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A couple of months ago, John had been reading somewhere in the Bible where it says “be fruitful and multiply”. As he read it, he talked to me how it he felt like it had to do with our spiritual lives—at least at this point in the ages of time—and wrote a short post about it. I immediately felt uncomfortable twinges. It’s true that when I read the Bible, I don’t believe that all of it is speaking to us completely in the literal sense, such as our need to follow the many laws listed in Leviticus concerning animal sacrifice and other such things. You could say it was part of the Old Covenant, though I think that there is something to be learned from

The sweetness of new life.

reading through it anyway, but not something I’ll get into at the moment. However, this particular verse concerning fruitfulness was one that I wanted to take in the more literal sense. After all, I have always loved children and after having watched a new one be born into the world and then going through the same miraculous event of birthing a new life myself, my heart is greatly moved at the beauty of life.
However, in our culture (speaking of the Western culture of North America), it seems that if you go for more than two or three, that you are considered irresponsible and a strain on “the system”. Some even speak of having more than a small handful of children as contributing to the problem of over-population. This sentiment is not only found in the Western world; there is communist China that permits only one child and levies a large fee on any who would exceed the quota. Abortions are provided at no cost. And then you have India. India, too, has the view that two children are the ideal and many of the upper class and middle class people consider anything more to be a result of the uneducated poor and “lower” working class people. Has the beauty of life and family become so classified as this?
I know a handful of people who have over six children. Jokes are often made about these people behind their backs: no self-control, too Biblically literal to use birth control, small bed, and the list varies and goes on. I am sincerely angered by this. It is true that not all large families are living in love and the warmth of community, but I think you will find this more often than not.
Though I felt that this sentiment against large families was wrong and mainly unjust, I didn’t know of any clear basis or foundation for me believing this. I pushed it to the back of my mind for the time and simply rested in contentment with my dear Aria and the wee one causing my belly to expand. However, sometime last week I was reminded of the issue through something I read, and I felt that God immediately gave me some insight into the issue that I feel compelled to share.

Enjoying life: fellowship, friendship, and family around the breakfast table in Muncie, Indiana–Dec. 2005.

So much of life is not as literal and rational as we (at least in the West) make it out to be. I believe that a couple who sincerely loves one another with a deep commitment, and who teach their children the truly important things in life that have absolutely nothing to do with money, status, and higher education, who raise them to be people who show love and compassion, are doing more for this world and for society than most people could ever fathom. Society should be praising such individuals for contributing so much to the true health of their nation, and to the greater betterment of the world. Could it be that a large family such as this could be doing so much more for society and the environment than a family with one or two children who are given every material thing they could ever want, but are not shown that type of love and commitment in their parents’ marriage and are not taught what is truly important in this life? We cannot be the judge of who is going to change the world for the better and who is going to tear it down.
After these musings, the thought came to my mind, “How does God view new life?” That question causes my heart to warm and a smile to come to my face because I know without a doubt that he delights in it. Another harder question: “Does God think that overpopulation is a problem?” As I spent a few moments pondering this, I felt a peace that it simply was not an issue to him and that the whole topic, in fact, causes a sort of righteous indignation to rise up within him—that same sort of indignation that is so clearly portrayed in Psalm 18. Could it be that overpopulation is simply a myth borne from people who are full of greed and selfishness over their own material wants? The following two statistics were passed on to me second-hand, so I did a little internet research and math calculations to see if they were true. They are. The first statement is that you can fit every person in this entire world, all 5 billion or so of us, standing up, side-by-side, each person occupying a two foot by two foot square, within the city limits of Jacksonville, Florida. The second statement is that if you took all the people of the world, divided them into families of four, and gave them a fifty foot by one hundred foot lot each, they would all easily fit within the state of Texas. Kind of kicks the theory of over-population in the butt. (To research these facts yourself you can do the math or go to this guy’s website.) Some countries, like India, are far more crowded than others, like Canada, whose entire population is less than the state of California. The distribution of wealth is also on a drastically sliding scale. There are many injustices when it comes to the rich and the poor. But let’s not knock life. Life is a gift from God and we should embrace it and look on it as beautiful instead of sighing and thinking, “Oh, man. Here’s another mouth to feed.”

3 Responses to “Over-population?”

  1. John
    September 8th, 2006 09:13

    It’s for precicely these reasons that we decided to have a dozen kids in the next ten years.
    Good work honey!

  2. Ginger
    September 14th, 2006 14:11

    I’ve been “musing” on this topic lately too . . .:-)Doubt we’ll have a dozen kids, but only God knows, eh?

    “Society should be praising such individuals for contributing so much to the true health of their nation, and to the greater betterment of the world.”

    I so agree!

  3. Rachel
    September 22nd, 2006 22:16

    Don’t think we’ll have a dozen either (sorry John!).;-) But family is definitely a gift.

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