Overpopulation and "Filling the Earth"

By Dr. Christopher Plumberg

God made the earth the size it is, and then told Adam and Eve to fill it. So, if they had never eaten from the Tree of Knowledge and therefore never died, would there have been enough resources for everyone? After the Fall, when the earth was cursed because of Adam and Eve's sin, food became harder to grow. Are we still called to populate the earth? What happens if we go too far?

These are common questions, but, biblically speaking, a Christian should expect neither rapid population growth nor overpopulation to be a problem faced by the human race. In short, this is because filling the earth is actually part of what God created humans to do (cf. Genesis 1:28). Moreover, this command came before the Fall described in Genesis 3, so it is a good part of what we were created to accomplish. Surely God would not design a good aspect of His creation to fail catastrophically when His creation actually obeyed Him: in other words, if God gave us these instructions, then He surely gave us the resources (adequate space, sufficient food and water, etc.) to obediently carry them out.

Many today would say that overpopulation and rapid population growth are serious problems currently facing the human race. The real problem here, however, is not the size of the population or scarcity of resources, but the distribution of those resources to those who need them. We do live in a fallen world, and many of the problems we face are of our own sinful creation. However, this is not a reflection on the inadequacy of God's creation, as was already noted above; it is simply a consequence of our sinful choices.

Although rationing of resources may sometimes be necessary to preserve human life, as in the case of famine or drought, the earth as a whole is capable of producing more than enough food and space to sustain the human race, and the problem is never with God's original design for His creation. Certain human responses to these problems, moreover, are definitely unbiblical. For instance, some countries have instituted a single-child policy, leading to state-sanctioned, forced abortions when a couple becomes pregnant a second time. Although this might address the problem of local overpopulation within that nation, it constitutes an unbiblical (and murderous) approach to resolving this problem.

In summary, the problem is not with overpopulation or rapid population growth, or with God's original design for His creation. Rather, the sinful choices of mankind have created many problems, and mankind has attempted to resolve these problems with further sinful choices. Of course, these sinful choices have their own consequences as well, and only Biblical repentance can and will reverse the downward spiral of wrong choices and terrible consequences which results.

Image Credit: aphotoshooter; "horizon"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Controversial-Issues  | God-Father  | Science-Creation

comments powered by Disqus
Published 7-11-16