From Pope John Paul II:Thus
Sacred Scripture weaves a golden thread, as it were, through the
weaknesses, miseries, violence and injustices of human history and
leads to a messianic goal of liberation and peace. On these sound
biblical found- ations, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches
that "the visible universe, then, is itself destined to be trans-
formed," so that the world itself, restored to its original state,
facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just,
sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ" (CCC, n. 1047;
cf. St Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., 5, 32, 1). Then at last,
in a world made peaceful, "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of
the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Is 11: 9).
Because everything in the world is going to be redeem- ed, Christians
should care for this world. Rather than entertain Gnostic dreams of
leaving this earth, Christians should strive to join God’s redemption
of it. We must realize that as earthlings we belong on this planet. God
made us to live here, and here we will live forever (although the new
earth is new it is still the earth). And what will we be doing on this
new earth? According to Is.60:3-11, 65: 21, and Rev.
we will be doing what humans were made to do, participating in cultural
activities as we continue to develop the good creation that God
entrusted to us.
Truth is only
to be had by hearing Jesus. From Irenaeus to
John Paul II, Christians have heard only the voices of strangers.
Today this is best illustrated by pointing to the Bible, where we find
the voice of Jesus -- yes, and many other voices! The hope of a
new earth comes from hearing Isaiah,
It is a vision foreign to the Word of the Good Shepherd. Belief in Biblical Inerrancy
is basic to false doctrine. Those who hope for a new earth have a
heart disease that is easily exposed by hearing Jesus. Listen to
him: Do not lay up for
yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where
thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:19-21). The heart that treasures this
hope of a new earth is bound to the earth; it cherishes life in this
world, which is the life we have on the earth. That heart
perverts the Word. So the Pope takes John 10:10
and makes it (eternal life) mean life
on this earth. He states: Walk in the
footsteps of Jesus, the
Divine Healer, who came "that they
may have life, and have it abundantly" implies an unambiguous
stance in favour of the culture of life and a total commitment to the
defense of life from conception to natural death. Compare with
Jesus: For whoever would save his life will lose it (Mark
does Truth say of the destiny of the earth if it is not to be
renewed? Heaven and earth
will pass away (Mk.
you are uncertain as to the meaning of pass away,
go and see the same Word from the Lord here: Truly, I say to you, this generation
will not pass away till all
these things take place (Mt. 24:34).
The earth and the created heavens that together make up the whole are
to vanish, to
disappear, to cease to exist as that generation
disappeared and ceased to exist. One cannot rescue a new, renewed or
glorified earth from the Word of the Lord. The earth will pass
away, and that's the end of it. While it remains, it is where moth and rust consume and where thieves break
in and steal. It is to know no
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come
to bring peace, but a sword (Mt.
10:34). It is a place of enduring poverty: For you always have the poor with you (Mk
14:7). One can cite the Lord again and again concerning
the earth, both its future and its end. He gives it no hope of
renewal but the very opposite -- of contnuing strife, crime, rust,
disaster and decay.
Does this depress you? Then go to the Jesus and learn that you
need not perish with the earth. Let this prayer of Jesus be for you; I am not praying for the world
but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine (John 17:9).