So, here’s the thing: there’s no “end” to humanity. We will reach a point when there are no more babies being born, but the existing humans? Oh, we’ll live for eternity, either in heaven or in hell!
What God will ‘end’ is the universe: at the end of time, the universe will end, and in its place, God will create a “new heavens and a new earth”. All humans will continue to exist – and, in fact, we will receive glorified bodies. So… humanity never comes to an end!
I might be nit-picking, but why would God end the universe? To bring his flock home maybe? I still find it difficult to understand the concept of ending the universe. We, as humans, will ultimately be judged at the time of our death, so God would still be bringing us home, just not millions of people at the same time.
Though the prophecies of the mass conversion of the Jews in the Last Days do strongly suggest that those conversions will take place in the Promised Land. I certainly wouldn’t dare suggest that the current regathering of the Jews to their ancient homeland isn’t God’s way of telling them that He hasn’t forgotten about them and preparing them for their conversion.
This present universe is subject to all manner of decay; it cannot last forever in its present state. If the Lord brought forth the New Jerusalem in this present universe, the blessed would see the day when the stars were no more and the beauty of the universe has faded into darkness. The heavens would cease declaring the glory of God, which would not be fitting. Rather, the Lord says, “Behold, I make all things new.”
Thank you mythbuster1. My brain would wrap around the concept that the earth and universe are not destined to last forever, much to my disappointment. Thus, Armageddon would actually be an act of survival for humanity, God is actually saving us, from our own destruction and the collapse of the physical universe. Some deep thinking there.
The description of the destruction and renewal of the universe in 2 Peter 3:8-13 is consistent with the decay of a false vacuum to a true vacuum. There is strong, though not indisputable, evidence that our present universe is a false vacuum. Scientists can’t make any predictions about what the new universe would be like, other than that it would have radically different physics.
There will be no theocracy or formal realization of God’s kingdom on earth; the Church strictly rejects that notion even as she naturally supports our striving for Gods will to be done everywhere.
675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.574 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth575 will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.576
676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.578
677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.579 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.580 God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.581
1048 " We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man, nor the way in which the universe will be transformed. The form of this world, distorted by sin, is passing away, and we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, in which happiness will fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the hearts of men."641
1049 "Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come. That is why, although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from the increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human society."642
I think there’s been a misunderstanding here. “Bringing about God’s kingdom on earth” refers to God bringing the Second Coming, not secular messianism.
In any event, thanks for the helpful answers on the thread. I have done some further research including looking up what Fr. Hardon actually said, and some other stuff, and I think that first of all Fr. Hardon’s main objection was on another basis that’s more understandable, and that there are probably some significant issues here that aren’t Millenarism.
I appreciate everybody helping me to further understand these knotty issues.
I apparently misunderstood. But in any case, considering the OP, the Church teaches about a period of trial and persecution (the concept of “tribulation” fitting in at this point) before the end of the world, not a period of peace.
Humans, as well as the universe, has been wounded by sin. God will make us perfect. He will also reconstitute the universe and make it perfect again.
Actually, the “new heavens and new earth” become the New Jerusalem. So, the “new earth” is, in a certain sense, “the Promised Land.” The entirety of creation is the Temple, and in a sense, “Jerusalem”, rather than just one city on earth.