Life sucks. Yep, I said that and yes, I believe it's true for many people in the world. After all, this life we have here on earth was never meant to be the life God wanted for us. If you have never been touched by heartache, disease, fear, or death, you have beaten the odds. We were never meant to struggle with illness, despair, catastrophes, death or sin. We were never meant to wonder if there is a God. We were never meant to fight over our "rights" . . . gay rights, religious rights, women's rights, etc. All of it was never meant to happen.
God's original design for his creation was so vastly different than where it is now. God made us in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Beings that were meant to be in communion with God and with each other. We were not supposed to kill for our food. All the food we needed was to come from plants and trees - fruits and vegetables were supposed to be our mainstay. Not other living creatures (Genesis 1:29-30).
We were meant to be able to walk and talk with God as we do with each other. Paradise was ours - no problems, no worries, no sickness, no disease, no terror - just peace and communion with God. And yes, we can blame Adam and Eve for screwing us all over, but in truth, we all would have done the same thing. We were conceived in innocence and are easily deceived because we don't expect people to betray and hurt us. When Eve met the serpent in the garden, he wasn't a snake on a branch in an apple tree as some artists like to render it. He was one of God's guardian angels (Ezekiel 28:13-15), and because of this, Eve (in her innocence) would not have expected to be "tricked" into disobeying God by one of God's angels. We know what happened from there - Eve tasted the fruit, saw it was good, encouraged her husband to do the same thing, and it was at that moment when their eyes were opened, and they recognized that they had just destroyed the best thing they ever knew - total communion with God in paradise. They were cast out of Eden and were cursed (Genesis 3:16-19), and that curse (which resulted in us being separated from God) went out into the world, and we have been trying ever since to get back to paradise.
Thankfully, we did not lose full communion with God because God created us in His image. By that, I mean He made us spiritual creatures who can communicate with Him through prayer by faith. But God went even further. He provided a way for us to escape the curse! No more death, no more sin, no more condemnation. Through the sacrifice of Jesus' blood on the cross, we have been saved from an eternity of condemnation. Yes, our physical bodies still die. There's no getting around that. But that part of us made in God's image, that spiritual component never dies. It lives on, and it is the element that gives us the ability to have an intimate relationship with God (John 4:24). When we approach God in faith to receive His Holy Spirit, we are once again uniquely joined to our Creator as we were in Eden. This communion is precious and sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ, who poured out His life for us so that we might be saved from the curse of eternal separation from God.
As spiritual beings made in God's image, we are also unique in that we have souls. The spirit connects us to God, but the soul is who we are. It is our personality, the essence of our humanity. It is the part that lives on after our physical body dies. The soul is the part that chooses to continue in sin and willfully do what it wants. In other words, it remains under the curse and is subject to the result of the curse - death and eternal separation from God. Or it can choose to align itself with the spiritual part and receive the Holy Spirit (which comes from God) to become one in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said, "Abide in me, and I will abide in you" (John 15:4). So our spirit is uniquely joined with the Holy Spirit of God because of Jesus. Eternity, therefore, begins the moment you invite God's Holy Spirit into your life.
And paradise? It's guaranteed.