Principles of life and survival

The aim of every living creature is survival. All creatures, great and small, including humans, in this universe, aim at survival. Life cannot be touched or evaluated, scientifically, but observed through the animation of creatures in their different structures and sizes. Life is not limited to humanity. Even microscopic organisms share in the phenomenon of life. The most toxic viruses, causing illnesses, also share in the urge towards survival. To effectively master life, we have to understand all dynamic principles of livingness.

A lion is commonly granted the title of being the king of the jungle. A tiger could arguably claim that title, as well, when considering its size, strength and its lifespan, compared to that of a lion. The average lifespan of a tiger is 25 years.  Lions and tigers are chiefly renowned for their ability to hunt for food, rather than being hunted. They were created with rare abilities, enabling them to attack and kill even bigger and stronger animals. Hence, these skilful predators could be assumed to last longest, in the wildlife game of survival.

However, that is not the case. The known longest-surviving species is the tortoise, whose average lifespan is estimated at 150 to 200 years. The average lifespan for a lion is 15 to 20 years. How does a tortoise outsmart both the lion and the tiger, considering their dexterity, to achieve survival objectives? Without meat, their existence becomes endangered. There is no other purpose for existence in this universe except to survive. This is just as humans are also commonly preoccupied with survival, in all their activities

How does the lion earn the title of being considered the king of the jungle, when the tortoise’s lifespan outsmarts the lion’s lifespan? Both are spurred by a desire to live longer, so that the winner is the one lasting longer, on the survival game. Whatever the conditions of living pursued by the tortoise, enables it to live ten times longer than the king of the jungle.

It, therefore, cannot be true that the lion should be regarded as the king of the jungle. When using the statistics alone, it can be argued that the tortoise should be awarded the king of the jungle title instead. Life cannot necessarily be enhanced by how other species are dominated. The tortoise knows how to utilize its resources to stretch its lifespan. If the sole purpose of existence is survival, then the tortoise gets the title for living longest.

But, what about humans, created to be in charge of every created species on this planet? The current global life expectancy for humans is 70 years.  This is far too short when compared with a tortoise, whose lifespan averages 150 to 200 years. This reveals that something is wrong with humanity.

How can humans, created to be in charge of all living creatures be outsmarted by a tortoise? Was God untruthful in saying that Man would hold dominion over all created species? The truth is found in the same Bible, which, when misunderstood, causes this kind of confusion.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).

If created in God’s image, humans have no lifespan, comparable to other created species. What was created in God’s image is not measured by lifespan. The term resurrection refers to a revival of what was originally alive, but currently existing in a death condition. The death of humanity is different from the death of other species.

Jesus revealed this mystery through the parable of the Prodigal Son, “He who was dead is alive again” (Luke 15:32). This refers to humanity, in the person of a Prodigal Son, accessing life at repentance. Although holding to this information through Scriptures, the Jews were mystified:

“You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. (Matthew 22:29-33 NIV).

The crowds were astonished at Jesus’ teachings. But Jesus was not talking about something new. This was contained in their revered Scriptures. Those questioning Him were in error and unaware of God’s power. A human being cannot be outlived by a tortoise. Jesus stated that those believing in Him would never see death.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NIV).

Jesus’ sovereign mission was for the restoration of humanity to its original condition. A person cannot talk of believing in Jesus, without incorporating this fundamental principle of livingness. Searching for God’s Kingdom information is like using a candlelight during the daytime. The information has not been expressly taught by anyone, except by Jesus Christ.

In a world of information, it is no longer necessary to spend time evaluating theological treatises on matters of Christianity. The information provided by Jesus, approximately two thousand years ago remains verifiable and true. Jesus was 2000 years ahead of those who lived at that time.

The phenomenon of death is the most feared condition in this world. One can be terminally ill for fifty years, but consistently, wished to remain in that condition. Those who believe in ancestral spirits seem convinced of life after death. However, they have no clue of what life is like, after death. Jesus revealed that there is communication among the dead, but there is a chasm that separates between those existing in hell and those in paradise.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us (Luke 16:22-26 NIV).

Jesus revealed that while the physically dead and the physically living are not in communication, after dropping the bodies, those people would be in communication. Just as in this life, God’s people and those of this world are in communication, but with different aspirations. There will be a reversal of life conditions, after death.

Those currently enjoying good living will experience the reverse, after death. Those living an honest, but uncomfortable life on earth, will have eternal happiness. Suppressing other people, like a lion, is not what guarantees eternal life. Domineering appears interesting, in this life, but insignificantly too short, and ghastly, when considering the reversal of conditions after death.

The tortoise, surviving ten times longer than the lifespan of a lion, implies that a tortoise is smarter than a lion. The considered sophisticated nations of the world have managed to produce jaw-dropping weapons of mass destruction, with precision to attack enemies. Would they not be inspired by the livingness of the tortoise, if indeed intending to live longer?

The most amazing life condition is that a person can be happy, even when living in apparent appalling conditions. A person with lots of money appears comfortable and happy, as to be admired by those without money. But I have seen people living in extreme poverty, looking happier than those driving the latest model vehicles.

This leaves one wondering whether humans are realistic in considering life’s purposes. It takes daring activities to access sufficient income for honest living. Dishonest living does not require hard work but is most dangerous and unpopular with dignified people. Where is the missing link? Is living an honest life, really worth it?

Many people complain that Zimbabwe has become a very unpleasant country to live in. And yet there are others wishing things could continue in the current trajectory, making them happier than ever before. The Zimbabwean wealthy people can surpass, by far, those from affluent nations. But, such people cannot sustain genuine comfort, when under those conditions where the crime rate is also skyrocketing.

The principle of living requires considering other people’s lives more than focusing on one’s survival. The life of a lion can be very exciting, but unattractive when food becomes scarce. The misery that is caused to other people, due to one’s conduct implies executing oneself. The level of harm inflicted on others is equal to the evil that one attracts to himself.

A person who accumulates wealth in this world still feels unsafe. Whereas a wise person prefers sacrificing everything to serve those of this world and have his true wealth secured in heaven. This is a principle that is as true as confirmed by Jesus. A person, who focuses on saving money, is susceptible to losing everything to robbers. In reality, most Zimbabweans experienced this great lesson, effectively, when all savings were lost to a corrupt governing system, through hyperinflation.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).

Lazarus lived a very miserable and unenviable life, while the rich man who despised him, was blissful. However, in the case of Lazarus, it is doubtful that he ever considered himself worthy of attaining eternal life. He appears to have been just an ordinary man. But it is possible for those heeding Jesus’ teachings to prepare, with assurance, for a blissful living in eternal life.

Sacrificing everything for the sake of other fellow humans is noble. Forget about saving anything that you are going to leave behind, anyway. This point features what one does to other people. On a similar factor, Jesus gave another very interesting parable, regarding a dishonest manager who supplanted corruption on the principle of investing in future happiness.

“I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Luke 16:9-13 NIV).

The above parable reveals how a dishonest manager, acquired protection from customers, whose interests were catered for. This illustration reveals that life is about serving other people. The condition of being in God’s Kingdom can be secured in this life, rather than just hoping for it. What one does for other people is what counts, rather than what one gets from other people. To be in God’s Kingdom is as easy as contributing to the general well-being of other people.

Jesus was teaching a principle of life and survival being to serve others, more than self. Being attracted to the things of this world is unwise. A person can be a billionaire in this world. However, the same person will not be a billionaire in the world to come. Using whatever resource to serve other people in this life is what guarantees eternal life in God’s Kingdom.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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