Last year when I wrote my first post about the restoration, I did not actually intend to publish it on Easter. It just so happened that Easter was the day all my thoughts came together and I felt the post was ready to publish. But in hindsight, I got to thinking maybe God was involved in having this post ready to publish on Easter, because what better time is there than Easter, the day we commemorate Christ’s resurrection, to write about the Restoration of this broken world! I wanted to publish the following post on Easter again, but I didn’t have enough uninterrupted time during Holy Week to organize my thoughts and write, and Easter Sunday itself actually felt like a taste of paradise. The weather was so spectacular, and the family Easter dinner so perfect that I had no interest in going up to my room and sitting at a computer to write. But although April 21 was the day the Church set aside to celebrate Christ’s resurrection and what it means, I don’t think there is ever a “wrong” time to celebrate it, which is why I decided to wait until I felt like I had done this topic justice, rather than just throw something together to publish on Easter once the sun had set and the festivities had ended.
I was thinking about the Restoration again over Holy week, and this year, I found myself meditating along an interesting line of thought that I thought might be of interest to readers. These thoughts center on the question of what daily life might look like on a paradise earth. The goal of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the John Eldredge book I talked about was simply to get people excited about the Restoration, and this is wonderful and important. The idea of a Restoration is just so hard to even imagine in this broken world that you almost have to start small, focusing on the initial celebratory period for people like me whose disabilities are healed, or people who have lost loved ones being reunited with them, especially if those loved ones were taken too young by one of the many senseless causes of death in this fallen world. But this year, I got to wondering, after we have all adjusted to and celebrated our new joyful realities, what will daily life be like. This paradise earth will last forever after all, and after celebrating my newfound freedom and independence, and literally seeing the world for the first time, I know I will eventually be ready to settle down. So what would that life look like? What follows are some speculations I have imagined about what daily life could look like for me. It will be different for everyone of course, because God created us all with different gifts and personalities for unique purposes, and the whole point of the Restoration is that God will finally have us doing what He created us to do, unencumbered by the many things that thwart our dreams in this world. And of course, my speculations could be totally wrong because I am not God, and not even as well-versed in the Bible as I would like to be. As I have seen even in this world through my experiences applying for jobs, God knows what’s best for me with far better accuracy than I do. Understandably, new readers may be asking why I am bothering to write such a speculative post about some future paradise we won’t fully understand until it happens rather than just living the best life I can in the here and now. Furthermore, some would say that the whole idea of a future paradise is just one interpretation of the Bible. But as I said in my first post about the Restoration, this idea, introduced to me by my Jehovah’s Witness friends, and affirmed to my joy by John Eldredge’s book, spoke to my heart in a way that all the vague, churchy stuff about a home in the sky and just being one with God never did. John Eldredge points out that the reason so many people, even Christians, struggle with feelings of hopelessness, and dread death is because the idea of some vague eternity sitting on clouds or playing harps isn’t appealing. God created us with hearts that yearn for a full, rich life, and Jesus said we are supposed to have a child-like faith, which I take to mean not overthinking things, and just trusting in the many bible references to a literal, eternal life on a paradise earth with the same sense of joy and wonder with which young children believe in Santa. Yes we were all lied to about Santa, but unlike with Santa, there is reliable historic documentation that Jesus was crucified and died, and he appeared to many witnesses to show that he literally rose from the dead. So why couldn’t someone who was literally resurrected from the dead in fulfillment of prophecy also fulfill prophecy from Revelation and Isaiah by offering us a real life on a paradise earth?
Although it would be kind of fun to have computer classes showing resurrected people from ancient times the marvels of the Internet, I highly doubt that the Internet will be available after the Restoration. Although the Internet has certainly perpetuated plenty of evil, it has also been an incredible force for good, so I don’t hold this view because the Internet, in and of itself is a bad thing. I hold this view simply because the Internet was invented out of a desire to try and counteract the limitations of life in this world by making it easier to connect and share information and ideas with people anywhere in the world. But after the Restoration, when we will literally have all the time in the world, and possibly even supernatural abilities to easily travel anywhere in the world, I don’t think anyone will need, or even want to limit themselves to screens of any kind, or even listen to the radio. So as much as I enjoy blogging now, I don’t foresee myself blogging after the Restoration, but I look forward to meeting you in-person to compare these speculations with how life actually unfolds. Whatever daily life ends up looking like, I have no doubt that I will be content.
