March 11, 2022 Daniel Harrison

Greater Than The Garden pt. 1: Heaven is Here

Daniel Harrison | Church 212 | 6m read

This blog is part 1 of a writing series, Greater Than The Garden. Subscribe here and never miss a post!

Ever wish you could escape?

The global pandemic has become one of the most chaotic and uncertain times of our lives. I feel like it might have been a little divisive too.

If you’re like me, you’ve become weary from the political divisiveness, relational disagreements, and just the plain craziness of the pandemic. I asked my church recently, “How many of you are tired of the three P’s: the pandemic, politics, and people?”

You’ll be surprised by this, but nearly everyone raised their hand. 1

My wife and I had an opportunity to finally get away in September 2021. I planned a trip to Hawaii, but my entire family got Covid 10 days before our trip. We were all like one day away from a negative test. But nope, we didn’t make it in time.

Do you ever feel like you want to escape? Take a vacation? Experience something better than what you have now? Of course, we all do. You know, the reason we have a desire to vacate, buy houses, and discover some paradise is that we were made for such a place.

It was called the Garden of Eden before the Fall of Mankind. And we’ve been chasing paradise ever since.

The only message I’ll ever teach

This year I became the lead pastor of Church 212, where I have previously been leading the worship program for the last 13 years. Now that I’m in this position, I have one objective. One message.

The central concept of my entire pastoral tenure is about an environment far greater than the Garden. It is the present reality of the Kingdom of God. Once we get the environment right, we are ready to learn how to thrive the way God intended for us spiritually.

The Kingdom of God and spiritual formation–that’s what I want to dedicate my life to. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world so that all nations will hear it, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

The gospel of the kingdom, Jesus said. The good news of his kingdom.

Forgiveness and assurance of future heaven are great perks in this kingdom, but there’s much more to the gospel than these.

The word Kingdom means “rule.” It’s not a geographical kingdom, but a spiritual realm where he governs for our good. The Gospel of the kingdom is future and present.

Once we get the environment right, we are ready to learn how to thrive spiritually. Click To Tweet

The Kingdom Among Us

The Kingdom of God is an actual environment God made specifically for us to know him again, walk with him in intimate friendship, and grow to discover the good and beautiful life 2. It’s the new Garden of Eden. One day we will know it entirely at the resurrection, but we don’t have to wait.

“Heaven,” as we often call it, certainly is a future reality. But it’s also a present reality. The reason for this is simple. There is nowhere in the universe that is not governed by Jesus (Col. 1:17). And the way we are spiritually formed now carries into the life that follows. We are unceasing spiritual beings (Matthew 10:28).

In 2020, I led our congregation to sing these lyrics from the song Build My Life,

I will build my life upon your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in you alone
And I will not be shaken

Is this possible?

In light of what is happening in the world, is it possible to “not be shaken?” Our world has been shaken, and many are suffering. Can we also “not be shaken?”

Well, that’s why I’m writing this blog series.

In a world where our lives are often shaken, we can learn to live unshaken because of the reality of two kingdoms that overlap and interconnect with each other—the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of this world.

Often, when we hear “the Kingdom of God,” we think of the future aspect of Heaven. But as we will see in this blog series, the Kingdom of God is also a present reality. This Kingdom can never be shaken, and the same applies to us when we learn to live here.

One of the attributes of God’s character is his constancy. This means his essence never changes throughout all ages, past, present, and future. Although our lives constantly change, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

And that’s why we can sing,

I will build my life upon your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in you alone
And I will not be shaken

Entering Heaven On Earth

Right now, there is a supernatural realm and present reality of God’s rule and reign among us.

It truly is heaven on earth. Dallas Willard calls the Kingdom of God the environment for which we were made. Within this realm exists a special kind of life accessible only to those who know Jesus and walk with him.

Yes, our world has been subjected to futility and is bound to decay through sin (Romans 8:20-21). But as I will share later on this blog, salvation offers a newness of spiritual life here and now (Colossians 2:12). We will understand this more as we talk about the holistic meaning of salvation life.

Jesus’ central teaching was on the Kingdom of God, mentioning it 108 times. “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:9-10)‬.

The keywords are “your Kingdom come” and “on earth as it is in Heaven.” We will unpack this more as we move forward in the series. But it’s important to state now that Jesus intended Heaven to be experienced and enjoyed now, not just later.

Another song we sang during the pandemic was called “As It Is In Heaven” by Hillsong.

I’m waiting for Heaven
But I’m not waiting
Because heaven lives in me

We’re not waiting

Heaven is certainly a future reality, and we do look forward “to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness” (2 Peter‬ ‭3:13‬).

However, in another sense, we are not waiting because heaven is already here. Jesus said we are to “repent,” or “change our minds,” about our beliefs, for the Kingdom of God is “at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

We can taste “the powers of the age to come… in the land of the living(Hebrews 6:5, Psalm 27:13).

Want to journey together?

This blog series introduces the theme of the Kingdom of God and spiritual formation.

For the next few posts, I’m going to camp out in the Garden of Eden, unpacking the purpose of the garden, the problem in the garden, and the projection from the garden for new heavens and new earth.

I hope you’ll journey with me in unpacking what that means for our everyday lives and growth. To follow the journey, subscribe here and never miss a post!


Comments: What thoughts have come to your mind upon reading this post? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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Comments (6)

  1. Nina

    Just subscribed to your web page Looking forward to ebook Does Science Disprove God? I already know the answer since I have studied some of the sciences especially astronomy and biology. God is amazing!!!!

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