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Channel 4’s Eden: Can we start again?

What if we could start again?

Is the catchphrase of the new TV series on Channel 4 called Eden. It’s a social experiment seeing how modern Britons cope with a year out in the sticks, surviving on the land rather than on their smart-phones.

The phrase “What if we could start again?” caught my eye. During the show there are various interviews with the people who are partaking in the show, they mention why they are spending a year doing this and what hopes and dreams they have.

A lot of it is about starting again, throwing off the modern lifestyle, cutting out technology and the constant noise. Since the increase in the use of technology in our society, this idea of taking time away from it or cutting ourselves off from it has been on the rise. To “unplug” from that lifestyle. 

It sounds like a perfect opportunity to get back to our roots, to de-clutter our lives and to find that peaceful paradise we are all searching for.

Except it doesn’t take us long to see that this new Eden paradise isn’t quite the dream life they were hoping for. Already the community is starting to show some fractures and holes. As people get to know each other, alliances are formed and no one wants to be their brother’s keeper. True colours are starting to show. 

4edenWhat is problem here? Why is the dream of being away from technology and the modern world not quite living up to their expectations?

Perhaps it’s not the environment that is the problem, perhaps its the people.

Jesus talks about this idea of cleaning the inside and the outside of a person:

Matthew 23:25-26 –  

For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

It’s really easy to clean the outside, to wash ourselves to make us clean, to de-clutter our environment, to unplug, to get away from society. And sometimes escaping from where we are, can re-energise and refresh us. But it doesn’t really deal with the root of the problem and the problem is a heart problem. Jesus tells us to clean the inside first before we even attempt to clean the outside, because otherwise, no matter how perfect the environment is, we just bring all our problems and issues with us. 

In Arthur C. Clarke’s Sci-fi book and TV show, Childhood’s End, an Alien race comes to earth to enable people to bring about world peace. It seems to work, wars stop and starvation ends. But the hearts of the people don’t change – this type of world won’t last (plus the Aliens actually have an ulterior motive). 

We contaminate the world around us. 

So, as the story goes, we need one who isn’t contaminated to sort out our heart problem. A hero who can make a way for a new Eden. The bible says that person is Jesus, who sends His Spirit to wash the inside of our hearts, which makes an impact on the outside. But it’s a slow process, we are so far east of Eden that it feels like nothing is happening. It’s a “now” and “not yet” process.

What if we could start again? Well, if we only change the outside then nothing will change. But if the root, the inside of our hearts change, than this new Eden would look radically different.


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