How Will Our Earth Become a Garden Home?
IF PLANET Earth is to become a garden home for mankind, how will it come about and who will make it possible?
What do those who have intensively studied the environmental problem feel would do the most to correct it? Listen to what they say:
“Basic to all solutions is the need for a new way of thinking.” “The biggest need may be a change in values.” (Time magazine) “We need new attitudes . . . those of a mature responsible society.”—Russell E. Train, presidential adviser on environment.
Again and again the theme stands out: there is a need for a change in people’s thinking, their attitudes, their set of values. But another theme runs along with this—the need for global supervision, guidance and control. Listen:
“We need a policy and plan that covers our entire planet and extends to the utmost of human capability into space and time.” (Charles A. Lindbergh) ‘A whole new system of world controls must be devised’ was the conclusion reached by many well-known scientists in convention at Aspen, Colorado. New York Times.
The Solution Foretold in the Scriptures
‘A human society with a new set of values and changed thinking, governed by a new system of world controls’—do you realize that that is exactly what the Bible long ago promised and foretold? Yes, with this major difference: these things will come, not by man’s power and ability but by God’s power and direction.
Surely if over the years and centuries men have demonstrated themselves unable to solve their problems (of which pollution is only one of the more recent), is it not being realistic and practical to look elsewhere? If they cannot solve their problems on a small scale—in their own countries, states or even cities—why keep on blindly hoping that somehow, someday, they will solve them on a global scale?
The earth itself, with its marvelous ecological systems, bears convincing testimony to the existence of an all-wise, all-powerful, loving Creator. Certainly he can provide the needed guidance and direction to straighten out matters here on this deteriorating planet. He gives his solemn promise to do just that. By what means?
In the Bible we find God’s promise of a ‘new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness is to dwell.’ (2 Pet. 3:13) “New heavens” and “new earth” are used figuratively in the Bible to describe a new heavenly, spiritual rule and a new earthly, human society. This is really what persons pray for when they repeat Jesus’ words: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10) The Bible shows that God’s kingdom by his Son will, indeed, bring in a ‘new system of world controls’ that will meet all mankind’s needs.
Thus, the inspired apostle wrote that God has purposed “an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” (Eph. 1:9, 10) Ever since man’s rebellion in Eden there has been a disharmony between man and his Creator that has been at the root of all human problems. God’s kingdom will eliminate this disharmony.
Why Drastic Measures Are Necessary
Will all persons voluntarily submit to the rule of God’s kingdom and the carrying out of God’s will for this planet Earth? The Bible realistically shows that not all will.
Christ Jesus warned that, “just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” Bible history shows that in Noah’s time “the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the true God and the earth became filled with violence . . . because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth.” Back then, men were ruining the earth by their moral corruption and violence, making the earth unclean and repugnant in God’s sight. Yet the majority of them preferred to risk the violence and put up with worsening conditions because they preferred the existing way of life, preferred it to submitting to the righteous will of their Creator. The global flood wiped out the God-defying generation of that time. But the earth, though completely submerged in water for a time, survived, as did a small remnant of mankind and animal life.—Matt. 24:37-39; Gen. 6:11-21.
Today, men are ruining the earth, not only in a moral sense, but also in a physical sense by their wanton polluting of its basic systems and by their callous disregard for the damage done to earth’s plant, animal, fish and bird life. Will the Creator let this continue?
The prophecy recorded at Revelation 11:18 gives the answer. It foretells the coming of God’s appointed time to execute judgment on opposers and “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” We are now face to face with the fulfillment of that prophecy. Certainly we see the predicted ‘ruining of the earth.’ And just as certainly we will shortly see God’s action to “bring to ruin” those responsible for the damage.
A Righteous Solution
Does this sound too severe? But what judgment would you say a person merits who willfully and for selfish gain introduces small amounts of poison into his neighbor’s food and drink until finally the neighbor sickens and dies? Though the process might take years, would it not still be murder?
That is what pollution is doing to millions today.
