By Andrew Sinclair
P, Amp, Speed, Tweak, Ice, Crystal, Crank — there are many nicknames for methamphetamine. Destroying lives through ruined looks, the once beautiful smiles ravaged by drug use. Users shackled in self-induced slavery and reliance, the paranoia, violent reactions or freaky hallucinations. The results of methamphetamine use are shockingly destructive but I think the most frightening thing about methamphetamine is what it does to the brain.
Methamphetamine alters the brain to feel great pleasure by tampering with the way the brain manages its natural pleasure chemical, dopamine. Methamphetamine blocks the part of the brain that recycles dopamine, so the brain receives a huge dopamine hit.
This hit of pleasure, this huge high is so incredible that users become obsessed with achieving the same euphoria of their first hit. But the initial high cannot be recreated. After it wears off methamphetamine leaves the user worse off than before.
Methamphetamine destroys the body and mind. More and more methamphetamine is required to get a high. Normally gratifying activities lose their shine. The natural highs of life become less and less pleasurable the more someone takes methamphetamine. Even taking it once changes the way you look at the world.
A high called Eden
I wonder if Adam and Eve felt the same. They were created by God and placed in a beautiful, incredible garden called Eden. It must have been amazing, their normal every day must have been a great high; a dopamine hit, as they had nothing to worry about; great beauty to experience and the blessing of being able to walk with God in the garden. There was nothing to get in the way of them and God. It must have been a remarkable experience!
But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, when they acted like their own gods and brought a curse on our world, the amazing garden and the beautiful closeness they had with God was gone. It must have been a huge shock to their system, from the great high of being close to God they were cast out of the garden, far from God.
I can only imagine how low they must have felt. Like a drug user coming off a high with no way of getting it back. The dopamine high of being in a sinless and curse-free world and walking with God each day — all lost.
Desperately holding out for closeness with God again, this withdrawal must have caused them great grief and depression. Surely Adam and Eve clung to the hope God would keep his promise to deal with sin so they would someday be able to be close to him again.
The hope of a promise fulfilled
While we have never experienced the high Adam and Eve would have felt we all know what it is to seek fulfilment, satisfaction and pleasure. Our world comes up with creative ways of trying to meet our every need, to give us a unsatisfying dopamine high. We were made for more than this.
God is bringing people back to be close to Him. Through faith in Jesus we have the hope of a new heavens and a new earth. In Jesus we can have closeness and intimacy with our creator once more. The final book of the Bible reveals what this will be like. It describes the restoration of Eden, where God dwells with His people. Where there will be no more curse of sin. The mediocre highs of life will be replaced with the supernatural high of being with God, an everlasting high that will never disappoint. A high that's worth looking forward to. •
Andrew Sinclair is a Kiwi studying theology in Sydney.