From the Foundations of the World to Forever…let’s explore the five real eras of our world’s past, present and future.
A perfect God created the world from the original 6-day Creation week, until the rebellion of Adam and Eve; everything “very good” (Genesis, chapters 1 and 2). All continents and land masses of today were likely all together as one huge land mass (which is generally agreed upon by secular and Christian geologists). There was no carnivory; mankind and animals were vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30); contrast with Genesis 9:3, after the Flood. There was no fear of animals by man, and no fear of man by animals; contrast with Genesis 9:2 (after the Flood). There was a probable water vapor canopy of some sort, promoting a wonderful worldwide ideal climate due to the greenhouse effect (see Genesis 1:7, 2:5-6). Such a water vapor canopy (“waters above the firmament”-Genesis 1:6,7) would have prevented conventional rainfall, as well as today’s global circulation of the atmosphere (along with our current violent storms and severe weather) which are catalyzed and caused by worldwide temperature differences (the word firmament, or raqiya in Hebrew, simply means space or expanse). Significant temperature differences and volatile weather conditions (like today’s) would likely have been impossible by the presence of the far out-reaching canopy and the resultant ideal, uniform and steady mild temperatures. Such a protective water vapor canopy, with earth’s original subterranean (not atmospheric) water system (see Genesis 2:5,6), would have prevented rainbow formation as well. There would have been no extreme weather, no deserts, and no big mountain ranges. This correlates with multiple sub-tropical plant and animal fossil finds in Greenland, Alaska, The Sahara Desert area, Siberia, and even under the Antarctic ice. An absolutely ideal, wonderful environment . . . before mankind’s rebellion (sin).
From Adam and Eve’s sin to the Flood of Noah (about 1,760 years after Creation, according to Old Testament genealogy analysis). This would still have been a wonderful physical world with some sort of water vapor canopy, subterranean hydrological water cycle (not atmospheric like today), and very long life spans, but now thorns and thistles (see Genesis 3:17-19), poisons, irritating insects, fangs and claws developing and starting to appear as things started to change and degenerate because of the curse (see Genesis 3:15-19). (*Note: such a water vapor canopy would have been invisible but would have offered great protection from harmful solar radiation, likely contributing to longevity). Models also indicate a possible higher partial pressure (percentage) of oxygen in the air as well (more than the 21% of today), which likely would have contributed to longer lifespans, and in some cases bigger bodies. Genetic entropy would have started and continuously progressed (build-up of deleterious genetic mutations, or increasing ‘genetic load’), but close inter-relation marriage was still permitted and safe (not banned by God until the time of Moses). All the land mass still in one super-continent, so to speak, with more shallow, gentle oceans, no severe weather, no deserts, no extreme mountain ranges, with rivers supplied by artesian springs and the ”mist” coming up daily from the earth (Genesis 2:6), watering the entire ground.
3—Current, Post-Flood World
From the end of the Flood until the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period. Human beings again became increasingly sinful, with increasing genetic entropy, and consequently close inter-relation marriage was banned (at the time of Moses, 1400-1500 B.C.) by God, and with other restrictions and guidelines (see particularly Leviticus and Deuteronomy). It is sometimes referred to as “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). Even though there is unquestionably remnant physical beauty, the Bible never refers to this present world as beautiful. Permission was granted by God to eat meat for the first time (Genesis 9:3), as Noah and his family prepared to disembark from the Ark to a devastated world with perhaps mineral-depleted soils. But now the animals would have a “fear and dread” (Genesis 9:2) of man. The rainbow was now possible with the changed atmosphere, after the collapse of the thicker, far out-reaching water vapor canopy (given as a sign by God he would never send such a Flood again to destroy the earth by water. Our atmosphere and clouds today have the equivalent of just some 1.5 inches of water vapor, and these water droplets are very small and closer in to the earth’s surface, allowing for refraction of light). This negates the ridiculous idea that Noah’s Flood was just a ‘local’ flood, because-just for starters- 1) we have seen many rainbows, and had many ‘local’ floods (this ungrounded belief makes God a liar); 2) the Bible repeatedly refers to the universality and worldwide-encompassing nature of the Flood, with adjectives like “all,” “every,” and others (e.g., covered all the high hills); 3) the massive sedimentary rock layers are worldwide and sometimes continental in size, averaging over a mile in thickness and filled with billions of dead things, unquestionably buried alive in a fast and furious powerful aqueous mudflow; and 4) if just a ‘local’ flood, why the Ark? . . . people could have just fled to the surrounding high ground, and why take birds on board?! (Genesis spends four chapters talking about the Flood, and it is referred to many times in the Old and New Testaments, even be Jesus himself).
4—Millennial Kingdom of Christ
1,000- year period after the end of the 7-year Great Tribulation. Jesus will come to rule with his saints, and the earth will have been restored to the antediluvian state: mountains made low, topographic and hydrological changes, the lion lays down with the lamb, the babe plays by the hole of the adder, and there are long life spans again (see Isaiah). A small number of human beings will make it into the Millennial period, after the Rapture of the saints 7 years before, and then the following drought, fire, earthquakes, and devastation of the earth during the Tribulation period. But the fast-growing human population in the nearly ideal conditions is still fallen, and spiritual decisions still have to be considered as the centuries roll by. Animal sacrifice is even reinstated, probably as a reminder of sin, needed justice and atonement. Satan released for a time at the end.
5—New Heavens and a New Earth
Sort of akin to the earlier mentioned primeval world. The previous millennial world is not annihilated but changed and cleansed by fire and made new. It is eternal.