Summary: When God created the universe, he created it perfect. We lost that perfection that paradise when we sinned. Through Christ we have paradise regained by being Born Again.
Paradise Lost and regained
The original intent of Creation was to live in a Paradise atmosphere where all was peaceful. Jacob understood this. In Genesis 49:28 he blesses the twelve tribes he blessed them appropriately. The writer sums up in unequivocal terms the substance of Jacob’s words to his sons. They are an expression of the theme of the blessing (wayebarek "when he blessed") that was to be passed along through the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Within Jacob’s words to each of the sons (after Judah), the theme of blessing has been evident in two primary images. First, the reverse side of the blessing is stressed in the imagery of the victorious warrior. The defeat of the enemy is the prelude to the messianic peace. Second, the positive side of the blessing is stressed in the imagery of great prosperity and abundance. Behind such imagery of peace and prosperity lies the picture of the Garden of Eden--the Paradise lost. The focus of Jacob’s words has been the promise that when the one comes to whom the kingship truly belongs, there will once again be the peace and prosperity that God intended all to have in the Garden of Eden.
Paradise was lost when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden. Even before the fall, there was a plan to redeem. The eating of the forbidden fruit caused the loss of Paradise. What did they have in Paradise?
1. Fellowship with God face to face.
2. Peace and contentment (the lion laid down with the lamb)
3. Abundance of everything they needed.
When they ate the forbidden fruit, they lost it all, except that God had not abandoned them. God could have wiped them out completely and started over. One of my professors, Bob Martin, said, God cannot destroy that which he loves. He was referring to abortion, which he described in this way; they destroy what they do not love. God cannot, will not do that.
This is why John 3:16 tells us, God so loved the world. Even though the world did not love him, even though the world rejected Him. God still loved the world.
Love is word so often used, so often misunderstood, so often misused. I use the word to describe my feelings toward my wife, my family, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have never proposed to a pb&j sandwich, nor have I ever hugged one, as I would do with my wife or my family. The misuse of the word has taken some of the punch out of the word. Yet the Biblical use of the word retains its power.
There is the Hebrew word hasaq. It speaks of a tethered love, a love that is attached to someone or something. Like a mother to a child. I use to think that child leashes were cruel, and then came Matt and his knack for wandering off. The attachment refers to ownership and to yanking out of trouble.
Duet 7:7-8 says, The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
There was nothing about us that made God choose us. God loves us because He chose to.
George Matheson learned to depend on this love. He was only a teenager when he was told he was going blind. He wanted to be a minister; he was determined to complete his studies. He graduated from the University of Glasgow at the age of 19. By the time he finished seminary, he was sightless. His fiancé returned his engagement ring, stating she could not see her way clear to be bound by the chains of marriage to a blind man.
Matheson never married, he adapted to his blindness, but never really recovered from his broken heart. He became a powerful poetic preacher, as one author stated; Matheson led a very inspiring life. Every once in a while the pain of his unreciprocated love flared up. One time it was at his sister’s wedding ceremony. On June 6, 1882, he penned the following,
O love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee
I give thee back the life, that in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
God will never let go. He has handcuffed us in His love and he is the only one with the key. We do not have to do anything to win it, we already have it, and since we did not win it, we cannot lose it either.