In the beginning of all things, God created all things and said that they were Good...His creation was Good...all of it.
Then, somewhere along the way, whether it was because of the snake, because of Eve, or just part of God's plan for complete salvation, humans fell...and hard. Exiled from Eden, we lost our safe haven, our purity, our intimacy with God, and our opportunity at stress- and work-free lives. We lost things that would make life...perfect...
Throughout history we've seen wave after wave of attempts to clean up our world, moralistically. We struggle with society to try to restore Eden--we gain a little ground, then society wins out again because their way is the easy way out--ignorance, pleasure, and selfishness. It's hard to get back to Eden.
Now, I'm sure you know about Jesus and our access to a new Eden through Him, so I won't discuss that in detail. What I want to emphasize is how we can live out our earthly lives with a new standard in another wave of reformation. We CAN change society--at the very least, we can change our homes and communities. We may not change the entire world (as Revelation reveals: Evil will not go away until Jesus comes again and destroys it once and for all), but we can take steps to prevent the backsliding that happens to all of us.
I think the biggest problem for most people is that the 'rulebook' is too big--in today's society, it's difficult to memorize lists and phrases and we often end up thumbing through tabs of them in order to find the right one for the occasion. What I suggest is not a new code, just a simpler one--a collection of all the rules into a handful of keywords to recall at all times--perhaps counted on one hand. Well, let's see what people say about how to live. I pull from the Bible and from Historical traditions of noble men and women.
The Bible says:
-Have no other gods than God
-Make no idols for yourself
-Do not use the Lord's name in vain
-Keep the Sabbath Holy (Holy = Dedicated to the purposes of God)
-Honor your parents (and elders)
-Do not lie
-Do not kill
-Do not steal
-Do not commit adultery
-Do not covet
-Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
-Grow the fruits of the spirit (peace, patience, kindness, joy, etc.) (Side note: Notice how it says Grow--these things don't just happen, they require practice and hard work)
The Knights said:
-Fear God and maintain His Church
-Serve the liege lord in valor and faith
-Protect the weak and defenseless
-Help the widows and orphans
-Do not attack without warrant
-Live by honor and for glory
-Despise monetary reward
-Fight for the welfare of all
-Guard the honor of fellow knights
-Condemn unfairness, meanness, and deceit
-Keep faith (in yourself, in God, and in others)
-Always tell the truth
-Finish what you start
-Respect the honor of women
-Never refuse a challenge from an equal
-Never turn your back on an enemy
(To those who know the Bible: Most of these sound familiar, don't they? :-D)
Another version says:
Here's what I propose as a summation of ideals and ideas:
Honor - This includes Purity, Respect, Chastity, Temperance, Patience, Honesty, etc.--things that bring honor and maintain honor. Basically, don't do or say something that would make God cringe.
Courage - When you're standing right, do not back down and surrender your beliefs (however, if a person of higher authority confronts you, prayerfully consider their words of correction)--have the strength to say No, and do not back down unless there is good reason to (e.g. God tells you to).
Charity - Be generous, selfless, bearing with others in love, patient, kind, and forgiving. Give of yourself when you can, but don't let yourself be used as a means to accomplish an evil goal. Evaluate the intentions of each action.
Faith - Do not lose your faith in yourself, in God, or in good found in others (while we would prefer not to deal with some people, we were ALL created in God's image, so treat them like you want to be treated--even if they're a pain in the butt sometimes, there is still good in them). Believe in what you're doing--maintain diligence, obedience. Do not give up on yourself or others, defend those who need you, defend God's Word and the Church (body of Christ), and stay true to what you know is good and pure--whatever is worthy of defending.
Honor, Courage, Charity, and Faith (in whatever order is easiest to remember) should be simple enough to cover all the bases. Take a moment and consider what each element might mean in your life. What would have to be changed so that you could abide by this code? Perhaps you despise someone (Faith); perhaps you swear and curse frequently (Honor); perhaps you're hesitant to give or help (Charity); perhaps you're afraid to say No or stand up for someone you know (Courage). We all have SOMETHING (or more than one thing) in our lives that needs to be changed if we're ever going to create a new Eden on earth.
I'm not asking for a show of hands, I'm not asking for confessions--I'm asking all of us (myself included) to reevaluate how we live. Are we living with Honor, Courage, Charity, and Faith? If we're honest, we'll all say 'No.' Is it possible? Yes! Will we always succeed? No! That's why Jesus came. He paid our ransom to allow us the freedom to rise up and strive for a new Eden on earth--it won't be exactly like the first (nothing is as good as the first--movies, books, cup of coffee, etc.), but with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, all of us working together, and this Code of Eden in mind, we can get pretty close.
Copyright (c) 2011, Kevin A Elliott.
Kevin Elliott is a psychology student, game designer (www.cosegames.com), and writer of many genres. He seeks to use his training, experience, and goals to reach out to everyone he can in Jesus' name.