I wonder if at the Restoration, I will fall in love with someone and have children of my own, something that is unlikely in this life, both for medical reasons, and because I have just never met anyone with whom I would want to share my life. I have also noticed that when I am around children, especially toddlers, a small amount of time with them goes a long way for me. They are just so curious and rambunctious and their screeching so painful that it isn’t long before I have a headache and am thanking God that they are not my responsibility. But at the same time, sometimes in quiet moments, I think about how rewarding it might be to be a mother, and get to watch and play a daily role in the transformation of rambunctious toddlers into mature adults. I don’t know if my low patience for children is due to my blindness which I think makes me more hypersensitive to noise and chaos, or the fact that I am the youngest child in the family and am just not used to being around children, or if God just created me with a personality better suited for other endeavors and I was not created for motherhood. I thought about imagining myself as a mother with children when I envisioned my day in the life. I have thought about how in one sense, at the Restoration, child-rearing might be easier for people with personalities like mine who need peace and quiet because I could send them outside to play and screech to their hearts’ content, knowing no harm would come to them because a Paradise earth will not have the hazards that this world is full of. After all, Isaiah 11:8 says, “The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.” But since I have no idea what it would really be like to be married and have children, I decided it would make more sense for now to focus my imagination on a day that is more practical and realistic, using the backdrop of how I live now. I was going to write one post about this, but then it occurred to me that the post was getting really long, so in this first post, I will set the stage by sharing some thoughts on what the climate and our lifestyle in this new world might look like. Then in part 2 which I am almost finished writing and hope to publish tomorrow, I will share what a typical day in this new world might look like for me.
The bible says that each person will be rewarded based on how they lived life in our current world, and while I know my parents and I will be welcomed into the Restoration because we have accepted Christ and do our best to live according to His commandments, we were blessed with a life of luxury and comfort that billions of people around the world cannot even imagine. I often hear affluent Americans become defensive when this issue is mentioned. They feel as though they are being shamed, and argue that this affluence was earned through hard work, and I can understand where they are coming from. But still, since very few of us actually have the courage and trust in God to store up heavenly treasure and give radically to the poor—I certainly have not found this courage myself—I wonder if our lifestyles will be scaled down at the Restoration. We will still have everything we need and be comfortable, but God might rightfully assign us much smaller plots of land, giving much larger plots to those who have given radically to the poor, or to the many poor people who kept the faith through a life of suffering and poverty. The Western lifestyle has also been incredibly harmful to the environment, so after the Restoration, I imagine God will want us to live a lifestyle that is more in harmony with nature. So instead of living in a spacious house on two acres of land, my parents and I might live in a modest cabin with just enough room for sleeping and preparing meals on a stone countertop and a solar-powered stove, and own just enough land for a picnic table and a small garden of vegetables and herbs. My parents and I love the suburban lifestyle we have now in the sense that it is an easy drive to the city for all the restaurants, theater and festivals you could possibly want, and yet when we come home, we can sit outside and hear and see nature, rather than being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people all the time. So maybe God, knowing this desire of our hearts, will assign us land on the outskirts of town where we can hear nature, and also walk into town any time to enjoy city life. But I should make it clear, as John Eldredge mentions as well that in the new world, even cities will be beautiful. There will be no trash-strewn streets, no stinky industrial pollution, no dilapidated buildings, no scary neighborhoods. God will put carpenters in each city with a passion for keeping any buildings beautiful, and since all hearts will be transformed, no one will litter the streets, commit crimes or create factories that emit toxic pollutants.
