Friday, April 22, 2011

Will Earth Be a Paradise?

Will Earth Be a Paradise?
Related topics:
What Is God’s Kingdom?
What Would You Like to Ask God?
LEGENDS of a golden age in which man was guiltless, lived in close communion with God, and was free from sickness and death can be found in the traditions of many peoples—among them Egyptians, Mexicans, Peruvians, and Tibetans. These legends also incorporate the concept of a fall into sin.

Although distorted and embellished, the legends have too many common elements to be coincidental. This has led many to the conclusion that the stories were derived from historical events. Indeed, the picture that emerges bears a remarkable similarity to what is found in the opening chapters of the Bible book of Genesis. There, however, we find, not the vague language of legend, but the specific details of accurate history.—2 Timothy 3:16.

A Perfect Start

The book of Genesis tells us that when God created the first humans—Adam and Eve—he placed them in a well-watered garden called the Garden of Eden. They had perfect health and the prospect of everlasting life. Death was the penalty for sin. (Genesis 2:8-17; Romans 5:12) Adam and Eve were to “be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) The result would be a global paradise filled with perfect humans in joyful subjection to God, their Ruler.

Sadly, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, forfeiting both their opportunity to fulfill their Creator’s purpose and their prospect of living forever. Nevertheless, Jehovah God will fulfill his purpose for the earth. “My word that goes forth from my mouth . . . will not return to me without results,” he said, but “it will have certain success.” (Isaiah 55:11) Indeed, Jehovah’s purpose for the earth to be a paradise home for humans who reflect his qualities is a major theme of the Bible.—Romans 8:19-21.

“You Will Be With Me in Paradise”

Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, God promised to produce a “seed,” or offspring, who would ultimately destroy “the original serpent,” Satan the Devil, and break up his wicked works. (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:9; 1 John 3:8) That “seed” proved to be primarily Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:16) What is more, God appointed him King of a heavenly Kingdom, or government, that will rule over the earth.—Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15.

Christ will fully accomplish what Adam failed to do. In fact, the Bible calls Jesus “the last Adam.” (1 Corinthians 15:45) Moreover, in his model prayer, Jesus linked earth’s future to God’s Kingdom, saying: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matthew 6:10.

When Jesus was on earth, he—as earth’s future King—could rightly say to the repentant evildoer impaled alongside him: “You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The Paradise that Jesus had in mind would be on earth, as God originally purposed. This fact is well supported in the Bible. Consider the following texts.

“The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29) “There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.” (Psalm 72:16) “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it.” (Proverbs 2:21) “They [the blameless] will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isaiah 11:9.

In harmony with those statements, in his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Later, the apostle John wrote: “The tent of God is with mankind . . . He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3, 4) Clearly, these Bible texts refer, not to a heavenly “paradise,” but to a physical one here on earth.

What Bible Scholars Have Said

Many Bible scholars maintain that under Christ’s Kingdom, earth will become a paradise. Said theologian Joseph A. Seiss: “The whole earth under the Messiah must then ultimately become . . . what it . . . would have been if Adam had never sinned.” In the commentary The New Testament for English Readers, Henry Alford wrote: “That kingdom of God . . . shall work onwards till it shall become actually a kingdom over this earth, and its subjects shall inherit the earth . . . , finally in its renewed and blessed state for ever.”—Italics his.

“Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.”
—Matthew 5:5

Likewise, famous scientist and keen student of the Bible Isaac Newton wrote: “The earth shall continue to be inhabited by mortals [humans] after the day of judgment and that not only for 1000 years, but even for ever.”

Because the earth will come under the direct rule of Jesus Christ, wickedness will never again take root. (Isaiah 11:1-5, 9) Yes, the earth will be a paradise in every respect, forever a credit to its Creator.

What was God’s original purpose for mankind and the earth?—Genesis 1:28.
What will God’s Kingdom accomplish?—Matthew 6:10.
Why will wickedness never again take root?—Isaiah 11:1-5, 9.

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