Paradise on Earth—A Booklet
Extracts from a B.F.U. publication 1987
This booklet came from a series in 1986 and 1987. It’s interesting to note that it was in April 1986 that the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union occurred. Fossil fuels have not run out as expected although North Sea oil and gas production is much reduced and the U.K. relies on supplies from overseas. But the predicted introduction of wind and solar power and the consideration of tidal power has continued. Terrorism has posed an increased problem since 1987 with the various wars on terror. Food and the quality of food eaten has become more of an issue. Earthquakes and tidal waves have struck in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day (26 December) 2004 as well as the one in Japan in 2011. The estimated world population reached 7.7 billion in April 2019 according to Wikipedia. In the Amazon forest according to Channel 4 on 11 June last month deforestation in the Amazon basin hit record levels. It results from the pro‑farming policy Abeing pursued by Brazil’s new president…The Amazon rainforest is shrinking faster than any other. " (He also says) "the demarcated environmentally protected indigenous lands in the Amazon forest...hinders development".
The marvels of surgery have lengthened and made more tolerable many blighted lives, but world pollution and commercial food manufacture is shortening many more.
Research into the atom has made possible the manufacture of many useful chemical substances, the production of increasingly useful food plants and the treatment of baffling diseases: but it has also given us nuclear fission and the nuclear bomb, with all the horrifying possibilities inherent in that creation.
The benefits of the one are more than overshadowed by the menace of the other. And it was in foreseeing this that the Lord Jesus, knowing that such a day would surely come, described it in words burning in their intensity. "There shall be signs...upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity...men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth". "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but...those days shall be shortened" (Luke 21:25‑26; Matt.24:22). But as though to assure those who in the end of the Age find themselves face to face with these dark events, He went on to say "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (deliverance) draweth nigh" (Luke 21:27‑28). It is the recognition that the state of society and the nature of the events of which Jesus and the prophets spoke are those existing today which gives confidence that the great deliverance which they foresaw is in absolute fact imminent. The Day is at hand.
The nature and magnitude of world conditions and world events is such that Christian observers familiar with the Divine purposes no longer doubt that the time of the transition from human rule to Divine rule on earth is upon us. Our Lord characterised the principal features of this transition time as comprising universal war, famine and pestilence. Elaborated to a global scale this is just the situation confronting mankind. Since the first world war of 1914‑18 the world has never been free from war in one place or another. The destructiveness of military weaponry has increased a million‑fold. For the first time in human history the human race has it within its power to wipe itself off the face of the earth, and this not only at the behest of a few politicians ensconced at the top, but almost in the power of every terrorist and, perhaps, experimenting schoolboy. The fate of millions being determined by the irresponsible.
Behind them, in turn, stand the terrorist groups seeking to bring about their own systems of control, also by force. Home computers are already finding it possible to "muscle in" on the sophisticated defensive and offensive systems of the nations, and who knows, could perhaps "trigger off" a cataclysm.
The steady deforestation of the world at the behest of powerful financial interests, greedy for the timber, and the minerals lying below the forests, has its adverse effect in rainfall and world climate and leads to the creation of vast deserts where life is impossible. The last of the world’s great rain forests, that of the Amazon region in northern Brazil, is now being systemically decimated and no one in authority or power cares. Two thousand years ago there was no great desert in northern Africa; there were forests and grasslands teeming with life. At the present the vast Sahara Desert which is already larger than the entire United States is increasing in size every year.
A related problem is that of over‑population. From the beginning of the Christian era to the year AD 1700 it is estimated that the world’s population increased from one hundred million to five hundred million. In the next two centuries, to AD 1900, it trebled to some 1700 million. Since then, in less than a century, it has shot up to over five thousand million, of whom three‑quarters today do not get enough to eat. The fault does not lie in the land; there is enough potential food‑growing land in the earth to feed a great many more than this present population. The fault lies in the present economic system under which food is grown for private profit and those who cannot pay cannot eat. That leads to the existing immoral system in which Europe and other productive lands build up huge stocks of foodstuffs which cannot be sold and are ultimately destroyed whilst in Africa and India sporadic famines occur and millions starve to death. Nothing can or will change this system.
Men and women, in the so‑called civilised lands anyway, are living longer, but they are becoming increasingly susceptible to ill health. National health services are being stretched as never before. And the reason is becoming apparent. God ordained that food grown in the unpolluted earth should be sustenance for man, to maintain strength and vigour and life. But the land is no longer unpolluted, and the food it does grow is passed through a long series of manufacturing processes in which it is converted into "convenience foods" involving little or no labour for its presentation to the table but no one really knows what harm is done by the additives and preservatives and colourings which have been added to it in the process.
Food for the Nations
Joel 3:18 "It shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters". The picture is that of earth bringing forth abundantly for the sustenance of all creatures that dwell therein.