Instead of owning a dish set that serves sixteen, we might each own one plate, cup, fork, spoon and knife that we wash after each meal. Above the countertop, we might have hooks to hang one iron skillet, one soup kettle, a small sauce pan and two knives, one for slicing bread and one for chopping vegetables. These dishes won’t be dollar store dishes that chip easily, but beautiful dishes given to us by people in the community whom God gifted with craftsmanship.
Our cabin might even resemble the cabin I stayed in at Earth Keeper’s Camp, a rite of passage for all fifth graders that the principle at my elementary school instituted. Given that we were mollycoddled, affluent suburban kids, the principle wanted us to experience a back-to-nature overnight camp. The afternoon we had to hike through the woods was awful as the terrain was very rough, but overall it was a really neat experience that I think of fondly. We left for camp Monday morning and returned to school on a Wednesday morning in October that year. Those two days were full of activities intended to foster respect and appreciation for nature. But I digress. The cabins at this camp did not actually contain their own bathrooms. If we needed the bathroom, we left our cabins and walked a ways to a community bathroom, which was inconvenient, and caused my mom who came along to chaperone some anxiety since I had a medical condition that sometimes required me to need the bathroom frequently if the medicine wore off or didn’t take for some reason. But all went well with the medicine, and looking back, it has occurred to me that a community bathroom like that would create a much smaller environmental footprint, and after the restoration when no one will be frail or have medical conditions that require the bathroom to be nearby, a community bathroom wouldn’t be a burden at all. There may also be a community well for washing our faces, and dishes after each meal, while enjoying happy conversation with neighbors. We may not even need a refrigerator, since refrigerators were only invented out of the necessity to preserve food and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. But on a paradise earth, I imagine that God will either rid the world of harmful bacteria, or allow the harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables to be so consistent and regular that we won’t need to store food. We will just go out and pick what we are going to eat for the next day or two. I mention eating only fruits and vegetables because I imagine that after the Restoration, we will all be vegan, or at the very least, the type of vegetarian who eats eggs and cheese, but nothing that requires animals to be killed. After all, in the Garden of Eden when all was perfect, the book of Genesis implies that only the fruit of the trees was meant for food. Genesis 2:16 says, “and the Lord God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden,” except of course the tree of the knowledge of good and evil mentioned in the next verse. It is only after Noah and his family survive the flood and leave the ark that the Bible mentions enmity between man and animals, and God gives man permission to eat meat. “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3) Passages from Isaiah I have mentioned before indicate that after the Restoration, harmony between man and animals will be restored, and in a world where all animals are as gentle as my dog Gilbert, I don’t think anyone will even want to kill and eat them.
One day in the apologetics class I take through my church, the teacher cited scholars who believe that the Garden of Eden was a super-oxygenated, terrarium environment and this is why gardens flourished and the people in those days lived such long lives. Given that the Bible begins and ends in a garden, I imagine God might restore Earth’s climate to that of the garden of Eden which was warm and humid year-round. Now in this world, I feel miserable without air conditioning once the summer heat and humidity hits, but I actually enjoy the climate-controlled humidity of indoor swimming pools or museum butterfly exhibits. So perhaps, it is not the humidity itself, but the ozone pollution of the modern age that causes me to feel so miserable. Ozone pollution won’t be an issue after the Restoration, and I won’t even have the underlying medical issues that make me more sensitive to heat in this world. Therefore, there will be no need for an air conditioner after the Restoration. I imagine it will rain sometimes to keep the gardens watered, but I imagine it will be a pleasant rainfall, the kind that lulls you to sleep at night, and awakens wonderful, woodsy aromas when you step outside afterward. there will no longer be the kind of rain that leads to destructive flooding. There may even be thunderstorms on occasion as natural fire is actually healthy for ecosystems. But I imagine they will be those gentle rolling thunderstorms, again the kind that make for amazing sleeping weather, and God will no doubt protect His people from injury by these storms.
