Reflections on Eden – I’m Sure It was Beautiful but Was It Boring Too?

Over the weekend, I read the first few chapters of Genesis and like most people, I’m quite captivated by the idea of the perfect life of Eden. To be honest, it’s not the frolicking in nudity with my soulmate. Though there is something cool about having a giraffe and a pack of coyotes as pets that all got along, it’s not that either. At this point, insightful Christian leaders will assume that I am captivated by the idea of taking walks with God in the cool of the night. To talk to my Creator is an idea I have thought about many times and await the day when this becomes my reality.

But something else caught my mind’s eye and that was imagining the idea of living in a world that made sense. I’ve thought of the idea of Eden being sin-free and pain-free before but what does a reality of wholeness actually mean? Beyond the coyote laying down with the giraffe, I have trouble imagining a world where that is not odd. A world without selfishness, scheming, and swindling but rather a world of selflessness, submissiveness, and serving. Even if you do not take the early chapters of Genesis literally, the idea of Eden is compelling.

We would be quick to point out that heaven is what Eden was like. Or at least that’s what some of us think. Maybe God will surprise us. But I have worried about heaven too. I said this at Second Mile service a few months ago that I used to worry that heaven would be boring. And in reading about Eden, can I confess to you that there was a part of me that thought that this sort of existence might be boring? Can I admit that my mind raced that perhaps it was this boredom that led Adam and Eve to consider the words of the serpent? Is peace and perfection boring? As you may recall, Agent Smith told Morpheus in the first Matrix that the Machines had been built a world that was perfect but the humans rejected it because they needed some type of struggle to feel human.

I can somewhat imagine a world where peace is possible. For the most part, my local life is lived in peace. Fortunately, I serve in a church where I have access to things like struggle and conflict. My life may be free of physical violence but it is certainly not free from disunity and selfishness. A lot of the peace that I observe is a forced peace. Meaning you must be peaceful or suffer the consequences. This is one of the many benefits of civilization and societal living.

However, what does a world look like where there is complete peace? Here’s my best answer. I assumed such a place had to be boring because of my fallen, sinful, narrow-minded nature. It’s not completely my fault, this is the only world I have had access to. But to use the real Biblical metaphor of the lion laying down with the lamb – it’s not a forced peace like I assume it is. But rather it’s a peace where the lion would not think of harming the lamb. To them, it would be unimaginable – it’s the only reality that they know.

Eden was a place where evil was unimaginable. Granted, that story of Adam and Eve tells us of their fall into temptation. Though they knew immediately that they had fallen, they did not expect the consequences and the curses. Prior to the fall (and the idea of the Return to Eden), I imagine it was a selfless place where the interests of others naturally came first. I have never experienced complete joy but I like to wonder what that looks like in a world where there is no pain but complete restoration of creation, our bodies, our relationships and the divine intention that God had created us with. Honestly, when I look at it like that, it doesn’t sound boring at all.


  1. This reminds me of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” From

    –Huck feels especially restless because the Widow and Miss Watson constantly attempt to improve his behavior. When Miss Watson tells him about the “bad place”—hell—he blurts out that he would like to go there, for a change of scenery. This proclamation causes an uproar. Huck doesn’t see the point of going to the “good place” and resolves not to bother trying to get there. He keeps this sentiment a secret, however, because he doesn’t want to cause more trouble. When Huck asks, Miss Watson tells him that there is no chance that Tom Sawyer will end up in heaven. Huck is glad “because I wanted him and me to be together.”–

    It appears “heaven” in Huck’s eyes would boring, and I would rather go to hell with Tom Sawyer than heaven without him.

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