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Breaking Free From the Spell of Fantasy

While listening to a sermon by Ray Ortlund, Jr., I was struck by a quote he read from Simone Weil.

Nothing is so beautiful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstasy as the good. No deserts are so dreary, monotonous and boring as evil. But with fantasy it is the other way round. Fictional good is boring and flat, while fictional evil is varied, intriguing, attractive and full of charm.

This statement is gloriously and heartbreakingly true. The real, fresh, surprising, ecstatic good that God has made is so rich and satisfying, and yet we are so easily duped into exchanging it for charming fantasies that rob us of joy and leave us spiritually barren.

But Jesus has come to set us free from fantasy’s impoverishing enchantment.

Fantasy Turned the Garden Into a Wasteland

The garden of Eden was in every way a garden of real delights. Adam and Eve enjoyed the unfiltered fullness of the presence and fellowship of the Triune God, whose radiant glory emanated from every wonderful thing he had made and given to them. And then the satanic serpent showed up and presented them with a fantasy where the ecstatic good was cast as flat and boring, and evil was cast as attractive and intriguing. Our progenitors allowed themselves to be tragically charmed, and they believed the lying fantasy. When they did, their garden of joy—and ours—became a dreary wasteland of monotonous misery.

And since that time, every fantasy that has put a charming, attractive face on evil and deceived a human being has replayed that tragedy. The fantasy markets itself as a garden of delight when it really is a desert. And it robs us of the beautiful good, alienates us from God and leaves us desolate.

We must come to terms with this truth. Evil fantasies are perversions of the real good—the good we are designed to really enjoy. In creating them, we use our God-like imaginations in a satanic way, fantasizing a world in which we rule as God and indulge our selfish ambition, greed, anger, hatred, violence, covetousness, sexual lusts and indolence. Their forbidden fruit is so easy to eat—as close as a thought—but their effect is devastating. They accustom our spiritual taste buds to fictional evil and addict us to the drug of titillation till we lose the taste for good and end up with nothing real.

Waking Up From the Longest Dream

“But God, being rich in mercy …” (Ephesians 2:4). O, the beautiful, continually fresh, surprising, sweet, perpetually ecstatic good of the gospel of God—of the gospel that is God. In mercy, he did not leave us to eternally endure the wasteland of evil’s fictional fantasies!

Jesus came to destroy the destructive thief and to give us the real good of the real abundant life that bursts out of the fullness of all that God is and wants to be for us (1 John 3:8).