What Future for Planet Earth?
IN RECENT years many thinking people have come to an alarming conclusion about the future. They feel that planet Earth may be ruined as a home for mankind. One reason that they feel this way is the threat of a nuclear holocaust.
It is easy to see why there is such concern. The major world powers are armed with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons to the point of overkill, and it is feared that someday they will be used. The leader of one large country stated that World War III is inevitable whether nuclear weapons are used or not.
Others feel that even without a nuclear holocaust, earth’s future is in danger due to global pollution and overpopulation. A three-year study by U.S. government officials concluded: “Present trends will make the world in the year 2,000 more crowded, more polluted, less stable ecologically, and more vulnerable to disruption than it is now.”
That study was done several years ago. Since then, things have continued to move steadily in the direction that it indicated.
In this regard, an Australian scientist declared: “The earth’s atmosphere is becoming too polluted and unless we do something within the next decade, it may be too late.” And The Bulletin of Sydney, Australia, observed: “The world’s exploding population signals even more growing pains ahead for already crowded areas.”
Because of these realities, an Australian government official said: “I ask you to keep a fundamental question in your mind: will there be a world left for you or your children in 20 years’ time, or will the earth be a charred, stricken globe spinning forlornly in space?” Author Jonathan Schell also warned that unless solutions are found, the alternative is that “never again will human beings appear on the earth, and there will be no one to remember that they ever did.”
There can be no question but that all the ingredients are there for a grim future if present trends continue. If the earth is not incinerated in nuclear war, it will surely become more and more overcrowded and polluted, with its natural resources increasingly used up. The number of poverty-stricken people will grow far beyond their already tragic numbers. Crime and violence also will no doubt increase beyond what is already a frightening reality.
Who Determines the Future?
If it were true that humans alone were responsible for their future, the prospects would be dismal indeed. But what most people fail to consider is this: Humans will not determine the future of planet Earth! Its future has already been determined—and not by humans! But if not by humans, then by whom?
Well, who created the earth as a home for man? The truthful answer is found in the Bible, God’s inspired guide for mankind. It speaks of “the true God, Jehovah,” as “the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it.”—Isaiah 42:5; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
Does the Bible show that Jehovah God has his own purpose for this earth and humans on it? Yes, it certainly does. Indeed, the central theme of the entire Bible revolves around the fact that God does have a purpose for planet Earth and that he will fulfill his purpose without fail. That purpose does not include allowing it to be turned into a radioactive cinder or polluted and overcrowded, so that it is ruined.
Instead, a tremendous change will take place from the present trends toward polluting and overpopulating of the earth and possible self-annihilation of mankind by nuclear war. God’s clearly stated purpose is “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) At the same time, God’s Word shows that rulership will be ripped away from humans and placed where it safely belongs, in the Creator’s hands.—Daniel 2:44.
We have the divine guarantee that the tragedy of complete destruction or spoiling will never befall our earthly environment. By the prophet Isaiah, God assures that he “created [the earth] no empty void, but made it for a place to dwell in.”—Isaiah 45:18, The New English Bible.
An Optimistic Future
Thankfully, the Holy Bible gives us a most optimistic view of the future. Humans will indeed be alive on earth 20, 30, and endless years from now. Never will planet Earth become “a charred, stricken globe,” as the Australian official warned. And we can rely on the promises of earth’s Creator that our planet and the human family will survive because not man but the Almighty Creator holds the ultimate power.
So although many 20th-century men are fearful of annihilation by their own hand or of ruining the earth by pollution and overpopulation, they will not be allowed to do so. “Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but the counsel of Jehovah is what will stand,” God’s own Word assures us.—Proverbs 19:21; see also Isaiah 46:10; 55:11.
But if it is true that the earth is not doomed to destruction or spoiling, what is meant by a term found in various versions of the Bible, at Matthew 24:3, “the end of the world”? What is the world that is said to be coming to an end? When is it to take place? Will there be any survivors? We invite you to consider the following article for answers to such probing questions.