The Earth Has a “Fever”—Is There a Cure?
THE symptoms are showing—the temperature is rising. A case in point is the Alaskan village Newtok, located in the subarctic. The once frozen subsoil—known as permafrost—on which Newtok is built is melting. “I don’t want to live in permafrost [anymore],” lamented a resident named Frank. “It’s too muddy.” Studies say that within ten years, this coastal village could be washed away.
The “warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” concluded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Rising global temperatures testify to this fact. What scientists call climate change has resulted in extreme weather, including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves, and hurricanes worldwide. What will happen to our planet? Is there a cure?
Diagnosing the Earth
Like a patient in a hospital, earth’s vital signs are being closely monitored by climate scientists. Satellites track the shrinking of glaciers, weather stations maintain rainfall readings, buoys measure deep ocean temperatures, aircraft monitor levels of atmospheric gases. This vast array of climate data is fed into supercomputers. Simulations of the climate system are run so as to predict what will happen decades, even centuries, from now.
The diagnosis? Some believe that the atmosphere is overloaded with greenhouse gases. In 2006 alone, the world’s carbon dioxide output “approached a staggering 32 billion tons,” says Time magazine. Like the glass panels of a greenhouse, such gases trap earth’s heat, preventing it from escaping into space, thus contributing to global warming. The future? According to the IPCC, continued gas emissions at present levels will result in “many changes in the global climate system,” which will very likely be worse than what has already been experienced. Many now agree that the solution lies in curbing carbon dioxide emissions. However, even if the emissions of these gases were somehow stabilized, computer models suggest that likely the “warming and [resulting] sea level rise would continue for centuries.”
Where to Turn for Answers
Climatology is admittedly a complex science. “For example, what will happen to clouds as Earth warms? Will high-flying, heat-absorbing clouds that would cause additional heating become more frequent than dense, sunlight-blocking clouds?” asks Earth Observatory, an online publication. The answer? “As of now, scientists can’t answer these questions.”
On the other hand, the Bible affirms that Jehovah God is the “Producer of heaven and earth,” including “the cloud masses above.” (Genesis 14:19; Proverbs 8:28) He poetically described himself as having put “wisdom in the cloud layers.” Yes, Jehovah fully understands what scientists cannot.—Job 38:36.
Regarding earth’s atmosphere, note what God said, as recorded in the Bible some 2,700 years ago: “The pouring rain descends . . . from the heavens and does not return to that place, unless it actually saturates the earth.” (Isaiah 55:10) How succinctly that describes the hydrologic, or water, cycle! Water vapor in the clouds condenses and precipitates as rain, which “saturates the earth.” Solar heating causes moisture to evaporate and “return to that place,” or the atmosphere, to start the cycle again. Jehovah’s Word revealed amazing details regarding earth’s climate system centuries before non-Biblical writings did. Does that not build your confidence in the Creator and in what he is capable of doing? So when it comes to the outcome of the present climate crisis, would it not be reasonable for us to look to “the Creator of the wind,” the “father for the rain,” the one who knows how this planet functions?—Amos 4:13; Job 38:28.
Earth Created for a Purpose
Although opinions regarding our planet’s future differ, one thing is certain: Earth is unique. Unlike other planets, it hosts a stunning diversity of life. What makes this possible? Scientists point to several factors. Specifically, the earth has an abundance of liquid water; it is located at the right distance from the sun; and it contains the right mixture of atmospheric gases, including large amounts of oxygen.
You may be surprised to learn that the Bible book of Genesis refers to these very features in the creation account. For example, Genesis 1:10 describes God’s bringing together “the waters [that] he called Seas”—a clear reference to an abundance of liquid water. At Genesis 1:3, we read: “God proceeded to say: ‘Let light come to be.’” Our planet is located close enough to the sun that most of its water stays liquid, yet not so close to the sun that all the water would evaporate into space.
Genesis 1:6 says that God produced the “expanse,” or atmosphere. Then, verses 11 and 12 describe God as causing grass, plants, and trees to appear. All of this is evidence of the existence of oxygen, which later would make it possible for man and animals to sustain their lives by breathing.
What, then, can we conclude? When God created the earth—with an abundance of liquid water, located at just the right distance from the sun, and with the right mixture of gases—he must have had a reason, a purpose. The Bible tells us: “[God] did not create [the earth] simply for nothing, [he] formed it even to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18) “As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong,” states Psalm 115:16, “but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” Yes, earth was created for human habitation.
According to the Scriptures, God created the first human couple and placed them in the garden of Eden, a beautiful paradise. They were to “cultivate it and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) God also told them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) Just think of the marvelous prospect placed before them! They were to extend the borders of Paradise globally and to dwell in it forever. What a wonderful future!
Sadly, instead of obediently listening to God, the first human pair chose a course of defiant independence, which the majority of mankind have followed down to this day. (Genesis 3:1-6) The result? Rather than cultivating and taking care of the earth, man is “ruining the earth” on a scale never before imagined. (Revelation 11:18) Yet, we can take comfort in the fact that God’s purpose for the earth has not changed. The Bible assures us: “[God] has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.” (Psalm 104:5) And Jesus himself promised in the Sermon on the Mount: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) How will this be accomplished?
A Bright Future Awaits
“Climate change is a global problem,” said one former U.S. president. Would you not agree, then, that a global solution is needed? Jesus Christ pointed to that solution—God’s Kingdom. He instructed his followers to pray: “Let your kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) According to Bible prophecy, this heavenly Kingdom is a global government that will soon “crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [present-day governments].” (Daniel 2:44) Moreover, it will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) Clearly, those who abuse the earth and squander its resources will be held accountable and will suffer destruction.
What, though, will happen to our polluted planet? Noteworthy is the fact that Jesus when on earth exercised miraculous powers over natural elements, such as the wind and the sea. He silenced a violent storm just by uttering a few words. (Mark 4:35-41) Ruling in the heavens as the “Lord of lords and King of kings,” Jesus will exercise far greater powers over earth and its elements. (Revelation 17:14) In fact, Jesus described his rule as the “re-creation.” (Matthew 19:28) Another translation uses the expression “the renewal of all things.” (New International Version) Jesus will re-create, or renew, conditions on earth, making them similar to those that existed in the garden of Eden. Paradise will be restored. (Luke 23:43) Earth will be cured of its “fever”—by God’s Kingdom.
Even now, you can benefit from Kingdom rule. How so? Jesus foretold: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14) As a result, millions are responding to the good news. Lives are being transformed. Deadly addictions are overcome. Family life is improved. Racial hatred is replaced with love. In fact, God’s Kingdom is accomplishing what no human government can. It has united nearly seven million people from over 235 lands into a truly international brotherhood! Yes, as subjects of God’s Kingdom, they are being prepared for eternal life in Paradise on this planet.
Earth’s future is secure. May that also be true of your future!
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The Bible described the earth’s water cycle centuries before non-Biblical writings did
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Jesus “rebuked the wind and said to the sea: ‘Hush! Be quiet!’ And the wind abated, and a great calm set in”
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When Paradise is restored, earth will be cured of its “fever”
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