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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English

Awake!  |  December 2014

 THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINT

The Earth

The Earth

What is God’s purpose for the earth?

“This is what Jehovah says, . . . the One who formed the earth, . . . who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.”Isaiah 45:18.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

Many assert that the earth came about through a mindless process. Some religions teach that the earth is a temporary testing ground where God examines people to see if they should be rewarded with heavenly life or condemned to a fiery hell.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

The Bible says that “God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) He told the first human pair: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection . . . every living creature that is moving on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) The only mention of death was in connection with disobedience. (Genesis 2:17) Thus, God meant for the earth to be the eternal home for mankind. It was to be filled with obedient humans who would care for it and live forever on it.

 Will the earth be destroyed?

“He has established the earth on its foundations; it will not be moved from its place forever and ever.”Psalm 104:5.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

Scientists have proposed various scenarios by which the earth could be destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. Sometimes called existential risks, these include natural disasters—such as asteroid or comet impact, supervolcanoes, the death of the sun, or global warming—and they also include man-made catastrophes—such as nuclear war or bioterrorism.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

God’s purpose for the earth has not changed. God’s Word clearly states: “The earth remains forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4) Furthermore, it will be inhabited for all time: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.”Psalm 37:29.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Belief that the earth will eventually be destroyed has caused some to plunder its precious resources. It has caused others to lose hope for the future and to live only for today. This can lead to a life with little meaning or purpose. On the other hand, if we believe that we can live forever on earth, we are more likely to make decisions that will benefit us and our families—even in the distant future.

Is heaven mankind’s final destination?

“As for the heavens, they belong to Jehovah, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.”Psalm 115:16.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

Many believe that all good people go to heaven.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

Heaven belongs to God, but the earth is for man. The Bible speaks of “the inhabited earth to come.” (Hebrews 2:5) Jesus was the first man to ascend to heaven, and the Bible shows that a select few others will go to heaven for a specific purpose. Alongside Jesus, they will “rule as kings over the earth.”Revelation 5:9, 10; Luke 12:32; John 3:13.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

The belief that all good people go to heaven is not compatible with what the Bible really teaches. If God were to take all good people to heaven, it would imply that he failed to accomplish his original purpose for the earth and that his promises regarding everlasting life on earth are not true. In contrast, God’s Word promises: “Hope in Jehovah and follow his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth.”Psalm 37:34.