The German magazine Der Spiegel (October 5, 1970) recognized this parallel, saying: “For the most part the dangers are invisible, unnoticeable, insidious—like murdering one’s husband with a daily dose of arsenic in his morning coffee.”
A physician in Frankfurt, Germany, comparing his city with Vietnam, said: “There they shoot the lead into people’s ribs, here they have to inhale it. The difference, if you get right down to it, is just the manner of administering it.”
And remember—in the face of all the mounting evidence people can no longer plead ignorance of the deadly effects of this process.
Those who prefer to see the present system and way of life continue show neither love of God, the Creator, nor love of man, their fellow creature. By gradually converting the earth into a huge garbage dump, men are showing gross disrespect for earth’s Maker.
So, too, God’s Son stated: “Do not two sparrows sell for a coin of small value? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.” (Matt. 10:29) But today men are wiping out entire varieties of birds, as well as other land and marine creatures.
By all this they are making a mockery of God’s creative works. The Bible rule applies: “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) Having sown death and destruction, they deserve to reap the same. God has promised that they will.
A Cleansed Earth in Our Day
What are we saying then? Is God going to wipe out all human life on this planet, possibly burning up the whole earth in the process? Some religions present that idea. But when they teach that they contradict the Bible.
As Revelation 11:18 shows, God takes action, not to ruin the earth, but, to the exact contrary, to put a stop to its being ruined. Just as a man does not need to burn down a house to rid it of dirt and roaches, so God does not need to destroy the earth to rid it of pollution and polluters. As in Noah’s time, the earth needs to be cleansed of those befouling it. An entire world system founded on selfishness must be removed.
Destruction this time will come, not by a watery deluge, but, as Jesus’ foretold, by a “great tribulation,” paralleling the destruction that devastated ancient Jerusalem. He said the destruction would be one “such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” (Matt. 24:21, 22) Among the “pangs of distress” leading up to that “great tribulation” there were prophesied to be:
These are the very things that have been making the newspaper headlines during all this present generation, plus now the ‘ruining of the earth’ by global pollution. This fulfillment of prophecy gives sound basis for hope that the time is at hand when man’s disrespectful converting of the earth into a vast garbage dump will be brought to a swift and decisive end, as God brings the foretold “great tribulation.” That tribulation will be climaxed by the ‘war of Armageddon’—not some international battle fought with defoliants, nerve gases and hydrogen bombs with radioactive fallout that leaves the entire planet devoid of all life—but a righteous war in which God’s own Son and his heavenly armies will be victorious, to the blessing and liberation of all those loving righteousness.—Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-18.
Then God’s kingdom will cause God’s will to take place, “as in heaven, also upon earth.” The Bible record states that, when God created the first human pair, he gave them a garden home in the region called Eden. And he gave them the mandate: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) This was no license for man to exploit the earth to the point of ruining it. For Genesis 2:15 states: “And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it,” not to pollute and ruin it. So God’s command was that the earth should be comfortably populated and brought into a parklike state earth wide. The heavenly government of his Son will oversee the earthly activity of all who survive the Armageddon war to assure that God’s purpose is carried out.
A Far Richer, Healthier Life Made Possible
This clearly does not mean that the earth is due to become one vast wilderness region. Nor does it mean that all persons will necessarily live in log cabins, cook on stoves fueled by wood, illuminate their homes in the evening by lanterns burning vegetable oil, or use just the crudest of tools. But it does mean that whatever inventions and power sources are used, they will be used in such a way as not to bring damage—to the earth or to those living on it. Love of God and of neighbor will assure that. In fact, it will be because they have changed their thinking, attitudes and sense of values to conform to God’s standards of love and righteousness that these persons will be granted survival through the Armageddon destruction.
Today man’s use of power dirties up the earth. But there are many clean sources of power. The sun has always been the prime natural source of power for the whole earth, its energy making possible the chemical changes in plants that form the basic means of sustaining all life. Solar energy today is used to power satellites, and to provide heating for homes even in midwinter. A giant mirror was built in France to form a solar furnace and its rays when focused can produce temperatures up to 5,400° Fahrenheit, capable of burning a hole through a thick piece of steel.
