You know that there is Light and Darkness, Right and Wrong, Happiness and Sadness, Good and Evil. Such ideas can be defined as the lack of the other. Darkness is the absence of Light. Sadness is the absence of Happiness. And, Evil is the lack of Good. But the world we live in consists of both the positives and negatives: a struggle between the two extremes. At times in our lives, Evil takes the upper hand. In times of blessings, the Good reigns. Here is how Earth the great battleground between Heaven and Hell.
Three Kingdoms: Heaven, Hell, and Earth
In the Christian reality, there are essentially three kingdoms: Heaven, Hell, and Earth, with “Earth” of course encompassing the entirety of the physical universe here. Heaven is the realm of the angels, the saints, and God. Hell is the domain of Satan, fallen angels, demons (I suppose), and those who have turned away from God. Earth is where we humans are, the little blue and green ball flying thousands of miles per hour around our Sun. Earth is God’s creation, and innately, it is a “good” Earth as God says of all his creation in Genesis.
Of course, Satan might be considered to be on Earth, as he is sometimes called the Prince of the World. In fact, we can think of his coming to Earth to tempt Adam and Eve as an invasion of the Paradise created by God for Man. His invasion was one of infecting us with Sin.
Now God, seeing that Satan’s invasion has been quite successful, guided His faithful soldiers remaining on Earth, i.e. the Israelites, to prepare a way for God’s secret weapon: Himself, though His incarnation as Jesus Christ. Christ is the Son, God’s humanly presence on Earth to wage war against Satan among us. In fact, it’s interesting to note that the Jewish people even expected a Savior of this sort: one was a warrior. Christ waged his war quite differently, however, as we know He came to Earth to die for our sins and to achieve the “fulfillment of the promises of the Old Covenant”.
We can take the picture I painted here just a little farther. Is it possible for there then to be some Heaven on Earth? Or a Hell on Earth? Indeed, Catholics hold that Mass is the place where Heaven touches Earth. Though this is perhaps a bit hard to understand (for what do we really comprehend of Heaven?). Hell on Earth is much more familiar to us: the Holocaust, the gulags, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, etc. In these instances, Hell had punctured Earth.
The Battle on Earth
Now that Christ and Satan have both planted their flags here on Earth, we must choose: to fight for Heaven or to fight with Hell. When we work to build God’s kingdom here on Earth through mercy, justice, love of neighbor, and all virtues of Christendom, we wage war against Hell. When we fail to live as Christians, we cede ground to Satan. Every good deed, every instance where we witness to God’s greatness, is a strike of the sword into the enemies of Christ.
I can’t help but thing of G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, in which Chesterton depicts the Catholic Church as a mighty castle, fending off the chaos and evil throughout the ages. This is the spirit of the Church as I most love to express it. Think about how the Church in the 20th and 21st century has battled moral relativism, materialism, and the erasure of common moral principles: things that have caused monumental terror and despair to millions of people today. But, the Church, as it has for two millennia, has fortified its walls and called up her soldiers to the walls to fight off these evils.
We are battling against evil everyday: internally, in our relationships, in our neighborhoods, and in our world. Fight like you’re in the army of God.
Every Soldier Counts
As Jordan B. Peterson, Canadian psychologist and pseudo-political commentator, has said, it is incredibly important that we view our lives as a heroic journey. Here, he is speaking mostly about the importance of this self-view to our psychological health. We must be the protagonist in our own story to be effective in the world, to not despair. This same attitude can be applied to the spiritual warfare we engage in everyday against evil. If you don’t see yourself as the good guy (or gal) fighting for something, then you’re probably just a pawn for the bad guy.
The point here is that what you do on Earth matters. You might not see the impact you have, but certainly the Lord above sees it. If you are following His will, then you are indeed a soldier of God, and the army of God needs every soldier on hand.