Part 5—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
Chapter 1 of the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth” posed the challenging question “Whose Will?” and proved that it was the irresistible will of Jehovah God that was to be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Moreover, this gladdening fact meant that this earth, man’s God-given habitation, was never to be destroyed, but it will be a grand experience for humankind to live on earth when the heavenly Father’s will is done here. We have now entered into the book’s second chapter, entitled “Why it Must Be Done on Earth.” Paragraph 6 has already said that “for the survival of man and animal on earth as an everlasting home” the supranational will of God the creator needs to be done here. The fact that it is the Creator’s will for the earth to stay in existence for eternity and remain inhabited can be proved from the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ to God the Creator: “Your kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as well as in heaven!” How so? Let us read on.
9. God’s kingdom will come and his will will be done because of what divine purpose concerning the earth?
9 Manifestly, God’s kingdom comes to earth and his will is then done on earth because it is his purpose for the earth to remain forever as part of the universal realm over which he is the King of eternity, the Most High Sovereign. God’s will being done here under his kingdom will make a delightful change on this earth. Why then destroy this territory of his kingdom? Why remove the people doing God’s will on earth from this territory of his kingdom? That is not what God will do, for he inspired wise King Solomon of old to write this proverb: “In the multitude of people there is an adornment of a king, but in the lack of population is the ruin of a high official.” (Prov. 14:28) It was because the first man did not keep on doing the will of his Creator that God sentenced him to die and return to the dust of the earth. (Gen. 3:17-19) When God’s will is done by the people on earth under God’s kingdom, he will give them the right to eternal life on this territory of his kingdom realm. For the sake of this he will preserve this earth to his everlasting glory as its Creator.
10. How does the model prayer prove that the coming of Christianity did not change matters for the earth?
10 Christendom, however, will argue through its priests and clergymen that the coming of Christianity changed matters for the earth. But how could that be so? Jehovah God used Jesus Christ as the very Leader in Christianity, and it was this Leader of Christianity himself that gave us the prayer for God’s kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on earth as well as in heaven!
11. What was the hope and desire of ancient holy men of God respecting their future?
11 The Leader of Christianity could not be wrong in what he taught about the earth. He was not wrong. Holy men of God, who were borne along by God’s spirit in order to speak and write prophecy before Christ’s day had no hope or desire to go to heaven’s unknown realm. In fact, they had no invitation from God to go to heaven, nor was the way then open for men to go to heaven. They did not expect, when they died, to go to heaven. They did not look forward to the total destruction of this earth and its moon in a universal conflagration. True, they expected a future life, but not a future life in heaven. Their hope was to return from the dead to a renewed life on this earth, but then when God rules over the Middle East and over all the rest of the earth.
12, 13. (a) Why did Jesus coming to earth not prove that their hope was a mistaken one? (b) In this regard, what did Peter say to confirm what Jesus himself had said?
12 The coming of Jesus Christ to earth did not prove that their hope was a mistaken one. His coming did not change the future for them and open the way to heaven for them. Long after Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), Moses, King David, the prophet Isaiah and even the prophet Malachi died, Jesus Christ the Son of God came down from heaven to earth in a miraculous way. He did not say that those holy men of old were up in heaven when he left. Jesus, as the Son of man on earth, said to a Jewish ruler: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.” (John 3:13) When the Baptizer, John the son of Zechariah, was in prison and soon to have his head chopped off, Jesus said: “Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is.” (Matt. 11:11) After Jesus himself was put to death on a torture stake but was resurrected from the dead on the third day and later went back to heaven to his Father, the apostle Peter preached to over three thousand Jews and said that the resurrected Jesus was in heaven but King David was not up there.
13 Said Peter: “It is allowable to speak with freeness of speech to you concerning the family head David, that he both deceased and was buried and his tomb is among us to this day. Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord [that is, to Jesus Christ], “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.”’” (Acts 2:29, 34, 35) Those dead men like David still wait for God’s kingdom to come.
14. Why did Jesus speak of himself as going to heaven, and what effect did the invitation to his followers to go to heaven have on God’s purpose toward mankind?
