Living Forever Not Just a Dream
1, 2. Why is it hard to believe that people can live forever in happiness on earth?
HAPPINESS on earth—it does not seem possible to enjoy it even for a short time. Sickness, aging, hunger, crime—to mention only a few problems—often make life miserable. So, you may say, to talk about living forever in paradise on earth is to close your eyes to the truth. You may feel that it is a waste of time to talk about it, that living forever is just a dream.
2 No doubt most people would agree with you. So, then, why can we be so sure that you can live forever in paradise on earth? Why can we believe that everlasting life is not just a dream?
WHY WE CAN BELIEVE
3. What shows that God wants humans to be happy on earth?
3 We can believe because a Supreme Power, Almighty God, prepared the earth with everything needed to satisfy what we want. He made the earth just perfect for us! And he created man and woman in the best way for them to enjoy life to the full in this earthly home—forever.—Psalm 115:16.
4. What have scientists learned about the human body that shows it was made to live forever?
4 Scientists have long known about the human body’s power to renew itself. By wonderful means the body cells are either replaced or repaired, as the need may be. And it seems that this process of self-renewal should go on forever. But it does not, and this is something that scientists cannot explain. They still do not fully understand why people grow old. They say that, under right conditions, humans should be able to live forever.—Psalm 139:14.
5. What does the Bible say about God’s purpose for the earth?
5 Yet, is it really God’s purpose that people live happily on earth forever? If it is, then everlasting life is not just a wish or a dream—it is sure to come! What does the Bible, the book that tells of God’s purposes, say about the matter? It calls God “the Former of the earth and the Maker of it,” and adds: “He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.”—Isaiah 45:18.
6. (a) What are conditions like on earth today? (b) Is this the way God wants it to be?
6 Does it seem to you that the earth is now inhabited in the way that God meant it to be? True, people are living in practically all parts of the earth. But are they living together happily as a united family, in the good way their Creator meant for them? Today the world is divided. There is hatred. There is crime. There is war. Millions of people are hungry and sick. Others have daily worries about housing, work and expenses. And none of these things bring honor to God. Evidently, then, the earth is not being inhabited in the way Almighty God originally meant it to be.
7. What was God’s purpose for the earth when he created the first human couple?
7 After creating the first human couple, God placed them in an earthly paradise. He wanted them to enjoy life on earth forever. His purpose for them was to spread their paradise over all the earth. This is shown by his instructions to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) Yes, God’s purpose was, in the course of time, to have the entire earth brought under the control of a righteous human family all living together in peace and happiness.
8. Although the first couple disobeyed God, why can we be sure that God’s purpose for the earth did not change?
8 Although the first human couple disobeyed God, thus proving to be unfit to live forever, God’s original purpose did not change. It must be fulfilled! (Isaiah 55:11) The Bible promises: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29) Often the Bible tells of God’s arrangement to give humans who serve him everlasting life.—John 3:14-16, 36; Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 21:3, 4.
THE DESIRE TO LIVE—WHERE?
9. (a) What desire do people normally have? (b) What does the Bible mean when it says ‘God has put eternity into their minds’?
9 We can truly be happy that it is God’s purpose that we live forever. For think: If you had to decide, on what date would you choose to die? You cannot pick one, can you? You do not want to die, and neither does any other normal person who has a measure of health. God made us with the desire to live, not the desire to die. Regarding the way God made humans, the Bible says: “He has even put eternity into their minds.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Byington) What does this mean? It means that ordinarily people desire to live on and on, without dying. Due to this desire for an endless future, men have long searched for a way of staying young forever.
10. (a) Where is it man’s natural desire to live forever? (b) Why can we be confident that God will make it possible for us to live forever on earth?
10 Where is it that humans normally want to live forever? It is where they have become used to living, here on earth. Man was made for the earth, and the earth for man. (Genesis 2:8, 9, 15) The Bible says: “He [God] has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.” (Psalm 104:5) Since the earth was made to last forever, then man also should live forever. Surely a loving God would not create humans with a desire to live forever and then not make it possible for them to fulfill that desire!—1 John 4:8; Psalm 133:3.
