Whatever our view of the beginnings of mankind, we can imagine the first humans having a huge amount of freedom…
There-wherever it was-the first man and the first woman wandered the land. In every direction they looked they were free to roam. There were no streets, no traffic lights, no private lands, no “No Trespassing” signs, no busy roads, no Mc Donalds restaurants with one-way drive-in lanes and “stop” signs. It was all open, wild and free.
Adam and Eve, or if you like, “Aarg” and “Thug”, had no bills to pay, no car payments or mortgages to struggle with, no taxes, no boss to answer to, no fear of getting a ticket for riding their horses too fast, and no fear of getting locked up for trespassing or for trumped-up charges of collusion or lying to investigators. Their kids were content, attentive and helpful, because there was nothing to encourage them to be otherwise.
However (and in every human story there has to be a “however”) at some point in the virtual bliss of life along came Mr X: the new neighbor. Mr. X decided that he liked Thug, Aarg’s mate, very much, and also that the land the Aargs were living on looked a lot nicer than the land he was on. X plotted in his primitive but fertile mind how he might extricate Aarg and acquire what Aarg was enjoying, and make it his. He first attempted to “move in” on Mrs. Aarg, who wasn’t altogether against the idea of being acquired, because X, after all, was more handsome than was that guy she’d been stuck with for some time.
There ensued a battle between Aarg and X, in which X’s features were somewhat re-arranged, and he didn’t look quite so handsome or appealing any more. So X plodded off with his metaphorical tail between his legs.
However (and there’s another “however” already) while X’s pride and face were damaged his determination was not. Remembering that just over the hill lived that rather large and imposing man “Donk”, with his rather large and imposing sons, he took some trinkets: shiny rocks, fruit, and a nice jaw-bone hair brush, and went to make a deal with Donk. The following morning X, Donk and his rather large and imposing sons swaggered over the hill to where Arrg was banging some sticks on the cave wall- working on some pretty intricate para-diddles, and, with the gang behind him, he raised himself above Aarg, X declaring that he was now king of all he surveyed-including Mrs Aarg.
Aarg was forcefully employed twenty hours a day, digging for shiny rocks and cooking mammoth chops. He was confined to his cave at night, because everything else now belonged to X and his deputy, Donk. Aarg’s rent was two shiny rocks a day, for the cave which once belonged to him.
The worst irony of the story is that after some time, Donk’s slow but deliberate brain determined that he hadn’t done quite so well out of the deal as he could have, and X shortly found himself digging for shiny rocks with Aarg, and doing the dishes. He was, however, Aarg’s supervisor, so that poor old Aarg remained on the bottom social level of X’s kingdom.
I write this sad little story not because I believe, as the Communists do, that “property is theft”-I don’t: or as an example of how all unpleasant human circumstances come about. Obviously there are other causes of loss of freedom besides violent tyrants. Instead it’s intended to be a demonstration of how we as humans have moved from being once free to being under the thumb of the society we live in. We think we’re free in the West, but compared to the original freedom Aarg enjoyed, we’re rather constricted and constrained.
Step out of your door and you immediately find that there are places you cannot go, things you cannot do. Where once Aarg could wander and roam, you have an extremely limited path of legality and propriety. The fact that you can see buildings and roads and gardens and fields gives a false sense of freedom, because if you walk over someone’s lawn or through their house or over the field you’ll have the owner’s dog, or the owner or the police, chasing you. Don’t wander in the road or you’ll get squashed by a forty ton truck. Don’t drive too fast or go through the red light or you’ll get a ticket. Don’t try to explore that interesting structure or the security man will evict you and turn you in. Don’t say certain things in public or you’ll be verbally or even physically attacked or jailed.
Pay your bills on time or you’ll be on the streets in the cold. Pay your taxes or the weight of the government will come down on you. Don’t grumble too loudly against the government or you could be locked up for incitement. Don’t dress out of fashion or people will sneer and reject you. Vote to please those around you or lose your “friends”. Construct your sentences well and like all the right things and say all the right small talk and wear the right clothes and appear meek and yet at the same time confident and cool or people will shun you.
We, like Aarg, have been enslaved to the society we live in. To top it all off we’re enslaved by our mortality, and our lives are limited in time. What we like to think of as a free world and a free life is actually very restrictive.
However, true freedom can be found in the creator of all that we are and all that Aarg, or Adam, surveyed. This is the creator who has promised to restore what he originally made-this time under his own, good government. For life in this present world, the apostle Paul said:
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
And Jesus Christ said:
“If you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples. The you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
Freedom is to be found in Jesus Christ, and our Creator, who will be in us if we want Him, where no-one can take it away.