If you have thoughts of the future, are they bright or dreary? Man has put forth many diverse views of the earth's future. Between Star Trek's more or less optimistic views to the Terminator's horrid view, are a variety of scenarios as to the earth's future.

In fact, many people make a living by forecasting what the future holds for us. The following information deals with what the Bible has to say about not only the literal earth's future, but ours as well. I welcome your comments on this subject.

The Bible's view of the future:

The future as presented in Star Trek has it's bright moments. We see cooperation between the races of mankind. And of course between various other life-forms. But there are some things that are not that encouraging.

For instance, violence and distrust is still very much a part of the picture. Despite the many advances made in the future as painted by Star Trek, we still see war and death. Also, despite the many advances made along the lines of medicine on the show, we see that death is still the eventual fate of almost everyone. Well, almost everyone, if you happen to be "Q" then you've got it made. But there is no way to apply for such a position, and it is thus an exclusive club.

So, despite man's bright views of the future as presented in this scifi series, they cannot muster the imagination to see a future where all life is at peace. A future where death is not a part of the mix. Why is this?

Did you know that scientists and medical doctors cannot find the cause for aging. There is no known reason for the fact that the body after a time ceases to regenerate its' cells. For many years the cells making up or bodies continue to reproduce. But for some unknown reason this process begins to slow down and in time it stops and we know what this means.

Theoretically, this process should continue, well, forever. In other words, our bodies were made to live for a lot longer than is currently possible. Old and dying cells being replaced by new and vital cells, a process that would enable us to live literally forever! We know the process stops, but no one knows the scientific reason(s) for it.

Review

Scientists have long known about the human bodyís power to renew itself. By wonderful means the body cells are either replaced or repaired, as the need may be. And it seems that this process of self-renewal should go on forever. But it does not, and this is something that scientists cannot explain. They still do not fully understand why people grow old. They say that, under right conditions, humans should be able to live forever. (taken from the book - Live Forever(1982,1989 WTB&TS)

Yet, is it really Godís purpose that people live happily on earth forever? If it is, then everlasting life is not just a wish or a dream, it is sure to come! What does the Bible, the book that tells of Godís purposes, say about the matter? It calls God the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, and adds: He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited. Isaiah 45:18.(taken from the book - Live Forever-1982,1989 WTB&TS)

It appears then, that God had it mind that his creation (us) was to live forever. Death was not a part of the equation. So, that being true, what happened?

Why we die:

Does it seem to you that the earth is now inhabited in the way that God meant it to be? True, people are living in practically all parts of the earth. But are they living together happily as a united family, in the good way their Creator meant for them? Today the world is divided. There is hatred. There is crime. There is war. Millions of people are hungry and sick. Others have daily worries about housing, work and expenses. And none of these things bring honor to God. Evidently, then, the earth is not being inhabited in the way Almighty God originally meant it to be.

After creating the first human couple, God placed them in an earthly paradise. He wanted them to enjoy life on earth forever. His purpose for them was to spread their paradise over all the earth. This is shown by his instructions to them: "Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28) Yes, Godís purpose was, in the course of time, to have the entire earth brought under the control of a righteous human family all living together in peace and happiness.

Although the first human couple disobeyed God, thus proving to be unfit to live forever, Godís original purpose did not change. It must be fulfilled! (Isaiah 55:11) The Bible promises: "The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it. (Psalm 37:29) Often the Bible tells of Godís arrangement to give humans who serve him everlasting life. John 3:14-16, 36; Isaiah 25:8; Rev. 21:3, 4. ( Live Forever(1982,1989 WTB&TS)

Just as our children can suffer and pay the price for our mistakes, so too, do we now suffer and experience the results of our original parents sin. (Adam & Eve) If a parent gambles, drinks or uses drugs, the family can suffer because of having little or no money for food, clothing etc. Eve allowed her desire to make her own decisions take over her thoughts, thus causing her to look upon the forbidden tree and it's fruit with longing. In time this longing became so strong that it was easy for Satan to trick her into eating the fruit.

Adam for his part, allowed his consuming attraction for Eve to consume him. This led to his ignoring his heavenly Father's warning. He picked his wife and her sinful course over that of remaining faithful to his Creator. And down to this day, we know how lust for the opposite sex, and greed for power can lead one to experience many problems.

Now the question arises, is this all there is? Will we as decendants of Adam and Eve have to bare the pain and suffering of their actions, forever?

Wherever you look in the world, there is crime, hatred and trouble. Often it is the innocent who suffer. Some people blame God. They may say: ĎIf there is a God, why does he permit all these terrible things to happen?í Yet who are doing these wicked things to others? It is people, not God. God condemns wicked acts. In fact, much of the suffering on earth would be prevented if people obeyed Godís laws. He commands us to love. He forbids murder, stealing, fornication, greed, drunkenness and other acts of wrongdoing that cause humans to suffer. (Romans 13:9; Ephesians 5:3, 18) God made Adam and Eve with a marvelous brain and body and with the ability to enjoy life to the full. He never wanted them or their children to suffer or have trouble.

