Friday, August 2, 2013

What is Heaven?

A few weeks ago, while reading in my Book of Mormon commentary (Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Second Nephi Through Jacob) I came across an idea I'd never heard before.  One that I've been thinking about off and on since.

The author, Brant A. Gardner, states, "The conceptual problem we frequently have is that we consider heaven a place rather than a state of being.  We assume that our goal is to get to heaven to be with God.  Were that the purpose, we need never have left the premortal life, for we were already with God.  We are not seeking a place: we are seeking a transformation."

He's talking about 2nd Nephi 25:23, and more specifically, about how we are saved by grace after all we can do.  The grace comes into play because we can never merit the gifts God willingly gives us.  All we can do is to transform ourselves into celestial beings, as Paul said, we must put off the old man and then put on the new man.

Have you ever thought about heaven as something you can turn yourself into?  I haven't.  Hadn't.

As this thought was percolating somewhere in my brain, I was reading another book about the swimmer Michael Phelps called, No Limits, The Will to Succeed.  I really love books about athletes, probably because I find their determination and willingness to continue where almost anyone else would have some sort of mental break (I'm talking about me here) awe inspiring. 

Somehow the percolation about heaven reached out and grabbed a little section of No Limits.  Hey, I was as surprised as you, but it happened.  In the book, Michael talks about the importance of being mentally tough.  I don't have a direct quote (it was a library book that I've already returned), but he said something along the lines of, it doesn't matter how hard you've trained, the winner is the athlete who can ignore their body screaming at them to quit and continue their pace unabated.  The best athletes are able to exert control over their bodies...take control and ignore what their bodies are telling them so they are able to push themselves longer and harder.

This is my thought.  What if the ability to exert that control is our purpose in being here?  What if that is the transformation we are seeking? 

Our spirits were already with God.  We were willing to leave Him to come to earth for a body.  Now, we need to learn how to use these beautiful bodies we've been given.  We need to learn how to use them consistently for His purposes.  Talk about some serious self control. 

But, if the reward is to be able to return to our Father in Heaven and continue progressing, I'm in. 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Thanks for providing food for thought...


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