Questions From Readers
● On page 360 of the book “New Heavens and a New Earth” it states concerning those gaining new-world life on earth: “God will not need to transport them to other planets for any reason or to people heaven with them. . . . He will forever retain them on earth as expert gardeners to maintain it as a glorious paradise to His praise.” Is it not presumptuous to limit Jehovah’s human creatures to earth? Is it not a speculative limitation, in view of the fact that 1 Corinthians 2:9 states that man cannot conceive the things Jehovah has in store for the righteous? Could not Jesus’ words at John 14:2 about going to prepare a place for his followers include the preparation of other planets for habitation? Of course, Jehovah does not need human creatures to populate the other planets, as he does not need us for anything; but he could use us for such a purpose. Finally, does not Isaiah 9:7 about there being no end to the increase of his government show an unending expansion of its realm?—E. M., United States.
Fleshly man’s sphere of activity seems to be limited to the earth by Jehovah’s expressed purpose. Such limitation is shown by Genesis 1:28, where a mandate was given to fill the earth, not the universe. Isaiah 45:18 states that Jehovah made the earth to be inhabited, and he will have that purpose accomplished; but he does not make such a statement concerning the other planets. Nor will he people heaven with earthly men, since that environment is unsuited for human existence and flesh-and-blood creatures cannot reside there. (1 Cor. 15:50) Rather than its being presumptuous or speculative to view man as remaining within the boundaries assigned by Jehovah’s expressed purpose, it seems that the presumption and speculation enters when human creatures arrogate to themselves a greater role in universal affairs than has been assigned to them. We should not alter his purpose for us to fill the earth to one of filling the solar system.
To say that man will be retained on earth as gardeners to maintain it as an earthly paradise is not establishing a speculative limitation to what Jehovah has in store for us, since that is the work assigned to man by Jehovah, as stated at Genesis 2:15. But to say that 1 Corinthians 2:9 allows room for believing that men from earth will be transported to other planets to populate them is not only speculative but erroneous application of the text. Paul was there showing that he did not preach the wisdom of this system of things, but God’s hidden wisdom of the sacred secret concerning Christ the King and spiritual Israel in a heavenly kingdom. This wisdom was not understood by the rulers of the world, and as applying to such blinded rulers Paul in 1Co 2 verse 9 quotes Isaiah 64:4, but he goes on to show that Christians having Jehovah’s spirit are not blind to what Jehovah has prepared for them but do perceive the Kingdom blessing in store for the body-members of Christ. The text is not discussing the blessings in store for dwellers on a paradise earth, and should not be erroneously applied to them. First Corinthians 2:6-10 (NW) makes all this clear:
“Now we speak wisdom among those who are adults, but not the wisdom of this system of things nor that of the rulers of this system of things who are to come to nothing. But we speak God’s wisdom in a sacred secret, the hidden wisdom, which God foreordained before the systems of things for our glory. This wisdom not one of the rulers of this system of things came to know, for if they had known it they would not have impaled the glorious Lord. But just as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.’ For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God.”
At least as far as the planets of our solar system are concerned, there are apparently none capable of supporting human life, aside from the earth. The other planets are not equipped with the air and water and food sources necessary to sustain human life, and to say that Jehovah will make them fit for human habitation in the future is sheer speculation. And it is twisting Scripture to say that Jesus went away to prepare these planets for habitation, using as proof his words at John 14:2. Jesus was speaking to his disciples who would be spirit-begotten and reign with him in heavenly glory. He was going to prepare a place for them, and there he and these body-members of his would dwell together forever as spirit creatures. To twist this to mean another planet with fleshly creatures is gross error. Jesus was not saying he was going to prepare a planet for him and his body-members to live on as fleshly men, at John 14:1-3 (NW): “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.” How can we with logic take words Jesus spoke concerning things of the spirit and arbitrarily apply them to fleshly matters? Just because he went to prepare a place for the church class certainly does not argue that he also went to make other planetary abodes for men of earth.
The publishers of “New Heavens and a New Earth” are well aware that some have speculated about creatures from earth as being taken to other planets to populate them, and the way some of these speculators talk it exalts their importance and makes it sound as though Jehovah needs men of the earth to complete his work of creation relative to other planets, and it is with such presumptuousness in view that the book said Jehovah does not need them. The expression about not needing them is designedly used to refute these unvoiced assumptions of God’s need of human couples on the part of those voicing such private interpretations. To preach that Jehovah’s purpose is to populate the other planets with couples from earth does make such couples necessary for his purpose. If it were his purpose to do it in that way, then he would be in need of such couples; otherwise he would have to do it in a way other than what he had purposed. If he did not use them his purpose to do it in that way would fail. So for these reasons the book had grounds for brushing aside this assumed need of Jehovah for human couples.
No unending expansion of the government’s realm is indicated by Isaiah 9:7, which states (AS): “Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.” This is no argument for an endless process of peopling other planets throughout space. This refers to the promise given to David concerning his kingship, and its application is to the earth. Never was David promised that his kingdom would expand beyond the earth into the universe. What Isaiah 9:7 means is that his realm will not end short of embracing the entire earth. There will be no end to its extent on the earth; that is, there will be no boundaries on earth that will limit its earthly domain. It shall cover the entire globe, regardless of where one may travel upon the surface of the earth. No boundaries will mark the end of its earthly domain, and Isaiah is foretelling this, indicating that it will spread and increase until it reaches without end around the entire earthly sphere. In this paradisaic earth there will be no end of peace, either.
Whether there are other planets like the earth in other parts of the universe or not, and, if so, whether any of them are inhabited by some kind of life or not, or whether any of them ever will be so inhabited in the future or not, we cannot say because the Bible does not say. To concern ourselves with such questions is idle speculation, and we could never arrive at any definite answer. We can say, however, that there are no Scriptural grounds for contending that any future populating of other planets will be done by transporting couples from earth. The earth and the people on it are not that important. If Jehovah wanted flesh-and-blood creatures on other planets he could easily make them from the dust of those planets, and not need to miraculously transport earthly couples through light-years of space. It is well for us not to exalt ourselves to such a spectacular role in universal affairs, but concentrate on the earthly duties given us by our Creator. Remember what Jesus said: “Everyone that exalts himself will be humiliated, but he that humbles himself will be exalted.”—Luke 18:14; 14:7-11, NW.