Our series concludes with Part 5, looking at whether governments can provide a resolution to the many problems and challenges affecting Earth and its citizens.
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During a May address to the UN, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated: “The food crisis has no respect for borders, and no country can overcome it alone. Our only chance of lifting millions of people out of hunger is to act together, urgently and with solidarity.”
To feed all 8 billion people on Earth, the global community must act now and together. Something similar can be said for solving the problems of pollution, immigration, war and disease.
Yet here is the cold, hard truth of the problems plaguing mankind: If the global community could efficiently manage the Earth’s resources, there would be enough to go around. The planet could even sustain many more billions.
This is not lost on today’s world leaders.
“We do have the resources, but it requires a huge effort in political economy and geopolitics to actually get the resources where they need to go,” Vanessa Perez-Cirera, the global economics director at the World Resources Institute, told Deutsche Welle.
So the major problem facing a globe of 8 billion is not a resource issue. It is a government issue.
Be painfully honest. How likely is it that nations the world over can work in lockstep on any one problem—let alone all the problems they face?
The instability of governments within nations helps frame the answer. Britain had three different prime ministers in 2022. U.S. politicians spent much of the year focused on campaigning for midterm elections rather than governing. Israel held its fifth national election since 2019. And China faced rare backlash from its citizens regarding its strict zero-COVID policy.
A world of 8 billion lays bare the limits of man’s governments. Human beings are capable of impressive inventiveness and ingenuity. They can address certain problems related to public health and sanitation, which contributed to today’s population boom. But let’s face it: man cannot truly govern himself—the likes of inequality, hunger, oppression and division remain.
The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed this truth in the Old Testament: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (10:23).
This is one of the towering lessons God wants everyone to learn. Despite man’s best efforts, he cannot direct his steps—he cannot govern himself.
While God wants everyone to grasp this lesson, it is not the end of the story. The central message of the Bible is of the soon-coming Kingdom of God—a world-ruling supergovernment led by Jesus Christ (Dan. 2:44; Mark 1:14).
In fact, current population trends indicate that God must intervene in world affairs soon.
Consider. Although we are in the middle of a population boom now, growth has already begun to slow. It took 12 years to go from 7 to 8 billion, but it will be 15 years before reaching 9 billion. Experts predict the number will top out in the 2080s at about 10.4 billion. After that, the population is expected to plateau and then begin to drop.
Throughout all human history, there have always been more children than elderly. Mankind is on track to flip that trend for the first time—which is the exact opposite of what God wants.
God’s first directive in the Bible was to “be fruitful and multiply” and to “replenish the Earth” (Gen. 1:28). The reason for this command is found in verse 26, which says God made us in His “image” and “likeness.” In other words, He wants to expand His Family.
Under God’s soon-coming government, population growth will no longer be a problem—it will be encouraged. Isaiah 9:7 states: “Of the increase of [God’s] government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.”
At that time, resources will be fairly distributed to all. Micah 4:4 shows that everyone “shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid…”
As you meditate on today’s world—and what the coming year could bring—remember what God wants you to learn: Man cannot govern himself. Then, look forward to the Kingdom of God, when all of today’s terrible conditions will finally be put to rest.