All too frequently there are stories which present as a fact the idea that the world is “over-populated”. This alarm has been sounded repeatedly over the last century with dire consequences always predicted if human population is not controlled or reduced. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent both studying the “problem” and attempting to coerce developing nations into stricter birth control methods, sterilizations, and abortions. How should we respond to the dire predictions that the Earth is being overrun with human vermin?
First we need to get the facts correct. Predictions of overpopulation have been repeatedly wrong in the same way that predictions of massive oil shortages by the end of the last century (made during the gasoline shortages of the early 1970’s) were premature. Calculations of total world population are based on very tentative data which cannot predict unknown future variables. For instance, the enormous effect of AIDS on world population was not known twenty years ago and the tendency of developed nations in Europe, North America, and the far East to voluntarily stabilize population growth are seldom taken into account. Many Western countries are actually concerned about maintaining a stable enough population to support their economies and cultures because so few families are having more than one child.
Furthermore, the entire population of the world could be placed into the state of Texas and families in the entire world could be given a 2000 square foot home on a 40 by 100 foot lot. This planet has more than enough resources for its growing population and almost all problems associated with “over-population” are the result of greed, pride, and racial hatred rather than the total number of people present.
Japan is home to 125 million people on a land mass smaller than the state of California. Most of these people live in urban areas because of the mountains. Yet the Japanese are quite satisfied with their quality of life.
In addition to these facts, some population models predict that it will take over 200 years to double the current world population. Other models actually predict a shrinking future world population.
The most important perspective to maintain is the perspective that the Creator of mankind is ultimately in control. God really does know what He is doing. The Bible clearly teaches that children are to be considered blessings, (rather than a curse to be prevented and disposed of). Nowhere in the Bible is there even a hint that it is our responsibility to reduce the number of children desired by our neighbors. Almost all methods limiting world population involve coercion at best and murder at worst. The dignity of human life is often reduced to statistics in an effort to obtain some arbitrary population growth goal. Only God knows what population this planet was built to sustain, but we are certainly no where near that limit. Money currently spent to control world population would be much better spent improving the quality of human life.
The next time you hear dire predictions of the effects of over population; respond with a statement of trust in God’s providence rather than jumping on the “over-population” bandwagon. Once we start treating people with dignity and respect rather than as numbers and statistics, we will be motivated to fund economic development instead of overseas abortions.