It was Satan the Devil who started wickedness on earth. But Adam and Eve were also to blame. They were not so weak that they could not have resisted when the Devil tempted them. They could have told Satan to ďgo away,Ē just as the perfect man Jesus later did. (Matthew 4:10) But they did not. As a result, they became imperfect. All their children, including us, have inherited that imperfection, which brought with it sickness, sorrow and death. (Romans 5:12) But why has God permitted suffering to go on?(Live Forever-1982,1989 WTB&TS)

Why is it that we continue to suffer for the sin of Adam and Eve. What purpose does it serve? AN IMPORTANT ISSUE TO BE SETTLED 5 The rebellion against God in the garden of Eden raised an important issue or question. We need to examine it in order to understand why God has permitted wickedness. Jehovah told Adam not to eat from a certain tree in the garden. If Adam did, what would happen? God said: "You will positively die." (Genesis 2:17) However, Satan said exactly the opposite. He told Adamís wife, Eve, to go ahead and eat from the forbidden tree. "You positively will not die," Satan said. In fact, he went on to tell Eve: "For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad." Genesis 3:1-5.

Eve disobeyed God and ate. Why? Eve believed Satan. She selfishly thought that she would benefit by disobeying God. She reasoned that no longer would she or Adam need to answer to God. No longer would they have to submit to his laws. They could decide for themselves what is ďgoodĒ and what is ďbad. Adam went along with Eve and also ate. Discussing manís original sin against God, a footnote in The Jerusalem Bible says: "It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence . . . The first sin was an attack on Godís sovereignty. That is, it was an attack on Godís right to be manís absolute ruler or superior.

So by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve withdrew themselves from under Godís rulership. They went out on their own, doing what was ďgoodĒ or ďbadĒ according to their own decisions. So the important issue or question raised was: Does God have the right to be the absolute ruler of humankind? In other words, is Jehovah the One to decide what is good or bad for humans? Is he the One to say what is right conduct and what is not? Or can man do a better job of governing himself? Whose way of ruling is best? Can humans, under the invisible direction of Satan, rule successfully without Jehovahís direction? Or is Godís guidance needed in order to set up a righteous government that will bring lasting peace to the earth? All such questions were raised in this attack on Godís sovereignty, on his right to be the only and absolute ruler of humankind.

Of course, as soon as the rebellion happened Jehovah could have destroyed the three rebels. There was no question that he was stronger than Satan or Adam and Eve. But destroying them would not have settled matters in the best way. For example, it would not have answered the question of whether humans could successfully rule themselves without help from God. So Jehovah allowed time to settle the important issue that was raised. (Live Forever-1982,1989 WTB&TS)

Now the question arises, when will God decide that the issue has been settled? Also, what will settlement of this issue mean for the Earth and for us?

SETTLING THE ISSUE Now that time has passed, what has been the result? Well, what would you say? Have the past 6,000 years of history shown that humans have been successful in governing themselves without Godís guidance? Have humans provided good government for the blessing and happiness of all? Or has the record of history shown that the prophet Jeremiahís words are correct: It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his stepĒ?" Jeremiah 10:23.

Throughout history all kinds of governments have been tried, but none have brought security and real happiness to all those living under their rule. Some persons may point to the signs of progress. But can a person speak of true progress when the bow and arrow have been replaced by the atomic bomb, and when the world now is in great fear of another world war? What kind of progress is it when men can walk on the moon but cannot live together in peace on the earth? What good is it for men to build homes equipped with all kinds of modern conveniences when the families who live in them are torn apart by troubles? Are riots in the streets, the destruction of property and life and the widespread lawlessness things of which to be proud? Not at all! But these are the results of humans trying to rule themselves apart from God. Proverbs 19:3.

The evidence should be clear to all. Manís efforts to govern himself independently of God have been a terrible failure. They have resulted in great human suffering. "Man has dominated man to his injury," the Bible explains. (Ecclesiastes 8:9) Clearly, humans need Godís guidance in governing their affairs. Just as God created man with the need to eat food and drink water, so man was made with the need to obey Godís laws. If man ignores Godís laws, he will come into difficulty, just as surely as he would suffer if he ignored his bodyís need for food and water. Proverbs 3:5, 6.

Okay, the above makes sense. But now one might wonder why, why it has taken so long to settle the issue raised in the garden of Eden?

WHY SO LONG? However, a person might ask, ĎWhy has God permitted so much time, about 6,000 years now, to settle this issue? Could it not have been settled in a satisfactory way long ago?í Not really. If God had stepped in long ago, the charge could have been made that humans were not given enough time to experiment. But as it is, humans have had plenty of time to develop a government that would satisfy the needs of all its subjects, as well as make scientific discoveries that could contribute to the prosperity of all. Over the centuries humans have tried nearly every form of government. And their progress in the field of science has been remarkable. They have harnessed the atom and traveled to the moon. But what has been the result? Has it brought a grand new system for the blessing of humankind?

Far from it! Instead, there is more unhappiness and trouble on earth than ever before. In fact, crime, pollution, war, family breakdown and other problems have reached such a dangerous stage that scientists believe manís very existence is threatened. Yes, after about 6,000 years of experience in self-rule, and after reaching a peak in scientific ďprogress,Ē humankind is now facing self-destruction! How clear it is that humans cannot successfully govern themselves apart from God! Nor can anyone now complain that God did not allow enough time to settle this issue.

Surely God has had good reason for permitting humans under the rule of Satan to cause the wickedness that has existed for so long. By his rebellion Satan raised another issue that it has also required time to settle. An examination of this issue will provide further help in our understanding why God has permitted wickedness. You should be especially interested in this issue since, like it or not, you are personally involved.

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