By the year 1800, just over 200 years ago, there were 1 billion people in the world. By 1960, just 60 years ago, there were 3 billion people. There are now over 7 billion people. By 2050, our children and grandchildren will be sharing this planet with at least 9 billion other people. Some time before the end of this century, there will be at least 10 billion people in the world, perhaps more.
Unfortunately, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have already modified almost every part of our planet and are now the drivers of every global problem that we face. Every one of these problems is accelerating as we grow quickly towards a global population of 10 billion.
But according to a recent report, the world is facing the greatest threat in human history right now. A gathering storm of human-caused damage to the climate, nature and the economy poses the very real danger that the world as we now know it will soon collapse. This rapid rise in the global population is simply putting fuel on a ‘fire’ that’s already burning and which now threatens our very existence.
The report, written by the Institute for Public Policy Research, brings together the studies and opinions expressed by climate change scientists, biologists and economists, all of which identify separate threats to human existence. When these threats are combined it takes us into a cascade of irreversible ‘tipping points’ in human society and the natural world.
The authors of the report tell us that evidence for this imminent collapse is already filling our news. In recent years:
- Floods and extreme temperature events have increased 20-fold
- Wildfires have increased 7-fold
- Topsoil is now being lost 10 to 40 times faster than it can be naturally replaced
- The 20 warmest years since 1850 have been in the last 22 years
- Vertebrate populations have fallen 60% since the 1970s
- Insect numbers – vital for pollination and food production – have declined even faster in some countries
The report concludes that these processes are already amplifying existing social and economic problems, potentially threatening systemic collapse. Population growth and human expectations are the main drivers of this seemingly inevitable disaster.
Move people to Mars!
In a TV series, Brian Cox, the BBC presenter and professor at Manchester University, also argues that environmental damage and the rapid depletion of resources will ultimately make the Earth uninhabitable, requiring humans to look for an alternative home.
Our nearest planetary neighbour, blessed with a solid surface, is Mars. Professor Cox argues that Mars is the “only place we can go beyond Earth in any plausible scenario” apart from the Moon. He also points out that “the greatest challenge on Earth is to manage an expanding population”.
But trying to persuade anyone to travel 34 million miles to Mars, where temperatures at the poles drops to -125C, just to maintain human life, even when the Earth seems to becoming uninhabitable, may be quite impossible!
God made a promise
According to the Bible, a long time ago everything that God had created on this earth was destroyed in a flood. That was because all the people living at that time – except Noah and his family – had stopped keeping God’s laws and commands. But soon after the flood God made an important promise:
“Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11 NIV)
The Bible also tells us that God caused a very visible sign to appear in the sky as a regular reminder of this promise:
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant (promise) between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:13-16 NIV)
So clearly, the Creator of this Earth and all living things will never let anything totally destroy what he has created.
The only solution
The Bible gives us plenty of details about the future of our world, describing in some detail the coming ‘Kingdom of God‘ that will soon be set up here on Earth, with Jesus Christ as its King. The Bible also tells us how all of us can confidently hope to live trouble-free in this coming Kingdom.
This is not just wishful thinking, faced as we all are with a seemingly inevitable global disaster. There is no need to look elsewhere for humans to live, because God is still in control of his creation.
Long ago God saw this problem coming and devised a solution. Using events that happened to Israel almost 2000 years ago now, he told us they would happen again, but this time affecting all the world:
“…Nations will be in anguish and perplexity…People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27 NIV)
With so many well-informed experts telling us about the massive problems now facing life on Earth, we also have God’s reassurance that the ‘End of the World’ is NOT coming – but Jesus is:
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28 NIV)
The return of Jesus is the only reliable solution to this world’s problems.
Fortunately, he will soon be here!