Other clean sources of power are wind, flowing water and ocean tides. In today’s mass-producing, power-hungry, speed-conscious system there has been little interest in such old-fashioned power devices as windmills, waterwheels and similar picturesque and nonpolluting equipment. Use of animals, such as the horse, the water buffalo, the elephant, are deemed suitable only for the “underdeveloped lands.”
But God’s Kingdom rule will not only bring liberation from the present system massively committed to methods that pollute; it will also open up the way to perfect health and everlasting life. No longer faced with the pressure of a short life-span, persons will then be able to savor life without the frantic urgency and tension that characterize what men today call the human “rat race.” With eternal life, rightly motivated and with the guidance of Jehovah God, the Supreme Scientist of the universe, who knows what the subjects of God’s kingdom will then be able to develop in the way of clean sources of power for human use?
In pre-Industrial Revolution times, even when men labored together in a small shop they could converse, enjoy pleasant companionship while they worked, perhaps even exchange friendly greetings and bits of news with passersby. They generally knew and were known by the customers they served. They could rightfully feel a sense of personal satisfaction and justifiable pride in turning out high-quality, long-lasting products. The modern Machine Age has undeniably robbed men of much of these pleasures. The fast-moving machines inflexibly demand that the operator keep his eyes glued to the machine as he silently repeats the same motions thousands of times. Often the case is that the bigger the operation the more impersonal and dehumanized is the worker’s position, to the point of his feeling like the familiar “cog in a wheel,” serving people he seldom sees or knows.
Certainly God’s government will restore the enjoyable variety of life and work that is so often lacking today. Quantity will no longer be rated above quality. With the spirit of competition replaced by the spirit of cooperation, men will cease striving to outdo each other for selfish gain. For love “does not look for its own interests” (1 Cor. 13:5), and Christians are exhorted to do “nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, . . . keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just your own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others.” Their King, Jesus Christ, set them the example in this.—Phil. 2:3-8.
Bible prophecies once fulfilled on ancient Israel (following years of Babylonian restraint) will see even greater fulfillment during the reign of God’s Son. As Isaiah 65:21, 22 states: “And they will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. . . . For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full.” And Micah 4:4 says: “And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.”
These prophetic pictures of peaceful life have agricultural overtones. This, of course, does not rule out completely all community living under the rule of God’s Son. Yet we may be sure that, whatever size communities may then attain, they will never develop into anything like the modern monstrosities that crowd people into cramped quarters in rows upon rows of multistoried buildings, robbing them of sunlight, fresh air and privacy, surrounding them with noise, frustrating traffic problems and other sources of irritation—all for business profit and industrial exploitation.
What a blessing to be able to walk down pleasant lanes edged with grass and ferns, shaded by the leafy arms of trees, or cross through a rolling meadow, with white and gold daisies waving in the breeze, or duck under a wooden fence and head into a nearby woods, walking in its deep, cool shade on a carpet of leaves, catching glimpses of the sun high above in an azure blue sky. How relaxing and pleasant to hear the sounds of earth’s creation—the melodious call of birds, the occasional hum and buzz of insects, the chatter of a squirrel, the sound of a gurgling brook, of the wind as it whispers its way through the trees!
These things were originally to have been the inheritance of all persons. They are God’s gift. Do we really want them? What are the changes each one of us must make if we would enjoy life in an earth-wide park for all time to come?
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With all their studies and research, scientists still do not understand fully how earth’s “ecosystems” (the biological relationships on which life depends) work. “Time” magazine says of these ecosystems: “Even the simplest is so complicated the largest computer cannot fully unravel it.”—February 2, 1970, p. 62.
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God’s kingdom will cleanse the earth of all harmful pollution, transforming it into a global Paradise
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Why do people like to get out of the city into the open country and walk along a pleasant lane? Because the Creator placed such a desire for the natural creation in man’s heart