“A generation is going, and a generation is coming, but the earth remains forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4 (KING SOLOMON, 11TH CENTURY B.C.E.)
Indeed, for thousands of years, generations have come and gone, and yet the planet Earth has proved to be remarkably resilient and stable in its ability to host life—until now.
The years since World War II have been dubbed by some as the Great Acceleration. In a single lifetime, people have seen remarkable advances in transportation, communication, and other technologies, which have brought unprecedented economic changes. Many enjoy a standard of living once thought impossible. In the meantime, the earth’s population has nearly tripled.
All of this, however, has not come without cost. Human activities are said to be pushing the earth beyond its natural cycles. In fact, some scientists say we have entered a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene—an age in which humans are making an increasingly notable impact on the planet.
The Bible foretold a time when man would ‘ruin the earth.’ Revelation 11:18 : “…..It is time to destroy everyone who has destroyed the earth.” Some wonder if we are living in such a time. How much further damage will be done? Is there a point of no return? Indeed, will man ruin the earth beyond repair?
Man’s Mismanagement of Our Planet:
- Atmosphere. “There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming . . . The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities.” (source: American Meteorological Society, 2012.)
- Land. “Nearly 50% of the land surface has been transformed by direct human action, with significant consequences for biodiversity, nutrient-cycling, . . . and the climate.” (source: Global Change and the Earth System.)
- Oceans. “Around 85% of global fish stocks are over-exploited, depleted, fully exploited or in recovery from exploitation.” (source: BBC, September 2012.)
- Biodiversity. “Many scientists think . . . the blame for the next mass extinction, perhaps the fastest in Earth’s history, falls firmly on the shoulders of humans.” (source: – science.nationalgeographic.com.)
The Earth is far too precious to end up in environmental bankruptcy …
A Point Of No Return
Is the earth headed for a point of no return?
Some scientists feel that the effect of changes can be difficult to predict. Because of this, they are concerned that we might be approaching “tipping points” where sudden and unanticipated climate changes could bring disastrous results.
Consider, for example, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Some believe that with sustained global warming, there is a point where the melt of this ice sheet could be irreversible. This is because ice cover naturally reflects the sun’s rays. But as the ice sheet thins and shrinks, the ocean below, which is less reflective, is eventually exposed. The dark ocean surface absorbs more heat, which in turn leads to greater melting. A self-feeding, runaway cycle could be created. The resulting rise in sea levels from the meltwater could spell disaster for hundreds of millions of people.
Mounting Ecological Debt
Various road maps have been drawn up to deal with the “planetary emergency” we now face. One long-standing strategy has been called sustainable development, which means promoting economic and social growth within the ecological limits of the planet.
What have been the results?
Sadly, like the global financial debt crisis, earth’s ecological debt continues to mount unabated. Humans continue to consume our planet’s resources faster than these can be replenished naturally.
Can something be done?
One ecologist frankly acknowledged: “In a sense, we don’t have any clue how to manage the planet successfully.” The situation very much fits the Bible’s assessment: ‘It is not in man to direct his steps’ “LORD, I know people don’t really know how to live right.” Jeremiah 10:23
On the other hand, the Holy Scriptures assures us that God, the Creator, will not allow man to bankrupt the planet environmentally. At Psalm 115:16, we read:
“The highest heaven belongs to the LORD, but he has given the earth to the descendants of Adam.”
Yes, our planet is a “good gift” from our heavenly Father.
“Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars……” (James 1:17)
Would we expect God’s gift to be temporary in nature, as though it came with an expiration date? Of course not! That is evident from the inherent design of our planet.
What The Creator Purposes
The Bible book of Genesis tells in great detail how God carefully crafted the earth. Initially, the earth was described as “formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface.” Yet, specific mention is made of “waters”—essential for life—existing on the planet. (Genesis 1:2) God then said: “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3) Evidently the sun’s rays penetrated the atmosphere, and there came to be light visible on earth for the first time. The formation of dry land and seas is then recounted. (Genesis 1:9, 10) Next, “grass, seed-bearing plants and trees yielding fruit” made their appearance. (Genesis 1:12) Elements needed for processes and cycles that are vital for life—such as photosynthesis—were thus in place.
What was the purpose behind such extensive preparation?
The ancient prophet Isaiah said:
“The LORD created the heavens. God formed the earth and made it. He set it up. He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited”. (Isaiah 45:18)
Clearly, God’s purpose is for the earth to be inhabited by man forever. Sadly, man has misused God’s beautiful gift to the point of ruination. Yet, the Creator’s purpose has not changed. A man of old said:
“God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change his mind. When he says something, he does it. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.” (Numbers 23:19)
In fact, rather than allow the earth to be ruined, the time is rapidly approaching for God to “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Revelation 11:18..
