Marge, an elderly friend I’d known since childhood, had never visited my family since we moved to Portland, Oregon. Living in Minnesota, she was familiar with the modest terrain of the American Midwest from living there her entire life.
Seeing the snowcapped summit of Mt. Hood and the mile after mile of cascading waterfalls plunging off cliffs along the Columbia River George, a thought occurred to Marge. A woman of deep religious conviction and beliefs, Marge was transfixed by a particularly stunning waterfall cascading amidst the lush undergrowth of the Pacific Northwest forest. Then she exclaimed, “Who wants to go to heaven when you can live in a place like this?”
It makes you wonder about heaven and earth, a place like this.
Which would you choose?
Sometimes places on earth do seem more beautiful than the descriptions of heaven in the popular culture of literature and religion.
If you had a choice between the popular conception of heaven or an earth of peace and marvelous beauty, which would you choose? Would you choose to live forever within a world community of peace, endless prosperity, unblemished radiant health, surrounded by friends, boundless opportunity for creativity and stimulating personal challenge? That would seem like heaven on earth! And chances are you’d want to be first in line to sign up.
Hold on to that thought. If you take a look at the latest thinking in science about the earth’s unique place in the universe, and many statements in the Bible largely ignored today by churches, you should come to the conclusion that God has big plans for this planet—plans bigger than most of us can imagine.
In fact, if you believe the biblical book of Revelation, you will come to the conclusion that God is planning to relocate heaven.
It tells us that God is moving here.
A planet perfect for life
Based on the science fictions of Hollywood and other wishful thinking, you might think that there really is evidence of life and higher intelligence somewhere else in the universe. From the unproven ideas of Charles Darwin 150 years ago to his intellectual descendants of today, some scientists with an agenda to manipulate the public continue to push ideas about biological life elsewhere in the universe.
But after countless billions of dollars spent in astrophysics, experimental biology, astronomy, space research and hundreds of space missions including some to the moon, Mars, Venus and Jupiter, not one shred of evidence that biological life exists anywhere in the universe, except on earth, has been documented.
Neither is there even a hint of actual scientifically obtained evidence that a higher form of material intelligence exists anywhere beyond our planet, though scientists have diligently sought it for decades—for instance, searching the heavens for intelligent radio signals.
Now many scientists are asking a number of appropriate questions. In a universe perfectly structured with chemical properties and physics determining all the processes of matter and energy, why do intelligent beings exist only here on earth? Honest scientists are forced back into the deepest philosophical questions of “Why man?” and “Why here?”
Two recent developments in scientific studies are leading more scientists to the conclusion that the entire universe was designed specifically to support human life here on planet earth and nowhere else.
The first development is the recognition that the universe is structured so that all the trillions of interrelated elements can be combined in a particular way, at a particular place and at a particular time to create biological life on earth—with man the transcendent physical and biological expression of life.
The second development is the recognition that it is literally impossible for the universe to exist and man to be as he is by chance—without an intelligent designer.
Based on the latest scientific evidence, it is increasingly apparent that the universe was created to support human existence, and that the center of development of any life in the universe is right here on our sparkling blue orb.
Perfect environment for life and human beings
“… In a universe that could have been utterly hostile to the needs of life,” writes Michael Corey in his recent book The God Hypothesis , “we have found that precisely the opposite state of affairs is actually the case, namely, that the universe literally caters to the needs of living organisms in thousands of different ways” (2001, p. vii).
Yet the more scientists consider what they see in the countless galaxies, the more they appreciate how the combination of earth’s surface conditions, distance from the moon and sun, and chemical makeup are so mathematically impossible there is no reason to believe biological life exists anywhere else. In all the universe, the conditions for life are absolutely perfect right here, right now, for life on planet earth.
Perfectly positioned 93 million miles from our modest yellow star, the earth’s temperature range perfectly enables the billions of chemical reactions that allow biological life to continue. Varying only about 150 degrees, life exists in only a tiny slice of our solar system’s temperature range—which varies from -459 degrees Fahrenheit (-273 degrees Celsius) on the dark side of interplanetary space to over 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (15,000,000 degrees Celsius) at the sun’s core.
