It was never God’s purpose to overpopulate the earth. To the perfect Adam and Eve, God said: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) There is quite a difference between ‘filling’ the earth and overpopulating it. If someone asked you to fill a glass with juice, you would not keep on pouring until the glass overflowed. Once the glass was sufficiently filled, you would stop pouring. Similarly, once the earth was comfortably filled with humankind, God would see to it that further population growth stopped on this planet.
Moreover, we should not, on the basis of what we see or hear today, misjudge earth’s ability to provide a home for us and to sustain human and animal life. While large populations are jammed together in cities, vast regions of the earth are sparsely populated. If the present population were evenly distributed, there would be about six acres of fertile land for every man, woman and child. This would be more than ample room indeed!
The hunger that so many humans must endure in various parts of the earth is not because the full capability of the soil to produce has been reached. Rather, widespread food shortage stems mainly from an unequal distribution of food supplies. Whereas much is produced in certain areas and surpluses exist, in other places there are extreme shortages. Actually, the earth could produce much more than it does at present. Back in 1970 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated the world’s agricultural potential to be great enough to feed about forty-two times as many people as the present world population.
What man has already done in some regions of the earth gives some indication of what great possibilities there are for increasing earth’s productivity.
The Imperial Valley of California was once an inhospitable, uncultivated desert. But irrigation of the mineral-rich desert soil has made this valley one of the richest agricultural regions in the United States.
With about half the farmland, Europe, through more intensive cultivation, produces about as much food as North America.
Truly there can be no question that more land could be brought under more intensive cultivation, and that without spoiling the beauty of forests and meadows.
There is yet another factor that will assure an ample food supply for an earth comfortably filled with animal and human life. What is that? It is the divine help and direction that will then be given to mankind under the administration of God’s kingdom by his Son Jesus Christ. No one knows the earth better than does God, for he is its Creator. And under the wise administration of his kingdom the land will yield abundantly. As was the experience of ancient Israel when faithful, so it will be then: “The earth itself will certainly give its produce; God, our God, will bless us.”—Psalm 67:6.
Dry deserts and other unproductive areas, occupying millions of acres, will doubtless be reclaimed on a large scale. Receiving divine help in getting needed water is not without historical parallel. Back in the sixth century B.C.E., in fulfillment of God’s prophetic promises, thousands of Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. (Ezra 2:64-70) They evidently took a direct route through the inhospitable Syrian Desert. Yet God provided what they needed to keep alive. Even regarding their homeland he had predicted: “In the wilderness waters will have burst out, and torrents in the desert plain.”—Isaiah 35:6.
Since God did this in the past, we have good reason to expect that under the administration of his kingdom by Christ this will be done on a far grander scale.
We need not fear that the ushering in of an earth free from sickness and death will give rise to unpleasant conditions. Not only will there be no overcrowding, but everyone will be able to eat food to satisfaction.
The administration in the hands of God’s appointed King, Jesus Christ, and his 144,000 fellow rulers will see to it that earth’s inhabitants are well cared for. Pointing to the abundance of wholesome food to be enjoyed, the prophecy of Isaiah states: “Jehovah of armies will certainly make for all the peoples, in this mountain, a banquet . . . of well-oiled dishes filled with marrow, of wine kept on the dregs, filtered.”—Isaiah 25:6.
We can have confidence in Jehovah God, the One of whom the Bible declares: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16) Never has he failed to fulfill his promises. As the Scriptures say of ancient Israel: “Not a promise failed out of all the good promise that Jehovah had made to the house of Israel; it all came true.”—Joshua 21:45.