Article

Demographic Time Bomb!

How Long Can Earth Withstand the Population Explosion?

As the planet becomes overcrowded, problems and troubles abound—what’s next for mankind’s future?

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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With the world’s population nearing 7 billion, humanity faces critical demographic challenges. Figures indicate that 2,000 years ago the global population was 200 million, and increased to 275 million over a 1,000-year period. Thereafter, the increase was gradual until the 15th century.

Due to the Spanish and Portuguese explorations, the world began to open up, with the establishment of colonies in America, Africa and Asia, which grew rapidly because of trade.

By the 18th century and the Industrial Revolution, the world population reached 1 billion. In a mere 120 years, it doubled, and 40 years later reached the 3 billion mark. Fifteen years later, the population grew to 4 billion; subsequently, a billion people are added every 12 to 15 years. Clearly, we are on the verge of a population time bomb—too many people and too few resources.

The United Nations announced in 1999 that the world contained 6 billion people. It is now over 6.8 billion. At current growth patterns, the UN expects the population to exceed 10 billion by 2050. Sudden growth in the last century brought unforeseen problems, which threaten life on the planet. World leaders convene summit upon summit to find solutions to poverty, disease, pollution, and the global financial crisis—just some of the complications for which experts seek answers.

Cause and Effect

The cause of this escalating predicament can be traced to the first generations of humanity. From the beginning, man chose to reject God’s instructions given in the Garden of Eden and began to practice the way of get—selfishness, competition, strife—instead of God’s way of give—selflessness, cooperation, unity.

Historian Flavius Josephus wrote, “But Cain was not only very wicked in other respects, but was wholly intent upon getting; and he first contrived to plough the ground.” Josephus also recorded that Cain was the first to force the ground (Antiquities of the Jews, book 1, chapter II, section 1).

The rapid increase in world population has resulted in the development of destructive farming methods to supply high demand. “Factory farming” (in which the ground and resources are over-used), has caused greater challenges for man. Animals are bred in confinement for faster turnaround time and higher profits; farmers feed them growth hormones and antibiotics, which are passed on to consumers.

This type of intensive farming puts pressure on natural resources, and is the main cause of deforestation used to accommodate increased production.

The effects of factories and industry are also at the forefront of creating the planet-wide time bomb threatening man. Land, air and sea pollution are fast destroying the ecosystem.

The wickedness of Cain—the way of get—did not end after he killed his brother Abel (Gen. 4:1-11). His expulsion was the beginning of wicked generations to come. History bears record of the way of Cain: countless wars and greedy empires.

An example is Genghis Khan and his descendants, who ruled the Mongolian empire during the 13th century. Their reign of terror, which involved the mass rape of countless women, resulted in a population explosion unlike any other. A National Geographic study noted that in the region of Khan’s empire, which spread across Asia, eight percent of men carry an almost identical chromosome linking them to Genghis Khan. “That translates to 0.5 percent of the male population in the world, or roughly 16 million descendants living today” (ibid.).

In Sudan’s Darfur region, soldiers use rape as a weapon of war, resulting in thousands of unwanted babies each year. The UN reports that the situation requires major intervention.

Throughout history, man has been his own worst enemy. The Romans, Assyrians and others rendered uninhabitable vast areas of land by salting fertile ground to prevent conquered peoples from rising economically. Undoubtedly, man’s way of “get” under the banner of “progress” is destroying Earth.

Men’s Solutions

As with all problems facing humanity, man has attempted to address overpopulation with his own solutions. For instance, China’s official family planning policy, introduced 30 years ago, has prevented “some 300 million births,” said the vice minister of the State Family Planning Commission (China Internet Information Center). He added, “The great population pressure is a significant factor restraining China’s further development.” The government mandates abortion as a tool to limit population growth, with some doctors performing abortions as late as the ninth month.

In Western society, contraception and the promotion of “safe sex” have made a huge impact on the way people relate to each other, with traditional marriage soon becoming obsolete—an ancient ritual in modern society. Abortion has become the solution to unwanted pregnancies. According to The Guttmacher Institute, approximately 114,000 abortions are performed worldwide every day. It is the silent holocaust of our time.

Desperate Times Spur Desperate Measures

With 7 billion people expected to be alive in the next two years, legislation of any kind cannot stem the rapid increase. All countries face the same problem, with no real solutions in sight.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that the situation is moving fast to the point where retirees will outnumber the employed, putting a strain on economic systems. To stabilize the global economy, the workforce imbalance is one of the immediate problems that needs to be addressed. Job losses worldwide add to the crisis.

Nations such as India will add more than 300 million people to their workforce in the next 20 years—more than the combined workforce generated by the European Union and the United States over the same period.

Leaders grapple with the scarcity of food supplies due to adverse weather patterns, pollution and dwindling resources. Also, garbage dumps, sanitation needs, and the breakdown of aging infrastructure creates unusable ground.

Instead of society advancing, by abusing the environment, poverty increases. Civilization has come to the crossroads of its existence. The planet cannot survive continuous abuse.

Rejecting Wisdom and Truth

When considering all the factors of famine, disease and overpopulation, the future holds a bleak picture of nations fighting for survival. No matter how many laws he passes, man entangles himself with the age-old problem of “get” versus “give” for survival.

Scripture reveals the solutions to manmade problems—a way of life that must be implemented, or civilization will cease to exist: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22).

Man rejects critical instruction in laws that could help him. The Bible outlines laws of the right—and only—way to live: principles governing kings and commoners, laws of marriage and family, rules to preserve the environment, and almost every imaginable situation. Still, man chooses to reject the truth.

Thankfully, God’s Law—which is truth (Psa. 119:142, 151), and brings wisdom and understanding crucial for humanity’s ultimate success (Deut. 4:6)—will be administered throughout all nations upon the establishment of the world to come.


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