The Search for a New Earth
In September 2017, the BBC showed a programme with Stephen Hawking and others with the title and theme, “The Search for a New Earth.”
BBC Link to the series – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0953y04 (link checked April 2019).
The programme was all about finding a new home for people because of fears that the world would end.
The BBC Blurb – Professor Stephen Hawking thinks the human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive. With climate change, pollution, deforestation, pandemics and population growth, our own planet is becoming increasingly precarious… As Professor Hawking states, ‘We can, and must, use our curiosity and intelligence to look to the stars.’.
Stephen Hawkins: We Must Leave Earth (checked April 2019)
‘New Earth’ Video on YouTube – https://youtu.be/dq_jKbE2jYE (link checked April 2019)
At the same time, National Geographic has been running a series about the end of the earth (and how to survive it). Not sure how we’ll survive the ‘end’ of the world but they have some ideas!
Link to National Geographic – How To Survive The End of the World (link accessed April 2019).
New Heaven and New Earth Video
Direct link to video – https://youtu.be/Q88LvTCR_0c
The quest for a new earth is a good one. As humans we’ve always looked up to the stars and the heavens and imagined what is out there. And science has done stunning things to advance our knowledge.
But we already know there will be a new earth. It’s not a possibility, it’s a definite. And science doesn’t have the answer but God does. In fact, God has promised a new earth. We don’t need to look any further than what the Bible says! But if we do want to investigate further that’s a good thing. So we’ll have a look…
God is real and the Bible is true and alive. Hundreds of things the Bible has said have accurately come true so we can have total confidence that what God says will happen. In the world today, we have new levels of natural disasters – just as God said would happen in the end times.
Isaiah 65.17 – ‘See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.’
Isaiah 66.22 – As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,’ declares the Lord, ‘so will your name and descendants endure.’ (This was God talking to the people of Israel)
2 Peter 3.13 – We are looking for what God has promised, which are new heavens and a new earth. Only what is right and good will be there.
Revelation 21.1 – Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Searching – Words
“We spend our lives searching, desiring to be stars
We send up spaceships, satellites, we even land on mars
We claim the brightest minds, find cures for every condition
But spiritually we’re redundant, our song a poor rendition…
We lock God out, no doubt, we shout, he’s got no place in my life
But then we cry, ‘why God why’ when disaster comes and strikes
To me it’s obvious, plain to see, reality
There’s one hope, one way: God, who died for you and me…”
YouTube Link to spoken word video – https://youtu.be/8ULc0TAaQ5I
Science isn’t always right (and we’re not anti-science!)
Many people say that science is about fact and that God is a belief (or they say he’s made up). But that is not really true. Modern science actually took off because of Christianity (unlike in Greece for example) and many scientists were believers in God (many still are!)
Because God is a God of order, it inspired people to piece together the order of things through science and experiments that could be proved. It is also true that the Bible is full of the evidence of God – archaeology is full of the evidence of the Bible – ancient writings are evidence of Jesus – there are around 1000 prophecies in the Bible and 500 have been accurately fulfilled so far. The changed lives of hundreds of millions of Christians are also proof of the reality of God. God is also appearing to millions of Muslims in dreams and visions and they are coming to know God personally.
But back to science… There is a difference between science that can be done in a lab for example (evidential science) and science about the beginning of the world (historical science).
Historical science is about experiments that try to look back in time and prove what happened – but it also has a question mark about what it finds because what you believe will decide how you fit evidence together.
Christians believe that God created the world (the Bible says he did and he was there, so he should know!) There are many scientists who don’t believe God created the world but that it happened without God. Others have said that they will not accept there is a God, even if it gets proved (not very scientific huh?!)
For all these scientists they use historical science to understand the creation of the world not evidential science. With no belief in God it means their starting point – what we call their ‘worldview’ is therefore very different to Christians. So when they find evidence about the creation of the world, they make conclusions based on this worldview without God. So the same evidence produces a different conclusion to what the Bible says. This evidence is seen by Christians who then say ‘hang on a minute, your evidence may be good but your starting point that says there is no God is wrong. So your conclusion is also wrong.’
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being.”