THE KIND OF LIFE YOU DESIRE
11. What does the Bible say to show that people can live forever in perfect health?
11 Look at the following page. What kind of life are these people enjoying? Would you like to be one of them? Why, yes, you say! Look how healthy and youthful they appear! If you were told that these people had already lived thousands of years, would you believe it? The Bible tells us that the old will become young again, the sick will be made well and the lame, blind, deaf and speechless will have all their ailments healed. When he was on earth Jesus Christ performed many miracles by healing sick people. By doing this he was showing how, in this glorious time not far off, all who are living will be restored to perfect health.—Job 33:25; Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6; Matthew 15:30, 31.
12. What conditions do we see in these pictures?
12 See what a lovely garden home this is! As Christ promised, it is truly a paradise, similar to the one lost by the disobedient first man and woman. (Luke 23:43) And note the peace and harmony that exist. People of all races—the black, the white, the yellow—are living as one family. Even the animals are peaceful. See the child playing with the lion. But there is no cause for fear. In this regard the Creator declares: “With the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. . . . And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra.”—Isaiah 11:6-9.
13. What will be gone from the earth when God’s purposes are carried out?
13 In the paradise that God purposes for humans, there will be every reason to be happy. The earth will produce plenty of good things to eat. No one will ever go hungry again. (Psalm 72:16; 67:6) Wars, crime, violence, even hatred and selfishness, will be things of the past. Yes, they will be gone forever! (Psalm 46:8, 9; 37:9-11) Do you believe that all of this is possible?
14. What makes you believe that God will bring an end to suffering?
14 Well, consider: If you had the power, would you bring to an end all the things that cause human suffering? And would you bring about the conditions for which the human heart longs? Of course you would. Our loving heavenly Father will do just that. He will satisfy our needs and desires, for Psalm 145:16 says of God: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” But when will this occur?
GRAND BLESSINGS ARE NEAR
15. (a) What will the end of the world mean for the earth? (b) What will it mean for bad people? (c) What will it mean for those who do God’s will?
15 To make possible these fine blessings on earth, God promises to bring to their end both wickedness and those who cause it. At the same time, he will protect those who serve him, for the Bible says: “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17) What a change that will be! The end of the world will not mean the end of our earth. Rather, as happened at the worldwide flood in Noah’s day, it will mean the end only of bad people and their way of living. But those who are serving God will survive the end. Then, on an earth made clean, they will enjoy freedom from all who want to hurt and oppress them.—Matthew 24:3, 37-39; Proverbs 2:21, 22.
16. What events were foretold for the “last days”?
16 But someone may say: ‘Conditions are getting worse, not better. How can we be sure this grand change is near?’ Jesus Christ foretold many things that his future followers should watch for so that they would know it was God’s time to bring an end to the world. Jesus said that the last days of this system would be marked by such things as major wars, food shortages, great earthquakes, increasing lawlessness and a growing loss of love. (Matthew 24:3-12) He said there would be “anguish of nations, not knowing the way out.” (Luke 21:25) Also, the Bible further says: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Are not these the very conditions that we are now experiencing?
17. What have thinking persons been saying about conditions today?
17 Many persons who study world events say that a great change is in the making. For example, the editor of the Miami, U.S.A., Herald, wrote: “Anyone with half a logical mind can put together the cataclysmic events of the past few years and see that the world is at a historic threshold. . . . It will change forever the way men live.” In a similar vein, the American writer Lewis Mumford said: “Civilization is going downhill. Very definitely. . . . In the past when civilizations went downhill, it was a relatively local phenomenon. . . . Now, with the world more closely knit and held together by modern communications, when civilization goes downhill, the whole planet goes down.”
18. (a) What do world conditions show about the future? (b) What will replace present-day governments?
18 The very conditions in the world today show that we are now living at the time when the destruction of this entire system of things is due to happen. Yes, very soon now God will cleanse the earth of all who would ruin it. (Revelation 11:18) He will remove present-day governments to make way for his righteous government to rule all the earth. It is this Kingdom government for which Christ taught his followers to pray.—Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9, 10.
19. If we want to live forever, what must we do?
19 If you love life and want to live forever on earth under God’s rule, then you must hurry to take in accurate knowledge of God, his purposes and his requirements. Jesus Christ said in prayer to God: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) What a joy it is to know that we can live forever—that it is not just a dream! But to enjoy this fine blessing from God we need to learn about an enemy who is trying to keep us from realizing this blessing.
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Did God intend the world to be like this?
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