All elements of our planet’s position and chemistry are perfectly suited for life. The speed of the earth’s daily rotation on its axis, the annual elliptical path around the sun, its tilt (which causes the seasons) and the amount of gravitational pull create the perfect environmental stage for life.
“The earth’s gravitational interaction with the moon is also very delicately balanced as far as life is concerned,” says Dr. Corey. “If it were any greater, the resulting tidal effects on the earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and rotational period would have been too great. Yet, if it were less, orbital obliquity changes would have caused severe climatic instabilities throughout the earth’s various ecosystems” (p. 126).
Performing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on the stage of planet earth is an unknowably complex symphony of countless trillions of chemical reactions throughout the environment. Billions of chemical reactions in your body every minute of every day are made possible when thousands of trace elements and compounds mix, combine and break up as you breathe, eat and digest your food.
All these reactions require a temperature in a range from 32 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 43 degrees Celsius) so the chemical elements and compounds are found in the appropriate solid, liquid or gaseous forms to work.
Each reaction is perfectly preprogrammed in your genes found in a sequence of the 3 billion letters of your chromosomes. Each instruction set is found in every one of the 40 trillion cells in your body. Each instruction process requires the perfect mixture in an abundant environment of water, oxygen and myriad other chemicals.
Every atom and molecule of the chemistry of life is perfectly selected. Consider, for example, nitrogen compounds and molecules. They are required parts in proteins—the basic structures of your flesh—bones, blood, muscles, etc.
Of more than 110 elements in the universe, “no other element could possibly take its place, and indeed, if the molecular properties of nitrogen were only slightly different, proteins and nucleic acids could never have formed,” says Dr. Corey (p. 119).
Perhaps even more amazing is oxygen, a rare element elsewhere in the universe. “The amount of oxygen in the atmosphere also appears to be optimal for the existence of life. Had it been much greater, plant and other combustible materials would have burned too easily, but had it been less, animals wouldn’t have had enough oxygen to breathe” (p. 127).
Ozone, a reactive oxygen compound, forms a protective layer high in the atmosphere surrounding the earth. “Had it been much greater, the earth’s surface temperature would have been too low,” Dr. Corey writes. “On the other hand, had it been significantly less, the earth’s surface temperature would have been too high, and there would have been too much harmful ultraviolet radiation at the surface” (p. 127).
Some scientists think the structure of the universe appears full of “accidents” with a purpose. More than 30 years ago physicist Freeman Dyson wrote that “as we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together for our benefit, it also seems as though the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming” (“Energy in the Universe,” Scientific American , September 1971, p. 59, emphasis added).
It appears, based on science, that man on earth is the very centerpiece of the development of the universe in both intelligence and design. As Dr. Corey points out: “The size of a human being turns out to be the geometric mean between the size of a planet and the size of an atom … This seems to place humanity squarely in the middle of the cosmic hierarchy of objects” (p. 141).
Only God knows why
Today in science there is a growing acknowledgment of a Master Planner and plan behind the existence of man and the universe. Dr. Corey observes: “It doesn’t take a genius to see that the evidence must be overwhelmingly in favor of an Intelligent Designer in order for so many scientists to be openly talking about Him. Indeed, lengthy discussion about the possible existence of God can be found in many otherwise nontheistic treatises …” (p. 23).
While some scientists are able to see through their discoveries to the great Intelligence behind the universe, they don’t know why the universe exists, and why man is the centerpiece of intelligent design.
Only God Himself can explain why human life on earth appears to be the center of complexity in all the universe. It is on this question that the Bible is utterly unique, inspiring and without equal in giving man the answer to “Why man, why here?”
What God says in the Bible is startling and provocative for both science and religion—including the Christianity practiced by most churches.
