Do you recognize the title of the headline of this article? If you've seen any of the Star Wars episodes, you may recognize the scrolling words that appear at the beginning of the movie. But they aren't the same as the words here! The movie's introduction actually says, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . ."
But think about those words for a minute. Have you ever wondered if something is going on in some distant galaxy? Could there really be people (or aliens) living out there, as suggested by science fiction? If so, did they already have advanced civilizations a long time ago, before we human beings on earth did?
Exploring the unknown
There is something in us that makes us wonder what might be on other worlds far from our earthly home. People want to explore things that are unknown, distant and mysterious. Did you know that the desire to search out the unknown and to live into the future is something God actually put into the hearts of human beings?
"Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God's creation is so immense and awesome, and man wants to learn its deepest secrets, but he cannot. Even what he does know through modern technology is still minuscule compared to what is unknown.
There is an old saying: "Truth is stranger than fiction." And the truth about the purpose for this vast universe—as well as what really will happen far in the future—is more fantastic than any science-fiction plot! Can you imagine a long, long time from now—let's say a billion years—in a galaxy far, far away . . . and you being there? You should! Because you could be there at that time! Let's look at some facts that the very Creator of all these galaxies has revealed to us earthlings.
According to plan
God created the whole universe—every galaxy, star, planet, moon and atom. And He created it all with a fantastic plan in mind. It did not evolve of its own accord, and neither did the life-forms within it (see Revelation 4:11; Isaiah 40:26; 42:5; Genesis 1).
This planet—this earth—is where God roughly 6,000 years ago created very special life-forms now called human beings. And of all the creatures God made, He fashioned them in His own form and image (Genesis 1:26-27). God made human beings with the ability to have children, who would naturally be born in the same form and image as their parents.
So why did God create people in His own image? He did so because He planned for them to one day become members of His own divine family!
About 2,000 years ago the Creator Himself came down to the earth to live as a man. He did so in order to be killed, to pay for human sins, to make it possible for people to become immortal and live with God as a member of His family forever. But did this same great sacrifice happen again, somewhere else? Or did it happen only once , and for all? Read Hebrews 9:11-12, 1 Peter 3:18, and Romans 6:9-10 for the answer. Didn't it therefore happen only on this unique planet?
Of all the countless billions of planets God has made, to which of them is the Creator returning to set up His Kingdom, and to live upon and reign forever? Read Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:5-8. Can you reign on the earth too, with Christ our Creator? See Revelation 5:9-10; Daniel 2:44 and 7:14, 18, 22, 27.
But what about God the Father? Will He remain up in heaven forever? What does 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 say? Doesn't even the Father Himself come down to live on this planet, where Jesus Christ has set up His Kingdom?
Revelation 21–22 shows that God will one day make the earth a "new earth" and then an enormous new city will descend upon it. And what is the name of the city? It is a capital city. Originally a capital in ancient history, it still is today—and it will be the world capital during the Millennium, the 1,000-year reign of Christ. But notice what is described in these chapters about the incredible size of this city after the Millennium, when its new form is set upon the new earth.
So the earth will become and remain the capital or headquarters of God's Kingdom. But does all life then remain only on the earth for all eternity? Speaking of this Kingdom, Isaiah 9:7 says, "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end." This passage allows for the expansion of God's Kingdom to other planets, star systems and galaxies!
Could it be that God intends to plant life out there beyond the earth, like planting seeds in a vast garden? See Isaiah 45:18 and 51:16. Is such an expansion of His Kingdom part of what God wants to place under our care? Note Hebrews 2:5-8 and Romans 8:18-22.
If so, there is certainly plenty of room to grow. Astronomers estimate that there are more galaxies than the number of people who have ever lived and died through all human history! That would mean—in terms of numbers—perhaps a galaxy per person!
As spirit beings capable of instantaneous travel from any point to another, it would not be difficult for us to oversee other galaxies where God's Kingdom could be planted—even though our home base will always be this earth. By then you and I will be spirit beings in the family of God and will shine as brightly as the sun (Matthew 13:43).
Although we don't know the exact details of how God's Kingdom will continue to expand, we do know that His Kingdom is sure to come. It will happen!
In the meantime, what can you do besides dream? If you have grown up in the truth of God or are now beginning to understand the scriptural teachings presented in this magazine, it is likely that you are one of the few people in this world being called by God at this time to prepare for the return of Christ and the beginning of His Kingdom. And God's directive in this case is that you "make your own calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10-11). God will give those of us who respond to Him now the opportunity to teach and serve others in the future. Imagine teaching your classmates, cousins or even ancestors God's truth!
What else can you do? You should start thinking bigger! Being different from your peers now is nothing compared to what your future holds! (Romans 8:18). Do everything now with pleasing God in mind. He is the One whose plans include you—and perhaps seeing you one day actually going to that galaxy far, far away . . . GN