If there are any vehicles for transportation at all, I imagine people will only use bicycles. After the Restoration, God will no longer allow motorized vehicles which have done so much harm to the environment. But people will also be able to walk further when we are released from the grip of extreme weather, underlying disabilities and medical issues, and most importantly, man-made time constraints. Since we will literally have all the time in the world, there will no longer be the need to live life at a frenetic pace. In his book, John Eldredge points out Peter’s brief experience walking on water just like Jesus to speculate that our restored bodies may come with supernatural abilities. So if people want to explore a destination that is across a body of water, we may be able to simply walk on the water, or if we want to unite with loved ones far away, we may be able to ask God to transport us to them supernaturally. The Bible says that God has work for everyone to do in his kingdom, but it won’t be soul-draining work like so many of the jobs in this world. God, who knows us each individually, will assign us what we were created to do, so that at the end of each day, we may be ready to rest, but will be at peace, and eager to return to this work the next day. Because God will provide for all of our needs, and give us the jobs we were created for and thus will enjoy immensely, and because hearts will be transformed such that everyone just lives in harmony, no longer desiring the wealth and material possessions that tempt us in this world, no one will be paid for their work in the traditional sense. If we use our garden plot to grow zucchini and tomatoes, we might casually trade with our neighbor who is growing eggplant and onions, but there would be no need for formal contracts, and no formal expectation of payment. People will just do what God has given them a passion for, and will naturally want to share it with others.
Even before I started meditating about a day in life on a paradise earth, it has fascinated me for awhile to consider that many lines of work that employ people in this world will no longer be necessary after the Restoration. We won’t need doctors or nurses because God will have healed all diseases. Police officers and security forces will no longer be necessary as those who choose to follow Christ and partake in the reward of the Restoration will have no desire to hurt one another or vandalize property. Even military forces will no longer be necessary, as people will have repented for the silly disputes over land, resources and religious ideologies that plague this world, recognizing that all along, there was only one God, and that all land and resources are ultimately owned by God, and he will assign land and resources fairly. Since money as we know it will no longer be necessary, there will be no need for any work having to do with banking, insurance, financial advising or tax collecting. I don’t think there will even be the need for careers having to do with inspecting, auditing or accountability because after the Restoration, hearts will be transformed and everyone will conduct themselves with integrity. If something dishonest does occur, God, who will be living among us, will expose culprits of corruption more efficiently than any man-made institution for accountability ever could. In my original post about the restoration, I mentioned that I had dreamed of a career in Journalism. But if journalism exists at all after the Restoration, I imagine it will be fundamentally different from Journalism in this world. There will be no crime, wars, or cases of political corruption to report on. So journalism could be exclusively human interest stories of how people’s lives have changed since the Restoration, or how people from cultures that were once mortal enemies now live in harmony. There could also be an events section in each community newspaper announcing musical performances, or classes being offered by people from all eras of human history. But to be honest, I don’t think being a reporter is God’s plan for me after the Restoration for the simple fact that Journalism was my “second love.” I enjoyed classes in writing, and discussions of current events and politics way more than I enjoyed Math and Science, so I decided that Journalism is a field I would enjoy enough to continue studying in college, and devote 40 hours a week to in order to pay the bills. But my first love that filled me with joy and passion before I could even talk was singing. For this reason, I get the sense that God will assign me work as a musician after the Restoration. Singing in a huge choir won’t just be a one-time occasion to celebrate the Restoration. It will be my whole life, the life I was always meant for, but suppressed to a certain degree to survive in this world where singing in choir can only be a hobby.
As I have mentioned before, my parents do not seem receptive to engaging with me in my crazy talk about what they dream of after the Restoration, which I respect. Although thinking about the Restoration brings me joy, and although I think if Christians talked more about the Restoration, there wouldn’t be the sense of hopelessness so many in this world experience, I can understand why most people prefer to stay focused on this life. After all, the Bible says that eternal life will be beyond what we can even imagine, so even I admit that all these thoughts on what life might be like are only speculation, something many view as unproductive. Nevertheless, I see nothing wrong with spending some time speculating about eternity simply to keep it in the forefront of the mind so that when I have a bad day at work or some other difficult situation, I can turn to this train of thought, rather than falling down a rabbit hole of negativity and hopelessness which I used to do sometimes.
