The other night I was watching Ever After, a Cinderella movie, with my wife. And yes, men, when my wife said she wanted to watch "Ever After" I said yes, with a full track record of confirmed masculinity.
In the movie a little girl is given a book from her Father. The title of the book was Utopia, a work by Thomas More. The idea of the word Utopia is to create a perfect world, a heaven on earth sort of scheme. Now, such thinking is universal to all cultures--this world is flawed and we need to create a better world. Utopia schemes and fix the world diagnoses have wrought all sorts of horrors on the earth...that study will be saved for another day. Yet while watching the movie I paused the film and began to talk to my wife. Of course she just looooves, to stop a movie from my philosophical ramblings. I thought, how do we get this concept of "a perfect world" - nobody has ever seen one. This of course led my thoughts to the topic of epistemology. I know you are thinking - watching a Cinderella movie of course leads to epistemology, what else would you be thinking about!!! Right. But here me out.
If one is an empiricist in her view of knowledge she believes that there is no knowledge that exists in the mind which does not first pass through the senses. In the other words, if we do not sniff, touch, taste, see, hear it - the mind has no raw data from which to build knowledge. This of course brings up a problem when talking about Utopia. How does one get the idea of a "perfect" world into ones mind from sense data in the world. No one has ever seen, touched, tasted, sniffed, or heard "perfect" in this world. All we see is a matter of degrees - that there is bad, good, and better. For the empiricist, one can only infer, from degrees of goodness or badness in things, that there must be a perfect. However, he is speaking of something he has no knowledge of - that of course IF empiricism is correct.
However, what if there IS a perfect, there is a perfect world, a source of perfection which is not currently observable to the senses but is present in the mind by which we know this world is NOT perfect. We just somehow know that there exists "the perfect" - this knowledge is given to us. Now, I meet all sorts of people who would subscribe to the proverb "Nobody is perfect" or "I am not perfect" - for years now I always ask a follow up question. How do you know that "you are not" unless there is someone/something which is. It seems like an empty comparison that is quite meaningless unless there is that which that is perfect. If there are flaws in persons, things, or even this world (after all it is NOT utopia), then there is something, yes I would say someone which we and this world fall short of.
The existence of the knowledge that this world is broken demonstrates to me that it falls short of a perfection. The knowledge of this perfection must find its ground in someone/something - I find this a compelling confirmation that indeed, there is a God...who in himself is the source of all perfections from which we fall short.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God - Read all of Romans 3
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Read all of Romans 8
And yes, someday, the children of God will live happily ever after...and that ain't no fairy tale pipe dream.