Listening in on Creation
Along the Shore

The Day When Everything Goes Right

"Adam and Eve lived happily together in their beautiful new home. And everything was perfect --- for a while.

Until the day when everything went wrong."

(Sally Lloyd-Jones, in The Story of God's Love for You)

Everyone knows something is wrong with the world, that something is wrong with people. Despite what we discussed in Philosophy 101, no one I know believes that evil is an illusion. By whatever standard you measure right and wrong, something is terribly wrong. It'd be convenient to say evil is over there, in that person, and not here, in me, but I can't. "The line between good and evil," said Solzhenitsyn once, "runs through the human heart." For evidence, ask your family.

Some Christians speak of "total depravity," meaning that we are not as bad as we could be but that even our acts that appear to be good bear in them a seed of bad. Aware of my pride, for example, I humble myself; aware of my humility, I am touched by pride in my humility. What a dilemma! From heaven, holy laughter is heard, God chuckling quietly with me, shaking heads at my tragic and yet comic inability to do one completely good act.

Grace can't be appreciated apart from an understanding of how the world went wrong. Without understanding the Fall, we can't fully understand the Rescue. Without appreciating how deep and wide are the rippling waves of how the world went wrong, we cannot wonder well at the beauty of a world made right.

One of my associates at work said to me recently, marveling at what is wrong being called good and what is good being called bad, "The world is upside down." I nodded. "Yes, it is," I said, with a sigh. And yes it has been, for a long, long time, I thought. When he left, I looked out the window at the roof of blue sky, letting my mind carry me on past Moon and Mars and Pluto and Andromeda, out beyond the limits of our seeing, and thought, "But not for long. Or, at least, not forever."