“Nothing Too Hard”

“Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made … the earth, and all things that are therein, … and thou preservest them all.” —Nehemiah 9:6

FOR some decades people in this country have been urged to use more gas—to heat their homes, their churches, schools and other buildings, and to drive motors for use in manufacturing processes. It is clean and convenient to use; its delivery to the customer is simple; and its cost, all factors considered, is competitive with other fuels. Apparently the sales campaign was more than successful, for now we are hearing rumblings that its cost will rise. This situation has arisen, of course, from the increased use of gas that has come about, and from the lower annual additions to reserves that have been made in recent years.

Man’s life here on earth is sustained by those marvelous resources that the Great Provider created and stored here over countless millennia—pure air to breathe, sparkling water to drink, and savory food to sustain life. He supplied minerals from which man could make household articles and tools and machinery of all kinds; forests for materials to build and heat homes. He laid down the great coal and oil deposits in the bowels of the earth for use as fuel and to drive machinery for the production of those thousands of things that make up our civilization today.

And how long did it take to develop the precious soil from which spring the grasses that clothe the prairies and feed the flocks; the forests that adorn the hills and mountains; the fruit trees; the grains that green the valleys—all those wonderful things that not only sustain life, but make it a joy indeed! The creative processes thus undertaken by the Creator to provide man with a home and the means of continuing life on this planet have required untold ages. But through selfishness, ignorance, and prodigality man, who has been on this earth a little more than a mere six thousand years, is now greatly concerned about the continuing adequacy of some of the basic life necessities.

At the beginning of the last decade it was estimated that the gas reserves in the United States were sufficient to last some thirty odd years into the future. During the decade, however, the annual production and consumption of gas continued to rise at a steady rate, while additions to gas reserves hardly more than kept pace with consumption, with the result that the volume of the reserves as expressed in terms of apparent future life had shrunk by 1969 to an estimated 14 years. What makes this situation especially disconcerting is the sharp decline in additions to reserves that has occurred in the last two years of the decade just closed.

The price of natural gas offered for sale in interstate trade is regulated by the Federal Power Commission, rather than by the producers whose pricing of their product would be subject, presumably, to the market law of supply and demand. It now appears that the prices which the FPC has set from time to time have been such as to discourage the search for new gas supplies, with the result noted above. Belatedly, the FPC is now raising the price that producers may charge their customers; belatedly, because it requires many years for supplies of gas to be discovered, come into production, and flow to market. This is but one more example of man’s imperfect knowledge, his inability properly and equitably to use and share the good things of this earth, and of the shortcomings of the economic system he has devised to supply his own needs and wants.

Coal Also

Consider, also, the commodity coal, on which man depends for the generation of much of the electric power that is used in the world to light and heat homes, shops, schools, hospitals, and city streets, and in factories to drive machinery for producing all manner of things for man’s well-being. Apart from the growing recognition of the danger to man from the fouling of the atmosphere which is caused by imperfect combustion of various fuels, there is concern in the minds of many as to the extent of the future supply of coal, as with gas. At the present rate of population growth, it has been estimated that world needs for energy fuels of all kinds will, by the end of the century, be five times that of today. On this basis, it is further calculated that presently available coal reserves would last perhaps one hundred years. Even allowing for the discovery and exploitation of coal fields whose existence is not now known it is suggested by some that the world supply could be exhausted in some two hundred years. In terms of “forever,” that is a short time! These are, of course, but educated guesses; but it must nevertheless be conceded that somewhere along the line the supply must eventually run out; for, as with many other natural blessings that have long been taken for granted, there is no such thing as “instant coal”; for coal is the product of special conditions in the earth existing over long periods of time—conditions which may never again come about.


Then there is oil, another extremely important item in the lives of humanity the world over today. Oil and related products heat our homes, drive our cars, and move our trains, planes, trucks, and shipping, to mention but a few of its more obvious uses. As with gas, it looks as if consumers in this country will soon be paying more for fuel oil and gasoline. Again, it is not because of a want of available oil in the world to meet present needs, but just another sorry instance of the inability of man to submerge his selfish interests, and to co-operate with others in the use and enjoyment of those things that the Lord has so lavishly and graciously placed at the disposal of all.

