Peace will not arise from the ashes of the human struggle. When Adam and Eve attempted their political coup, chanting “There is no God,” they unwittingly exchanged paradise for abomination, corruption, and evil. The moment God exiled Adam and Eve from paradise, human kind began the never-ending journey back to the perfection. Humans built countless towers comprised of philosophical, economic, and ethical bricks believing human efforts could guide humanity to the meadows of peace, love, truth, goodness, and justice that exists above the clouds of human experience. Yet, humanity has yet to create a lasting Utopia.
Why Utopias Fail
Despite their efforts, community organizers, politicians, and social scientists have yet to reach the outskirts of heaven. The children of Adam and Eve still remain constructed by the limitations of their first parents.
Since men and women never reach heaven, God frequently comes down to walk amongst them. When God leaves the glorious of heavenly peace, he never finds divine beauty. He encounters only mangled messes of deranged idiocy masquerading as success. Psalm 14:1 laments the sadness of the human condition noting,
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
God contains all truth, love, justice, peace, and beauty. Men and women who refuse to sit under God’s authority remove themselves from all knowledge and goodness. When goodness evaporates, evil grows. Apart from God, humans govern their hearts and this world according to their impulses which they form in accordance with their limited experiences, unstable passions, and insatiable lusts. No one does good, not even one.
Consequently, the Utopias created by philosophers, politicians, and pastors to solve societal woes inevitably end in ruin. As the New Yorker concluded,
Nearly every utopia…begins with a determination to create a new economy, usually through some amalgam of collective ownership, central planning, and voluntary labor. Yet egoism, acquisitiveness, competitiveness, and all the other ills of human flesh bob repeatedly to the surface, like a cork that will not be submerged.
After more than 3000 years of societal reforms, men and women still remain alienated from God because “of the hardness of their heart (Eph 4:18).” No amount of education, social engineering, or economic equity can erase lawlessness from the human heart. Even when all men and women have equal respect, political rights, and access to resources, they will not be content. Even if every human has one potato, all of them will eventually lay claim to their neighbor’s potato.
John D. Rockefeller summed up the human condition well when a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.” The philosopher kings that Plato dreamt of do not exist. No one understands.
No amount of education, social engineering, or economic equity can erase lawlessness from the human heart.Tweet
The Gospel Response
Though the Church knows secular solutions will always end in disappointment, she should not discount the problems of the secular world. The Scriptures teach that the human experience consists of misery. The church should appreciate the world’s sorrow. Dietrich Bonhoeffer correctly concluded, “We must listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.” The church possesses the antidote to the world’s problems. She should listen well so that she may apply the balm of the gospel to men and women who have been wounded by this world’s falses promises. But to apply this balm, she must be able to sympathize with those who hurt.
In short, failed utopias can prove to be the fertile ground of gospel growth if the church will take the time to listen well and to speak of the salvation of Zion.
While the world contains no grand humanitarian such as the fictional professor T.E. Frazier who willingly forfeits his own peace and prosperity to help humanity achieve paradise, heaven does contain such a hero, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus comes down from heaven to bring peace, love, and justice to the human race that destroyed Eden. The Messiah created social harmony between zealots intent on the violent overthrow of the government and tax collectors who enriched themselves through their defense of the government. The Son of God spent his life healing the ills of society and then died to free men and women from the limitations of Adam and Eve. When Jesus rose from the dead, he broke the boundaries of sin, showing men and women the path to heaven. He then takes the hands of those who will repent and believe and guides them to the peace, love, joy, hope, and justice of paradise. As Christians make the transition from this world to the next, Jesus walks with them, enlighten their eyes. Equipped with understand, the followers of Jesus can bring truth, peace, and justice to humanity. Though humanity destroyed the garden, God will restore it to a new and greater glory. All who believe can come.
If the church hopes to find the answers to racism or any other problem, she must listen well so that she can speak the gospel well. But before she can do either of these things, she must know the gospel well. She must know the glories of zion.
To solve the problems of today, the church must listen more than she speaks, and she read more than she listensTweet
To solve the problems of today, the church must listen more than she speaks, and she must read more than she listens.
How are we doing? Do we understand the limits of the human condition and the hope of the gospel?