Will You See All the Earth Become a Paradise?
NO QUESTION about it, the earth has within itself tremendous, well-nigh inexhaustible reserves to restore itself if but given the opportunity. And, likewise, there is little question about man’s scientific and technological means making it possible for him to cooperate with earth’s forces to restore and keep an ecological balance. But are scientists, such as biologists and ecologists, therefore optimistic regarding the future? By no means!
Thus Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi, one of America’s leading biologists, says that man can choose as to which course he will take: “Toward a bright future or toward exterminating himself? At present we are on the road to extermination.” Yes, according to him, the outlook is “very bleak.” And he speaks as an eminent scientist with more than fifty years of experience. Biophysicist Dr. John Platt expresses himself similarly. He urges that scholars, such as natural and social scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers and those with inventive ability all be enlisted to save the environment. But even with the help of all of these, he warns, “there is no guarantee that these problems can be solved, or solved in time, no matter what we do.”
Why are these men so pessimistic? Because man is losing the battle against pollution. More and more harmful products are being dumped into the oceans, and their contamination by oil spills is increasing. In some cases efforts to decrease one cause of air pollution have resulted in a pollution of another and even more serious kind. An example is California’s fight against air pollution. Though its laws are the strictest in the country, news reports say that it is “loosing the battle against pollution on all fronts,” and “the sad fact is that air pollution” there “is worse than ever.”
Why is the overall outlook so bleak? What accounts for it? Without a doubt one of the reasons is that the matter of keeping man’s environment livable is not just something of national concern; it is of international interest. Authors Ward and Dubos, in their book Only One Earth, explain: “Concerns with global air pollution lie beyond the effective protection of individual governments.” According to them, “man’s global interdependence begins to require . . . a new capacity for global decision-making and global care,” that is, “it requires a new commitment to global responsibilities.” But what prospect is there for such assuming of global responsibilities and for global cooperation? Little indeed, judging by the past record.
The Encyclopædia Britannica (1974) shows why this is the case. After telling that man has the technological know-how to prevent ruination of the earth, it goes on to show that the problems of the 1970’s “are not problems of science and technology but of the arrangements and functioning of human institutions and of the attitudes of individuals.”
J. F. Cassel, writing in Environmental Ethics, puts it more bluntly: “The basic problem of contemporary human ecology is selfishness—and selfishness is in. The wages of sin is death. The biotic world is dying!” And what shortsighted selfishness it is! Scientist Szent-Gyorgyi concludes that the trouble is that the people “are under the terrible strain of idiots who govern the world and [are] moving inexorably and insanely toward ultimate calamity.”
From what you have observed, you likely can agree with one prominent and concerned American official who stated: “If, by a selfish act, a man can benefit himself while harming the community, he is likely to perform that act.” Illustrating that fact is a report that showed why public utilities were so slow in complying with government orders to install pollution-control equipment. Every year that one such utility delayed in installing a million dollars’ worth of such equipment they saved a quarter million dollars. This helps to explain why American public utilities spend eight times as much in advertising as in research to help to solve the pollution problems to which they themselves contribute! Well did Lord Ritchie-Calder say: “Pollution is a crime compounded of ignorance and avarice.”a
‘Man’s Extremity Is God’s Opportunity’
Is there, then, no hope for the future? If man with all his science and technology is waging a losing battle due to ingrained selfishness, from where can help come? Help can and will come from the Grand Creator, Jehovah God. God? Yes, because his Word the Bible assures us both of God’s interest in the earth and of his purpose for the earth. After all, He created the earth. It belongs to Him, even as the ancient psalmist King David sang: “To Jehovah belong the earth and that which fills it, the productive land and those dwelling in it.”—Ps. 24:1.
When on earth, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, repeatedly assured us of his Father’s concern for earth’s creatures. He stated that God clothes the lilies of the field with beauty, that he provides for the birds of heaven, that not a sparrow falls without his knowledge. More than that, Jesus said that God causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on good and bad people alike. (Matt. 5:45; 6:26-30) At Psalm 104 one of God’s servants extols Jehovah God for providing so bountifully for the trees of the field and for all manner of living creatures on earth, including man.
Moreover, God’s Word assures us that Jehovah is “the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, . . . the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing,” but “formed it even to be inhabited.” Yes, to be inhabited, not to be ruined. And his Word further assures us: “My word that goes forth from my mouth . . . will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.” So we can have confidence that the Creator will never let this earth and all mankind go to ruin.—Isa. 45:18; 55:11.
Of imperfect humans, it is often true that ‘the means are as often without the will as the will is without the means.’ In other words, it is generally the one with little means who has compassion for those in need of help. But that is not true of the Creator. Not only has he the will to help mankind—so much so that he gave his only-begotten Son to be our savior—but also he has infinite means, resources.—John 3:16.
