Recycling the Planet

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In the scientific and political debate surrounding global warming, let’s see if we can get one thing straight—one thing everyone with knowledge has to agree with: The earth we walk on is a temporary phenomenon in space. It wasn’t here 4 billion years ago, and it won’t be here a few billion years from now.

We are sort of lucky to be living when we are, but the time will come when our descendants will not be so lucky. They will face the end of life on the planet well before the end of the planet itself. The sun will become a red giant and its radius will extend out well beyond the inner planets. Long before this happens, the surface of the planet will resemble its core. Our planet will be recycled. The universe has a way of doing this sort of thing. And don’t worry, humankind isn’t going to jet off into space. Space is too big and physics too unyielding. Humankind is simply going to die.

Actually, no one believes that it will be billions of years before that starts to happen. Whether you are a scientist or a theologian, you know this. I’m not sure when science first came to understand the age of the earth, its origins and its eventual demise. A quick search suggests that it was only a little more than 50 years ago that this was understood. So science knows that the earth won’t be here forever. Religion knows it as well. 2000 years ago, The apostle Peter wrote this:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3:10


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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Image Credits: NASA