Finding Utopia: Comparing More’s to God’s

By August 20, 2008 culture, faith No Comments

A few years ago, my mom and I plodded through Crime and Punishment. It awakened my interest in classic lit, so I then re-read some (OK, lots!) by Jane Austen, then some by Charlotte Bronte. Soon I realized I had covered books by authors whose last names began with A, B, and D . . . so I decided to complete the alphabet and find classics by authors for each letter.

Initially I wanted to read them in alpha order, but now I am tackling whatever work is of interest at the moment. I figure after I’ve covered the whole alphabet once, I’ll just start again. What a fun way to broaden the scope of my reading!

My current read is Sir Thomas More’s Utopia. The little I knew of this work made me interested enough. But now that I’ve delved into it a bit, I’m finding it difficult to follow. So I read a few reviews and summaries in the hope that these will help me pick up the trail long enough to get hooked. We’ll see what happens on that front!

Something mentioned in one of the reviews has stuck with me though. More’s fictitious world is criticized as being stringent and narrowly defined according to his personal preferences. (To that I thought, “Duh—it’s his story!”) And I began to think of how difficult it is to concoct a perfect society. The trouble is that imperfect people live here, and to create a perfect world you need perfect people—and where will they come from?

All we know here is imperfection, so even if we can dream of a perfect world, how do we then create perfect people to keep up that perfect world?

Unless people are changed inside, the imperfection within is soon to seep out. It reminds of that humorous lament that “everywhere I go there I am”—you cannot get away from who you are, even if you pick up and move elsewhere. Likewise, you cannot find a perfect society to plant yourself into and expect it to change you.

The good thing is that God promised long ago to change us completely so that one day we would be able to live perfectly. Listen to His promise to us recorded in the book of Ezekiel:

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Ultimately, I am grateful that I do not have to design a perfect life—God has promised to work the perfection of Jesus into my being as I yield to Him throughout my life. What joy there is when your heart simply wants to live honorable and rightly!

But this transformation is certainly a process, one that is full of successes and failures. No, this world is no Utopia, but one day all that will change. God’s up to something good. Can’t wait!

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