WHAT AN AMAZING PROSPECT! Our Creator has promised to give us everlasting life, right here on earth. Many, however, find that difficult to believe. ‘Everyone has to die sometime,’ they say. ‘It is part of a natural cycle of life and death.’ Others feel that living forever is possible, but not here on earth. They say that everlasting life is attained only after you die and go to heaven. What do you think?
Before you decide, why not consider the Bible’s answer to these three questions: What does the way man was made show as to how long he was meant to live? What was God’s original purpose for the earth and for mankind? How did death come upon the human family?
MAN’S UNIQUE NATURE
Of all the forms of life that God has created on earth, humans are truly unique. How so? The Bible indicates that humans alone were created in God’s “image” and “likeness.” (Genesis 1:26, 27) What does that mean? It means that humankind was given characteristics and qualities that mirrored God’s own, such as love and a sense of justice.
In addition, humans were endowed with thinking and reasoning abilities, coupled with moral and spiritual capacities. That is why we can appreciate the grandeur of the universe and the wonders of nature, as well as art, music, and poetry. Above all, mankind has the unique capacity to worship the Creator. Such attributes put an immeasurable gulf between humans and all other living creatures on earth.
Thus, consider: Would God have given humans such remarkable qualities, along with a seemingly limitless potential to develop and enhance them, if he meant for us to live only a few short years? The truth is that God gave humans these unique qualities and abilities so that we could enjoy life right here on earth forever.
GOD’S ORIGINAL PURPOSE
Some say, however, that God never meant for humans to live on earth forever. They maintain that the earth was designed to be a temporary home, a testing ground to see which members of the human family deserve to go to heaven and live eternally with God. But if that were true, would it not, in effect, make God responsible for all the evil and badness that fill the earth? That would be in direct contradiction to the very nature of God. About him, the Bible says: “For all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness who is never unjust; righteous and upright is he.”—Deuteronomy 32:4.
The Bible clearly reveals God’s original purpose for the earth in these words: “As for the heavens, they belong to Jehovah, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” (Psalm 115:16) Yes, God created the earth to be a beautiful, permanent home for mankind, and he filled it with everything we need to enjoy meaningful, endless life.—Genesis 2:8, 9.
“As for the heavens, they belong to Jehovah, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.”—Psalm 115:16
The Bible is also clear regarding God’s purpose for mankind. He commissioned the first human couple to “fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection . . . every living creature that is moving on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) What a privilege for them to care for and expand their Paradise home earth wide! Indeed, the prospect that awaited Adam and Eve and their eventual offspring was everlasting life on earth, not a reward in heaven.
WHY DO WE DIE?
Why, then, do we die? The Bible shows that one of God’s spirit creatures, later identified as the rebel Satan the Devil, tried to sabotage God’s arrangements in Eden. How?
Satan induced our first parents, Adam and Eve, to join him in rebellion against God. When Satan claimed that God was withholding something good from them—the right to determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong—they went along with Satan and turned their backs on God. The result? In time, they died, just as God had warned. They lost the prospect of living forever in Paradise on earth.—Genesis 2:17; 3:1-6; 5:5.
Adam and Eve’s rebellion has affected all humans down to this day. God’s Word says: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men.” (Romans 5:12) We die because we inherited sin and death from our original parents, not because of some predetermined, unfathomable ‘plan’ of God.
YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER ON EARTH
The rebellion in Eden did not thwart God’s original purpose for mankind and the earth. God’s perfect love and sense of justice moved him to provide a way to free us from the bondage of inherited sin and death. The apostle Paul explained: “The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Lovingly, God “gave his only-begotten Son [Jesus Christ], so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) By offering himself willingly as a ransom sacrifice, Jesus redeemed all that was lost through Adam. *
Soon, God’s promise of an earthly paradise will become a reality. This wonderful future can be yours if you take to heart Jesus’ admonition: “Go in through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14) Yes, your future is in your own hands. What will you do?
^ par. 17 For more information on what the ransom can do for you, see chapter 5 of the book What Can the Bible Teach Us? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses and available online at www.jw.org.