The Story of Man and Earth
Author: Yan Wing
Translator: Kaylee Ho
From dust man was made and to dust man shall return (Genesis 2:7). God created the material world as a temporary dwelling place for man on earth (Genesis 1 and 2). On earth man was born and would die and then enter Hades for a while (Luke 16:22-31), and wait for the return of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22). After resurrection, man comes to a formal closure of his physical body, being disconnected from the earth. After accomplishing its mission, this material world created by God will disappear (2 Peter 3:12) and the relationship between man and earth will end. The stories of survival, development, and death on the earth will draw toward their final chapter.
God has foreseen the outcome of this beautiful world when He created the heavens and the earth for mankind. Since human beings are created in time and space, we absolutely cannot exist without time and space; and without time and space, we cannot think or have consciousness. The French philosopher Descartes said: “I think therefore I am”, which ascertains the inseparable link between man and time and space. In “A Brief History of Time” written by the English physicist, Stephen Hawking, all discussions and statements made were subject to limitations of the three-dimensional space. And all of this will cease with the end of the world according to God’s will.
The universe that God created for man was very beautiful, and since God Himself was very satisfied with His works, He proclaimed repeatedly during creation: “God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1: 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). But unfortunately, the world was polluted by sin (Genesis 3:17-18), and everything went awry and was no longer good. It is conceivable that God was sorrowful. But God is not most sorrowful for the broken world, but for human beings who keep sinning now in the world. Since the sin of man leads to death, God has determined to save His people. Although God once destroyed the earth with floods and fires due to the terrible sins of man, he has not yet wiped out all mankind. With compassion and love, he would rather give Himself up (the Son in the Trinity) to save men through the death of Christ (John 3:16). God loves the people in this world, and he also loves the heavens and earth he created.
It is hard to count all the human stories of joy and sorrow starting from Adam, who was created by God with soil, to more than 6 billion people in the world today. But among these many stories, the most important one is the story of Jesus Christ being born into this world in order to save sinners in this world. God’s love for the world was a consistent theme before and after this story – it has been recorded numerous times in the four gospels of the New Testament. This story not only records the beginning, the process, but also the end (Revelation). It is a complete story – the story of man, the story of the earth, and the story of man on the earth.
God is sorrowful for the destruction of man because He loves the people in this world deeply. And as I write this article, we and the earth are still within the time and space of this world. And God loves you, me, and the world. When we receive God’s love and when we are unified with God through the death of Christ on the cross, we all have the hope of eternal life. We are all longing for a better country – a heavenly one (Hebrews 11:16). While we wait, our bodies and the earth are still alive, and we should still cherish this earth.
When the story of man reaches the book the Revelation, the earth will be swallowed up and melted in flames, and thus the transcendence beyond space and time will have occurred. The resurrected man would be raised as a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44), and there no longer will be any use of space and time. When John wrote the Book of Revelation, he was describing “new heavens and new earth” with the current concept of man in time and space, and thus it seems like the same old earth inhabited by man. But there no longer will be space and time, or man’s thoughts and feelings. The old earth has already perished and reached its finale. As for whether people can still recall the old world in the “new heavens and new earth”, it is unknown. But today, when we are living on this earth created by God for man, we cannot just waste and destroy this land, but cherish it.
I recommend the environmentalists to carefully read the first three chapters of Genesis from the Old Testament, as well as 2 Peter chapter 3 and the book of Revelation from the New Testament that record and prophesy the last days and the new heavens and new earth. For this builds the foundations of man’s concerns for the earth. And all the human years from Genesis to Revelation were nothing but what Moses sang: “a sigh!” (Psalm 90:9). From creation to the end of heavens and earth, the vertical line erected in history (time) and horizontal line across the human world (space) intersect each other, displaying the cross of Christ. It is also God’s work of redemption for us. That is the greatest story written by our Creator with His compassionate love.