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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!