The Importance of This Life and This Earth

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I’m reading “Thus Spake Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Zarathustra, a philosopher who has seemingly conquered life, descends from his mountain home to give a gift to men. There, he finds a town and begins his preaching. His message is focused on the concept of “Superman”, a state of being that compares to man the same way man compares to apes.

Among the many contradictions he speaks of, this one stood out to me:

Lo, I teach you the Superman!

The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman SHALL BE the meaning of the earth!

I conjure you, my brethren, REMAIN TRUE TO THE EARTH, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.

Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!

This rings in me to the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

This teaching has always puzzled me. Isn’t “heaven” supposed to be a distant concept, something other-worldly and not at all connected to the earth? Don’t we die and leave this life and this planet to live somewhere else in the presence of God?

No, that is not what Christ taught. Christ taught with his feet planted firmly on the ground. He didn’t come to rescue the people FROM the earth, but to teach them how to conquer the earth for themselves.

One thing I have learned so far in my short life: We cannot avoid evil. We cannot hope that bad things don’t happen to us, and having happened to us, we cannot hope that it goes away. No, we are served a double portion of evil, and God asks us to devour it, to make it part of us, to consume it and learn to enjoy the flavor of it.

This is the teaching of Christ: Turn the other cheek. Do good things to those that are not good to you. Forgive debts. Turn evil into good in your own life. Then evil will become good to you too.

Christ, the true and living Christ, not the imaginary ones that Christians have invented for themselves which seems more to reflect what they wish Christ was like rather than what Christ was really like, is the Superman. At least, that’s what I think Zarathustra is saying.

And Christ told us, “Come, follow me!”

Then Christ went to be tried in a kangaroo court, got condemned to die, but not before suffering the weight of all sin and error in the world. Before he died, he asked God why he was forsaken. Then he died, descending below the very depths of hell, only to rise as conqueror. Conqueror, mind you, not murderer! Christ didn’t kill Satan and his legions, he forced them to bow to him and recognize him as their Lord and Master.

The Book of Mormon contains warnings about focusing too much on the future. “This life is the time to prepare to meet God” said one prophet, and then a later, his companion expanded upon that: “NOW is the time to prepare to meet God!” Meaning, if you can’t do it NOW, you can’t do it EVER.

If you can’t learn to love life on this earth, what makes you think you will love it in the next earth?

Of course, our prophet Brigham Young told us that heaven isn’t far from us, but that the spirit world is HERE, on this earth. The dying and the dead have not even left this earth! Your death is no release from this planet! And in the scriptures, we read that THIS earth will be changed into the heavenly realm we know as heaven. In other words, we who are saved through Christ Jesus aren’t going anywhere: This is our last stop. This is it. Look around you: This is your future heaven!

And what did Christ promise to those unworthy to live on this earth? “Away with them, who never knew me!” They are cast out, as Zarathustra promises. THIS EARTH is the place for the righteous, not the wicked. We are not strangers here, we are already home. Let us learn to love it.

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