE IMMORTAL---
What does this all amount to? PEACE!!!
PEACE!!! and more PEACE!!!
"Jesus said to her, 'I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'"John 11