The World of Tomorrow

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” —I Corinthians 2:9

HOWEVER else it may be characterized, most would agree we are living in an exciting, changing world. So-called life-styles, rules and standards of conduct, the manner of earning one’s living and spending one’s leisure time, the varied expectations and fears of what the future holds for mankind—all are in a confusing, unpredictable state of flux. To some, the future promises to bring substantially increased material blessings and greater freedom to pursue the heart’s desires; to others the morrow will continue to breed poverty, pollution and wars, or even sure nuclear disaster; while to still others the period ahead will more likely produce an unforeseeable mixture of both prosperity and problems.

But in the case of all, whether of hopes or of fears, the future will be greatly affected by developments stemming from the scripturally foretold increase of knowledge which the Bible states would mark the end of this present evil world. (Dan. 12:1-4) One extraordinary and influential product of that increase of knowledge is a tiny, almost invisible object called a silicon chip. This modern miracle has miniaturized electrical circuitry that where it is applied many things are done so efficiently that it is importantly changing the way in which we all live and work, and what we can hope or fear for the future. In a split second a computer containing chips can solve mathematical problems that literally would require weeks, months, or even years for the human mind to accomplish. Computers have come to find their place in almost every phase of modern life—economic, scientific military, educational, industrial, medical, and governmental. They are an important factor in space-age accomplishments, guiding men to the moon and safely back, satellites to the farthest planets, and can direct nuclear warheads to distant devastation. The time seems not far off when most homes in advanced nations will possess a computer, whose heart and soul is the silicon chip—to assist in the family bookkeeping, in making household marketing and investment decisions, in education, or in providing entertainment.

But the silicon chip is just one of the wonders of the day in which we are living. There are many others, and the future bids fair to produce a countless variety of great and unforeseeable changes in the way we live resulting from the increase of knowledge still proceeding apace throughout the civilized world. It is but natural that the utterly fascinating possibilities thus opened up to the human mind should prompt men of imagination to try to discern what the future holds, however imperfect their forecasts of the world of tomorrow may in some respects prove to be.

One such comprehensive attempt to look into the future was recently undertaken by U.S. News and World Report (5/9/83). It was on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of their publication, when they devoted almost fifty pages to previewing the next half-century for their readers. “‘What the Next Fifty Years Will Bring’ offers a provocative view of the changes and challenges awaiting us over the horizon,” they write. The report continues, “You’ll get a glimpse of family life, education and science breakthroughs in the 1990’s and beyond. Of how we will live, travel, and communicate. Of how the world will change—politically, economically, culturally.” They expected “strong reader interest in this blueprint for tomorrow.”

The prologue to the study dismisses those gloomy predictions of the future that are sometimes encountered, and presents a definitely hopeful view of the next fifty years. “A decade ago, doomsayers painted a chilling picture of a planet ticketed for disaster. At worst, the land would be scorched by nuclear war. Even escaping that fate, the earth’s inhabitants would still be doomed by shortages of food and other natural resources as world population skyrocketed—or be poisoned slowly by foul air and water.

“These ominous predictions of apocalypse have not come true. Indeed, as this magazine looks into the future on its golden anniversary for a glimpse of what the next fifty years will bring, its editors come away from talks with hundreds of experts with a clearly optimistic vision. What lies ahead could well be a renaissance for the United States in political prestige and technological power. People will live to a healthy old age of one hundred or more, as superdrugs cure diseases such as cancer and senility.”

Among the hopeful forecasts in the field of medicine was the expectation of greatly increased use in repairing the human body of what one can most readily describe as spare parts. Along with presently employed items such as false teeth, bifocal contact lenses, cornea transplants, cosmetic surgery, artificial joints, limbs, hearts, kidneys and pancreas would come depression lifters, memory enhancers, and pain controllers. Heart surgery, it is stated, will no longer be employed, for the cause of arteriosclerosis will be known, and drugs will be used to prevent clogging of the arteries. The development of superdrugs will revolutionize the treatment of depression, acute pain, schizophrenia, senility, “and perhaps even criminal behavior.”

More potent drugs will make possible the use of smaller doses with fewer side effects. Also in view is a non-addictive painkiller, a memory improver, and drugs for treating schizophrenia, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. “The ultimate challenge will be to break the aging process itself and extend the normal life spans by programming cells not to die.” The report predicts that man can soon expect to live considerably longer—to between 120 and 150 years.

The report goes on to suggest there will be greater interest in things spiritual; belief in a Supreme Being will probably increase, and religious institutions will play a greater role in the life of the community. It is stated, also, that the number of people dwelling on this planet will continue to increase, requiring adoption of extraordinary measures to meet the resulting problems, such as towing icebergs from Antarctica to provide fresh water to areas where needed; cities floating on the oceans for want of land area; underground continental trains to speed the populace across nations; the mining of the moon to replenish the supply of minerals, and other prodigious feats. Thus, it is believed, the earth will continue to supply its inhabitants with the basic needs of life.

There is much more to this interesting effort to look into the future, with suggestions of a vast array of other good things expected shortly to improve the quality of life for man worldwide. A few readers, however, expressed some skepticism concerning the conclusions reached by its compilers—perhaps not unreasonably. Wrote one such reader, “I am fascinated by your vision of the future—especially since it is to be brought about by a people who are growing more illiterate day by day!” Another wrote, “Your optimistic glimpse of the future fifty years is long on what folks will receive and short on what and how they are to contribute.” Still another said, “Of course, nuclear war could knock us out in a day.”

