SPF

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Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« on: April 13, 2015, 09:05:56 am »
From what I've seen, the most widely accepted number for the total number of human beings that have existed on earth is currently at 108b.

Also, the general consensus seems to be that the earth can sustain about 10b people at any given time:

Quote
Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, bases his estimate on calculations of the Earth's available resources. As Wilson pointed out in his book "The Future of Life" (Knopf, 2002), "The constraints of the biosphere are fixed."

Aside from the limited availability of freshwater, there are indeed constraints on the amount of food that Earth can produce, just as Malthus argued more than 200 years ago. Even in the case of maximum efficiency, in which all the grains grown are dedicated to feeding humans (instead of livestock, which is an inefficient way to convert plant energy into food energy), there's still a limit to how far the available quantities can stretch. "If everyone agreed to become vegetarian, leaving little or nothing for livestock, the present 1.4 billion hectares of arable land (3.5 billion acres) would support about 10 billion people," Wilson wrote.

The 3.5 billion acres would produce approximately 2 billion tons of grains annually, he explained. That's enough to feed 10 billion vegetarians, but would only feed 2.5 billion U.S. omnivores, because so much vegetation is dedicated to livestock and poultry in the United States.

So 10 billion people is the uppermost population limit where food is concerned. Because it's extremely unlikely that everyone will agree to stop eating meat, Wilson thinks the maximum carrying capacity of the Earth based on food resources will most likely fall short of 10 billion.

Finally, upwards of 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.  The actual number of miscarriages is thought to be closer to 40%. 

So if the above is actually true, and if life begins at conception, and if unborn/aborted/mentally handicapped are allowed a free pass into heaven, then won't we have an overpopulation issue once Christ returns?

For those of you who aren't familiar with Christian eschatology, Christians believe that when Jesus returns, eternity will actually take place here, on a redeemed and restored Earth.  Revelation teaches that heaven will come down to earth, and that earth will be where we all reside. 

So doing some basic math, there have been roughly 71b miscarriages in the world. 

Should Christians believe that the implantation of the soul/spirit/sinful nature begins at conception?
"It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Lawlessone777

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 09:13:20 am »
Very good question. I assume the second earth won't have an overpopulation problem since I'm assuming we'd have some sort of divine support there, however when it comes to life at conception versus life at birth are we able to postulate that those births which are doomed from the beginning to miscarry would simply not be given a soul?

I'm not entirely married to the idea that a human body is given a soul as a sort of mechanistic response to conception, rather, if God gifts a fetus with a soul he does so at any point during the conception process.
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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wonderer

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 09:15:49 am »
From what I've seen, the most widely accepted number for the total number of human beings that have existed on earth is currently at 108b.

Also, the general consensus seems to be that the earth can sustain about 10b people at any given time:

Quote
Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, bases his estimate on calculations of the Earth's available resources. As Wilson pointed out in his book "The Future of Life" (Knopf, 2002), "The constraints of the biosphere are fixed."

Aside from the limited availability of freshwater, there are indeed constraints on the amount of food that Earth can produce, just as Malthus argued more than 200 years ago. Even in the case of maximum efficiency, in which all the grains grown are dedicated to feeding humans (instead of livestock, which is an inefficient way to convert plant energy into food energy), there's still a limit to how far the available quantities can stretch. "If everyone agreed to become vegetarian, leaving little or nothing for livestock, the present 1.4 billion hectares of arable land (3.5 billion acres) would support about 10 billion people," Wilson wrote.

The 3.5 billion acres would produce approximately 2 billion tons of grains annually, he explained. That's enough to feed 10 billion vegetarians, but would only feed 2.5 billion U.S. omnivores, because so much vegetation is dedicated to livestock and poultry in the United States.

So 10 billion people is the uppermost population limit where food is concerned. Because it's extremely unlikely that everyone will agree to stop eating meat, Wilson thinks the maximum carrying capacity of the Earth based on food resources will most likely fall short of 10 billion.

Finally, upwards of 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.  The actual number of miscarriages is thought to be closer to 40%. 

So if the above is actually true, and if life begins at conception, and if unborn/aborted/mentally handicapped are allowed a free pass into heaven, then won't we have an overpopulation issue once Christ returns?

For those of you who aren't familiar with Christian eschatology, Christians believe that when Jesus returns, eternity will actually take place here, on a redeemed and restored Earth.  Revelation teaches that heaven will come down to earth, and that earth will be where we all reside. 

So doing some basic math, there have been roughly 71b miscarriages in the world. 

Should Christians believe that the implantation of the soul/spirit/sinful nature begins at conception?

Clearly people will need much sturdier bodies, to withstand the gravity of a new improved and much larger earth.
"The world needed that of us, to maintain—by our example, by our very existence—a world that would keep learning and questioning, that would remain free in thought, inquiry, and word." - Alice Dreger

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aleph naught

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 09:17:40 am »
Well that the embryo is alive at conception is kind of irrelevant--just because something's alive doesn't mean it's a person. I would expect Heaven would only admit human persons.

I would think the belief that the embryo is a person from conception is just irrational, irrespective of whatever consequences it might have for the after life. :p

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Questions11

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2015, 09:20:50 am »
A redeemed and glorified earth/cosmos might be quite different to how it is now.  And the universe (multi-verse) is quite a large place.

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Lawlessone777

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2015, 09:27:03 am »
Well that the embryo is alive at conception is kind of irrelevant--just because something's alive doesn't mean it's a person. I would expect Heaven would only admit human persons.

I would think the belief that the embryo is a person from conception is just irrational, irrespective of whatever consequences it might have for the after life. :p

In this circumstance personhood would begin when a person was gifted with a soul, rather than when a certain volume of molecules came into proper arrangement. We really don't know when a human gets a soul which is an interesting topic to discuss.
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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JFS

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2015, 09:32:50 am »
Thanks, I have always wondered how many people have ever existed on the planet.  I have to say that 108 billion is a much larger number than I would have expected.
"Influencing people for the good of myself is manipulation; influencing people for the good of the kingdom is motivation." -Alistair Begg

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SPF

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2015, 11:03:52 am »
Human life begins at conception, this we know to be scientifically true.  The question that is debated is not when life begins, but when personhood begins.  My problem has always been that I don't see any way to objectively and non-arbitrarily come up with a time in which a human being becomes a human person.

It seems to me that the only reason we would want to separate the two would be to justify the killing of a human being.  Meaning, if we were to all agree that personhood began at the moment of conception, then abortion would be murder.  But by denying a fetus the status of personhood, abortions become acceptable. 

I've never seen an convincing argument for determining when a human being becomes a human person at some point after conception. 

"It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2015, 11:10:18 am »
Can you imagine, if Adam and Eve had not eaten the fruit and brought death into the world, how crowded it would be here.

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JFS

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2015, 11:53:26 am »
Can you imagine, if Adam and Eve had not eaten the fruit and brought death into the world, how crowded it would be here.

Without sin and decay most of our current reality and environment would have been completely different.
"Influencing people for the good of myself is manipulation; influencing people for the good of the kingdom is motivation." -Alistair Begg

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Lawlessone777

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Re: Life Begins at Conception? Overpopulation Problem!
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2015, 12:00:07 pm »
Considering the problem of immortality and birth leading to an immediate destruction of natural resources I've typically argued that death is not so much an evil as a necessary facet of life which allows for a very large number of souls to go through life without immediately exploding in population.

As JB noted if Adam and Eve didn't fall then the world would've fell to ruin very quickly. And if we presume that they wouldn't need to eat either we'd still run into destruction of land, and eventually the complete overpopulation of the planet.
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.