In Syria, a pipeline carrying some half million barrels of oil per day from the rich fields on the Persian Gulf to a shipping point in Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea has been put out of commission. Whether this happened by accident or otherwise is not made known; it seems, however, that the Syrian government will not permit the pipeline to be repaired. At the same time, oddly enough, in Libya, another of the great oil-rich countries, that government has ordered a reduction in the production of crude oil amounting to a half-million barrels per day.

These two circumstances have made necessary the use of tankers to carry an additional one million barrels of oil per day from the Persian Gulf all the way around South Africa to world markets. As a result, tanker capacity is tight, charter rates have bounded and, of course, the price of crude oil has risen. However, the degree of concern about the world supply of oil is much less than that in the case of gas, or of coal, for the proven reserves of oil run into figures which are quite incomprehensible to most of us, being stated in terms of billions and trillions of barrels—in short, there is a great deal of oil.

In the United States, for instance, the estimated proven reserves of oil have remained relatively constant at about a twelve-year supply for the last twenty-five years; and that, in spite of the fact that production in this country during that time has almost doubled. This is so, because the oil reserves are more or less closely adjusted to the rate of consumption: that is to say that, as the rate of consumption increases, drilling and discovery are also increased, in order to maintain at all times a margin of reserves related to consumption that is deemed comfortable. The cost of drilling wells is great, and increasing; and there is an understandable reluctance on the part of oil companies to invest more in unused capacity than is necessary to maintain reserves at a reasonable level; and then again, it may be cheaper from time to time to produce and import oil from foreign wells than to produce it from our own.

Thus, the full potential of oil production in this country really is not actually known. And this is true, also, of all the other great oil-producing areas, where the amount of untapped oil is believed to be vastly greater than that in continental United States. But even assuming, as seems reasonable, that there are vast, untapped reserves of oil in the ground and under the oceans, the supply, however great, is not without a limit. And one must conclude that, barring the availability and substitution of some other form of energy for oil, the world must ultimately face the prospect of its exhaustion, however distant that date.


As for reserves of uranium, which is used to fuel our nuclear reactors, the facts are even more difficult to determine. On the basis of one estimate of the size of the reserves, they would meet our country’s needs for some thirty years ahead at present efficiency; and they would last beyond that date in proportion to the advancement in the technology relating to the use of this metal.

Aside from the amount of uranium that may be available in the world, the use of nuclear reactors to generate power involves some thorny problems. One of these is the difficulty of safely and permanently disposing of the atomic wastes that are produced, for these wastes are highly radioactive, and dangerous to human and animal life. Shall these wastes be buried in deep holes in the ground? Or shall they be sealed up in concrete containers and deposited in the deep ravines of the ocean? This radioactive property persists for long periods of time; and who can foretell what consequences might ensue should some of this material escape from its prison?

Another difficulty related to the use of atomic reactors has to do with the great amounts of water which must be used, and the disposition of that water, after it has become heated, in a manner that will not destroy plant and fish life. On the ecological level alone, conservationists and the concerned general public have taken strong stands in opposition to the construction of nuclear power plants in certain areas of the nation, even where power shortages are already imminent. And again, supposing these operational problems can be resolved, there is the same inescapable fact that, however large the reserves of uranium, at some future date the supply must reach an end, if its use is continued.

We might similarly go on with other basic resources which are so vital to man in today’s highly complex society: tin, copper, bauxite, lead, zinc, gold, mercury, to name but a few. The amounts of these metals which the earth secretes in its crust are impossible to ascertain with anything approaching precision. But even if it were possible, their continued consumption, apart from some ameliorating circumstances, must eventually lead to an empty cupboard. And beyond the concern about the diminishing supply of certain of earth’s raw materials, the nations are already plagued with the more pressing and fundamental problem of hunger and starvation by millions of people the world around. It is said that some two-thirds of the world’s population go to bed hungry every night.

