Living in this world our lives are full of mixed messages. On one hand, we see the awesome variety and beauty of nature: the delicate wings of the butterfly; the variety of songs by birds; the many varieties of animals, flowers and trees; sea creatures from dolphins to coral; tall mountains and deep seas; sunny skies and the fall of snow. All speak of a love of beauty and creativity and feeds our spirits and souls. And it is amongst that variety of plant and animal life that we harvest food to nurture our bodies. And we see people loving and enjoying this world and each other. The natural world at it’s best gives testimony to a God who wants to love and bless and nurture His creation, including people. On the other hand we experience bad storms, fires, earthquakes, floods, droughts, famine, illness, fear, greed, abuse, violence, poverty, untimely death and war, and it can seem like the world is a harsh and evil place, bent on our destruction. How are we to make sense of these contradictions? What was God planning when He made this world? What is God doing about the problems that exist in this world? It is said of the sculpture Michelangelo that he could look at a block of marble and ‘see’ within it the figure he could sculpt from it. In what most of us would’ve seen as a lump of rock, he ‘saw’ the figure of David, and all he had to do was remove the marble that was obscuring our view of what he could ‘see’. The process took time and great skill but the end result was an astoundingly life-like and beautiful statue of a man. Similarly, the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians makes the end point of this world clear: God “unveiled His secret desires to us—the hidden mystery of His long-range plan, which He was delighted to implement from the very beginning of time. And … the fulfillment of all the ages finally reaches its climax—when God makes all things new in all of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9-10 TPT). God’s plans for this world will be fulfilled when all things, everything and everyone in the world, are made new through Jesus Christ. In other words, through Jesus, God plans to make this world perfect and holy, just like His Son. Sound good? Well it is good! So why has God allowed a world with so much brokenness and sorrow? Why do we have the suffering we experience in this life now? If a perfect world was God’s plan, why not just start with making the world perfect? The short answer to that is, He did. God did make the world perfect to begin with. The very first chapter of the first book in the Bible, Genesis, tells us that when God created this world it was good, was perfect. And indeed, when He made humanity God declared His creation to be very good. Humanity had a beautiful garden home with abundant food, no sickness, no problems, no fear, greed or shame and they met openly, face-to-face with God as His children. You see, God “chose us to be his very own, joining us to himself even before he laid the foundation of the universe!” (Ephesians 1:4a TPT) “for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us.” (Ephesians 1:6). When we were just a idea in God’s mind, a twinkle in His eye, He had such a love for us that He made us part of Himself, part of His family in the Trinity. It is a beautiful picture of the perfect family life we were created to be part of, a complete and loving union with God and each other. Is it any wonder we spend our lives searching for united loving relationships?