At the end of the game, Miasmata (minor spoiler:), I found a copy of Paradise Lost sitting on a table. It was a subtle way of validating all my suspicions about the Island: the game just took place on Eden. I saw countless murder victims, their bodies decomposing. I fought for my survival as a victim of plague and poison.
I saw remnants of the tyranny of a religious regime. And not least of all, I was hunted like a piece of meat. Yes, this was Eden as Adam left it: a garden full of natural wonders and every kind of man’s sin.
Miasmata’s Eden is truly a Paradise Lost. But this is not at all unlike our very own Eden. Maybe that’s why the words from John Milton’s 17th-century poetry still have a ring of truth today?
Since thy original lapse, true Libertie Is lost, which alwayes with right Reason dwells
Paradise Lost, Book 12
The player of Miasmata is immediately struck with the notion that they’re not playing a power-fantasy, but they desperately desire that feeling. Your character, sick and weak from a mysterious disease, will likely die. That is, unless he learns how to concoct a cure based on the island’s plant life.
But he’s not seeking to get “power” in the traditional vein of video games. He’s merely seeking ‘Libertie.’ The strongest he ever gets is back to full health. Nevertheless, this points back to the desire of all of fallen creation: to get back to full health.
Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:19-21 (ESV)
Have you ever heard of eschatological longing? It’s just a fancy way of saying ‘wishing the end of the world as we know it.’ We’re not talking about some morbid apocalypse here. We’re talking about when all of creation is reconciled. When the Sons of God are revealed and walking in the fullness of Christ.
For some, this is something that won’t happen until there’s a tribulation and all sorts of signs in the sky, including Jesus coming back. But I would propose that if your eschatology orients towards a true and sincere longing like Paul in Romans 8, that you’ll start to walk in active reconciliation of all creation.
I do believe that Miasmata provides a brilliantly new experience for PC gamers. But I also believe it points (knowingly or unknowingly) to this longing desire for all of creation’s reconciliation, for nature to be drawn back into intended order without addition or remainder.
To go one step further: it leads all of humanity’s longing into a true reconciliation and “full health.” Perhaps this is the kind of thing Jesus was hinting at when he said,
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.