Just a drop, and maybe not even that - part one

Much to my family's dismay I have been listening to the soundtrack from the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou" and I have found it to be not only an enjoyable listen but a spiritual one at that. There are more than a couple of songs on it that remind me of my position in God and even about the reason why I have been created at all. There is one song in particular that has me thinking about heaven a little more: Big Rock Candy Mountain. It is not like the song takes the truths and principles found in the heaven-relevant passages in the Scriptures and pairs them with a catchy melody or American Bandstand inspired dance beat. In fact, it does quite the opposite (from a lyrical perspective anyway):

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.

Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

There are numerous other verses that are actually quite clever and made me chuckle a bit. Of course, we can chalk this up to a tongue in cheek look at what paradise would look like from the perspective a person who is homeless during the Depression, but I think that the song is indicative of something much more, can we say, insidious? Distracting? Maybe, deceptive?

As the song goes on it mentions quite a few things that this person would think paradise would and would not have: cops with wooden legs, lakes made of stew and whiskey, bulldogs with rubber teeth, jails made of tin, and many other earthly delights and happy circumstances. And it is this, precisely, that rails against my soul. As wonderful as those things are to the person who conjures up this dream world they are not a drop in an ocean of what heaven truly is.

Now God has given us these things (OK maybe not all of them but stay with me here) as a foretaste of what the pleasures of heaven will be like. Now they are not a foretaste of heaven because the pleasures are rare here in this life. Not at all. They are rare because they find themselves in a world that is frail and fallen. If we had more of them and less of the bad would they ascend to a different position? Would they become more than a foretaste then? And what of Eden, that perfect place where God initially placed us? Were they something more before we fell?

The answer would still be "no". The "heaven" that Eden was really wasn't an end in itself. It was a means to an end. Now there are numerous Biblical theories as to why God created us and initially placed us in the garden but those don't factor into where I am going with this line of thinking. Heaven isn't really a destination or a collection of positive and a dearth of negative things at all. But more on that later.


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