Humanity is in search of a utopian society. A utopian society is one that is characterized by benevolent governments that ensure the security, safety and general welfare of its citizens. It’s a society anchored on equity and trust, which treats its citizens with dignity, a society where citizens live in health and abundance, and in a safe environment without fear, a society where citizens have absolute control over their circumstances and environment. We all desire and long for that kind of society even though it has so far eluded us.
The search for utopia and the ideal society is as old as humankind itself and runs through civilization. It has led to the invention of all kinds of ideologies and socio-economic and political systems such as monarchy, democracy, communism, totalitarianism, progressivism, egalitarianism, humanism, transhumanism, intentional community, universal basic income, among others. Surprisingly, some of these ideologies have also been the source of untold mass poverty, injustice, terror, oppression and destruction. Those are nothing but signs of dystopia—a dysfunctional society quite the opposite of what society yearns for. More often than not, the future is often presented in our current film and literature menu as a dystopian society.
The pursuit of utopia, in any shape or form, indicates that there is undoubtedly within every person’s heart a craving and an empty space that is designed specifically for God. This craving and vacuum cannot be satisfied by anything that is created, but only by the Creator Himself. There is a deep longing within us for a return to Eden (God’s paradise or kingdom), but we want God out of it. The renowned French mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal, while reflecting on this truth noted thus:
What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God Himself.
Every time we exclude God from the equation, the ultimate outcome tends to be dystopian and results in more misery for humanity. Our world is perpetually faced with a choice between a society characterized by liberalism and one that is dictatorial. This entails a choice between a world order based on distributed decision making, and one based on centralized decision making. It’s a choice between democracy and dictatorship, between a liberty that could lead to anarchy and self-destruction, or controls that make life more difficult. Some countries have embraced dictatorship and totalitarian control, while others have embraced liberal democracy, which in itself is gradually falling apart due to the growing influence of modern technology. Which system of governance, democracy or dictatorship, is better suited for humanity and likely to emerge as the dominant one?
In the hope of a better society, people sometimes demand a change of government, by which they mean a change of political party or politician such as president or prime minister, or even a complete change in the system of government. Interestingly, Jesus’ key message to the world echoes the same sentiments. He said that the basic need of the world is a change in government, and that He was sent to bring about that change. He used the term “Kingdom of God” to describe the kind of change in government that He is bringing (Luke 4:43). The Kingdom of God is a theme that runs through the entire Bible.
Humankind was not made for democracy or to run themselves; neither were they made for dictatorship or to be under someone else’s authoritarian control. They were made for the Kingdom of God. They were made to be under a just and benevolent divine King. This is the only way that society will flourish. We were made to be subjects of the life-giving King. This is the only way to find fulfillment and to reach our full potential.
The world is in dire need of good leadership—an individual capable of effectively managing and controlling society while granting its citizens complete freedom within those parameters. We are constantly searching for a political figure or political institution that can strike the ideal balance between control and liberty in our social structures. Regrettably, the perfect person or system remains elusive and unattainable.
This reality has led to many citizens harboring deep skepticism towards politicians and some have lost all faith in their government and governing institutions. There’s no one who can create a better world for us except the Lord Jesus. When He does, there will for the first time be
a harmonious balance between complete control and absolute freedom. In this new world, righteousness, peace, and joy will prevail, creating a perfect society. In this new world, righteousness, peace, and joy will prevail, creating a perfect society.
So does this imply that the only message we can offer people in our present unstable world is “Don’t worry; wait for the kingdom and for Jesus to return and fix everything?” If that’s the case, it’s discouraging news. It’s not practical for us to continue living as we are because there’s a possibility we won’t be alive by the time Jesus returns. But here’s where the message of the Kingdom comes into play: The Kingdom of God has already invaded this present age so that men may know something of its blessings even in this corrupt age. While we await Jesus to return and seize the reins of power and establish the fullness of His Kingdom here on earth, you can still enter the Kingdom now. You can come under His rule and government now, and as you do so, you will experience true freedom through the liberating influence of the Holy Spirit working within you (Romans 8:2).