It comes down to this: The Bible begins with the statement that “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
American King James Version×). Why was this done? To “make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (verse 26). This first book of the Bible tells us that God organized all the immense complexities of the heavens, and the details of planet earth, to set up a home for man.
What a fascinating development! Science and the Bible reach the exact same conclusion on this most important issue—why man exists and why the universe is as it is! The universe, according to both science and the Bible, is actually structured for man’s existence.
What comes next is even more exciting. But science knows nothing about what God plans to do with this planet in the future.
The idea that good people are going to go to heaven to be with God forever is the most widely held view among Christians about what happens after death. But those who seriously study the Bible know that this was not the teaching of Jesus or the early Christian Church (see John 3:13 John 3:13And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
American King James Version×; Acts 2:34 Acts 2:34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand,
American King James Version×), but was adopted much later.
Christ always promised His obedient followers that they would “inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 Matthew 5:5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
American King James Version×). But the Bible also shows God is going to come and dwell on earth.
Read this about how heaven is moving to earth: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them’ ” (Revelation 21:1-3 Revelation 21:1-3 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
American King James Version×, New Living Translation, emphasis added).
While most people today do not take this passage as saying God will spend the future on earth, early Christians did.
Scientifically, it only makes sense. Science knows that earth is utterly unique, utterly beautiful, and utterly alone as a home for intelligent physical life in the universe.
But we are not alone among the intelligent spiritual life. An invisible God of fathomless intelligence obviously designed the universe, which according to astronomers’ best estimates stretches out some 15 billion light years. By some recent estimates a staggering 70 thousand million million million—seven followed by 22 zeros—stars are visible through telescopes from earth.
Our universe encompasses such immensity of powers, energies and physics that we moderns can express our wonder of it all no better than King David did 3,000 years ago when he wrote: “The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship” (Psalms 19:1 Psalms 19:1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.
American King James Version×, NLT).
From our home on this planet in a corner of the universe, we perceive God behind the scenes, on another level of existence, upholding the universe we see. His realm of being is not temporary like ours—in the flesh of atoms, molecules, water and ever-changing proteins. God’s existence is spirit, eternal, of divine perfection and indescribable power.
Why did He decide to come here? Why this particular spot in the universe?
How did the 6,000 years of human history in its infinite complexity, variety, tragedy and triumph, ugliness and beauty, futility and eternal purposes come to be the world as we know it?
God gives the answers in the Bible. It’s because He has designed our earth to continue as is until “it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:21 Romans 8:21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
American King James Version×, NLT). So it will be!
The heavenly Kingdom first
It is here on earth that you and I must discover the meaning of life revealed by God in His Word. Though created in God’s image, we must understand our complete inability to proceed in our future without the power of God’s love, the light of His law and faith in God and the hope He reveals for the future. It is here that man was created to understand that his future and potential are all in the hands of the only living God, the eternal spirit Creator.
In Christ’s first coming, God showed us through Him the nature of what man is to ultimately become, a person of ultimate character and divine perfection. As the Gospel of John records, the Word of God “became human and lived here on earth among us … We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—one gracious blessing after another” (John 1:14-16 John 1:14-16 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.
American King James Version×, NLT).
Yet Jesus said most of humanity would not learn these lessons. Our civilization, governments, cultures and religions don’t want God to come to planet earth. Instead they will bring a disaster on the world from which Jesus Christ promised He will return to save mankind.
Shortly, the powers of the universe shall rip open the skies above the earth, and the divine realm of the spirit will be made manifest at the return of the glorified Jesus Christ.
Perhaps sooner than any of us know, the 1,000 years of a divinely ruled government of Christ over the earth will come. The Son of God is preparing to move out of heaven soon (to learn more about these events, be sure to read “God’s Harvest Feasts: His Assurance of Hope for Mankind,”).
Christ is planning to make earth His home. Later, the eternal Father will descend and dwell here, too, in the New Jerusalem being prepared in heaven even now.
Are you prepared to welcome Them? GN