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Friday, March 12, 2010

Is Farmville Like Heaven?

I'm listening to a sermon series on Heaven by David Jeremiah.

I have trouble looking forward to Heaven. Perhaps it's because I have it too good in my current life. Perhaps it's because I'm a Biblical literalist and a giant city made of gold doesn't interest me. A giant city made of chocolate barely interests me. I'm a country turtle. I don't care for cities, or crowds of people, or all the stuff that comes with cities and crowds of people (ironic since I live in the capitol of Kansas. Quick - what is the capitol of Kansas?).

My idea of Heaven is a small house with a huge yard and no neighbors in my line of sight.
Then I remember God is the first gardener. He created this world I love so much, despite all its problems. If He can create this Universe, which remains amazing even in a cursed state, can He not create something out of the Universe when it is redeemed that is more amazing? I have trouble picturing that.

Then I started playing Farmville. It's a world of, for the most part, perfection. Your crops always grow (although I've been told they will wither if you ignore them long enough). Friends show up and help you out and you can return the favor with a minimum of effort. The farm animals are well-behaved and never fight each other or eat your crops or drop manure where it isn't wanted. Everything produces something useful and beneficial. Isn't that like Heaven?

I heard a sermon series once by...someone - I'm guessing David Jeremiah - about the joys of work and the importance of the Sabbath rest. It might have been Dave Ramsey. The point was God created us to work. Even Adam was put in the garden to work it. When we work as God intended, work becomes play and we want to work all the time. This isn't healthy, so God instituted the Sabbath to force us to rest from having fun. Man, I wish I could remember who preached this.

Anyway, Farmville makes work fun. Yes, it's a game, but if you expand the concept to include what "working" in Eden would have been like, perhaps you see my point. What would it be like to work a garden where weeds never grow, and the ground is always friable, and the weather perfect, and crops always mature on time? Wouldn't that be Heaven? Maybe not to non-gardeners, but I suspect the concept applies to other forms of work.

I have trouble imagining what I'll do for all eternity. Won't I get bored? I know that's my fallen nature asking the question, but it comes up.

Farmville isn't boring (not yet anyway). Of course, today is only my one week anniversary. Happy Anniversary to me! In Farmville, each success moves you to the next level, which is harder but also more rewarding. New things to plant show up, and there is the goal of "mastery" of any particular crop.

(My thanks to The Flash for showing me how to measure that. New goal - mastery of every crop! Mwahahahaha! Ahem. Back to post about Heaven).

Advancement is not only exciting for me, but it allows me to be more helpful to my neighbors, too. I can give better "gifts" and - I think - fertilize more people's crops per day. When I improve, I can help others improve. That's like Heaven, right?

In C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle, Aslan uses the phrase "inward and upward" to describe passage into the redeemed Narnia. Contrary to logic, the land gets bigger the further in you go. Lewis uses this concept in The Great Divorce, as well.

I see Farmville as a tiny window into the wide world of what Heaven might be like. Perhaps that's why it's so addictive. I long for that perfect Eden my forefathers abandoned at the beginning of time.
I'm glad I found Farmville. It's given me a new understanding of my ultimate reward.

Ironic, since playing it is keeping me from living toward that ultimate reward. But that's part of the curse, too, right? Losing sight of the real prize?

Don't worry. I'm coming down from the mountain. Why just this morning, I decided to plant a 24 hour crop so I can go to a meeting tonight and not worry about harvesting.

See? That's improvement.

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