The earth rotates around the sun with seven other planets.. The sun is just one of approximately 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way. Our galaxy is just one of 100 billion galaxies in the universe (but there are probably more galaxies we have not seen). Despite the size of the universe, God is focused on our little planet. So, what are His plans for this world?
God’s great purpose
The Bible commences with the words “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. The Bible then explains what took place at the creation. When we look at the natural world around us we would most likely be impressed by the design and wisdom behind it. The modern age of information in the form of books and documentaries tell us about the wonders of the animal kingdom and show us the natural beauty of the world we live in. However as we read through the Bible we can begin to realize that God had a grand purpose when he created the world.
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “ I am the LORD, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:18 NKJV
So the purpose of God was not to just create this amazing place where he would put living organisms which he would then just observe. This was not going to be effectively a zoo where he would watch the inhabitants. There was more to it than just this. The intention of God was to place man into this wonderful creation so that man and his children would share the wonders of this creation with Him.
At one place in the Bible God tells us exactly what his purpose is:
as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Numbers 14:21 KJV
What God means by this is that the terrible disasters and diseases, the violence and corruption, the immorality and abuses that we see in this world around us will eventually be removed. God makes it clear that as truly as He lives, he will fill the earth with His glory. And if we are still not sure what this means then we are told in the Bible that if we have trusted in God and His word:
God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4 NKJV
It is when Jesus Christ returns to the earth that we will see this extraordinary transformation of the earth which will end with God’s glory filling the earth.
Man’s place in this great plan
When we think about God’s purpose for this world I think most of us would be excited and think this would be a great place to live. An environment where there is no death, sorrow, crying or pain. However, we then get jolted back to the world we live in now, where there is suffering, sin and wickedness. Why does this all exist now? Well the simplest answer is that we only have ourselves to blame. Man was responsible for the world he now lives in. How can this be? Well it all started at the time of the creation….
At the time of the creation, the most important thing God created was man. Man was created with a mental capacity similar to God, that is, to absorb His thoughts and reflect His moral values. Man was not like animals, as he could reason on a moral plane and could understand spiritual ideas. This feature which was unique to man was the way God related to man. God created man in His image and likeness, in other words, man was created to be like God. God did this so man would come to understand the glorious character of his Creator and would in response try to develop that character himself. The relationship between God and man was like a mirror – God wanted man to willingly reflect His image in all its glory (like you see a exact reflection of yourself in a mirror).
How the plan handles man’s failure
God wanted man to willingly love Him and not be forced to do this. So Man was given a nature where he could make free choice. At the time of the creation, the first man called Adam was given a law that he must obey. The law was a simple law but one which had disastrous consequences if he disobeyed it and sinned against God.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
We are told that the man did sin against God and he ate from the forbidden tree. So as promised, Adam was sentenced to die. All of the descendants of Adam, including us, have inherited this mortality which came upon Adam. The Bible later on makes this point very clear:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Romans 5:12
So since that fateful day when Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, mankind has lived with sin and death.
Fortunately for us, God is a merciful God and he therefore provides a way for the forgiveness of sin and the removal of death. This plan of God involved the coming of a man who would overcome temptation to sin and always obey Him. The name of this man was Jesus Christ. Throughout the period of the Old Testament in the Bible (approximately 4,000 BC to 0 AD) there were many references to the coming of this man who would be born in a little town in Israel. When he was finally born in around 4 BC, the angel Gabriel spoke these words which clearly show the purpose of God in Jesus Christ:
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33
From this passage we can learn that God’s salvation will come through Jesus Christ (the name “Jesus” means “God’s salvation”). Salvation means the redemption (freeing) of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him of everlasting life. So Jesus was the way that God would show mercy to mankind and allow men’s sins to be forgiven and for the penalty of death to be removed. But this salvation would not be available to all men. Jesus said that salvation would be offered to those who understand the gospel, believe it, are baptized and then try to be obedient to God. So it is important that we come to understand the true teachings of the Bible to put ourselves in the position of being considered for salvation.
The great climax of God’s plan
We also learn from these words spoken by the angel Gabriel (quoted above), that Jesus will be the Son of God and that he will reign as king over a kingdom that will have no end. So this is the culmination of God’s great plan. In the future there will be an all encompassing kingdom that will cover the whole earth and it will have Jesus as the king. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for the day when this kingdom would be set up, in the following words:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10
Jesus Christ has been appointed by God as the man who will reign over all the earth in the future. So there are going to be dramatic changes to take place on the earth in the future. This is what the Bible says:
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Revelation 11:15
The Bible, in various places, describes this kingdom in great detail. But probably the most exciting thing is that we can be part of this great kingdom. Those who have faithfully followed Jesus Christ will be told when he returns the following words:
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: