On February 16, 1997, Pope John Paul II made the following comments during the homily while celebrating mass at the Roman parish of St. Andrew Avellino, which were published in the February 17th Vatican Information Service (VIS) press release:
"Throughout history men have continued to commit sins, perhaps even greater ones than those described before the flood, ... Nonetheless, from the words of the covenant established by God with Noah, one can understand that no sin will ever again lead God to annihilate the world that He himself created."
John Paul II apparently needs to do some more Bible study on this matter. I am sure we all know the basic story of the flood, which God sent to destroy the wicked people on the earth. Indeed, what Christian child of any denomination does not know it? But what of God's promise to Noah? Let's look at what the Bible actually says on this matter-
The Rainbow - God's Covenant with mankind.
From the King James:
Gen 9:12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
Gen 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
Gen 9:14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
Gen 9:15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Gen 9:16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
Gen 9:17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
The covenant or promise that God made with Noah and the rest of humanity, as stated in verse 15, is that never again will He destroy the earth with a flood of water. So the rainbow is a visible reminder that God promises water will never again cover the entire earth. The text does not state, however, that God will never again destroy the earth. Here is verse 15 in the Catholic Douay Rheims version of the Bible, just to show there is no translation problem-
From the 1899 edition of the Douay Rheims-
Gen 9:15 And I will remember my covenant with you, and with every living soul that beareth flesh: and there shall no more be waters of a flood to destroy all flesh.
Seems pretty clear even in the Catholic Bible that the promise from God is no more world-wide floods. But does the Bible tell us this world (and it's sinners) will never be destroyed again?
From the King James-
Deu 32:22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
Psa 46:6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
Psa 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Psa 46:8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
Zep 3:8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
2 Pet 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2 Pet 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Rev 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
You see, God will not destroy this earth with a flood, but he will most assuredly destroy it with fire. The lake of fire is the ultimate destiny of all sinners, and once they have been destroyed, it consumes the entire earth in a cleansing fire, destroying all earthly evidence of sin. This time though, it is a flood of fire from heaven, and not water, that will consume the earth and wickedness. God then recreates the heavens and the earth, restoring the state of perfection that existed before Satan and the fall of Adam and Eve.
So contrary to the statements of Pope John Paul II, the Bible teaches that this world will indeed be destroyed in the future, along with all sinners. This is just further proof that you should read the Bible for yourself to understand things like this, and not rely on Pope, priest, prelate or pastor to do your reading and interpretation for you. It is the only way to know what is true.
For more information related to this topic, see also-
The Biblical Truth about Hell
An End Times Timeline