Earth Forever Our Home
Jesus Christ in his famous Sermon on the Mount said: “Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).
Later in that same sermon, Jesus revealed the means by which the earth would be rescued from ruin. He instructed his followers to pray to the Father in Heaven:
“Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matthew 6:10.)
Yes, God’s Kingdom, or government, will accomplish God’s purpose for the earth. This is the revelation from Jesus the Christ which God gave him and which Jesus in turn gave to his bond-servant John:
“This is the revelation of Jesus Christ. God gave it to him to show his servants the things that must happen soon. He sent this revelation through his angel to his servant John. John testified about what he saw: God’s word and the testimony about Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads, as well as those who hear the words of this prophecy and pay attention to what is written in it because the time is near.” (Revelation 1:1-3)
Jesus Christ will return to take up His inheritance and rule on Earth. – God Almighty says: He says, “I have chosen this man to be king, and he will rule on Zion, my holy mountain.” (Psalm 2:6)
Thousands upon thousands of angels were singing:
“In a loud voice they were singing, “The lamb who was slain deserves to receive power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise.” “Look! He is returning with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes on the earth will mourn because of him. This will certainly come to pass! Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” (Revelation 21:1)
“and the sea was no more” – as the physical corresponds to the spiritual and moral world, so the absence of sea, after the metamorphosis of the earth by fire, answers to the unruffled state of solid peace which shall then prevail.
Regarding the remarkable changes the Kingdom will bring, God declares:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be any more death. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.” The one sitting on the throne said, “I am making everything new.” He said, “Write this: ‘These words are faithful and true.'” (Revelation 21: 4-5)
God said: “I am making everything new.”
Does this mean that God will totally destroy this planet and replace it with a new one?
No, for there is really nothing inherently wrong with our planet. Rather, God will do away with those responsible for the planetary crisis, “those ruining the earth,” that is, the present-day human system with its governmental structure.
This will be replaced by “a new heaven and a new earth” Jesus ruling with His earthly government over a new earthly society. Psalm 2:6 ; Isaiah 16:5 ; Daniel 2:44 ; Acts 3:21
To eliminate the ecological debt caused by man, God will rebalance the ecological budget, so to speak. Describing what God will do, the psalmist was inspired to write: “You care for the earth, making it abundantly fruitful and very rich.” With a regulated climate and, above all, God’s blessing, the earth will become a paradise yielding plenty of food.
“Those who live at the ends of the earth are in awe of your miraculous signs. The lands of the morning sunrise and evening sunset sing joyfully. You take care of the earth, and you water it. You make it much richer than it was. (The river of God is filled with water.) You provide grain for them. Indeed, you even prepare the ground.
You drench plowed fields [with rain] and level their clumps of soil. You soften them with showers and bless what grows in them. You crown the year with your goodness, and richness overflows wherever you are. The pastures in the desert overflow [with richness]. The hills are surrounded with joy. The pastures are covered with flocks. The valleys are carpeted with grain. All of them shout triumphantly. Indeed, they sing.” (Psalm 65: 9-13)
According to his secretary Pyarelal, Mohandas Gandhi, the late spiritual leader of India, observed: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not for every man’s greed.” God’s Kingdom will address the root cause of earth’s problems by bringing about a huge change, even in people’s hearts.
The prophet Isaiah foretold this to be so in the future Kingdom rule: Wolves will live with lambs. Leopards will lie down with goats. Calves, young lions, and year-old lambs will be together, and little children will lead them. Cows and bears will eat together. Their young will lie down together. Lions will eat straw like oxen. Infants will play near cobras’ holes. Toddlers will put their hands into vipers’ nests. They will not hurt or destroy anyone anywhere on my holy mountain. The world will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD like water covering the sea.” (Isaiah 11: 6-9)
“People will not cause any harm or any ruin” to one another or to the earth. In fact, millions of people today from all walks of life are already learning about God’s elevated standards. They are being taught to love God and neighbour, to show a thankful spirit, to care for the environment, to conserve natural resources, and to lead a life supportive of the Creator’s purpose. They are being prepared for life in ‘PARADISE’ that will be regained on this very planet.
The creation account in Genesis concludes with the words: “God saw everything he had made, and look! it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31). Truly, the earth is far too precious to end up in environmental bankruptcy. We are comforted in knowing that our planet’s future rests safely in the hands of our loving Creator, God Almighty.
He promises: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.” (Psalm 37:29)
May you be counted among “the righteous,” who will call earth their eternal home.
“Here is a true statement: If we died with him, we will also live with him.” (2 Timothy 2:11)