31. Sojourners in the Devil’s World: Though no doubt relieved that the Lord God had not visitedupon them a swift and fiery judgment, Adam and Eve would have been anything but comforted by the harsh realities of the new world east of Eden into which they were forced following their eviction from the garden. This, assuredly, was no paradise. Life was no longer wonderful,especially in contrast to the bounty so recently lost. Everything was now flawed, and strangelyunsatisfying. The pain, the privation, the decay and corruption – and more than the anything elsethe absence of God – must have driven home the contrast to Eden.Unlike our first parents, we do not possess the experience of a perfect Eden as a vivid point of comparison to this imperfect world we now inhabit. But despite the fact that familiarity tends toinure one to hardships, this unforgiving world of trouble and tears has a tendency from time totime to slice through even the most deep-rooted Stoicism, and through even the most fortunatecircumstances, reminding us all that this is not a paradise designed by God for our happiness and pleasure. On the contrary, this is the devil’s world.That Satan’s world of deep unhappiness is essentially corrupt is a truism evident at life’s everyturn. Everything decays. Nothing good lasts. Sin and evil are ubiquitous. And not too far downthe road in every individual life lies the grave, the reward and legacy awaiting us all, no matter how blissful or disappointing our lives have been in the interim. Only God is truly meaningfulhere on earth, if we would but search for Him. Only Jesus Christ offers a solution to the futilityof life and the inevitability of death, if only we would believe in Him. Only on the other side of this life is there true meaning, true fulfilment, true and lasting happiness, when we are at last re-united with the God who loved us enough to sacrifice His Son on our behalf, if only we havechosen Him in this present life over the deceptive vanities of the devil’s world. Until that time,like our first parents Adam and Eve before us, we have been left in this strange and alien worldwhere the blinding reality of God is largely obscured from view, revealed almost exclusively inHis Word to those who seek Him out. Until that time, we wait for something better as homelesswanderers in a world which finds our perspective and our hope worthless, even idiotic. But byour faith and the actions that faith produces, we show the world that we are not of it, do not loveit, and acknowledge that we have no true part in it – except for the God who is the focus and theobject of our love all the days of our sojourning here in the devil’s inhospitable desert (cf.1Chron.29:15; Ps.23; 39:12; 63:1; 84:5-7; 119:19; Heb.11:37-38; 11:13-16; 13:13-14; 1Pet.1:1;2:11).Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
Psalm 73:25 NIV
2. The Vanity of Life: In His judgment upon Adam and Eve, God laid down the fundamentalcalculus of human life outside of the garden: that we must earn our bread through sweat and toilthroughout our short lives and afterwards return to dust (Gen.3:16-19). The curse of a life filledwith difficulties followed by an inevitable death will only be removed when God has broughthistory itself to an end (Rev.22:3). In the meantime, the cycle of painful birth, thistles andthorns, and return to the ground from whence we were originally taken is destined to repeat for us, one and all.