Thomas More And The Utopian Dream

2955 words - 12 pages

More and the Utopian Dream

To some, it can be paradise, to someone else a heaven on earth, and still to others it can mean the Garden of Eden, the New Jerusalem, or even Biosphere 2. What we have come to know as "Utopia," or, "Any idealized place, state, or situation of perfection; any visionary scheme or system for an ideally perfect society" (Neufeldt 1470), is just a name that was coined for us by Sir Thomas More for an eternal idea. There were centuries of utopian ideas before More came up with his idea for Utopia, but he has become the father of the word's meaning. Some of the previous ideal ideas were sources of information for More's book, just as More led the way for hundreds of other Utopias. Today Utopia is just another word in the dictionary, but it took years to develop it into what it is today.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. . . and it was very good" (Bib. Gen. Ch. 1, vs.1, 31). According to biblical doctrine, the earth was in a perfect state after God had created it. There was no sin, and the two inhabitants were pure in thought. The Garden of Eden is the first utopian state that we have on record. Ezekiel said that the Lord, Himself, called it "the Garden of God" (Ch. 28, vs. 13); God, being the supreme of all perfect, could only have a perfect garden. But even the most perfect things, it has been proved, can not be perfect forever; that is the way God planned it. There must be opposition in all things, so Satan was allowed to enter into the picture. First Eve, then Adam partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, a sin in the eyes of God. This was God's plan though, and it led the way for the rest of the world.

A little further on in the Bible we find out about the ultimate perfect state. A time when Satan will be bound for a thousand years, and all the righteous will be put into their perfect state: the Millennium (Rev. Ch. 20, vs. 2-6). Millions of Christian followers wait for the day when their Christ will come again and reign over them. Then the earth will become again like that Garden of Eden, beautiful and perfect. Before that day will come there will be many wars, famines, droughts, natural disasters, and much suffering, cleansing the world of its imperfections, but the righteous believe that they will be saved by their faith in Christ.

Plato's Republic is one of the widest known ideas for a perfect state in history, in fact, this is where More got many ideas for his book. Written around 394 BC, Plato believed that already the worlds system of living needed a major over haul. He separated the people into three classes: Rulers, Auxiliaries, and those who have productive duties. He felt that the, "division was based on 'natural capacities' and is the necessary basis for a happy society, since happiness lies in the virtuous exercise of natural gifts" (Tod 22). To validate his idea he created a myth where people are born with metal in their hearts - gold, silver, or iron, and...

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