In Part 5 of our look at natural selection we focused on Malthus, his population theory, and its influence on Darwin’s development of natural selection as the cornerstone of his theory of evolution. In light of Scripture, history, and true science, what can be said about the validity of Malthusian thought and its associated overpopulation histrionics?

With regard to Scripture there are several appropriate verses to keep in mind. First is Genesis 8:22 that I inserted in the Part 5 closing. God is in control not man, and God will decide when the earth as we now know it ceases to exist. The second is: “Then God blessed Noah and his Sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.’” [Genesis 9:1 NIV.]

Both Genesis 8:22 and 9:1 were given by God at the end of the cataclysmic global Flood, and these directives are still in effect. But, how would one know when the earth is filled? That is a matter of faith and those who reject or misinterpret God’s Word have been positing that the time has already come due to the over population of the earth with humans. Al Gore was not the first one to scream an alarm. Latin Christian apologist Tertullian claimed some 1800 years ago: “Everything has been visited, everything known, everything exploited. Now pleasant estates obliterate the famous wilderness areas of the past. Plowed fields have replaced forests, domesticated animals have dispersed wild life. Beaches are plowed, mountains smoothed and swamps drained. There are as many cities as, in former years, there were dwellings. Islands do not frighten, nor cliffs deter. Everywhere there are buildings, everywhere people, everywhere communities, everywhere life…Proof [of this crowding] is the density of human beings. We weigh upon the world; its resources hardly suffice to support us. As our needs grow larger, so do our protests, that already nature does not sustain us. In truth, plague, famine, wars and earthquakes must be regarded as a blessing to civilization, since they prune away the luxuriant growth of the human race.” [Tertullian, Opera monastic, cited in Jonathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account, 2015, Page 263.]

I think Tertullian was wrong then just as Gore is wrong today. If you have been around long enough to experience all of the false predictions of the past sixty years alone, you would know the dire end-of-earth claims are always greatly exaggerated. When I was in school we were warned of an impending catastrophic ice age that never materialized. Then it was “global warming” and now “climate change.” The Chicken Littles of the world have been shrieking that we were running out of crude oil for at least 120 years. I expect we still have worldwide oil reserves for another 120 years at least if leftist politicians were to allow for its discovery and recovery.

Malthus wrote that the underlying problem of population growth was that population increases in geometrical ratio, while sustenance increases at only arithmetical ratio. For example, he would say population would grow 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 etc. while food could grow only at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. If that were the case then at the end of three centuries (assuming 13 iterations) the two mathematical results would be 4096 versus 13.

But, again Malthus was wrong because food consists largely of living creatures that also increase geometrically. In addition, humans are made in the image of God, and while we live in a post-Fall world affected by the curse, we still do have the capabilities to think, work, and care about the creation according to the dominion the Creator God gave us. (See Genesis 1:26.)

Of course, there are many who would deny the image of God in man or that mankind has any redeeming qualities. Some even promote the idea that the current world population needs to be intentionally trimmed (killed off) by up to 90%. Evolutionary ecologist Eric Pianka is quoted to have suggested that he looks forward to a new unstoppable virus to do the trimming.

All of this misinterpretation is due to an incorrect worldview—God’s Word versus man’s word. I remember when I was in college, I first heard the argument that homosexuality was a good thing because of its theoretical tendency to ameliorate the overpopulation “problem.” Not long after came the push to accept same-sex marriage. This transpired largely because of the failure of the evangelical church to convince the culture that homosexuality is not a good thing. Of course, the liberal church, in its drive to enmesh “science” into Christianity, easily accepted these perversions along with evolution, millions of years, the big bang, abortion, eugenics, global warming, overpopulation, and every other anti-biblical idea that the secularists promote. 

And the reality today is that the widespread efforts to “control” overpopulation look to have resulted in a population collapse in many countries. This has brought serious cultural problems that were evidently unforeseen, and that perhaps may prove to be more difficult to remedy than the overpopulation so feared by the extremists.

What else can be said about population growth? Well, Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote this in 2006: “Troubled as the world is today, it is incontestably less poor, less unhealthy, and less hungry than it was 30 years ago. And this positive association between world population growth and material advance goes back at least as far as the beginning of the 20th century.” [Eberstadt, N.M., Doom and Demography, Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2006,]

Eberstadt also wrote: “It was not because people suddenly stopped breeding like rabbits—rather, it was because they finally stopped dying like flies. Between 1900 and the end of the 20th century, the human life span likely doubled, from planetary life expectancy at birth of perhaps 30 years to one of more than 60. By this measure, the overwhelming preponderance of the health progress in all of human history took place during the past 100 years.” [ibid.]

While I agree with Eberstadt’s opinion concerning recent history, I must take issue with his historical timeline. I think that many post-Flood humans probably had longer life spans than those of the 19th century. I base this on biblical chronologies, specific biblical lifespans noted, and on verses like: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures.” [Psalm 90:10 NIV.] We must always remember that the secular worldview presents a totally incorrect understanding of history. Humans have not evolved from ape-like creatures over millions of years. They were created by God according to the Bible just over 6,000 years ago.

Up to now we have learned that Darwin believed natural selection required a struggle for survival that was best explained by the Malthusian doctrine. Let us conclude this Part 6 with this quote: “Twenty years after its inception, Darwin’s theory was in print. To some it looked like a belated piece of Reform Age business. Its bleak, uncharitable survivalism seemed more suited to the poor-law 1830s than the optimistic 1860s. Ironically Malthus was passing out of vogue. So even where evolution was accepted, natural selection—the ‘law of the higgledy-piggledy,’ in Hershel’s words—usually was not.” [Desmond and Moore, Darwin—the Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, Warner Books, 1991, Page 485.]

J.D. Mitchell  

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