You Can Believe in a Paradise Earth
THROUGHOUT history, millions of people have believed that they would eventually leave the earth and go to heaven. Some have felt that our Creator never intended that the earth should be our permanent dwelling place. Ascetics have gone even further. To many of them, the earth and all material things are evil—a barrier to real spiritual fulfillment and closeness to God.
Those who developed the foregoing ideas were either unaware of what God said on the matter of a paradise earth or chose to ignore it. Today, in fact, many show no interest in examining what God inspired men to record on this subject in his Word, the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) But is it not wise to trust God’s Word instead of adopting theories of men? (Romans 3:4) It is, in fact, vital that we do so, since the Bible warns us that a powerful but invisible evil creature has blinded people spiritually and is now “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4.
Why the Confusion?
Conflicting ideas about the soul have caused people to be confused about God’s purpose for the earth. Many believe that we have an immortal soul—something that is separate from the human body and that survives death. Others believe that the soul existed before the human body was created. According to one reference work, the Greek philosopher Plato felt that the soul “is incarcerated in the body as a punishment for the sins which it committed in its heavenly state.” Similarly, the third-century theologian Origen said that “souls sinned [in heaven] before they were united with a body” and were “imprisoned [in that body on earth] as a punishment for their sins.” And millions believe that the earth is simply some kind of testing ground on man’s journey to heaven.
There are also various ideas about what happens to the soul when a person dies. According to the book History of Western Philosophy, the Egyptians developed the view that “the souls of the dead descend into the underworld.” Philosophers later argued that the souls of the dead did not descend into a dark underworld but actually ascended to a higher spirit realm. The Greek philosopher Socrates is said to have held that at death the soul “departs into [an] invisible region . . . and spends the rest of its existence with the gods.”
What Does the Bible Say?
Nowhere does God’s inspired Word, the Bible, say that humans have an immortal soul. Read the account at Genesis 2:7 for yourself. It says: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” That is clear and unambiguous. When God created the first man, Adam, He did not put some kind of immaterial principle into him. No, for the Bible says that “the man came to be a living soul.” The man did not house a soul. He was a soul.
In creating the earth and the human family, Jehovah never intended that man should die. God’s purpose was that humans would live on earth forever amid Paradise conditions. Adam died only because he disobeyed God’s law. (Genesis 2:8, 15-17; 3:1-6; Isaiah 45:18) When the first man died, did he go to some spirit realm? No! He—the soul Adam—returned to the inanimate dust from which he was created.—Genesis 3:17-19.
All of us have inherited sin and death from our forefather Adam. (Romans 5:12) This death is a cessation of existence, just as it was for Adam. (Psalm 146:3, 4) In fact, in all its 66 books, the Bible never links the terms “immortal” or “everlasting” with the word “soul.” On the contrary, the Scriptures clearly state that the soul—the person—is mortal. The soul dies.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Ezekiel 18:4.
Are Material Things Inherently Evil?
What about the idea that material things, including the earth, are evil? Such a view was held by adherents of Manichaeism, a religious movement founded in Persia during the third century C.E. by an individual named Mani. Says The New Encyclopædia Britannica: “Manichaeism arose out of the anguish inherent in the human condition.” Mani believed that being human was “alien, unbearable, and radically evil.” He also held that the only way to get out of this “anguish” was for the soul to escape the body, leave the earth, and attain to spiritual existence in a spirit world.
In contrast, the Bible tells us that in God’s view “everything he had made” when creating the earth and humankind was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) At that time, there was no barrier between humans and God. Adam and Eve enjoyed close communion with Jehovah, even as the perfect man Jesus Christ enjoyed an intimate relationship with his heavenly Father.—Matthew 3:17.
If our first parents, Adam and Eve, had not pursued a course of sin, they would have had a close relationship with Jehovah God eternally on a paradise earth. They started life in Paradise, for the Scriptures tell us: “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Genesis 2:8) It was in that paradisaic garden that Eve was brought into existence. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they and their perfect offspring could have worked together happily until the entire earth became a paradise. (Genesis 2:21; 3:23, 24) The earthly Paradise would have been mankind’s home eternally.
Why Do Some Go to Heaven?
‘But,’ you may say, ‘the Bible does speak about people going to heaven, doesn’t it?’ Yes. After Adam sinned, Jehovah purposed to set up a heavenly Kingdom in which some of Adam’s descendants would “rule as kings over the earth” alongside Jesus Christ. (Revelation 5:10; Romans 8:17) They were to be resurrected to immortal life in heaven. Their final number is 144,000, and the first ones among them were Jesus’ faithful first-century disciples.—Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; Revelation 14:1-5.
However, it was not God’s original purpose for upright humans to leave the earth and go to heaven. In fact, when Jesus was on earth, he stated: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.” (John 3:13) Through “the Son of man,” Jesus Christ, God provided a ransom that makes everlasting life possible for those exercising faith in Jesus’ sacrifice. (Romans 5:8) But where will millions of such humans live eternally?
God’s Original Purpose Will Be Fulfilled
Though God purposed to take some from the human family to serve as corulers with Jesus Christ in the heavenly Kingdom, that does not mean that all good people go to heaven. Jehovah created the earth to be the Paradise home of the human family. Very soon now, God will have that original purpose fulfilled.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
Under the rule of Jesus Christ and his heavenly corulers, peace and happiness will prevail in all the earth. (Psalm 37:9-11) Those in God’s memory will be resurrected and will enjoy perfect health. (Acts 24:15) By their faithfulness to God, obedient mankind will be granted what our original parents lost—everlasting life in human perfection on a paradise earth.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
Jehovah God never fails to accomplish what he purposes to do. Through his prophet Isaiah, he declared: “Just as the pouring rain descends, and the snow, from the heavens and does not return to that place, unless it actually saturates the earth and makes it produce and sprout, and seed is actually given to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:10, 11.
In the Bible book of Isaiah, we get a preview of what life will be like in the Paradise earth. No inhabitant of Paradise will say, “I am sick.” (Isaiah 33:24) Animals will pose no danger to man. (Isaiah 11:6-9) People will build beautiful homes and inhabit them and will plant crops and eat to satisfaction. (Isaiah 65:21-25) Moreover, God “will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8.
Soon, obedient mankind will live under such blessed conditions. They “will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) How wonderful it will be to live forever in the promised earthly Paradise! (Luke 23:43) You can be there if you act upon accurate knowledge of the Scriptures and exercise faith in Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. And you can have confidence that it does make sense to believe in a paradise earth.
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Adam and Eve were designed to live forever on a paradise earth
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In the earthly Paradise . . .
they will build houses
they will plant vineyards
they will be blessed by Jehovah
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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C./NASA