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Our World in Trouble?

by Donald Geddes — last modified Jun 20, 2015 03:00 PM
According to predictions made in the 1970s millions of people ought to be dying of starvation by now because of the increase in population outstripping the production of food.

In the 1970s biologist Paul Ehrlich confidently predicted “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100–200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

But this did not happen because of the so-called “Green Revolution” led by Norman Borlaug who won the Nobel Prize in 1970. He is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation through the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernisation of management techniques, distribution of hybridised seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.

This “Green Revolution” continues with the development of genetically modified crops. These are food crops genetically modified to resist certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions. They also improve the nutrient profile of the crop.

As the world population grows, so scientific advances ensure increases in the yields of food crops. Most current famine areas are the result of prolonged drought or war.

Christians should not be surprised at these amazing developments. After the Flood, God made a promise to Noah: As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. Genesis 8:22

This assures us that the earth will continue to produce crops sufficient to feed its population. This is the basis of God’s providence.

However, while God has provided all the resources necessary to support mankind, we have the responsibility to discover and utilise these resources.

When God commanded Adam to be fruitful and increase in number (Gen 1:28), he also commanded him to fill the earth and subdue it.

This was a command to engage in scientific discovery in order to make good use of the resources God had provided. Man was to fill the earth — to spread out in order to find all the different resources in different locations.

Being created in God’s image means we are endowed with the creative ability of God — an ability to discover things which can be used for our benefit.

When men and women turn their back on God and deny his providence, it is inevitable they become pessimistic about the future. They lose sight of the fact that there are still many wonderful things waiting to be discovered.

There are those who predict we face an energy crisis and will run out of petroleum to feed a rapidly expanding demand. They say that one day in the future there will be no petrol to run our cars.

But that is unlikely. Other fuel and power sources will be discovered.

Scientists know that there are almost unlimited supplies of gas hydrates located in the depths of our oceans. One scientist has reported “An estimated 200 trillion cubic metres of methane hydrate are in the Gulf of Mexico alone — that could cover the energy consumption of the entire United States for 250 years.”

We have yet to discover how to utilise this resource.

Christians can confidently believe that God will provide all the resources necessary to keep this world going until he draws the final curtain on human history.

When Paul writes in Philippians 4:19, And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus, his assurance not only applies to individuals but to the whole of mankind.

What a great God we have!

Poor Sheep!

by Donald Geddes — last modified Jun 07, 2015 08:34 AM
The revelation of animal cruelty in the greyhound racing industry has been universally condemned and rightfully so. But a complaint of animal cruelty lodged with the RSPCA against a shearer for swearing at a sheep is something altogether different.

Shearing sheepThe complaint was lodged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had apparently obtained footage and testimony from an undercover operative working at Boorungie Station, 130 kilometres from Broken Hill.

Ken Turner, who operates Boorungie Station, says the complaint suggests the sheep could at least understand English. But this is obviously a matter of debate.

The animal liberation organisation PETA believes the issue is one of animal suffering. They claim that even if the sheep cannot understand English it is aware it is being abused and that it suffers as a result.

The animal liberation movement stems from the book “Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals” by controversial atheist ethicist Peter Singer who claims “All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals.”

While Singer seeks to elevate animals to the level of humans, those promoting the Theory of Evolution are seeking to lower humans to the status of highly evolved animals.

But are animals equal to humans or are humans more highly evolved animals?

The Bible clearly states that humans were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), while animals were not. Man was given the task to rule over the animals (Gen. 1:28) so that man had the responsibility towards animals that was similar to God’s responsibility towards man. Man was to care for animals as God cared for man.

This clearly excludes cruelty towards animals and implies responsible husbandry. Because man was in the image of God, he was to treat the animal kingdom with God-like kindness and care.

However while animals are to be respected, this is not to be at the expense of man. If animals are a danger to man, it is right to destroy them. But there is a difference between killing and cruelty.

Veneration of animals, such as the way Hindus treat cows, is not right because it is not only out of balance but borders on idolatry.

So we are to exercise a responsibility towards animals, not because they are our equal, but because God created both animals and humans and put us together on His earth.

Animals are not created in the image of God and therefore they are not the same as men and women.

God’s concern for mankind is altogether different from His care for animals. It was to sinful man that God sent His only Son to die. This makes man special — the object of Divine love and mercy. This does not extend to animals.

However, at the end of time when God creates a new heaven and earth, there will be a place for animals — Isaiah 11:6-7:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.