Unquestionably, there is no limiting of God’s ‘means,’ his wisdom and his power. Did he not create the starry heavens and the earth in the first place? (Gen. 1:1) Then in six creative epochs he prepared the earth that it might be man’s permanent home. During these epochs he caused light to be, formed the atmosphere, caused caused dry land to appear and plant life to spring forth, created sea, air and land creatures and, lastly, man, his crowning achievement.—Gen. 1:3-28.
The Encyclopædia Britannica (1974) observed: “The Earth is an ideal medium for life. It is at precisely the proper distance from the Sun to receive neither too much nor too little sunlight. It spins on its axis at a rate fast enough to allow the daytime side to warm in sunshine and the nighttime side to cool. Its mass—and therefore its gravity—is such that it holds a wide variety of molecules, including the lighter ones that otherwise would drift off into space. Its magnetic field deflects back to space the Sun’s highly energetic radiation, which otherwise would destroy life.”
What infinite wisdom all these facts regarding the earth and the creatures upon it display! Surely the wisdom that produced all these things is equal to any problem that man may cause because of his selfishness and ignorance!
Even as God’s wisdom is infinite, so is his power. As He himself reminded the patriarch Abraham, he is “God Almighty.” Furthermore, Abraham was asked: “Is anything too extraordinary for Jehovah?” Many centuries later God’s Son, Jesus Christ, assured us of the same, saying: “With God all things are possible.” Yes, he is the Almighty, of which fact the Bible reminds us some sixty times.—Gen. 17:1; 18:14; Matt. 19:26.
How Will God Do It?
How will God go about rescuing this earth from its polluters and destroyers and bring about a global paradise? This he will do by a threefold action. First of all, since ignorance and selfishness are at the root of the problem, God is at the present time having a campaign of education carried on for the purpose of turning men from a course of ignorance and selfishness to a course of wisdom and righteousness. By means of preaching the good news of God’s kingdom and teaching men how to become disciples of Jesus Christ, great changes are being made in people’s personalities. These people are being prepared for life in God’s new order, where there will no longer be the crime of pollution.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20; Mark 12:29-31.
But for one reason or another the vast majority of people on earth do not respond to the preaching of God’s kingdom. All such will perish when God takes the second step against the crime of pollution by means of a “great tribulation” in which he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Matt. 24:21; Rev. 11:18.
Once before, by a mighty act, Jehovah God rid the earth of those who were polluting and ruining it. When was that? At the time of the Noachian flood. Both Jesus and the apostle Peter drew parallels between the flood of Noah’s day and the end of this present wicked system of things. Jesus described the end as a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” That tribulation will culminate in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” Armageddon.—Matt. 24: 21, 37-39; 2 Pet. 3:3-13; Rev. 16:14, 16.
With the destruction of all those found in opposition to God and his righteous rule, the way will be open for God’s third great action in regard to the problem of pollution. That is the transforming of the earth into a paradise to be enjoyed by clean-living humans, including those who have survived the “great tribulation” due to their faith and love for God and righteousness. Then the prayer so long and often repeated by Christ’s disciples will find fulfillment: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:9, 10.
What will it be like when God’s will is done on earth as in heaven? The Bible answers that when this divine will is done on earth, then God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Rev. 21:4.
However, the big question remains, When will God take such action?
His Word states the principle: “For everything there is an appointed time.” Hence, “when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman.”—Eccl. 3:1; Gal. 4:4.
So likewise today, the ‘full limit of the time has arrived’ for God to take action against all his foes, including those who ruin the earth. How do we know? Because of the fulfillment of many, many prophecies in our generation. We have seen the wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes and increasing of lawlessness that Jesus said would mark the time of his presence and the end of this wicked system of things.—Matt. 24:1-22; Rev. 6:1-8.
No, the Creator is not going to wait until men have made this planet uninhabitable and have wiped humanity off its surface by nuclear warfare. The very fact that such things are a distinct possibility in the near future causes many people great concern. But in view of God’s interest in the earth and his concern for it, we can rest assured that he will act before that eventuality takes place.
Will You Do Something About It?
Is not the prospect of life in a paradise earth appealing to you? It is certainly within your reach. You can hope to see it—if you do something about it! You must heed God’s counsel long ago given: “Seek Jehovah . . . Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” To seek Jehovah means to become acquainted with him, his qualities, his purposes and his will for you, all of which he has revealed in his Word, the Holy Bible. To seek righteousness means to learn God’s righteous principles of justice, honesty and impartiality and to bring your life into conformity with them. And to seek meekness means to cultivate a mild-tempered, modest and teachable mental disposition.—Zeph. 2:3.
Since the time is short before God takes action against those ruining the earth, the time is also short in which to make these changes in your life. You have no time to lose. Today is the ‘day of salvation,’ as far as you are concerned. The Christian witnesses of Jehovah in your locality stand ready to help you.—2 Cor. 6:2.
a Let it be noted that since this is the case, it successfully refutes the claim of those who would hold God and the Bible responsible for man’s ruining of the earth. See Awake! of July 8, 1975, for details.