One reader was delighted with the substance of the report that basically held, as he expressed it, “that mankind may not be doomed after all.” And then he stated a simple but solid truth: “If man would just use his mind for the good of the world rather than its destruction, the world would be a better place [in which] to live for many generations to come.” But that, of course, is just the point! For the six thousand plus years of his existence on this planet Earth man has not been using his mind, or his heart either for that matter, sufficiently for good—neither for his own good, nor for the good of the millions of others of his poor suffering fellows of the human race. Little thought has been given to the admonition of our Lord Jesus for man to do to others as he would have others do to him. And if left to continue to follow his own selfish inclinations there is little reason to suppose he would suddenly and completely change his course in the next fifty years—or even in the next six thousand years!

As noted earlier, the prologue stated that the ominous predictions of apocalypse have not come true. The Greek word apocalypse means ‘revelation’, and is closely associated in the minds of many with that dreaded event, Armageddon, and with the end of the world. But the Bible clearly tells us that the world, inescapably, is indeed coming to an end! The Apostle Peter tells us about this in one of the most remarkable and hope-inspiring prophecies of the entire Bible.

Indeed, Peter actually describes three different worlds, the first of which was destroyed in the Flood because it was evil (Gen. 6:5-7); this was followed by a second world, the one that “now is,” but which, like the first world, will also be destroyed because of its iniquity in a great time of trouble; and then he tells of a third, grand new world to come “wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

But these three worlds (Greek: kosmos, ‘arrangement’) are not three separate planets. They are the three different arrangements scripturally described as the heavens and earth which consecutively rule during three different periods of time over the one planet Earth. It should be noted in Peter’s inspired account that after the first world was utterly destroyed in the Flood, the second world came into control on this very same planet Earth. Likewise, after the second world or ruling arrangement (the heavens and earth which are now) is destroyed, Peter says the third world or the new heavens and a new earth will be established on this same, everlasting, glorious planet.—II Pet. 3:5-7,10,12,13

The Prophet Zephaniah also speaks in figurative language of the coming destruction of this present evil world, and which will be followed by a glorious new world, or ruling arrangement, to be established on this same planet Earth. He writes, “Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then [after the earth has been figuratively devoured] will I turn to the people [who are still on the literal planet Earth] a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”—Zeph. 3:8,9

We do not profess to know precisely what form the troubles of this terrible time may assume. There may, indeed, be shortages of food and other necessities; pollution of air, soil and water may also play a part; and none can say for certainty whether nuclear war might be involved. We do know the foretold time of trouble that will bring this world to an end is described many times in the Bible as one the like of which the world had never previously experienced, nor would ever again experience.—Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21; Rev. 16:16-18; Jer. 30:6

And Armageddon will come! It will be the climax of the prophetic time of trouble, or day of the Lord, which Jehovah God sends upon the earth to destroy this present evil world or ruling arrangement of which Satan is the prince. (Gal. 1:4; Matt. 12:24; John 12:31; 16:11; Rev. 16:15-21) But this old planet Earth is not to be destroyed; the Lord God himself assures us that it was created for man’s habitation, and that it will endure forever as his everlasting home.—Ps. 78:69; 104:1,5; 115:16

Closely following upon the cleansing work of the storm of the time of trouble, Christ’s millennial kingdom will be established for the blessing of all the people. The first great work in that new order of things, made possible by the payment of the ransom price on behalf of the world, will be the raising of the dead from their graves. (John 5:28,29) The countless blessings then to be poured out for all who have ever lived on this planet will be glorious beyond their fondest dreams, and will infinitely surpass anything ever desired or conceived by man. For “as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”—I Cor. 2:9

Foremost among these blessings will be the prospect of life—not merely for 120, or even 150 years, but everlasting, perfect life for all who willingly and from the heart obey the righteous laws of that new world under the tender ministrations of Christ and his church, and who learn to love the Lord their God with all their heart, and their neighbor as themselves. And what a scene of unmatched, unmarred beauty is presented to the eyes of astonished, resurrected mankind! Peace, contentment and abundance in every valley, hillside and village, with kindness, love and neighborliness flowing from every heart. And perfect health! No blind, no deaf, no lame, “for the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” In that glorious kingdom time “the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: [for] the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”—Isa. 35:5,6; 33:24

Hunger, droughts and famines will not be remembered there, for “the desert shall … blossom as the rose, … and the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.” (Isa. 35:1,7) There shall be shelter and food for all, for “they shall build houses, and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.” (Isa. 65:21) Implements of war will be seen no more, for the people “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”—Isa. 2:4

In that wonderful new world there will be no need for doctors, hospitals, or old age homes; and no cemeteries to sadden the hearts of bereaved mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. The hearts of all mankind will be reverently and gratefully turned to their Creator. “For God … will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” And what a completely joyous world that will be! For “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:1-5

How glad we are, and how humble it makes us, to know it is our dear Heavenly Father himself who has undertaken to guarantee that these blessings which have been planned for a fallen, imperfect race from before the foundation of the world, will indeed come true! “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said … Write; for these words are true and faithful.”—Rev. 21:5

Dawn Bible Students Association
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