(Sir Isaac Newton)
Science only has some of the answers
The Bible tells us that each human is spirit, soul and body. The body is our physical bit; the soul is our mind and emotions; the spirit is the spiritual side of us. Science can look at our bodies, look at our minds and emotions and help us so much. Science can also build things for us – help us explore new planets, build new cities and push the boundaries of what we think is possible.
But science can’t identify our spiritual side or provide answers to the meaning of life that each human being craves to know or the urge to believe in something beyond ourselves or the need of most people to do something that makes a difference.
The real ‘you’ is not what you buy, what you wear or what you look like. The real you is on the inside of you and this is the most important part of you. We hear the message of buy this or get that and feel better, look better, be more attractive, get what you want, live life, do what feels good. But all of it is empty. It’s a bit like going out at night and having lots of alcohol – people enjoy it but it quickly wears off. The next day you may have a hangover, have used up a load of money, maybe done things that you didn’t want to, may even damage your body long-term and the good felling has gone – you’re back to how things were before.
Just living for the stuff of the world is like living in a house that’s falling down and deciding to paint it in loud and vibrant colours each year, telling people you’ve got a new house. But inside the house is falling apart.
Without God, life is simply about the things of the world (which we can’t take with us when we die) and offers no hope or clear morals. And when humans don’t have clear boundaries they do whatever they want, usually in a bad way.
Only God can answer the questions about life and meaning. In the movie and book ‘Hitch hiker’s guide to the galaxy’, the question is asked about what the meaning of life is. The robot decides it is the number 42. But the meaning of life can only ever be found in God – everyone has a God-shaped hole inside that only God can fill !
Science is a brilliant thing and we have seen advances in so many areas like computing, medicine, safety, defence and so much more. But science is not the only solution to everything and cannot answer every question mankind has. In the late 19th and early 20th century people believed that every problem could be solved by science but it didn’t work out that way, with the 20th century being the most violent and terrible century in the history of the world.
Science can take us so far but the history of the world shows that the real problem is not lack of science but the evil that is in the heart of man caused by sin. Sin is doing things against the nature of God and it always has consequences, not because God is spiteful but because rejecting God is like saying yes to evil. This is what causes destruction and it is this that will cause the end of the world. The problems in the world can’t be solved simply by more knowledge or more understanding or technology. The real solution can only come when the problem of the human heart is solved.
So when we think about moving people from this world to another world the problem of the human heart still remains. Wherever there are people, there will be evil because of the evil in the human heart. As Joyce Meyer says, “wherever you go, there you are!” Sometimes people move cities to get away from their situations of life and sometimes this works. But often because the problem is inside of us, it doesn’t matter where we go. We can’t escape the problem that is in us.
But there is a solution. It is found in Jesus who defeated evil completely so that by trusting in him we can have meaning and life. Everything else will fade away.
New Heaven and New Earth
The Bible is clear that God will make a new heaven and a new earth. Even if humans live on Mars, the same problems will exist and new ones besides. The Bible (backed up by science) is pretty clear that the earth is unique. It has the perfect balance to give us life and is situated in the universe in the perfect place to sustain human life. It has everything we need so that we can live here. It is so perfect that only God could have made it.
In this way, science lines up with what the Bible says. It is clear that one day the earth will end. Science has identified this and believes it will be many millions of years away – either by burning up, imploding or because of things like being hit by asteroids. The Bible says that the world will end – but when Jesus returns and makes all things new. The Bible also tells us that just before Jesus returns there will be all kinds of bad disasters on a whole new level and that there will be signs and wonders in the skies. All of this is happening. But if we believe in Jesus, we do not need to fear as we will be with God forever.
God is going to create a new earth and new heavens. They will be perfect and beyond anything you can think about. There will be no evil, no death, no suffering and no devil to mess everything up. You will find everything you need and more. Why? Because God is good and he wants to make things better. If you want to know what God looks like, take a look at Jesus. He went around doing good, healing, setting free, bringing life and hope. He restored people from evil to good.
This world (as science identifies) is going from good to decay. That is what the enemy does. God does the exact opposite. He brings good from evil and turns what is bad into what is right. He restores and works on both the ‘interior’ and the ‘exterior’. One day those who believe in Jesus will have a new heaven, new earth and new perfect bodies. That’s what God does – he is in the business of making all things new.
The search for a new earth is only found in God. If you don’t know God, just ask him to come into your heart today and turn things from bad to good. He will.