An Earth Without Pain
“‘Neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.’ And the One [God] seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’”—Rev. 21:4, 5.
CAN YOU imagine living on earth without anyone’s ever experiencing serious emotional or physical pain? ‘That is too good to be true,’ you may reason. Yet this is what man’s Maker, Jehovah God, has promised. His Word, the Bible, speaks of a time when neither “outcry nor pain” will “be anymore.” (Rev. 21:4) Just what will the fulfillment of that promise mean?
It will not mean that every physical sensation of pain will become a thing of the past. Why not? Because there is real benefit in having a sense of pain. For example, a girl peeling potatoes might cut herself slightly. If she had no sense of pain, she might make a deeper cut without even realizing that she had injured herself until blood began to flow. The sense of pain is thus seen to be valuable in enabling a person to act quickly in avoiding further contact with the source of pain, thereby limiting its hurtful effects.
The case of Jesus Christ well illustrates that bodily perfection includes having a sense of pain. Jesus experienced emotional pain in connection with the unmerciful attitude of his fellow countrymen. We read in the Scriptures that he was “thoroughly grieved at the insensibility of their hearts.” (Mark 3:5) Regarding his feelings just prior to his betrayal, the Bible reports: “Getting into an agony he continued praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground.”—Luke 22:44.
Instead of requiring the removal of the sense of pain, the end of pain calls for the elimination of the causes of human suffering—oppression, crime, sickness, death and the like. How will this come about?
The first step in the removal of pain is the destruction of the present system of things that has made life so unpleasant for millions of earth’s inhabitants. This means that all exploiters and ruiners of the earth must come to their end. The Bible indicates that this will happen. We read of the time when God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Rev. 11:18) In the fullest sense, this will result in the fulfillment of Proverbs 2:21, 22: “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”
After the destruction of all wicked elements, a righteous ruling body will start directing all of earth’s affairs. The prophecy of Daniel speaks of this as follows: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all [the existing] kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Dan. 2:44.
Through this kingdom of God all painful suffering will be abolished. No one will suffer on account of injustices, oppression or lawlessness of any kind. The principal ruler, Jesus Christ, will see to that. As to his manner of handling affairs, the Bible says: “He will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth.”—Isa. 11:3, 4.
Along with his associate rulers, Jesus Christ will also be working for the removal of the pain resulting from sickness and death. The arrangement for doing this is symbolically described in the Bible as a river lined with fruit-bearing trees. We are told: “On this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:2) By means of this provision humankind will be freed of all weaknesses and imperfection. Fully healed by such means, humankind will no longer experience the pains of sickness, old age and death. The divinely inspired promise is: “He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isa. 25:8.
The removal of sickness, old age and death will not give rise to other pains that might result if the earth were to become overcrowded and if people were to draw too heavily on its resources. The Creator, who is wise enough to abolish sickness, old age and death, by means of his kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, also has the wisdom and ability to control these matters in the best interests of the human family. His original purpose for the earth was that it ‘be filled and subdued,’ not overpopulated and ruined. (Gen. 1:28) That original purpose will yet be fulfilled.
But what about the billions now dead and others who may die before the destruction of the present old order? Will they have the opportunity to share in the blessings of an earth without pain? Most assuredly! Jesus Christ stated: “An hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear his voice and come forth.”—John 5:28, New American Bible.
The fact that God has in mind bringing about an earth free from pain lays responsibility upon us to act in a way that shows that we really want this. The apostle Peter urged fellow believers: “Since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Pet. 3:14.
If we really want an earth without pain, we must show it by striving hard not to cause others needless pain, emotional or physical. Humbly we should submit to God’s will as he has revealed it to mankind in his Word, the Bible. If we do this, we can look forward with confidence to an earth without the terrible pain that has for many centuries brought grief to humankind. Yes, we can be among those who will benefit from the fulfillment of God’s promise, either by surviving the end of the ungodly system or, if we should die before that, by experiencing a resurrection from the dead.