Author: Pastor Paul Bartz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
Ours is an age of constant predictions of complete and total disaster for mankind. Some warn us that we will run out of water and everyone will die. Others warn that we will be buried in our own garbage, while still others warn that over-population will cause us to be buried in people. Still others say that we will poison ourselves off the earth with toxic wastes. But of late the noisiest group has been those who say that man will become extinct through his use of nuclear technology, including bombs.
It is little wonder, then, that our young people, overwhelmed by all of these dire predictions, seem to have little hope for the future and try to “live for today.” While we can talk about the extinction of various kinds of animals, what does Scripture say? Does the Bible rule out human extinction?
A good place to start our Scriptural investigation of this topic is the “great resurrection chapter” of 1 Corinthians 15. If you have not read this chapter in a while, stop now and read the entire chapter.
For our present study we want to concentrate on 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. Verses 51 and 52 specifically state that at Christ’s return the dead shall be raised and those who are alive shall be changed! Paul includes himself among those who “shall be changed” because, like every good Christian, he was sure that the Lord would return in his lifetime. But the point which is not Paul’s speculation (and we can understand that God does not even give His Apostles their dates of death beforehand) is that some will be alive when the Lord returns.
These verses are deeply meaningful not only in light of the individual experience with death that each of us faces, but also in light of discussion about man’s extinction. While some animals have become extinct and others probably will, man (contrary to evolution) is not an animal. Man was made to live forever in fellowship with God. Talk of man’s extinction denies our very nature and God’s plan for humankind!
Jesus also talked about the human witnesses who would be around to see His second coming. His comments indicate that there will be lots of people to view it. In Matthew 24:29 and 30, Jesus points out that “all the tribes of the earth” will see His coming in the sky. This phrase suggests quite a lot of people. In verses 42 to 44, and in the following three parables, Jesus comments about personal preparations for His coming don’t make any sense if there is no chance that anyone will be alive when He returns.
When we realize that man has the power to destroy himself and the world totally, we must also realize that God obviously, based on Scripture, has no intention of allowing man to do this. In a constructive turn of faith we should look again at 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. How well St. Paul puts it. At the same time we long to be clothed with our heavenly forms, shedding the world, at the same time we don’t want to shed our earthly forms—we desire to hang onto life here. But in verse 5 we see that God has given us a pledge of His goodness and trustworthiness in the gift of His Spirit who has worked the conviction of faith within us, and given us heavenly gifts. Whether we are in our earthly forms or in our heavenly forms, we are the Lord’s and He is in control.
It is very easy to understand the terror those who have rejected this face as they look at the future. It is out of such terror and desperation that tyrants have often arisen to inflict their “solutions” upon mankind.
While no one is denying that man has the power to destroy the entire earth, himself with it, Scripture clearly rules out that this will ever happen. We can say that while God has placed the means to make ourselves extinct, and while Scripture is brutally honest about man’s depraved nature, God evidently will not allow man to make himself extinct.
Actually, all of this fear mongering is part and parcel of the religion of humanism, which is the philosophy of evolution as applied to everyday decisions, The Humanist Manifesto II states, “Promises of immortal salvation and fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustice…Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.”
Evolutionists contrast belief of God’s Lordship over human history with being concerned about earthly problems. Then they go on to define the solutions to human problems in terms which omit God as God. As a result of their evolutionary view of history, evolutionists see man as simply material and subject to extinction like any microbe or dinosaur. Their resulting fears and solutions are based on this. Needless to say, the Christian’s basis for facing the problems and solving them are entirely different and much better for man since they are based on God’s absolutes and the more complete view of man as a spiritual as well as a material creature who has now fallen into sin. Unlike the humanist, the Christian has no illusions about man ever creating a heaven here on earth for himself.
There is no doubt in Scripture that we, or our spiritual children in Christ, will be here to greet the Lord when He returns to judge the living and the dead!
But while we are here we still have the job of offering God’s solutions to peoples’ fears. One by one we can use the growing fear around us, bred by evolutionary hopelessness, as an opportunity to all individuals with the hope which is to be found in God’s grace. The heavenly purpose of this work for our Lord will have fruitful earthly results.
Having been redeemed from sin, death and the devil by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and by Grace through faith put into fellowship with God once again, every Christian needs to realize that we are all called to be missionaries to those around us. Man-made religions like evolution cannot stand against Christianity unless we let them. God offered the life of His only Son for you—what will you give Him of your life in return?