The Creating of a New Earth
“There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Pet. 3:13.
SCIENTISTS say that this earth we live on will someday be engulfed by an explosion from the sun. Major so-called “Christian” religions teach similarly, that the earth will end in a fiery holocaust.
What, then, does the Bible mean when it says that “the earth is standing even to time indefinite”? (Eccl. 1:4) How can this be harmonized with the apostle Peter’s words: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting . . . and in these righteousness is to dwell”?—Isa. 65:17; 2 Pet. 3:13.
To find an answer, let us turn to Jesus Christ, God’s chief spokesman. Note what he indicated for the earth when he taught his disciples to pray: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:10.
In the heavens God’s will is completely carried out by his angels. The inspired psalmist wrote: “Bless Jehovah, O you angels of his, mighty in power, carrying out his word.” (Ps. 103:20) So, God’s will being done on earth as it is done in heaven would mean peace and happiness on earth.
From this prayer of Jesus it is clear that the planet we live on is to remain, not to be burned up or destroyed. It is just as Jehovah declared: “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.”—Isa. 45:18; compare Psalm 148:3-6.
What, then, is going to be made new? Not the planet earth, though it will be renewed in the sense of being beautified, its present waste and polluted places being cleansed and refreshed. The creating of a new earth will mean a renewed human society. The ‘old earth’ of corrupt practices, disease and death will ‘pass away.’ However, not all the people will pass off the scene.—1 John 2:17.
Jesus Christ is authority for this view of matters, for he said: “Just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man: they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying . . . until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the flood arrived and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26, 27) The earth was cleansed, primarily in the sense that the corrupt, violent world of people was destroyed off it. However, those who turned to God and made over their minds to his way were preserved, to live on this side of that great destructive deluge.—1 Pet. 3:20.
How will those surviving the cleansing of our earth by the destruction of the present man-made system live as a society? After the Flood, mankind multiplied on the face of the earth and the stronger came to dominate the weak. Is this to be repeated? No. Men will not be dictating to others what to do. This kind of arrangement was not purposed by God, as the inspired writer declares: “I have seen . . . the time that man has dominated man to his injury.”—Eccl. 8:9.
When men dominate other men, there is always unhappiness. The only proper dominion over all mankind will be dominion from the “new heavens.” This dominion cannot be oppressive, for the Creator knows exactly what suits and satisfies human needs. (Matt. 6:8; Ps. 145:16) Furthermore, the Creator needs nothing from men and can have no selfish motives, but he has man’s well-being at heart. Encouraging people to seek help from God, Jesus said: “If you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will your Father who is in the heavens give good things to those asking him?” (Matt. 7:11) And Jesus told the Jewish ruler Nicodemus: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
So a rulership by the kingdom of the heavens would be in no way objectionable. As it communicates its laws and directions to men on earth, this rulership would be recognized as being superior, as well as being perfect, and mankind would know that it was always acting altogether in their interests. This would motivate willing obedience. But it is different now with imperfect, often selfish men telling everyone what to do. All men are equal before God, and so it goes contrary to human nature for a person to dominate another. That is why the present human society that we see existing today—called in the Bible the “earth”—must pass away, to be replaced by a “new earth” of righteous human society under the Kingdom of the heavens.—Rev. 21:1.
Also, that is why man-made political systems of rule—called in the Bible the “heavens,” as they bear rule over imperfect, unrighteous mankind now—must pass away and “new heavens,” the kingdom of the heavens, must take their place.—2 Pet. 3:12, 13.
What happiness this creating of a “new earth” under “new heavens” will bring to mankind! This earthly globe is a wonderful place in which to live, with capacity to produce bountifully for all. We revel in the grandeur of the earthly creation even now, though pollution and misuse have destroyed its beauty in many places. How much more so will we delight in the earth when it has been cleansed of its ruiners!—Rev. 11:18.
A pattern of what will be provided is shown in the description of the land that God gave to his ancient people Israel. Moses said to them in a farewell address: “Jehovah your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of torrent valleys of water, springs and watery deeps issuing forth in the valley plain and in the mountainous region, a land of wheat and barley and vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil olives and honey, a land in which you will not eat bread with scarcity, in which you will lack nothing.”—Deut. 8:7-9.
The conditions upon earth today, along with the Bible’s prophecies, indicate that the time for the creating of a “new earth” is at hand. Mankind does not need to worry about losing this beautiful home, the planet earth, but can look forward to enjoying it forever under righteous conditions, when it produces to the full. Of that future time, the psalmist wrote: “Jehovah, for his part, will give what is good, and our own land will give its yield.” (Ps. 85:12) What a glorious prospect is just ahead for this planet!