IT WAS never God’s purpose for man to live a few years on earth and then die. The Bible plainly shows that the prospect he put before the first humans was endless life on earth. A “tree of life” in their delightful parklike home served as a symbol of the Creator’s unchangeable guarantee of life to those whom he judged worthy of partaking of its fruit.—Gen. 2:9; 3:22.
Today no literal “tree of life” exists anywhere on earth. Gone too is the lovely paradise home that the first humans, Adam and Eve, enjoyed in their perfection. Does this mean that God’s purpose for man has changed?
What a person sees today may lead him to think that God has changed his mind about the earth and mankind. But appearances can be deceptive. God’s Word, the Bible, gives us positive assurance that there has been no change in the Creator’s purpose. We read: “God is not a man that he should tell lies, neither a son of mankind that he should feel regret. Has he himself said it and will he not do it, and has he spoken and will he not carry it out?” (Num. 23:19) “I am Jehovah; I have not changed.”—Mal. 3:6.
Actually, the fact that humans have been dying for thousands of years confirms the dependability of what God has said. How so? Because, regarding the consequences of disobedience, Adam was told: “You will positively die.” (Gen. 2:17) Yielding to his wife’s persuasion, Adam violated God’s law. The Creator held true to his word, sentencing Adam to death on that very day. God said: “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”—Gen. 3:19.
As Adam and his wife were permitted to live for a time and become parents, a dying human family came into existence. Having lost his life rights, Adam could not pass these on as an inheritance to his offspring. That is why the Bible says: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”—Rom. 5:12.
So, the expression of God’s judgment upon Adam has proved true and we are still feeling its effects. Should we not expect, then, that the Almighty’s purpose to have mankind live forever in a paradise earth will also materialize? Most assuredly!
In harmony with his original purpose for man to live and not die, the Bible gives this assurance: “[God] will actually swallow up death forever.” (Isa. 25:8) So, then, there must be a restoration of the human family to the perfection that Adam and Eve once enjoyed.
Basis for Restoration
Many centuries ago the basis for this restoration was laid by God himself. Since Adam, through his disobedience, forfeited the life rights of the human family, the Most High made provision to redeem these. He transferred the life of his foremost Son from the heavens to the womb of a Jewish virgin named Mary. The first-century physician Luke reports what Mary was told just prior to her miraculous conception: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.”—Luke 1:35.
This one, Jesus Christ, maintained flawless obedience toward his God and Father. So when he gave up his human life rights, he was able to buy back the life rights that Adam lost for all his offspring. Regarding this, the Holy Scriptures tell us: “Through one trespass the result to men of all sorts was condemnation, likewise also through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life. For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person many will be constituted righteous.”—Rom. 5:18, 19.
The fact that Jesus Christ maintained flawless conduct as a man proved that this was possible for perfect humans. On this basis, God could view as righteous even imperfect persons if they showed the same kind of devotion as did his Son. For, if these devoted persons also had perfection, they, too, would be able to maintain absolutely blameless conduct. Hence, there was a foundation for Jehovah God to bring humankind into unity with himself through his Son.
Why Have So Many Centuries Passed?
But why, centuries later, do we still find ourselves plagued with weaknesses and imperfections? The reason for this is that God has a specific time for acting. Jesus Christ, upon his being resurrected from the dead, told his loyal disciples: “It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction.”.—Acts 1:7.
We, therefore, need to wait patiently for God’s times and seasons, not looking at matters from the human standpoint. In the case of a man who wants to reach a certain goal, he must act within a comparatively short time. On account of a limited life-span, he cannot afford to postpone a matter indefinitely.
The Creator, however, is not in any way limited by time. To him a “thousand years” are “but as yesterday when it is past, and as a [four-hour] watch during the night.” (Ps. 90:4) He is from “time indefinite to time indefinite.” (Ps. 90:2) He does not have to cope with uncertainties. The future is no blank page to him. The Bible speaks of him as the “One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done.” (Isa. 46:10) Jehovah God can, therefore, take into consideration the past, present and future in deciding the best time to act in behalf of humankind. Since he can also resurrect the dead, the fact that his day for restoring mankind to perfection is yet future does not result in lasting hurt to man. That is why the Most High is under no pressure to act before his own due time, the right time.
Is there any way to know just when we might expect deliverance from human weaknesses and imperfections? The Bible shows that this will take place after the present ungodly system is destroyed and replaced with a righteous new order. The “day and hour” for the execution of God’s judgment upon the present system has not been revealed in the Holy Scriptures. (Matt. 24:36-42) But the Bible does tell about the situation that would exist on earth just prior to that event.
We read: “There will be terrible times in the last days. Men will be lovers of self and of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, profane, inhuman, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating the good. They will be treacherous, reckless, pompous, lovers of pleasure rather than of God as they make a pretense of religion.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5, New American Bible) Is it not true that what is here described is making life increasingly hard for people today? Does this not show that God’s time to bring these “last days” to an end is very near?
A Grand Purpose to Be Realized
After this system comes to its end, Jehovah God has in mind restoring the human family to perfection through his Son, Jesus Christ, and a body of heavenly rulers, the members of which have been purchased from the earth. Those who will make up this ruling body are men and women who have demonstrated their unswerving loyalty to God and their unselfish interest in fellow humans.—Rev. 14:5.
Jesus Christ and his blameless associate rulers will take control of earth’s affairs right after the present imperfect system of things is uprooted from the earth. This means that those ruining the earth will themselves come to their ruin or destruction. (Rev. 11:18) Thereafter marvelous changes will be experienced by those surviving the destruction of earth’s ruiners. They will have the loving attention of Jesus Christ and his associate rulers ‘for a thousand years.’ (Rev. 20:6) During this time the earth will be transformed into a paradise. All the troubles and suffering of the past will be eliminated. And the dead will be resurrected. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, describes what God will do through his heavenly government:
“He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”—Rev. 21:4.
How marvelous indeed is the prospect of witnessing the fulfillment of God’s original purpose—to see humankind restored to perfection and this earth transformed into a beautiful paradise home! Is there anything you can do now to share in the certain realization of that purpose?