You Can Have a Happy Future!
1, 2. What does your Creator want for you?
A WARM embrace from someone you love. Hearty laughter during a good meal with dear friends. The pleasure of watching your children cheerfully at play. Moments like these are bright spots in life. For many, however, life seems to present one serious problem after another. If that has been your experience, take heart.
2 It is God’s will that you enjoy lasting happiness under the best conditions in wonderful surroundings. This is no mere dream, for God actually offers you the key to such a happy future. That key is knowledge.
3. What knowledge is the key to happiness, and why can we be sure that God can provide that knowledge?
3 We are talking about a special kind of knowledge that is far greater than human wisdom. It is “the very knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:5) Nearly 2,000 years ago, a Bible writer said: “Every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4) Think of the knowledge that the Maker of all things must possess! The Bible says that God counts and names all the stars. What a staggering thought, since there are hundreds of billions of stars in our own galaxy, and astronomers say that there are about a hundred billion other galaxies! (Psalm 147:4) God also knows all about us, so who else could provide better answers to life’s important questions?—Matthew 10:30.
4. Why should we expect God to provide instructions to guide us, and what book fills this need?
4 Picture two men trying to repair their cars. Frustrated, one man throws down his tools. The other calmly corrects the problem, turns the ignition key, and smiles as the engine starts up and runs smoothly. You would not have a hard time guessing which of the two men had an instruction manual from the manufacturer. Does it not make sense that God would provide instructions to guide us in life? As you may know, the Bible claims to be just that—a book of instruction and guidance from our Creator, designed to impart the knowledge of God.—2 Timothy 3:16.
5. How valuable is the knowledge that the Bible contains?
5 If the Bible’s claim is true, think of what treasures of knowledge that book must contain! At Proverbs 2:1-5, it urges us to seek wisdom, to dig for it as we would for a hidden treasure—not in the soil of human thinking, but in God’s own Word. If we search there, we will “find the very knowledge of God.” Since God understands our limitations and needs, he gives us instruction that will help us to lead peaceful, happy lives. (Psalm 103:14; Isaiah 48:17) Furthermore, the knowledge of God offers us exciting good news.
6. What assurance did Jesus Christ give regarding the knowledge of God?
6 The well-known historical figure Jesus Christ described this feature of the knowledge of God in clear terms. He said: “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) Imagine—knowledge that leads to everlasting life!
7. What evidence is there that God did not intend for us to die?
7 Do not quickly dismiss everlasting life as a mere dream. Instead, look at the way the human body is made. It is splendidly designed to taste, hear, smell, see, and feel. There is so much on the earth that delights our senses—delicious food, pleasant birdsong, fragrant flowers, beautiful scenery, delightful companionship! And our amazing brain is far more than a supercomputer, for it enables us to appreciate and enjoy all such things. Do you think that our Creator wants us to die and lose all of this? Would it not be more reasonable to conclude that he wants us to live happily and to enjoy life forever? Well, that is what the knowledge of God can mean for you.
LIFE IN PARADISE
8. What does the Bible say about the future of mankind?
8 What the Bible says about the future of the earth and mankind might be summed up in one word—Paradise! Jesus Christ spoke of it when he told a dying man: “You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The mention of Paradise no doubt brought to that man’s mind the happy state of our first parents, Adam and Eve. When God created them, they were perfect and lived in a gardenlike park that the Creator had designed and planted. It was fittingly called the garden of Eden, which name denotes pleasure.
9. What was it like to live in the original Paradise?
9 How delightful that garden was! It was a real paradise. Among its beautiful trees were those bearing delicious fruit. As Adam and Eve explored their domain, drank from its sweet waters, and gathered fruit from its trees, they had no reason to be anxious or fearful. Even animals posed no threat, for God had placed the man and his wife in loving dominion over all of them. In addition, the first human pair had vibrant health. As long as they remained obedient to God, an eternal, happy future lay before them. They were given the satisfying work of caring for their wonderful Paradise home. Further, God gave Adam and Eve the mandate to “fill the earth and subdue it.” They and their offspring were to extend the borders of Paradise until our entire planet became a place of beauty and delight.—Genesis 1:28.
10. When Jesus spoke of Paradise, what did he have in mind?
10 When Jesus mentioned Paradise, however, he was not asking a dying man to think about the distant past. No, Jesus was speaking about the future! He knew that our entire earthly home would become a paradise. God would thus fulfill his original purpose for mankind and our earth. (Isaiah 55:10, 11) Yes, Paradise will be restored! And what will it be like? Let God’s Word, the Holy Bible, answer.
LIFE IN THE RESTORED PARADISE
11. In the restored Paradise, what will happen to sickness, old age, and death?
11 Sickness, old age, and death will no longer exist. “At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness.” (Isaiah 35:5, 6) “God himself will be with [mankind]. And he 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.”—Revelation 21:3, 4.
12. Why can we be sure that there will be no crime, violence, and wickedness in the future Paradise?
12 Crime, violence, and wickedness will be gone forever. “Evildoers themselves will be cut off . . . Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more . . . He will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth.” (Psalm 37:9-11) “As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.” —Proverbs 2:22.
13. How will God bring about peace?
13 Peace will prevail earth wide. “He [God] is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces.” (Psalm 46:9) “The righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.”—Psalm 72:7.
14, 15. What does the Bible say about housing, work, and food in the restored Paradise?
14 Housing will be secure and work satisfying. “They will certainly build houses and have occupancy . . . They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. 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. They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance.”—Isaiah 65:21-23.
15 Healthful food will be available in abundance. “There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.” (Psalm 72:16) “The earth itself will certainly give its produce; God, our God, will bless us.”—Psalm 67:6.
16. Why will life in Paradise be delightful?
16 Everlasting life on a paradise earth will be delightful. “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29) “The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron.”—Isaiah 35:1.
KNOWLEDGE AND YOUR FUTURE
17. (a) What should you do if life in Paradise appeals to you? (b) How do we know that God will bring about great changes on the earth?
17 If life in Paradise appeals to you, let nothing hold you back from gaining the knowledge of God. He loves mankind and will bring about the changes needed to make the earth a paradise. After all, if you had the power to end the misery and injustice so prevalent in the world, would you not do so? Would we expect God to do less? Actually, the Bible speaks in vivid terms of a time when God will remove this strife-ridden system and replace it with a perfect, righteous rule. (Daniel 2:44) But the Bible does much more than tell us about all of this. It shows us how we can survive into God’s promised new world.—2 Peter 3:13; 1 John 2:17.
18. What can the knowledge of God do for you now?
18 The knowledge of God can also do much for you right now. Life’s deepest and most disturbing questions are answered in the Bible. Accepting its guidance will help you to develop a friendship with God. What a grand privilege! And this will enable you to enjoy the peace that God alone can give. (Romans 15:13, 33) As you begin to take in this vital knowledge, you are embarking on the most important and rewarding endeavor of your life. You will never regret acquiring the knowledge of God that leads to everlasting life.
19. What question will we consider in the next chapter?
19 We have referred to the Bible as the book containing the knowledge of God. Yet, how do we know that it is, not a book of human wisdom, but something far greater? We will consider this question in the next chapter.
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Why can the knowledge of God lead you to eternal happiness?
What will life be like in the coming earthly Paradise?
Why will you benefit from taking in the knowledge of God now?