Numbers Thanks to the name of the Lord, the full accomplishment of every letter of this oath is, like the eternal existence of Him who uttered it, an absolute, unfailing certainty; and in the certainty that all this must be brought to pass, there is enough to wake earth and heaven to song. Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
And one cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts-The whole earth is full of his glory. That day must be seen.
That it never has been seen, all will admit. The glory of the Lord, which is thus to fill the earth, unquestionably includes his perfect holiness. This is the glory which the seraphim are represented as beholding and praising. GGE 3. GGE 4. GGE 5. We there learn that the children of the kingdom, and the children of the wicked one, are to grow together, until the end of this world, like wheat and tares until the harvest.
And since the earth cannot be filled with the glory of the Lord while the children of the wicked one are in it, and they are to remain in it, until the end of this world , when the Son of man, at his coming, shall send his angels and gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire; it is plainly a matter of absolute certainty, that the gospel never will prevail, before the end of this world, so as to fill all the earth with the glory of the Lord.
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GGE 6. Again: We are told in the 7th chapter of Daniel, of a wicked power, that shall make war with the saints, and prevail against them until the Ancient of Days shall come, i. Again: Paul taught the Thessalonians, that the man of sin, i. GGE 7. Then it is certain that the saints will never lose possession of the earth, when once they shall receive it. It becomes, therefore, a matter of absolute certainty that there can be no temporal millennium, after which the wicked shall again possess the earth, after the righteous have had it as their inheritance.
To make these passages consistent with the doctrine of a temporal millennium, a beloved brother, who has recently written on this subject, has concluded that this millennium, must last more than a thousand years, and probably may continue , years. It is truly painful to see our dear brethren, who are unwilling to admit that the coming of our blessed Lord and Master is at the door, resorting to the same mode of reasoning to get rid of this blessed and glorious truth, that Universalists do to escape the doctrine of endless punishment.
And it would seem, moreover, that these brethren do not allow as much meaning to these terms, as even Universalists themselves. But these brethren have not even a Universalist forever and ever in their mode of reasoning: because, according to their theory, after the saints, the righteous, have inherited the land, and dwelt therein forever , and have possessed it forever , even forever and ever , the wicked are again to possess it: and after all this, when mankind have apostatized, and become as before the flood, and as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, Christ is to come, and the world is to be destroyed.
I should as soon think of persuading myself to believe that an unclouded sun at noon-day did not give light, as that the fact, that when the saints possess the earth, they are to possess it forever , even forever and ever , did not prove that there can never be such a thing as a temporal millennium. If it is in the power of language to express endless duration, such terms must express it. It does not help the matter to say it expresses a very long period. GGE 8. These brethren, therefore, are compelled to go even farther than Universalists in accommodating the language of the Bible to their theory of a temporal millennium.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. GGE 9. It is utterly vain to think of evading this reasoning by saying that the eternal reign of Christ and his saints will be somewhere besides in this world. I know, we are told that this does not mean those souls that were beheaded, but another generation like them. They cannot, however, be like them, unless they shall live under the same circumstances, and be beheaded as they were.
It is impossible to have another race of martyrs in a thousand years of universal peace. It is the veriest nonsense to talk of this. The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty. Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Sources of fresh water are necessary for health care, agriculture and industry. Water supplies used to be relatively constant, but now in many places demand exceeds the sustainable supply, with dramatic consequences in the short and long term. Large cities dependent on significant supplies of water have experienced periods of shortage, and at critical moments these have not always been administered with sufficient oversight and impartiality.here
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Water poverty especially affects Africa where large sectors of the population have no access to safe drinking water or experience droughts which impede agricultural production. Some countries have areas rich in water while others endure drastic scarcity. One particularly serious problem is the quality of water available to the poor. Every day, unsafe water results in many deaths and the spread of water-related diseases, including those caused by microorganisms and chemical substances.
Dysentery and cholera, linked to inadequate hygiene and water supplies, are a significant cause of suffering and of infant mortality. Underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution produced in certain mining, farming and industrial activities, especially in countries lacking adequate regulation or controls. It is not only a question of industrial waste. Detergents and chemical products, commonly used in many places of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas. Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market.
Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. This debt can be paid partly by an increase in funding to provide clean water and sanitary services among the poor.
But water continues to be wasted, not only in the developed world but also in developing countries which possess it in abundance. This shows that the problem of water is partly an educational and cultural issue, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of such behaviour within a context of great inequality. Greater scarcity of water will lead to an increase in the cost of food and the various products which depend on its use.
