Will Mankind Ever Enjoy a Paradise Earth?
Is it God’s purpose for mankind to enjoy eternal life in an earthly paradise? Does earth have space enough to accommodate all?
WHEN you envision a paradise, what do you see? Does your mind’s eye visualize a gorgeous garden or park? Do you see multicolored flowers, shrubs, well-kept lawns, fountains and calm, clear pools? Do you also envision cascading waterfalls, rushing streams, lush green meadows fenced by towering trees, and tangy air filled with the fragrance of deep woods and the songs of birds? Would you desire to live in such a paradise, free from the worries and threats of this present system of things?
How many persons yearn for such surroundings! Really, how refreshing is the beauty and tranquillity of a garden or park like this! But to enjoy it to the fullest, one needs ideal health. Will mankind ever live in an earthly paradise, and have the health and vigor to enjoy it to the full?
If the ushering in of a paradise earth were dependent upon the efforts of men, it would never come. For with each passing year, more and more people are forced to live in ugly city slums. Others must struggle to scratch out an existence from land that is eroded and devitalized by misuse. And instead of enjoying ideal health, people grow old and sick despite the attempts of medical science to implant within them new organs, or in some other way restore health. How obvious it is that the real answer to mankind’s needs is not within the power of men!
This does not mean, however, that mankind will never enjoy a paradise earth. For although man is incapable of bringing it about, Almighty God is able to usher in the very conditions for which every normal person yearns. But is this what God purposes to do? Was this his original purpose when he created man?
God’s Word the Bible reveals that Jehovah God originally created a beautiful garden or park, and that he placed the first human pair in this earthly paradise. (Gen. 2:7-9, 15-18) What a delightful home! How happy the couple could be in these surroundings, and what a delight it would be to raise their children there! But was it God’s purpose that Adam and Eve bring forth children in this beautiful paradise, called the garden of Eden?
Yes, for God’s inspired Word says: “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 moving upon the earth.’”—Gen. 1:28.
From this it is clear that it was God’s purpose for Adam and Eve to reproduce, and, as their family grew, to subdue or cultivate the earth, even beyond the boundaries of their Edenic paradise. Although Adam and Eve did produce children, they did not bring forth children in perfection in the paradise of Eden as God purposed. Nor did they and their offspring “subdue” the earth, bringing it to a state of paradisaic beauty earth wide. And neither did they exercise proper dominion over the lower animals as God purposed. Instead, they turned to sin. However, Jehovah declares: “My word that goes forth from my mouth . . . will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.” (Isa. 55:11) So we can be confident that God’s purpose for earth to be made a paradise will yet be fulfilled.
This will require that the wicked be rooted out of the earth, and that is exactly what God promises that he will do in the near future. But “the righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Ps. 37:29; Prov. 2:21, 22) So there will be survivors—persons who are devoted to Jehovah God and who exercise faith in the ransom sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ. Also, God will resurrect the dead. In his righteous new system they will have the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of God’s favor and receive eternal life.—Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29.
CAN EARTH ACCOMMODATE THEM ALL?
However, someone might say: “Why, if the billions of dead were resurrected, there would not be room for them all! People would starve because the earth could not produce food enough to feed everyone.” Is this true? How many people have lived upon the earth? How great a population is the earth capable of supporting? According to Bible chronology the first human pair were created by God less than 6,000 years ago. It took time for the human family to grow. Interestingly, the well-known scientist Sir Julian Huxley commented: “At the dawn of civilization, say 5,000 years ago, the population of the world cannot have numbered much more than 20 million.”* Even in the time when Christ walked the earth, it is estimated, the world population was only about 250 million, although The World Book Encyclopedia (1966) gives the low estimate of 133 million. It is agreed that the world population was comparatively small in early times.
In this connection, Dr. Albert L. Elder, as president of the American Chemical Society, made some interesting observations. In an address given before the 138th national meeting of that society in September 1960, he said: “It took over 5000 years of human history up to about 1820 to reach a world population of 1.1 billion. Within the following century, population doubled. Now, it stands at about 2.8 billion and could reach 3 billion early in the 1960’s. Thus, in less than 50 years there has been an increase in population equivalent to that which occurred during the first 50 centuries.”
On the basis of such information, it is calculated that the number of persons who have ever lived on earth is not very great. For example, in May of 1966 a speaker at the 76th annual Florida State Pharmaceutical Association convention observed: “It is now estimated that 25 per cent of all the people who have ever lived are alive today.”*
With the present world population being about 3.5 thousand million, this estimate would mean that there has been a total population throughout all human history of only some 14 thousand million people. But even if a more liberal estimate is made, and the 14 thousand million is doubled, still it is not an overwhelming number. The earth has over 57 million square miles of land area, and even with the huge population of 24 thousand million people, there would be more than an acre and a half of land for each person.
A principal reason why there is the problem today of producing sufficient food is that vast land areas are unsuitable for cultivation. In fact, only 7.7 percent of earth’s land area is said to be under cultivation presently, and the yield of much of this land is very poor. But consider how abundantly the earth could produce under ideal conditions and with God’s blessing. (Deut. 28:12; Ps. 67:6) How easily it could support a much larger population, including the resurrected dead, even though these should number as many as ten or twenty thousand million or more!
Discussing the earth’s potential to support a much larger population, Newsweek magazine of July 23, 1962, said: “Dr. James Bonner of Caltech estimates that the world can support 50 billion people—seventeen times its present population—while another Caltech scientist, Harrison Brown, says he ‘can even visualize the means for supporting 100 billion.’”
Without a doubt, the earth is capable of comfortably supporting all those whom Jehovah God mercifully resurrects into a restored earthly paradise. But when will this resurrection of the dead take place? How will the earth be brought to a state of paradisaic beauty?
PARADISE EARTH SOON TO BE ENJOYED
Bible prophecies unmistakably identify these as “the last days” of this system of things. (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Matt. 24:3-14) Soon now, at the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” commonly called Armageddon, “the wicked . . . will be cut off from the very earth.” (Rev. 16:14, 16; Prov. 2:22) With the entire world of such persons removed, the meek, upright ones will remain on earth and indeed delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The Bible explains: “Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
These Armageddon survivors who do the will of God have a glorious future before them. To them the words of the inspired Bible psalm apply: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Ps. 37:29) Theirs will be the glorious privilege of beautifying the earth, preparing it so that it will resemble earth wide a gorgeous garden or park. Into this earthly paradise they will also have the privilege of eventually welcoming thousands of millions of resurrected dead, including the evildoer who died alongside Jesus, and to whom he promised: “You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43.
What a marvelous future is soon to be enjoyed by mankind! The sure promise concerning all who inhabit the paradise earth is: “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) To survive Armageddon and to enjoy these blessings, it is vital that you now learn what God’s will is and do it.
Reader’s Digest, February 1959, page 17.
Jacksonville Journal, May 18, 1966.