When my dad isn’t worried about his job or a family situation, he loves meandering around town to different grocery stores, or driving different routes through neighborhoods he has never explored before, and discovering new restaurants. He has become an expert over the years on which grocery stores have the best selection of certain items, or the freshest produce, and he relishes slowly walking down aisles meticulously reading labels, and trying new products that look interesting. He also enjoys coming home and cooking spaghetti in the winter, and preparing salsa, and vegetable medleys in the summer. So maybe after the Restoration, God will give Dad the opportunity to be a chef, scouting the gardens for the most beautiful produce, even traveling to other countries to experience new foods and bringing the recipes home with him and then adding his own flare to them. Maybe he would have a portable food tent where he could prepare his recipes in different locations each day so that every day would bring new experiences. My mom’s favorite season is summer, and although we are blessed to live where we do, she wishes winters weren’t so long and cold because she loves getting outside to work in the garden, driving around admiring the beauty of the blooms on the flowering crab trees, and picking flowers to put in a vase on our kitchen table. She also has a dream of visiting all of the national parks. So maybe after the restoration, God will give Mom a role that involves forest management. Although God will assign his people plots of land on which they can build homes and grow their favorite things, I imagine He is heartbroken by the way we have over-developed the land which has destroyed the habitats of many creatures, and will threaten more in the future. I like to think God smiled upon figures like Teddie Roosevelt and John Muir who fought to preserve some land from the relentless march of development that characterized the 20th century, but now even the legacy of these figures is being threatened. It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention given all the other horrible things President Trump has been doing, but I heard awhile back that President Trump wants to open up national parklands to oil drilling and development. But I imagine that another wonderful result of the Restoration of this fallen world will be that God will return vast swaths of land to their natural beauty, areas so vast they will make the acrage allocated as national parks seem pathetic, areas where magnificent creatures that need freedom to roam, can thrive again. I could see Mom enjoying an occupation that involved managing this land. Of course, despite the fact that I live with my parents and think I know them pretty well, it is possible I could be reading them wrong. Maybe what I read as activities they love are simply activities they use to escape the troubles of this world. Maybe God has completely different occupations in store for them because they too have masked their deepest longings of the heart to stay practical in this world. I don’t even want to speculate on what occupations might call my siblings after the restoration because to be honest, in this world I don’t see any of them often enough to really get a sense of what their deepest passions are, and just like me, they may even have masked their true passions from others because they couldn’t find an outlet for them in this current world. But I have confidence God will lead them to the occupation they were created for after the restoration, and that it will be much easier to visit with them and reflect on how much more authentic all of our lives are then. But for now, I don’t want to inadvertently misrepresent them, lest they ever read this post and tease me for getting their passions all wrong.
I realize readers, especially those critical of the concept of eternal life, could ask me all kinds of questions about practical details I haven’t thought of, to which I humbly admit again that I do not have all the answers. Only God knows fully what our eternal lives will look like, so I am only speculating. But I invite you to humor me and allow yourself a break from this world where cynicism and hopelessness seem to be the trend right now, and give yourself permission to have child-like faith. When I publish part 2 of this reflection tomorrow, you are free to disagree with my speculations, and I even welcome comments. But don’t dismiss the idea of eternal life on a paradise earth altogether. Give yourself permission in this broken world to think about the deepest longings of your heart which you have likely masked to be practical in this world, and imagine what a paradise earth might look like for you. We don’t want to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good, yet if we all reflected more on the idea that this broken world isn’t all there is, as I will be doing tomorrow, it could inspire us to live better now, take our faith more seriously and be a light of hope that could beckon others to believe as well. So with the stage set to the best of my finite ability, tomorrow I will launch right into speculations of what a day in life on a paradise earth might look like for me.