Would You Accept Life in a Paradise?
PARADISE! What does the word suggest to you? A reality or a dream? An earthly possibility or, as many professing Christians, Jews and Muslims believe, just a symbol of a blessed condition after death?
The fact is that Jesus Christ spoke of Paradise. To an evildoer impaled alongside him, he said: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) So it is vital for us to know the facts about Paradise.
Paradise, often associated with the Bible’s garden of Eden, is viewed by many people as being mythological rather than being related to a definite geographic location. What do you believe? Was there ever a portion of the earth in Asia Minor prepared specially for man’s initial habitation, as the Bible book of Genesis indicates?
Interestingly, the Bible’s account of the paradise garden of Eden does not start with a vague, “Once upon a time in a far-off land . . .” Rather, the Bible book in which we learn about Eden speaks of definite time periods and establishes the basis for a chronology and genealogy that can be traced through the length of the Bible. (Luke 3:23-38; see also the Bible encyclopedia Aid to Bible Understanding, pages 333-348.) The Bible also identifies a specific region “in Eden, toward the east,” and a river “issuing out of Eden” that became four rivers. Two of those are identified today as the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. This would perhaps place Eden in what is now the mountainous area north of the Mesopotamian plains, south of Lake Van in eastern Turkey.—Genesis 2:7-17.
The Bible account shows that the first man, Adam, was placed in a garden or park setting and surrounded with all he needed to sustain life. There was an abundance of vegetation and “every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food.” For such a variety of trees to exist, it was evidently no small garden or park.
Man Yearns for a Paradise
In modern times man has established gardens and parks in or near many major cities. Why? Because the city dweller often yearns to refresh his spirit by renewing his contact with nature. And what is sometimes our reaction when we walk into a beautiful park or garden, especially when the flowers and trees are in bloom? We exclaim, “What a paradise!” How much we would love to be able to live in such a paradise setting! Yes, it is a natural yearning that really stretches back to man’s origin in the paradise park of Eden.
That is the very hope that Jesus set before the dying evildoer by his side when he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Here Jesus was not promising a heavenly destiny to the evildoer or to his supposed immortal soul. He was offering him everlasting earthly life in a Paradise earth under his Kingdom rule. How do you react to that promise?—Matthew 6:9, 10; John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.
Would You Accept a 500-Year Bonus?
Interestingly, the magazine Psychology Today recently presented its readers with a somewhat related question: “If someone offered you a pill that would make it possible for you to live 500 years, would you take it?” Of course, nothing was said of having perfect health or of a Paradise state. But what were the reactions? More than 50 percent said they would take the pill. Many said they wanted “to achieve more, to do more, or to enjoy life more.” Another man stated with great simplicity, “I love life.” Some of the women explained that “life is exhilarating; there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it.” How do you feel about life? Do you love life? But what if you could have, not a 500-year bonus, but everlasting life in Paradise conditions and in perfect health? The Bible offers you that very prospect.—John 17:3; Psalm 37:11, 29; Isaiah 33:24.
On the other hand, in the same poll, some were very vocal in their refusal of the bonus. Why? “Some believe that life is simply too boring.” Jehovah’s Witnesses sometimes meet a similar objection when they explain that God’s purpose is to give everlasting life to obedient mankind in Paradise conditions on earth. Some object, “What would we do living forever in a paradise? Life would have no contrasts, no challenges. It would be boring!”
Is that really so? Will everlasting life on a Paradise earth be boring? The following article will answer these questions.