Just after midnight on October 31, 2011, Danica May Camacho was born in the Philippines. This young one was given the title of the earth’s 7,000,000,000th inhabitant. For the first time ever, the population of the earth is now estimated at seven billion people.
For some, the news of this milestone is not a reason for celebration; instead, they see it as a harbinger of doom. Demographic “experts” warn us of food shortage, damage to the environment, accelerated climate change, energy shortage, increased illiteracy, the mistreatment of women and the “marginal” in society; and even the prospect of yet another global war with apocalyptic consequences.
Some of the more radical activists are calling for policies to reduce the world’s population to no more than 2 billion people. Which may lead us to wonder how they will do that. Forced sterilization? Aggressive euthanasia? Genocide?
Now, it is indeed true that man can and does cause much heartache, pain, and destruction in the world. All one has to do is look down through the annals of history and see the countless stories of how greed and aggression have wrought great destruction to the environment and to society. This has become increasingly evident over the past 250 years. From the robber barons of the 18th century to the terrorist activities of the 21st century, man has proven to be a very destructive force, resulting in destruction and mayhem on every continent. And we all know that starvation is real. Drought is real. Famine is real. And, we are fully aware that death is real.
Before we go on, how many people make up seven billion people? Well, seven billion, of course. And that number may indeed seem daunting. That is, until you compare it to the world’s land mass. In fact, if you were to relocate the entire world’s population to one location, all seven billion would be able to live comfortably in Texas with 1065 square feet per person. That would leave the rest of the globe for food, energy, and water production. By the way, I am not advocating a mass relocation to the Lone Star State. Besides, I doubt any St Louis Cardinal fan would make the trek.
There is another question that we should consider: Would fewer people really mean a kinder, safer, more peaceful world? No. While the impact of manmade disasters may be less costly, there would still be trials and challenges. You see, the issue is not in the number of people; the issue is the heart of man. The Bible clearly defines the real problem with these words:
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.” (Psalm 53:1–3).
And Jesus nailed the problem on the head when He said that it is “what comes out of a man that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” (Mark 7:20–22) The issue again is not the number of people; it is the sinful hearts that manifest themselves in sinful actions—actions that typically harm others.
With that, consider that the Bible clearly declares that children are a blessing, not a curse. Children are gifts from God (Psalm 127:3-5) and, they are not accidents of biology. The birth of each child is decreed by God. He is the one who formed him in the womb. (Psalm 139:13-14) God is not surprised by the number of children conceived—the number of people on the planet. He ordained it!
In a way, what we are seeing is a component of the Dominion Mandate, a command God gave when He said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
God wants more than just children; He wants godly seed! (Malachi 2:15) Godly seed are people who will not only proclaim Jesus as their Savior; they will live their lives proclaiming Him as their Lord! They are the ones who will live for others, not for themselves. Godly seed are the ones who will reach out to the hurting, to the lonely, to the forsaken. Godly seed will welcome the call to serve others in positions of leadership in the church, in business, and in government, serving society according to God’s Word.
Godly seed are the chosen ones who will steward the earth, managing the resources God has given us, making sure that fresh water, healthy food, and suitable housing are available for even the most destitute on the planet. Godly seed are those who will seek out the mysteries of Creation itself, leveraging scientific discovery for the betterment of mankind and the growth of the Kingdom of God. Godly seed are those who will invest themselves in the arts, in music, in literature, in architecture, in healing the sick, in literature, in film to point the world to the beauty of the Lord.
When Jesus taught us to pray, He said that we are to implore that His Kingdom come, that God’s will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. This prayer becomes reality as we see godly seed expand across the face of this globe.
So, how do we get there? How do we see this come to pass? It starts when we believe that our God is sovereign, that He is at work, that His plan will not be thwarted, and that even right now, He is shaking down the nations (Haggai 2:7) until the time that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth like the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
As we await His work, we who are Christians realize that the Lord has called us to be His witnesses, to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness (Luke 1:74-75), sharing with the lost the glory of the Lord until the day when the Great Commission is fulfilled (Matthew 28:18-20).
The news of seven billion people should not bring to the heart of the Christian undue fear; it should instead bring excitement—excitement for the Kingdom, excitement for the Gospel, excitement that we not only get to see the Lord work before our eyes, but that we have the privilege to participate in this great adventure!
As Jesus said, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2) We have been given the task of praying for more laborers to enter this expanding mission field for the glory of the Lord. Let us be about that labor of prayer. And let us be about the work of living for Jesus, that His name might be glorified, even among the heathen.
“’The nations shall know that I am the Lord,’ says the Lord God, ‘when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.’” (Ezekiel 36:23)
And to make it legal, the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the other elders or members of Providence Church.