It is common for people who are into environmentalism to also be into population control. They say it’s unethical to have too many kids (as determined by them). We believe it’s unethical to restrict population growth.
It is not difficult to discern what the Bible says about this issue. God was very clear. When God created man, He gave very clear instructions: Gn.1:28 "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. He said the same thing to Noah after the flood. Gn.9:1 Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.
Some people will argue that we fulfilled that command years ago, and now we are overfilling the earth. But that’s just not true. There are vast areas in this world that are habitable, but not populated. A couple years ago the news media reported the birth of the world’s 6 billionth child, who was born in Sarajevo (It’s amazing to me that the news media actually believes that anyone knows the exact number of human beings in the world. How could anyone know that? There are lots of countries that don’t keep track of population. People living in jungles and villages were never counted in any census. And even with our extreme efforts for accuracy in our census, it’s nowhere close to being accurate down to the single individual. Besides, when that child was born in Sarajevo, how do we know that someone else, some other place in the world didn’t die a moment before that child was born, bringing the grand total right back down to 5,999,999,999?). There’s no way they can know exactly how many people there are. And since it’s the overpopulation crowd who is giving us the 6 billion figure, I think there’s reason to wonder if that’s not an exaggeration. But however many people there are, the earth is not overpopulated, or even fully populated.
Mona Charin wrote a very helpful column on this topic a couple years ago. She reminds us that 50 years ago they were warning us that within a few decades the world’s population would explode into mass starvation and ecological disaster. But not only have those prophecies failed to materialize, but the exact opposite has happened. Despite an expanding population, Earth is experiencing a food glut. Global food prices have fallen by half since 1950, even as population has doubled. And enough food is now grown in the world to provide each resident of the planet with almost 4 pounds of food per day. Even China has a problem with obesity.
It’s true that there are still famines in Africa and elsewhere, but most of the time they are not the result of natural disaster. They are usually the purposeful acts of evil governments. Recent famines in Ethiopia and Sudan were engineered by governments to punish rebellious subjects.
For the vast majority of the world's people, population increases have gone hand in hand with improvements in living standards. We are not running out of resources.
And we are not running out of space either. If all 6 billion of Earth's residents had to squeeze into the state of Texas, there would be enough room for each family of four to have a house and one-eighth of an acre of land. The rest of the globe would be empty. If you take 6 billion people and divide them into groups of 4, you have 1.5 billion “families.” Texas has 171,057,280 acres, which is almost 1.4 billion eighth acres. So 6 billion people could fit in TX, and each group of 4 could have almost an eighth acre. Obviously they couldn’t all live there, but they could all fit.
What has ruined people’s lives is not overpopulation, but rather efforts to control population which have become inhumane and gruesome. In China the one-child-per-family policy has resulted in the infanticide of 10 to 20 million female babies. 90% of the children in Chinese orphanages are female. Forced abortions are inflicted upon the women there who get pregnant with a second child, and now China has created a society without brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts or uncles. And millions of young Chinese men will never marry or have even one child of their own because there aren't enough women to go around. And it’s all so unnecessary. There is plenty of room and plenty of resources.
But as long as there are enough people on the earth for one of them to get in the way of another, or to create some inconvenience, there will always be howls about overpopulation. In fact, even in the ancient world at the time of Moses people considered the earth to be overpopulated (Walton p.134). Population control is rooted in selfishness. People don’t like crowds, they don’t like waiting in line, and they want to hoard all the good things for themselves.
It amazes me when I see bumper stickers and letters to the editor about how we need to restrict population growth in Boulder County. I always want to say to those people, “If it’s bad for lots of people to live here, why are you here? It’s OK for you to live here but not someone else?” It’s OK for you to take up space and resources, it’s OK for you to have a house, it’s OK for you to contribute to the traffic congestion, it’s OK for you to make the line longer at the store, but not for someone else? Population control comes out of the same attitude. It’s OK that I exist, but I don’t want other people to come into existence, because that might create an inconvenience for me.
The blessings given to Adam and Noah are clear: there are no restrictions on procreation. So God allows us to have as many children as we want.