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A friend of mine once said that, "God said he would never destroy the earth again." I assume she was referencing the time of Noah's Ark, where the Great Flood wiped out the entire world.

I was simply wondering if this was true, and if there were any other cases in the Bible (or elsewhere) in which God said something like this?

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closed as off-topic by Flimzy, Nathaniel, Lee Woofenden, Mr. Bultitude, curiousdannii Apr 15 at 0:30

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One note: in Matthew 3: 11 John the Baptist said one comes after me that will baptize with the Holy Sprit and with fire. In the Old Testament GOD always refers to the fire of a furnace in the refining process. – user4502 May 14 '13 at 19:25
Will God destroy the world again? Just look around; it doesn't look like he'll need to! ;) – Mason Wheeler May 15 '13 at 20:26
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Yes, God did say something like that after the flood. You can find this in Genesis, however the reference is specifically to destruction by flood (emphasis added):

Genesis 9:8-17 (ESV)
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

There will be a time when the earth is destroyed again, this time by fire. You can find one (of many) references to this in the New Testament (emphasis added):

2nd Peter 3:4-10 (ESV)
They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

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It's pretty frightening to know that the earth will eventually be destroyed again. Will the followers and those faithful to God be spared from these fires? – user92 Aug 27 '11 at 10:06
@Purmou Yes it should be frightening, but I the thing we call the Gospel is the good news about a solution for men to be saved from this judgement. Whether we will experience some of the tribulation is widely contested but we agree that there is one who saves us from certain death. – Caleb Aug 27 '11 at 10:17
@Caleb are women unable to be saved from the judgement? – Andrew Grimm May 16 '13 at 3:49
@AndrewGrimm "Men" can refer to folks that are human no matter what their gender.. This is standard English language usage and goes for other monikers as well. – Caleb May 16 '13 at 11:03
Sounds like a good question for ""; - "Are men really men in the bible or are they human?" – The Freemason May 17 '13 at 14:23

It depends on what you mean by "destroy the earth". If your friend was referring to destroying the actual planet so that it no longer exists then quite the opposite is true (see 2 Peter 3 below). If your friend was referring to destroying its surface and all life on it then yes God does say as much.

In Genesis 8, right after God destroyed almost every living thing with a global flood, He says:

21 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. 22 “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.” (NASB)

So here you have God saying that He wouldn't destroy all life and the world systems (seasons, days & nights, ...). He is more specific in Genesis 9:11 where He says:

I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. (NASB)

Here God is specific that He wont use a flood to cut off all life and He even refers to this kind of catastrophic event as something that would "destroy the earth" though a flood would obviously leave the planet intact.

God does say that He will eventually destroy the planet though. In 2 Peter 3:10 it says:

But 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. (NASB)

And again in Revelation 21:1 it says:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (NASB)

Now the scope of God's promise to not destroy the earth in Genesis 8-9 is debatable. In its broadest sense He could be saying that "while the earth remains" He wont destroy all life. In the narrowest sense He could be saying that He wont destroy the earth with a flood. Neither contradict God's later statements in 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21. If it is the former then the clauses "as I have done" and "while the earth remains" are important because the coming destruction involves the earth not remaining. If it is the later then the coming destruction is by fire and thus not excluded.

In summary, it does appear that God promised to not destroy the earth in the sense that He did with the flood (destroy all life). But He does promise to destroy the earth in that it will be no more.

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John wrote in Revelation 21:1

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. NASB

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Welcome to Christianity S.E. A good answer would be a bit longer than this, but you are correct. You would probably also want to identify the error in the question--that the world would not be destroyed by water again. – Narnian May 17 '13 at 14:31

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