By Tom Wacaster
The “World Population Clock” is updated every few seconds. Our world reached 7 billion somewhere between October 31, 2011, and March of 2012. We are already one tenth on our way to 8 Billion, with a total population as I write this article of 7,104,635,615. During the early centuries of man’s life on the earth, the population was quite sparse. Allan Barnes of Johns Hopkins University estimated that at the time of Jesus’ birth the world population was somewhere around 200 million. It took us 1,830 years to reach our first billion shortly before our nation’s Civil War. It took only 80 years to reach our second billion, only 30 years to reach three billion. We hit that mark in 1960. By 1972 we reached four billion, and only 40 more years to jump to our present population of more than 7 billion. It is estimated that our population will double over the next 40 years. That, beloved, is a staggering 14 billion! The figures are giving sociologists fits, and the gainsayers fodder for doomsday prophecies. The radical leftist organizations are using these figures to forward their agenda of mercy killing, abortion, and euthanasia, all in the name of survival (talk about an oxymoron). The common man simply stands in awe at the prospects that lay before us, both good and bad!
The following “suggestion” for population control appeared in the 1971 Reader’s Digest and Almanac and Yearbook: “In the long run, if the birthrate is not reduced to match the death rate, nature will automatically increase the death rate to match the birth rate.” So much for failed prophecies! But listen to the “solution” offered in the event that nature does not take care of the population rate: “The more rational and desirable means of diminishing the population growth rates include birth control of conception, birth, and population. Conception control includes all the means by which conception is prevented. Birth control involves conception control plus abortion. Population control means those policies and programs encompassing the inter-relations of the birth rate, death rate, and net rate of migration, and well as social and economic programs that affect these factors.” In 1971 our society rejected such “solutions” - today they are being given serious consideration. The “solution” thus presented is fraught with ethical questions, not the least of which is the role that “abortion” plays in population control. All efforts to either stop or slow the population growth rate over the past 50 years has simply not worked. Even in China, with their governmental policy of forced abortions and child limitations, they have only managed to slow their population growth and not to match the growth rate with the death rate.
What, then, should be the Christian’s perspective regarding the ever increasing numbers of our population? Shall we join hands with those who seek, through human wisdom, to address the problem? Like all other world problems that have challenged us over the centuries, the child of God has a different “world view” that enables him to cope with issues that arise from time to time. Here are some things to think about.
First, God’s wisdom should be sought. Those who have a strong belief in God, and rest upon His divine promises, look at problems from an entirely different perspective than those of the world. Frankly, I don’t think the present population, or the prospect of doubling that amount within the lifetime of my children and grandchildren has, in any way caught God off guard. God is omniscient, and when He created this world He was fully ware that it would eventually have to house 7 billion (or perhaps more). By the same token, global warming, the shortage of water, the ozone layer, or a myriad of other issues facing our world just do not bother me because I trust in God’s omniscience and omnipotence.
Second, our God is caring God, concerned about every single person who has ever lived on this globe, is now living, or who will be born in the years to come. David wrote, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living. Wait for Jehovah: Be strong, and let thy heart take courage; Yea, wait thou for Jehovah” (Psa 27:13-14). God cares for us; perhaps we need to rest on His divine care and leave the population issue in His hand.
Third, out of the 7 billon now living, and the myriads upon myriads of souls yet to be born, our greatest concern should be for the lostness of humanity. I cannot imagine 7 billion souls, much less 14 billion. Of all the souls who have lived in the past, the greatest population of hell will come from our generation and those to follow! The billions who will be weeping and gnashing their teeth will have come from our generation. By the same token, you and I have the opportunity to provide for the greatest percentage of those who will live in heaven, feasting on the riches of God’s grace for all eternity. If we are negligent in our duty to preach the gospel as far, and as fast as humanly possible, we will, by our neglect, contribute to the population of hell. If, on the other hand, we are diligent in our efforts to send forth the gospel both far and wide, we will play a vital part in increasing the population of heaven when our Lord comes again. Let us, then, be faithful to the task at hand.