Mathematician and Christian apologist Blaise Pascal compares the human condition to the misery of a fallen king. If he had never been a king, he would not think that his now-humble life is miserable. (For a helpful explanation of this idea, see Douglas Groothuis’s article here).

This analogy resonates with the Bible’s teaching that 1) God intended humans to have a relationship with him and to have dominion over the cosmos, but that 2) we have fallen into sin. As sinners, we do not enjoy the relationship God intended us to have with him. Further, sin has brought other consequences: our world is a perplexing alloy of kindness and cruelty; our minds become confused; our bodies grow old and die.

So why do we not simply embrace these consequences as a neutral fact of life? Why do we arm ourselves against these frustrations with the flimsy defenses of politics, education, medicine, and entertainment?  In Ecclesiastes, Solomon gives us the answer: we are not in the condition for which God made us. As he puts it, God made humans upright, but we have sought out “many schemes.” We cannot silence the voice that cries for something eternally fulfilling, for “he has put eternity in our hearts.”

Only one human has overcome this fallenness, finiteness, and frustration: the God-man Jesus Christ. Though he is fully God, he submerged himself into our experiences as fully man. But he overcame them by living a sinless life, dying a substitutionary death, and being raised from the dead. For those who believe in Christ, this fallenness (sin) and finiteness (death) will be completely defeated when they dwell with him in the New Heavens and New Earth.

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