Some studies warn that an acute water shortage may occur within a few decades unless urgent action is taken. The environmental repercussions could affect billions of people; it is also conceivable that the control of water by large multinational businesses may become a major source of conflict in this century. The loss of forests and woodlands entails the loss of species which may constitute extremely important resources in the future, not only for food but also for curing disease and other uses.
Different species contain genes which could be key resources in years ahead for meeting human needs and regulating environmental problems. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us.
We have no such right. It may well disturb us to learn of the extinction of mammals or birds, since they are more visible. But the good functioning of ecosystems also requires fungi, algae, worms, insects, reptiles and an innumerable variety of microorganisms. Some less numerous species, although generally unseen, nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium of a particular place. Human beings must intervene when a geosystem reaches a critical state. But nowadays, such intervention in nature has become more and more frequent.
As a consequence, serious problems arise, leading to further interventions; human activity becomes ubiquitous, with all the risks which this entails. Often a vicious circle results, as human intervention to resolve a problem further aggravates the situation. For example, many birds and insects which disappear due to synthetic agrotoxins are helpful for agriculture: their disappearance will have to be compensated for by yet other techniques which may well prove harmful. We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems.
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But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves. In assessing the environmental impact of any project, concern is usually shown for its effects on soil, water and air, yet few careful studies are made of its impact on biodiversity, as if the loss of species or animals and plant groups were of little importance.
Highways, new plantations, the fencing-off of certain areas, the damming of water sources, and similar developments, crowd out natural habitats and, at times, break them up in such a way that animal populations can no longer migrate or roam freely. As a result, some species face extinction. Alternatives exist which at least lessen the impact of these projects, like the creation of biological corridors, but few countries demonstrate such concern and foresight.
Frequently, when certain species are exploited commercially, little attention is paid to studying their reproductive patterns in order to prevent their depletion and the consequent imbalance of the ecosystem. Caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness, since no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation. But the cost of the damage caused by such selfish lack of concern is much greater than the economic benefits to be obtained.
Where certain species are destroyed or seriously harmed, the values involved are incalculable. We can be silent witnesses to terrible injustices if we think that we can obtain significant benefits by making the rest of humanity, present and future, pay the extremely high costs of environmental deterioration. Some countries have made significant progress in establishing sanctuaries on land and in the oceans where any human intervention is prohibited which might modify their features or alter their original structures.
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In the protection of biodiversity, specialists insist on the need for particular attention to be shown to areas richer both in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species. Certain places need greater protection because of their immense importance for the global ecosystem, or because they represent important water reserves and thus safeguard other forms of life. Let us mention, for example, those richly biodiverse lungs of our planet which are the Amazon and the Congo basins, or the great aquifers and glaciers.
We know how important these are for the entire earth and for the future of humanity. The ecosystems of tropical forests possess an enormously complex biodiversity which is almost impossible to appreciate fully, yet when these forests are burned down or levelled for purposes of cultivation, within the space of a few years countless species are lost and the areas frequently become arid wastelands.
A delicate balance has to be maintained when speaking about these places, for we cannot overlook the huge global economic interests which, under the guise of protecting them, can undermine the sovereignty of individual nations. The replacement of virgin forest with plantations of trees, usually monocultures, is rarely adequately analyzed. Yet this can seriously compromise a biodiversity which the new species being introduced does not accommodate.
Similarly, wetlands converted into cultivated land lose the enormous biodiversity which they formerly hosted. In some coastal areas the disappearance of ecosystems sustained by mangrove swamps is a source of serious concern. Selective forms of fishing which discard much of what they collect continue unabated.
Particularly threatened are marine organisms which we tend to overlook, like some forms of plankton; they represent a significant element in the ocean food chain, and species used for our food ultimately depend on them. In tropical and subtropical seas, we find coral reefs comparable to the great forests on dry land, for they shelter approximately a million species, including fish, crabs, molluscs, sponges and algae.
It is aggravated by the rise in temperature of the oceans. All of this helps us to see that every intervention in nature can have consequences which are not immediately evident, and that certain ways of exploiting resources prove costly in terms of degradation which ultimately reaches the ocean bed itself. Greater investment needs to be made in research aimed at understanding more fully the functioning of ecosystems and adequately analyzing the different variables associated with any significant modification of the environment.
Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another.
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