14 Jesus spoke of himself as going to heaven because he had come down from there only for thirty-three years and a half. He spoke of his congregation of faithful followers, those pictured by the twenty-four “elders” in the Revelation to John, as invited to go to heaven to be with him. To these he gave instructions to prepare them to go to heaven. But this did not mean that Jesus Christ had changed God’s original purpose concerning humankind as a whole.
15. For whose benefit in general did Jesus pray for God’s kingdom to come, and what do confused men need to re-examine?
15 Jesus did not open the way for all the God-fearing ones of mankind to go to heaven. For the sake of humankind in general, he prayed for God’s kingdom to come to the earth where dead humankind lies buried and for the heavenly Life-giver’s will to be done on earth as well as in heaven. Will King David and John the Baptist want to do God’s will on earth under His kingdom? Certainly. Hence confused men need to re-examine the Bible to learn what the Creator’s will was for man at the beginning. Then they will see that God’s will and purpose have been made more sure because Christ came.
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE EARTH
16 Earth’s Creator is pointed out to us by name. In the prophecy of Jeremiah we read the difference between him and all the false gods: “But Jehovah is in truth God. He is the living God and the King to time indefinite. Because of his indignation the earth will rock, and no nations will hold up under his denunciation. This is what you men will say to them: ‘The gods that did not make the very heavens and the earth are the ones who will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.’ He is the Maker of the earth by his power, the One firmly establishing the productive land by his wisdom, and the One who by his understanding stretched out the heavens. At his voice there is a giving of a turmoil of waters in the heavens by him, and he causes vapors to ascend from the extremity of the earth. He has made even sluices for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.” (Jer. 10:10-13) Jehovah is therefore the God who is meant when the Holy Bible opens with the words: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”—Gen. 1:1.*
17. How did this planet earth start off, and how does God, according to his own statement, not want it to end?
17 No proof of creature life on the other planets of our solar system has been established by astronomers and scientists, but the Creator’s direct purpose for our earth was different. In its case he did not desire it to be an empty, lifeless planet at its start; he does not desire it ever to end up in that condition. Let us ask him about this. “This is what Jehovah has said, the Holy One of Israel and the Former of him: ‘Ask me even about the things that are coming concerning my sons; and concerning the activity of my hands you people should command me. I myself have made the earth and have created even man upon it. I—my own hands have stretched out the heavens, and all the army of them I have commanded.’ For this is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He The true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited: ‘I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. In a place of concealment I spoke not.’” (Isa. 45:11, 12, 18, 19) He formed this earth to be inhabited for all time.
18. After creating the living creatures lower than human, what further did God say regarding the earth and its then living creatures?
18 Those inspired words through the prophet Isaiah are in full agreement with the written record about the preparation of this earth for the realizing of God’s purpose. When he had made this earth a most interesting place by putting fish and sea monsters in its waters and birds in its trees and skies and animals and insects of all kinds on its land, he revealed for whom he had really made this earth to be an everlasting home. “And God went on to say: ‘Let us make man [a·damʹ] in our image, according to our likeness, and let them [man multiplied] have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is creeping upon the earth.’ And God proceeded to create the man [a·damʹ] in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:26, 27) It was not said of the other creatures, all those lower than man, that God had created them in his image and according to his likeness. Only man was thus created.
19. What argues for the perfection of God’s creation of man, and so what did God know could then be done on earth?
19 While this fact raised man far higher than all the fish, birds and brute beasts, it also argued that man was created perfect, that he was a perfect creature to begin with, fully able to display on earth some image, some likeness, of his perfect Creator. Of course, all the other creatures were also made perfect, each one in its own family kind. The perfection of the inanimate material universe, which is now billions of years old, came from this same Creator. Why should there be less than perfection in the creating of living and intelligent creatures? “For I shall declare the name of Jehovah. Do you attribute greatness to our God! The Rock, perfect is his activity.” (Deut. 32:3, 4) So God gave mankind a perfect start. In that way he knew that his will could be done on earth perfectly by human creatures in his image and likeness.
