If the Day of the Lord tarries for another 500 years, what will humanity look like? As Jonathan Edwards could not foresee the advent of internet, so too are we at a loss for predicting the paradigm-shifting inventions that the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th centuries will bring forth. However, like Edwards, who predicted the rise of third-world Christendom, we may imagine some diverse human experiences. The key is to root our considerations in Scripture.
One difficulty that looms just outside the foreseeable future is the matter of space exploration. People have already orbited the earth and landed on the moon. If space programs advance at even a quarter of the rate we have seen in the past century, then within the next 500 years there will be colonies in the expanse of the heavens. Moons and some planets in our solar system will host colonies, built around harvesting precious resources of which the earth has been depleted or unacquainted.
Several obstacles stand in the way of this, of course. It is possible that human depravity (through weapons of mass destruction) will cyclically set the world back several centuries in technological advancement. We must also always remember that Christ may return before such advancements take place. In the absence of such events, we must assume that space exploration will advance to the point of colonization.
How do we understand this phenomenon in the context of Scripture? How is the Noahic Covenant relevant to men who live their entire lives on one of Jupiter’s moons? Does space expansion constitute a type of Babel-tower? Does the dominion mandate expand into the universe, or only throughout the earth? Should we expect to find other intelligent life-forms in the cold abyss – and if so, are they made in God’s image? These questions only begin to scratch the surface of exegetical work necessary to address space colonization.