As the world continues to grow, does your faith?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2011

According to U.N. estimates, the world’s 7 billionth child was born on the last day of October 2011. When that baby came from its mother’s womb, it gave cause for celebration of new life and pause for reflection on a population milestone in human history.

Researchers say that in 1800 there were approximately 1 billion people on earth. Then 130 years later, in 1930, it reached 2 billion. The world’s population increased to 3 billion by 1960; 4 billion by 1974, and 5 billion by 1987. In 1999, there 6 billion of us on the planet, and now we number 7 billion and counting.

For the past year, National Geographic Magazine has been reporting on this approaching population record in human history. Their facts give us a picture of 7 billion. For instance, it would take 200 years to count to 7 billion out loud, and 7 billion steps would take a person around the world 133 times.

Believe it or not, the population of the world standing shoulder to shoulder could fit within the city of Los Angeles. So it appears space is not the problem, so maybe supplies of water and food are.

But, the Population Research Center has reported, “Enough grain is produced for every person on earth to consume 3,500 calories daily. There is no need for anyone to starve in the midst of this plenty.” Crop yields have kept pace with the growing population since 1960. So maybe food isn’t the problem, but maybe distribution of it to the hungry is.

National Geographic states that the world’s population lives in 194 countries and speaks more than 7,000 languages. They also report that nearly everywhere people are living longer. On average, the lifespan of a person in 1960 was 53 years. As of 2010, the average lifespan increased to 69 years.

One fact that I find most interesting is that every second, five people are born into the world, and two people die. Life and death are the common denominators of every person who has ever lived on this planet, be the lifespan a few years or many years. An ancient writer once asked, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

There’s something more that all 7 billion of us have in common – God’s love for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

God continues to demonstrate His own love toward us, in that while we did not know Him or love Him, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). When Christ died, “He died to sin once for all (Romans 6:10), so we could have the gift of eternal life.”

Two thousand years ago, Christ came from heaven to earth to live among us. Christ died for every person – red or yellow, black or white – to show how precious we are in His sight. His death on the cross remains the greatest milestone in human history.