On Earth Day, I Imagine a Restored Earthly Paradise

By Betsy Painter
Sojourners
April 21, 2022

I’m fond of the animal kingdom’s unseen abodes, the places where beady-eyed mammals scratch out damp compartments. When I was younger, I wanted to reach these creatures in their hollowed grounds, where dirt and clay are wired with roots and glued with fungi. In The Little Mermaid, Ariel sang, “I wanna be where the people are,” and little me responded, “I wanna be where the moles are.”

I can’t speak for other animals, but humans have a curious capacity for envisioning unknown worlds beyond our sight. The human intellect is expansive. When touched by the creative Spirit of God, we travel to unseen arenas, reaching for a vision of heaven where everything is harmonious, whole, and saturated with everlasting life. Imagining paradise is one of our greatest gifts for sustaining hope amid our current ecological catastrophes.

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