A Question I Was Asked:

Does the Earth Abide Forever, or Not? Not All Scriptures Seem to Agree!

Does the earth abide forever, or not? Not all Scriptures seem to agree!

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, you seem to be referring to about Four Scriptures. Let us start by looking at the two Scriptures which seem to say that this earth will be permanent:

He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved (Psalm 104:5).

Now let's go to Ecclesiastes:

Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4).

If one checks the full context of these two verses (looking at all the surrounding verses), it will be found that the message they are getting across is that God is sure, steadfast and reliable, whereas men and women come and go and have more flitting dispositions, moods, opinions and lives. We people can be whimsical but we serve a God who is not constantly 'chopping and changing.' But neither of those verses is teaching what we call 'eschatology,' that is, the topic of 'last things' in the Bible. The point here is that the earth itself is sure and steadfast because it was created by God. All worries about 'climate change' and such like are pointless because the earth will not cease to exist unless God Himself wishes it. Certainly we don't need to fret about so-called 'greenhouse gases' and the like.

But now we must look at two Scriptures which are concerned about eschatology, that is, 'the last things.' So we now enter into prophecy:

"See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." (Isaiah 65:17).

'But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.' (2 Peter 3:10).

So a day will dawn when God Himself will make specific and dramatic changes on earth, and in Heaven too. God will finally purify this earth by fire but it seems that it will not necessarily cease to exist (though it could be said that an earth purified by fire will be pretty much a new earth).

When we compare such Scriptures we must always carefully check the context. When we do that, we find that there is absolutely no contradiction here at all.

Maybe I can illustrate the matter of context in the following way: If I were speaking to a man contemplating suicide I would assure him of the importance of this life and the wonder of this world. I would say, 'Don't think of departing this life until the Lord is ready for you.' I would find cast iron reasons for him to remain in this world. I would probably tend to glorify this present life. But if I were speaking to a Christian suddenly overcome with worldliness and a great love for this present world and its enticements, I would tell him how this present world is to be abhorred and that he should separate himself from it. Maybe one overhearing both conversations might possibly say, 'Robin Brace contradicts himself; he both loves this present world and he hates it!' But the two contexts are totally different. Even so, the writers of Psalms and Ecclesiastes, when discussing this earth, had very different considerations to those of Isaiah (in Isaiah 65), and Peter the Apostle (in 2 Peter). The focus of the latter two was entirely prophetic!

Robin A. Brace. February 21st, 2015.