Will the Earth Be Destroyed?

Will the Earth Be Destroyed?

The Bible’s answer

 No, planet Earth will never be destroyed, burned in fire, or replaced. The Bible teaches that God created the earth to be inhabited forever.

  •   “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.”​—Psalm 37:29.

  •   “[God] has established the earth on its foundations; it will not be moved from its place forever and ever.”​—Psalm 104:5.

  •   “The earth remains forever.”​—Ecclesiastes 1:4.

  •   “The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, . . . did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.”​—Isaiah 45:18.

Will humans ruin the earth?

 God will not allow humans to ruin the earth completely by pollution, warfare, or any other means. Rather, he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) How will he accomplish that?

 God will replace human governments, which have been unable to protect the earth, with a perfect heavenly Kingdom. (Daniel 2:​44; Matthew 6:​9, 10) That Kingdom will be ruled by God’s Son, Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 9:​6, 7) When on earth, Jesus exercised miraculous powers over natural elements. (Mark 4:​35-​41) As the King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus will exercise full control over earth and its elements. He will re-create, or renew, conditions on earth, making them similar to those that existed in the garden of Eden.​—Matthew 19:28; Luke 23:43.

Doesn’t the Bible teach that the earth will be burned in fire?

 No, it does not. Such a misconception often comes from a misunderstanding of 2 Peter 3:7, which says: “The heavens and the earth that now exist are reserved for fire.” Consider two important points that help us understand the meaning of those words:

  1.   The Bible uses the terms “heavens,” “earth,” and “fire” to refer to more than one thing. For example, Genesis 11:1 says: “All the earth continued to be of one language.” Here, “earth” refers to human society.

  2.   The context of 2 Peter 3:7 indicates the meaning of the heavens, earth, and fire mentioned there. Verses 5 and 6 draw a parallel with the Flood of Noah’s day. On that occasion, an ancient world was destroyed, yet our planet did not disappear. Instead, the Flood wiped out a violent society, or “earth.” (Genesis 6:​11) It also destroyed a kind of “heavens”​—the people who ruled over that earthly society. Thus, wicked people were destroyed, not our planet. Noah and his family survived the destruction of that world and inhabited the earth after the Flood.​—Genesis 8:​15-​18.

 Similar to the waters of the Flood, the destruction, or “fire,” of 2 Peter 3:7 will bring an end to the world of wicked people, not to planet Earth. God promises “new heavens and a new earth” in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:​13) A “new earth,” or new human society, will be ruled over by “new heavens,” or new leadership​—God’s Kingdom. Under the rule of that Kingdom, the earth will become a peaceful paradise.​—Revelation 21:​1-4.