According to Genesis 1:1, the earth was created in the ‘beginning’ or in the ageless past. The earth was subsequently made fit to sustain man and life as we know it beginning in Genesis 1:2. Many wonder how long the earth will last. According to our president, if we don’t decrease our carbon footprint, the earth is doomed in the near future. Perhaps he knows something beyond Biblical teachings.
First, let’s confirm the purpose of the earth.
“The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men.” Psalm 115:16
The term ‘children’ above is the same Hebrew word used for ‘sons’ in the following referring to the object of wisdom’s delight.
“…rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.” Proverbs 8:31
Sons (children) of men differentiate mankind from angels which are referred to as ‘sons of God’.
Several times the Psalmists confirmed the relationship of man to the earth.
“Who is the man that fears the LORD? …his descendants shall inherit the earth.” Psalm 25:13
“…but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth…But the meek shall inherit the earth.” Psalm 37:9, 11
The Hebrew for ‘inherit’ means to take possession, occupy, or to be an heir. The Hebrew for ‘meek’ means gentle, humble, and/lowly.
And in the New Testament Jesus, once again, confirmed Old Testament truths in His opening statements on His famous Sermon on the Mount.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
It has been established that man will never cease to be, but how about planet earth?
“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven…You established the earth, and it abides.” Psalm 119:89-90
The word ‘abides’ means stands or remain.
Perhaps the wisest man in the world said it best:
“One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4
Therefore, both mankind and the earth will forever remain. However, both will undergo drastic renewal.
All mankind will be changed at their respective resurrections and the earth will undergo tremendous changes when it is renewed.
Isaiah referred to the changes to the earth as the ‘new earth’.
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17
“For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me…” Isaiah 66:22
Once again these profound Scripture passages are confirmed in the New Testament; this time taught by Peter.
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13
The Greek meaning of the word ‘new’ means new in quality, or basically renewal of the same physical object.
The Apostle John was also given a vision of the future of the earth.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” Revelation 21:1
Recall the two concepts of ‘light’ found in the first chapter of Genesis. Light as referenced in Genesis 1:3 meant enlightenment. The light provided by the sun in Genesis 1:14 referred to a luminous body or lamp.
The same two sources of light are referenced in the final chapter of the Bible.
“There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, but the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:5
Therefore, mankind, the earth, and light shall never cease to be.
While speaking at the European Space Agency recently renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking offered his take on the subject.
“Our planet is an old world, threatened with an ever-expanding population and finite resources. We must anticipate these threats and have a plan B. If our species is to survive the next hundred years, let alone a thousand, it is imperative we voyage out into the blackness of space to colonize new worlds across the cosmos.”
The two opposing views of the future are quite different.
Everyone has the freedom to choose their own perspective.