The born again Holy Spirit filled Christian living today is closer to God than Adam and Eve were in the garden before they fell into sin. In fact I’d say that’s why they fell—they didn’t know God well enough. They didn’t know that God was better than anything else possible. They saw something other than God as better than God and they turned away from God to pursue that thing which they thought was better than God. They turned to an idol, they sinned, and they fell.
Jesus is not taking us back to the garden. He is not restoring things to how they were before the fall of man. He is making all things new and better. It’s not like God actually expected the garden situation to go on forever. It’s not like, when Adam and Eve fell, that God said, “Oh no! I didn’t see that coming. What’s our plan B Jesus?” Jesus’ death on the cross was not plan B, it’s plan A (see 2nd Timothy 1:8-10 and 1st Peter 1:18-20).
I remember one night a few years ago. I was lying in bed soon to fall asleep. While I was still awake God came to me in a way I’ve never experienced before. As my eyes were closed I saw His glory in the form of various beautiful lights. As I looked at these lights I was filled with a very intense joy. If I opened my eyes it all faded away. So I kept my eyes closed and began to drift into sleep. As I drifted into sleep the beautiful lights and the feeling of joy became more and more intense—so intense that I would immediately wake up and open my eyes. But when I opened my eyes it would all fade away again. This cycle went on for several minutes until it all stopped and I fell asleep. For months afterward every time I thought about those lights, the glory of God, which I saw, I would also feel the intense joy as well. Over the years that has faded, and today I can barely remember what I saw.
Recently I have been thinking a lot about this verse:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when Jesus appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. ~1 John 3:2(ESV)
And as I’ve been thinking about this verse I have been thinking about that night when I saw God’s glory. And I am convinced that if I could see that beauty and glory again, and if I could feel that joy again, but this time hold on to it, without it fading, growing in intensity—if I could hold on to it and keep it, then I would never sin again.
Adam and Eve… “knew God, (but) they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:21-23)
Adam and Eve knew God, but they obviously didn’t know Him well enough to know that He is infinitely greater, more beautiful, and more wonderful than anything possible. They didn’t know Him like we will know Him in the eternal life to come. We will see Him as He is: unveiled and in all His glory and beauty—and because of this we will not fall. We will be sustained by Him forever. That’s why it’s called eternal life!
Today we can pursue this already. This is why we worship, pray, and read His word. We fight to keep Christ in the foreground of our lives; keeping Him as the most precious thing in our lives. Every time we turn to some kind of idol we are forgetting that God is the most precious thing possible. We have to fight this fight every day. We fight to see Him as He is. We fight to know Him better than Adam and Eve.