Will Peace Ever Come to Earth?
The world moves from one crisis to another. Will there ever be a release from the grip of fear?
PEACE was what the girl wanted, but she was afraid. She noted the ominous trend of world events and wondered about her very existence. Writing to the editor of a large newspaper, she said:
I am one of the 16-year-old girls who sit and watch their world slipping into the void of death.
Every day I listen, hoping not to hear the pounding of men’s feet in their movement toward the end of a world, a world I have just begun to touch, and hear and see.
I know that when the time comes there will be no escape, either from the bomb of merciful swiftness or from the slow agony of pitiless radiation. . . .
I wait for the sign telling me that I will one day be able to breathe and see without the smog of fear filling my throat and stinging my eyes.
I wait for the people who hold my world’s fate to tell me that I have the right to grow up, to marry and to have children who will not live in such a place, who will not be afraid of losing even this nightmare world before they have known it.—New York Times, September 18, 1961.
This girl’s letter was written in 1961. Has her desire for peace come closer to realization in the time that has elapsed since that year? Is freedom from fear closer to being a reality?
In the year 1965, on the same page of the same newspaper where this girl’s item appeared years before, an editorial tells us the following:
It is a frightening but inescapable thought that the world has drifted apart and become more fragmented since April 1963, when Pope John made his notable appeal for ‘a community of peoples based on truth, justice, love and freedom.’ This is a time that would have tried even his wonderful gift of optimism and his faith in humankind.
Throughout history different elements operated at different times to provide an anchor, an amalgam, a source of unity for societies. There were family bonds, great monarchs, great empires, the world’s great religions and, in modern times, political ideologies. Today none of these factors seems strong enough to hold societies in check or to unite nations and peoples in peace.
This is an era that has lost its bearings, that wanders in a wilderness crying with rage and striking out in its pain.—New York Times, February 18, 1965.
So nations and individuals become more antagonistic, and the world drifts ever closer toward a catastrophic nuclear war. The frightful consequence of such a war was made clear by the United States Secretary of Defense recently. He estimated that in the event of a Soviet missile attack on United States cities the death toll would be 149 million! A retaliatory blow against the Soviet Union, he said, would take a toll of about 100 million lives and would destroy an estimated 80 percent of that nation’s industrial capacity!
Nor is that the entire threat to peace today. Other countries, including Communist China, now possess nuclear weapons. In addition, within a decade or two many of the smaller nations could easily possess atomic capabilities. With no central control, minor national issues could escalate into global nuclear holocaust.
Truly the world seems to be going mad! Not only is peace farther off than ever, but it seems totally unrealistic to expect it to come, in view of the rising differences between nations, blocs of nations, societies and racial groups.
IS THERE AN ANSWER?
Mankind’s history has not been a peaceful one. Instead, it has been filled with conflict and bloodshed. Over and over again, nations have risen to power, gone on a rampage against their neighbors and plunged part of the inhabited earth into darkness and pain. As science contributed deadly weapons of destruction, the hurt intensified and the area widened until it became global. Today the threat to peace has reached a new peak. The very survival of the entire human family is at issue!
Why has all of this been so? Why has the earth been drenched in blood, much of it innocent, time and again? Will total peace ever come to earth? Are there truthful and satisfying answers to such questions? Yes, there are. But these answers cannot be found in the histories or philosophies of men. If they could have been, then the many proposed and tried remedies for the world’s ills should have worked by this time. But they have not. They have all failed.
The answers must come from One who not only sees the brutality of man against man but knows why it happens, what the future holds, and what the ultimate remedy is. That One can only be the Creator of man, Jehovah God. As the originator of a machine is in the best position to tell what will happen if it is not used correctly, and what to do when it does not function properly, so too with man’s Originator or Creator, God. Having made man, he knows what this creature must do to function properly in human society. He knows why such human society is breaking down, and why it gets progressively worse. He can tell us why peace is far from groaning mankind. More than that, he can tell us what the future holds and what the remedy is. Yes, the Almighty God, Jehovah, can answer the question, Will peace ever come to earth?
WHY IS PEACE GONE?
The human family’s start could not have been better. Created perfect, man and woman were placed in a paradise of total peace, given pleasant work to do, and were to begin the extension of these desirable conditions throughout the length and breadth of the earth. The earth itself would produce bountifully for humankind, and even the animals would be peaceful. The sum of the matter was: “God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.”—Gen. 1:31.
Nothing would work to mar this peace, provided the key to human behavior, the mind, functioned as it should. This would happen as long as man filled his mind with healthful thoughts by listening to the voice of his Creator and staying within the bounds allotted him. What bounds? Why, the bounds of obedience to God’s laws. As long as man obeyed God’s righteous requirements, he would prosper. If he violated them, he would not. We can compare this to laws that preserve peace today. A person cannot violate the law without coming under punishment of the civil authorities. This works for the benefit of all society. God’s laws are the same. They work for the benefit of law-abiding men. However, if man rebelled against divine law, he was told, he would “positively die.”—Gen. 2:17.