Earth to be Filled

When the Lord created man in the Garden of Eden he told him to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it.” (Gen. 1:28, Rotherham) In this statement by the Lord there is an implied promise to Adam and his offspring that obedience to God’s commands would bring everlasting life to all mankind. Man has truly been fruitful, and multiplied; and over the centuries many billions have been born, lived, and gone down into their graves because of sin. Today, some three billions of people are “crowded” onto this planet. But the Lord has also said that, as a result of Christ’s sacrifice, all those who are in their graves shall come forth in the times of restitution. All who prove obedient in heart and in deed to the righteous kingdom conditions then prevailing are promised everlasting life here on earth. These multitudes would exceed by many times the three billions who now uneasily inhabit this planet: all of them needing to be fed, clothed, and housed.

What, then, does the future hold for mankind, with its accelerating rate of population growth, accompanied by a diminishing supply of earth’s goods? Did the Creator misjudge the multitudes to which mankind would grow? Did he err in the amounts of the materials that he furnished for man’s survival? We believe not. Surely, he who possessed the wisdom to design and the power to create the universe would not blunder in his dealings with and for mankind. He who sent his only begotten Son to be man’s Redeemer would not thereafter be unmindful of their wellbeing! Our Heavenly Father is all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving, and does not err. The Prophet Isaiah quotes the Heavenly Father thus: “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”—Isa. 46:9

The Lord has indicated that it is his pleasure to create for man an everlasting home here on earth. The same prophet tells us that “the Lord … created the heavens; God himself … formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.” And then, to make certain that there could be no doubt as to his intentions concerning mankind, the Lord adds his signature to the promise: “I am the Lord; and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:18) Notice also the words of another ancient prophet of the Lord: “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power, and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jer. 32:17) The world’s problems are becoming “too hard” for solution by selfish, imperfect men. But for the Lord, there is “nothing too hard”!

The Kingdom

The solution—and the only solution—to all these human problems and fears is the promised kingdom of God. The Lord, through the apostle, speaks of the present world order as “this present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4) It is so described because it is ruled over by Satan and his minions. This selfish, profit-motivated world, or social order, is to be destroyed, and in its place God has promised to set up his glorious kingdom of love in that new world “wherein dwelleth righteousness”—that new and blessed social order here on earth. (II Pet. 3:10-13) This will truly be a righteous kingdom, for it will be ruled over by our glorified Lord Jesus and his footstep followers of this Gospel Age who have been “faithful unto death,” and who shall have had “part in the first resurrection; … they … shall reign with him a thousand years.”—Rev. 2:10; 20:6

The rulership of this invisible, heavenly government of Christ and the church will be carried out on earth by the risen Ancient Worthies—the faithful prophets and servants of old—who will be “princes in all the earth” and who will come forth from the grave “made perfect,” endowed with authority and wisdom to rule in equity and justice. (Ps. 45:16; Heb. 12:23) The Prophet Isaiah confirms the establishment of this two-phased kingdom rule wherein the “law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem,” and he also tells us of some of the beneficent results of that kingdom: “Lo! in righteousness shall reign a king, Yea even princes with equity shall bear rule. So shall each one become as a hiding-place from the wind and a covert from the storm,—as channels of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a massive cliff in a weary land. And the eyes of them who are ready to see shall not be closed,—and the ears of them who are ready to hear shall hearken.” (Isa. 32:1-3, Rotherham) In the final phase of the terrible time of trouble with which this present evil world will be destroyed, mankind will have been brought to their knees, and will be ready to see and to hearken to better ways than those that have motivated it in times past.

Whereas the rule over mankind in that kingdom of God thus to be established here on earth will be loving and beneficent, yet full compliance and obedience to the righteous laws then in force will be required. There will be no place for selfishness, the bane of mankind from the beginning; injustice to one’s neighbor will not be tolerated; the strong will not be permitted to exploit the weak.