20. What did God tell man and woman his purpose in creating them was, and why?
20 The Creator did not keep his will concerning mankind to himself, to be guessed at by us. Because man was created in God’s image and likeness he could tell man and woman what his purpose and will regarding them was. He could give them commands that they could understand and fulfill in perfection. “Further, God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is creeping upon the earth.’”—Gen. 1:28.
21. What did God’s blessing upon them mean, and why?
21 God blessed them; he spoke for their good, not for their injury as if they were cursed. On the preceding day or time-period of creation God had blessed the fish and the winged flying creatures that he had made. That blessing meant for them to multiply in their natural habitat, for “God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the waters in the sea basins and let the flying creatures become many in the earth.’” (Gen. 1:22, 23) So God’s blessing upon man and woman meant for them to multiply their kind and fill this earth, not fill heaven or provide a population for heaven; no more than God’s blessing upon the fish and flying creatures meant for them to provide fish and winged, flying creatures for angels in heaven. Two human creatures were not enough for this earth of 196,940,000 square miles (510,075,000 square kilometers) of surface. Hence perfect man and woman were to fill earth with their perfect kind to the measure of fullness that fish and birds fill their part of this earth and surroundings with their kinds.
22. When would the need to multiply humankind cease, and what was man to subdue?
22 Since man and woman were created perfect and were put under a blessing and not under a curse or a condemnation to death, the time would come when they would fill the earth to the right, needed, comfortable fullness, with nobody dying but every born child growing up to full growth. Then the need to multiply would pass, and the birth of further children would stop. There was no command to produce further children in order to transplant the surplus human population to the moon or to other planets in our solar system. “Fill the earth and subdue it,” was God’s command to the first human male and female. “Subdue it,” that is, the earth, not the moon, not so-called Venus or Mercury or Mars. But how subdue the earth?
23. In what general location did God situate man’s Edenic home, and for increasing the human race what did he give man?
23 God created perfect man in a part of the earth near the Middle East of today, for the Bible account associates the rivers Euphrates and Tigris (Hiddekel) with their original home. It was a pleasant location in which to create man, and it was well called Eden, which means “Pleasure.” But more than that. “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. . . . Now there was a river issuing out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it began to be parted and it became, as it were, four heads. . . . And the name of the third river is Hiddekel [Tigris]; it is the one going to the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it.” (Gen. 2:8-15) Then, in the interest of increasing the human race, God gave this first man Adam a perfect wife. God had built her up from a rib taken from Adam’s body to be his helper, a complement of him.
24. What were the man and woman commanded to do, and what effect would this have upon their Paradise home and the doing of God’s will?
24 To this perfect human pair their Creator gave the command to use their reproductive organs and to produce children and fill the earth with them. But along with this filling of the earth with the human kind they must “subdue it.” All these perfect children were meant to live in an Edenic garden or Paradise. The original one in which Adam and Eve were settled would become too small after a great increase in their family, with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, with no one dying because of paying the penalty for sin. So it would become necessary for them all to subdue the earth outside the initial garden or Paradise of Eden by spreading out the garden’s boundaries, gradually cultivating the as yet uninhabited parts until the Paradise garden embraced the whole earth, from east to west and from the North Pole regions to the South Pole. This earth-girdling Paradise would require the constant attention and care of them all. Together with this garden care they were to have in subjection all the living creatures moving through earth’s waters and over its land or through its skies. Thus God’s will, which began to be done in the original Paradise of Eden, would finally be done everywhere on earth.
25. When that glorious climax was reached, what would it be unscriptural for us to think that God would want to do?
25 This was the glorious, God-honoring climax that Jehovah God envisioned for all the earth. When that grand, loving purpose was fully realized, why would God want to destroy the Paradise earth? Or why would he want to depopulate Paradise by taking those doing his will in it somewhere else, leaving Paradise untended and no longer a place where the divine will was done just as it is done up in heaven? It is not Scriptural for us to think of God’s doing that, for it would bring to nothing his grand purpose.
(To be continued)
For a Scriptural discussion of the earth and its living creatures see the book “New Heavens and a New Earth,” chapters 3 and 4.