The sad record, preserved for us in the only reliable history of those ancient times, the Bible, shows that Adam and Eve, father and mother of the entire human family, broke the bounds set for them. They wanted what they were not entitled to. They desired total independence from God and his laws, demonstrating this by breaking the law. As a result, the penalty was executed—they would die in due course of time. No longer would their bodies be maintained in perfection, but they would begin to degenerate, until death overtook them. Their minds would also degenerate. Not being guided by God and his ways, they would come into conflict with others, with the animal realm, and even with their own bodies. Casting off God, they began man’s downward plunge as surely as a stone moves downward when thrown from a high place.—Gen. 3:17-19.
Not only did degeneration and death now enter the human family, but so did peace breaking. Men began to contend with men. Hatred and suspicion, violence and bloodshed engulfed human society, until, more than 1,600 years later, the condition was as the Bible describes: “The earth came to be ruined in the sight of the true God and the earth became filled with violence. So God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth.”—Gen. 6:11, 12.
A peaceful world turned quickly into an unpeaceful one. But none of this could be blamed on God. It resulted when man sought independence from God. And since God made man a free moral agent, He would permit man this experiment, temporarily. Observe the results! Would you say that the human experience over the last 6,000 years has been a peaceful, happy, successful one? Of course not! Pain, misery, sadness, tears and death have been man’s lot down through the centuries, until today thinking persons wonder about the very survival of humanity as a whole!
WILL PEACE RETURN?
God has tolerated man’s rebellious course, but only for a temporary season. As a loving God, he could not permit his earth and creatures on it to be abused forever. That is why wickedness will not go on much longer. God, through his prophets and his written Word, has repeatedly warned that the disobedience of men and nations would come to an end.—2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 5:9.
The insane plunge of nations toward nuclear annihilation will be cut short by God. He has promised: “Evildoers themselves will be cut off . . . And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Ps. 37:9-11.
God has tolerated man’s experiment in independence from Him long enough so that no one can accuse God of not having given men the chance to work out their own solutions. They have had that chance. They have failed miserably. Therefore, as Bible prophecy clearly shows, it is now time for God to step in, squash wickedness and take over complete control of men’s affairs. Jesus Christ himself, as did the apostle Paul, foretold that the distress of nations so evident today would be an evidence that we are indeed in the “last days” of this world. (Matt. 24:3-14; 2 Tim. 3:1-5) Hence, God’s anger against this chaotic world will be expressed soon, as his favor will be extended to those who love him. As it is written concerning our day: “Your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give their reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Rev. 11:18.
PEACE TO RETURN
The end of this present evil system of things means that the peace God originally purposed for earth will return to it. No more will it be a place filled with hatred and violence. Also, God’s right to rule will be definitely established. That question will be settled for all time and men will never again be allowed total independence to mar peace with their divisive experiments and ideas.
Survivors of this world’s end will be blessed with peace, for, as the psalmist said of God: “He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.” (Ps. 46:9) “To peace there will be no end.”—Isa. 9:7.
Nor will humans live only three score and ten years, just to be cut down in death. In God’s new order, His curative power will be turned toward mankind. They will be gradually lifted up to human perfection, which is why Jesus could speak of that time as the “re-creation.” (Matt. 19:28) Even many of the dead will benefit, for those God chooses will come forth in the resurrection.—John 5:28, 29.
With perfection of mind and body restored, sickness and death due to Adam will be things of the past. That is why the psalmist could say: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Ps. 37:29) Adding to this grand picture of things to come, the apostle John stated under inspiration: “God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:3, 4) All of this means that the peaceful conditions promised for that time will endure, since all things and all persons breaking peace will be eliminated.
Does this sound too good to be true? God himself dispels doubt by saying: “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” (Rev. 21:5) With confidence, then, you can look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise of peace in a righteous new order.
WILL YOU ENJOY THAT PEACE?
For a certainty, peace will be there. But will you be there? Will you be alive to enjoy its realization? If you want to participate in the blessings of a paradise restored, then you will want to learn what God’s purposes and requirements are, for only those who do what God wants will he bless with peace.
To learn about God you must go to the place wherein he reveals himself. That place is his Word, the Bible. Read what it says about your obligations to your Creator. Learn what things you need to do to survive the end of this wicked system of things. Then do them. Also, search out God’s people who are doing the same and associate with them. They will help you to learn the obedience to God that your forefather Adam forgot.
By learning to depend on God and by doing his will you can prepare yourself for the coming time of peace, now so near. And even though living in a disintegrating world, you will be able to face the future confidently, happy in the knowledge that you may share in the realization of God’s promises because you do his will, for “the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.