Population Problem

One of the more frustrating problems of the world today is the unchecked rise in population. As the population expands, the need to assure the continued availability of land and materials for their own people becomes a large factor in the struggles between nations. The increased numbers of humans is a direct cause of the growing concern about shortages of food, of gas, of oil; and as thinking men peer uncertainly into the hazy future they wonder, How are all these hordes to be taken care of? How long will Mother Earth’s supplies last?

In the kingdom, this presently aggravating population problem will be solved; for the Lord Jesus himself has told us that when the kingdom is established earth’s population will be stabilized. In the 12th chapter of Mark we are given the account of the Sadducees who came to Jesus, and who related to him the story of the woman who had had seven husbands. “In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? … And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”—Mark 12:18-25

In the kingdom, man will not longer possess the power of procreation, for he will be like the angels in this respect. And thus, so very simply, and without any fuss or fanfare, through “the power of God,” there will no longer be a population problem. To the Lord, “nothing is too hard”!

Man’s Folly

In many areas of endeavor, and in many parts of the globe, the prodigality and misuse by the human race of our God-given abundance has been appalling. Man too often finds it “cheaper” to chop down, use up, and throw away, rather than to recover and reuse. Trees are felled to produce articles many of which, after brief use, are needlessly and heedlessly burned or otherwise demolished; lands are often overgrazed and abandoned; the good soil is impoverished through poor management—and so it goes.

But man’s improvidence is beginning to catch up with him; and we have seen some few small starts in the effort to reclaim and to reuse earth’s raw materials from goods that have served their primary purpose; newspapers, rags, bottles, certain metals are retrieved. Old automobiles are transported to steel mills, broken up, and mixed with iron ore to produce new steel. One large manufacturer of aluminum cans has recently started a program to collect and reuse these containers. In some areas, garbage is converted into valuable humus.

In the kingdom there will be no waste. Under the wise direction of those Ancient Worthies, all earth’s resources will be efficiently used in the interests of the common good. Old methods and materials will be improved and refined, and new ones will be discovered and implemented. Barren places shall bring forth copious fruitage. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing.”—Isa. 35:1-2

And if it should be so that in the far distant future the world supply of oil, coal, gas, or anything else should indeed run out, how then will the energy needs of the world be met? Well, there are the powerful, wide-ranging ocean tides that twice daily flush huge quantities of sea water in and out of great bays. The potential power thus represented is great. It is a source of power that is clean, and never-failing. And best of all, there are no harmful byproducts. Also, beneath the oceans’ surfaces great underwater streams flow from continent to continent. Why might these not be employed? And there is the energy that is constantly flowing to earth from the sun. Other sources of energy having been so readily at hand, man has not yet made great use of the sun’s potential. In some areas, the sun has been used to heat homes and to supply household hot water: The artificial satellites which send messages to the earth from their globe-encircling travels have radios which are powered with energy from the sun’s rays. These are but small beginnings.

But ultimately, the sun could turn out to be earth’s greatest and enduring source of energy. Scientists, contemplating the stream of energy being given off by the sun, have long speculated on how long it would be before the sun itself would become exhausted. But the Lord, who created the sun, and who should therefore have precise knowledge concerning it, has told us that it will endure forever. In the 19th Psalm we read that “the heavens declare the glory of God; … in them he hath set a tabernacle [a home, a dwelling-place] for the sun.” The psalmist also says, concerning Christ, that “his name shall endure for ever; his name shall be continued as long as the sun.” (Ps. 72:17; 89:36) Christ’s name, he says, will endure for ever—as long as the sun shall endure. He made the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein—including the sun—and he preserves them ail.—Neh. 9:6

Yes, we believe the sun will endure forever. But whatever the arrangements in the kingdom may be, whatever may be needed to make sure God’s promise of everlasting life to the obedient of mankind, we are confident of the Heavenly Father’s desire and power to provide. With imperfect man many things are not possible; but “with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) When that long-promised kingdom is established and God’s judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9); and all mankind shall raise their hearts and voices to praise and honor and glorify his holy name, as is foretold in Psalm 67.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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