Can Humans Guarantee a Happy Future?
You have just moved into what appears to be a sturdy and attractive new brick home. It is what you have always wanted. The future looks good! But within just a few years, the house develops serious structural defects and has to be demolished. Your heart is broken. But you are not alone. The same problems have developed in other houses in your area. Investigation reveals that the causes were architectural incompetence and flawed bricks.
LIKE that house, the world is in big trouble. Despite countless social and political experiments and almost miraculous advances in science and technology, the very fabric of society seems to be coming apart. In a number of lands, lawlessness and anarchy are already the order of the day. Will desperation drive humans to resolve their problems, to create good government at last? Consider what some authorities have said about mankind’s track record.
“We Have Tried Everything”
In an effort to make the world a better place, thinkers from Greek philosopher Plato to German political philosopher and socialist Karl Marx have proposed numerous political ideologies. The results? An article in the journal New Statesman said: “We have not abolished poverty or constructed world peace. On the contrary, we seem to have achieved exactly the opposite. It is not as though we haven’t tried. We have tried everything from communism to the pure market; from the League of Nations to nuclear deterrence. We have fought too many ‘wars to end war’ to believe that we know how to end war, and our inner cities look as though there was a continuing blitzkrieg.” The article continued: “We began the [20th] century enthusiastically believing that the scientists would save us and we end it not believing a single word they say.”
In 2001 emeritus professor of economic and social history at London University Eric Hobsbawm wrote that mankind’s political systems “face an age when the impact of human action on nature and the globe has become a force of geological proportions.” The solution, or mitigation, of these problems “will require measures for which, almost certainly, no support will be found by counting votes or measuring consumer preferences. This is not encouraging for the long-term prospects of either democracy or the globe.”
Seeing catastrophe staring mankind in the face, world-famous astrophysicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking asked: “In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?”
Why Such a Dismal Record?
Only the Bible satisfactorily explains mankind’s abysmal failure at self-government. For one thing, the Bible gives us a truly frank assessment of the human condition. Consider, for example, the following four fundamental truths.
We are all imperfect. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Just as flaws within bricks might cause a building to weaken and crumble, inherited imperfection in humans manifests itself in ways that can weaken society. These include tendencies toward corruption, dishonesty, greed, and the abuse of power. This is nothing new. Some three thousand years ago, a wise Bible writer observed: “Man has dominated man to his injury.”—Ecclesiastes 8:9.
Leaders in government and the judiciary acknowledge our imperfections and weaknesses and try to counteract these with reams of legislation. But they do so knowing full well that one cannot legislate love for one’s fellow man or the desire to be law-abiding.
Death overtakes us. “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit [or life force] goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.” (Psalm 146:3, 4) Considered to be one of the wisest rulers of all time, King Solomon of ancient Israel saw how futile his hard work might turn out to be. He wrote: “I, even I, hated all my hard work at which I was working hard under the sun, that I would leave behind for the man who would come to be after me. And who is there knowing whether he will prove to be wise or foolish? Yet he will take control over all my hard work . . . This too is vanity.”—Ecclesiastes 2:18, 19.
Good self-rule is beyond us. “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Our imperfections aside, the Bible teaches that according to God’s original purpose, humans have neither the God-given right to rule themselves nor the ability to do so effectively. Why, for example, do people tend to chafe at the thought of another human or group of humans telling them what to do or setting moral or ethical standards for them? The answer: We were created to look to a higher authority than ourselves for guidance in life. That Authority is God.—Isaiah 33:22; Acts 4:19; 5:29.
Humans are influenced by a hidden ruler. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one”—Satan the Devil. (1 John 5:19) If the top management of a company was utterly corrupt—and untouchable—what could the average employee do to correct things? Little, if anything. The same is true in regard to correcting the problems ultimately attributable to the hidden rulers of this world—invisible, evil spirit creatures working under the overlordship of Satan. The Bible describes those rulers as “governments,” “authorities,” “world rulers of this darkness,” and “wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.”—Ephesians 6:12.
The Bible does not, however, simply expose mankind’s failings and the world’s unseen rulers. It also provides good news in the form of a sure solution to all our problems, thus giving us a sound basis for hope.
Our Creator to the Rescue!
Left to our own devices, we could never find a solution to these problems. Not even the most intelligent, powerful, or wealthy human has the power to change a single one of the four realities mentioned in this article. * But as explained in the following article, our Creator has neither forgotten us nor abandoned us. In fact, as earth’s rightful Sovereign, he will address every obstacle that lies in the way of our happiness. (1 John 4:8) What is more, he will do so soon. How do we know?
As explained in last month’s issue of this magazine, world events and social conditions make it abundantly clear that we are deep into “the last days” of the present world. (2 Timothy 3:1; Matthew 24:3-7) No, the end will not come in the form of a nuclear holocaust or a collision with an asteroid or in some other way that indiscriminately annihilates both the good and the bad. Rather, it will be the result of divine intervention aimed specifically at the wicked, including those who insist on perpetuating human sovereignty. (Psalm 37:10; 2 Peter 3:7) At the same time, God will bring to an end all the suffering that such opposers of God have caused. *—2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.
Thereafter, the Creator will solve our problems of government by granting full authority over the earth to a rulership called “the kingdom of God.” (Luke 4:43) As we shall now see, that world government puts tomorrow in a totally new light.
^ par. 17 See the article “Is Philanthropy the Answer?” on page 19.
^ par. 18 The question “Why Does God Allow Suffering?” is addressed on page 106 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[Box/Picture on page 5]
FLAWED “BRICKS” OF HUMAN SOCIETY
▪ We are all imperfect.
▪ Death overtakes us.
▪ Good self-rule is beyond us.
▪ Humans are influenced by a hidden ruler.
[Box on page 6]
HUMANS WILL NOT RUIN THE EARTH!
The Creator’s purpose for the earth to be a safe, peaceful home for God-fearing humans is well supported in the Bible. Consider the following scriptures.
“He has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.”—Psalm 104:5.
“You have solidly fixed the earth, that it may keep standing.”—Psalm 119:90.
“A generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite.”—Ecclesiastes 1:4.
“The earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isaiah 11:9.
“[Jehovah is] the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, 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.