The story of Eden and the first man recounted in Genesis enshrines the basic principles of human life upon earth, and this is true whether the story is literal fact or as an elaborate metaphor. And when it touches upon the question of food there is one rather surprising factor. When the Lord told the first human pair of the conditions of life upon earth He said that He had provided the grasses of the earth for animal subsistence and the seed‑bearing plants and fruit bearing trees for human subsistence. Said He "I give you all plants that bear seed everywhere on earth, and every tree bearing fruit which yields seed: they shall be yours for food. All green plants I give for food to the wild animals, to all the birds of heaven, and to all reptiles on earth, to every living creature" (Gen.1:29‑30 NEB). The distinction between food for man and animals here is between plants fully ripe and in seed, "eseb zara zara", and fresh young herbage suitable for animals, "yerek eseb"; and there is no mention of a meat diet. It can be reasonably expected that in the future Millennial world, when the "curse" on the ground is lifted and the earth yields its increase, the fruits of the earth will recover the elements needed for human sustenance and animal food become unnecessary. If it can be conceded that such was the case at the beginning, that the failure to maintain that position during the rule of man, this world of sin and death, rendered the alternative necessary, it might be reasonable to expect a resumption of primitive conditions in the restored and perfected earth.
Let the Earth Bring Forth
The existing world economy is built upon energy produced from the consumption of fossil fuels coal, oil, natural gas—and the supply of these in the earth has limits and must one day be exhausted. It goes without saying that the nuclear power stations will have to go, and quickly. Mankind will be left with the original sources of power of ancient times—wind, water and the sun.
In recent years there have been serious attempts to use wind power to help solve current energy problems, taking the form of propeller‑driven electric generators mounted on poles or steel towers. Russia had 30,000 such operating in 1954 and the USA had 50,000 in 1965. The United Kingdom is experimenting with them in favourable spots such as the North of Scotland and the Isle of Man, feeding electricity into the national grid. It is said (by the BBC) that 10% of Britain’s power needs by the year 2020 will be met by wind power, nearly twice as much as the much‑vaunted nuclear stations produce at present. And the potentiality is great.
Waterpower comes next. Every major country in the world has its hydro‑electric stations where water stored in a man‑made lake, fed by rivers or streams in the mountains, passes to a lower level where it operates turbines driving electric generators. In the Middle Ages every English stream of any size had its waterwheels along the banks, turning millstones or operating weaving looms, or on farms pumping water. As with the wind, there is plenty there.
Tidal power and devices using the force of the waves of the sea are often talked about and some installations are in use. The potentiality is very great.
But all these devices involve intricate and heavy machinery and one wonders if man in the perfect state is intended to construct and use such means when the Lord can ordain the forces of Nature to serve his needs. There is one source of energy which in magnitude as well as simplicity exceeds by far all these devices of man’s creating. That source is the sun.
Twenty years ago the U.S.A. Energy Sources investigators considered that by 2000 the United States will get 6% of its total energy from the sun, and by 2020 the proportion will rise to 55%.
The sun’s energy is in its light, falling upon the earth. (The sensation of heat felt when the sun shines is caused by sunlight agitating the atoms of the atmosphere as it passes through.) The light is the energy and this is manifested either as heat in the familiar way, or transmuted into solid substance by chemical reaction as when falling upon a leaf, or transformed into electricity when agitating the electrons of certain light‑sensitive metals in what is called a solar cell. The science of solar energy has developed for over a century but it is realised that we are as yet only on the fringe of what can be achieved. All kinds of devices for collecting and utilising the sun’s energy have been tried.
It has been calculated that an area of the New Mexico desert only eighty miles square could supply all the power at present required by the United States. One thousandth part of the Sahara Desert could produce as much as is now used all over the world.
We live in an age when the fantastic of today is the commonplace of tomorrow. These endeavours of present‑day researchers to solve the problems which are admittedly facing the world of the immediate future are pointers to the solutions which will undoubtedly come. The point being made is that solutions do not lie in the field of increasingly complex mechanical devices, a world of computers and robots, but in the field of Nature where the whole earth will bring forth everything that is good and necessary for the service of man, where Nature is man’s handmaid, and men learn to manipulate the forces of Nature to his own advantage and for his well‑being. In the Eden story God put the man whom He had created in the garden, "to dress it and to keep it". (Gen.2:15) The two words mean in the first place to cultivate and in the second to preserve, as a steward or guardian. So in the Millennium mankind will learn to care for and to maintain this earthly heritage, so that, as it was said so long ago by the prophet the earth shall yield its increase. (Psalm 67:6)
The Foundations of the Earth
The field which has now to be considered is the sphere of so‑called "natural disasters", earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, typhoons, tidal waves and the like if the Millennium is to be a time of peace and security.
The factor which has to be borne in mind is that all the experts admit that even in the present time there is no real certainty about the precise cause of these violent convulsions of Nature nor how they may be expected to develop in future ages. It is obvious that they originate from deep down in the interior of the earth but just what are the conditions in that interior is still largely a matter of interpreting the facts obtained from various detecting instruments.
Earthquakes have been the subject of many theories as to their cause, the favourite at present is that extensive blocks of solid rock called "plates", eighty miles thick and hundreds of square miles in extent, are "floating" upon the aforesaid fluid rock and from time to time exert a tremendous strain on each other until something "gives" and the earth’s surface above is affected accordingly. There are now seismic listening stations all over the world which can detect these movements and give advance warning of the imminence of an earthquake. (It has been observed for ages past that animals and birds give evidence of sensing earthquakes before they happen.)
Although we may not understand, with our limited knowledge, just how these forces will be tamed, He does know, and at the right time will say to them, as Jesus did to the raging waters on the sea of Galilee, "Peace, be still". (Mark 4:i39) And there will then be great calm.
"Nevertheless as I live...that all the earth may be filled with the glory of Yahweh". (Num.14:21 Rotherham)