I remember as a kid watching the old Charlton Heston movie, ‘Planet of the Apes’. The story line involved several astronauts going up on a space mission, somehow traveling forward in time a number of years and then returning to earth where they can hardly recognize their own planet. What they find is a planet ruled by apes with human beings treated like animals. For the astronauts, they think they must have landed on another strange planet where things are different.
One of the most dramatic scenes comes at the end of the movie where Charlton Heston’s character has secured his freedom and rides off on a horse along a beach and he discovers a portion of the Statue of Liberty sticking up through the sand. Instantly he recognizes that he was on his own planet after all and that a nuclear war had taken place that had so devastated the planet to produce this great reversal.
It’s human nature to wonder about the future of our planet and the human race. After all, human beings face all kinds of dangers from the catastrophic threat of nuclear war to terrorism and global pandemics. We can add to the list of perils the numerous natural disasters which occur such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tsunami’s, and tornadoes. Indeed, at times, life as we know it seems to be perilously perched on a razor’s edge waiting for some event to upset the delicate balance.
One may rightly ask: Is life in this world random? Is history a meaningless, chaotic series of events or are we progressing toward a goal that reflects a divine purpose and will? What is the future of mankind and planet earth?
The Bible affirms that history is indeed moving towards a purposeful goal. It also affirms that our planet has an expiration date on it.
The Apostle Peter wrote: ‘The day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.’ [II Pet. 3:10]
But Peter then adds, ‘According to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.’ [II Peter 3:13]
Peter says, don’t be concerned about the longevity of this planet. One day it will have served its purpose and pass away when God decides it is time. Our hope is in the new heavens and new earth through faith in Christ Jesus.