Population control and the Bible

EEN - Daniel Young (DAN@ESA.MHS.CompuServe.COM)
14 Jul 97 08:53:01 EDT

Dear friends:

I appreciate the thoughtful comments posted over the past few days
about population. As many of you know, the Green Cross spring issue
included articles about population concerns by two thoughtful

We consider the issue one of our early steps toward fostering a
helpful dialogue on population and family planning among Christians,
and we are acutely aware of how easy it is to fall into error when we
try to arrive at answers to questions about family size,
environmental impact, and birth spacing/timing.

I don't speak for Green Cross on these issues...GC has no formal
position on population beyond our firm grounding in biblical
orthodoxy, our desire to advance accurate scientific understandings
of environmental prolem, our deep concern for all of life, especially
humanity, and our desire to learn and teach right stewardship of
God's creation. We do want to reflect the opinions of thoughtful
Christians about population in our publications, though.

I'm not an expert. But I'm working hard on understanding these
issues, and maybe I can help the discussion by offering my thoughts.
So here are a few principles that come strictly from my own heart and

--I believe every human life is precious to God.

-- I oppose abortion, coerced contraception, and government
dictation of family decisions about bearing and raising children. I
am extremely wary of traditional vocabulary in this area ("population
control" is a phrase that, to me, is a label for that persistent sin
of putting ourselves in God's place).

--I believe overpopulation is not a problem everywhere on earth at
this moment. It is a problem in certain hotspots where crowding is
exacerbated by other problems, esp. poverty, inadequate food supply
and depleted natural resources.

--I believe that population concerns cannot be separated from
consumption concerns.

--With all of this in mind, I would suggest that we look inward, to
the way we live and work and make decisions in our own Christian
homes, for guidance. In my experience, in my home, we have serious
discussions about whether and when we want to ask God to bless us
with another child. (I just had one of these discussions with my wife
yesterday, as a matter of fact). When we talk about this, we talk
about more than God's command to be fruitful and multiply. We also
talk about our busy lives, our careers, the effects on our two
children, our finances, the size of our house, and much more.

I think we can talk about population in light of this kind of
Christian family-planning, which I believe is very common, as a
concern for the right stewardship of our household. Cal DeWitt
enlightened me on this, teaching me that the Greek word for household
in the Bible, oikos, and for stewardship, oikonomia, are to be
applied to the family unit and to creation at large. Right
stewardship of my household includes religious and secular education
for my daughters, health care for them and for my wife, and the kind
of planning that will empower my children to enjoy the fruitfulness
of family life and, we hope, a reasonably healthy environment in the

As Cal puts it (I hope I'm paraphrasing correctly, or that Cal will
correct me), we are given the command to be fruitful, but not at the
expense of the right to fruitfulness enjoyed by other forms of life
in creation.

If we share other Christian values around the world, should we also
be sharing these stewardship values? I'd love to hear more from you

Michael Crook
Green Cross Magazine

Daniel Young
Staff Associate
Evangelical Environmental Network