Thursday, April 10, 2014

Child mortality

"Progressive Christians" labor to relativize "divine violence" in the Bible–especially the OT. For instance, they find it morally problematic that God would command the death of children. 
As I've noted on various occasions, their solutions fail to solve the problem they pose for themselves. If it's morally problematic for God to command the death of children, then it's morally problematic for God to allow millions or billions of children over the millennia to die from preventable causes. If the divine commands are morally problematic, they don't pose a special problem, over and above problem of child mortality in general. So it's illusory to imagine that domesticating the OT solves the problem which they raise. 
But let's approach this from another angle. Suppose there was no child mortality. Suppose no one died of natural causes. Everyone stopped aging after reaching 18 (give or take). 
If, however, humans continued to reproduce, at some point that would lead to overpopulation. And, of course, that expands exponentially. If you have 5 kids, if each of your kids has 5 kids…
Overpopulation would lead to mass starvation as well as warring over scarce resources. 
In theory, God could prevent that if, after human population reached an optimal sustainable level, God rendered humans infertile. 
Mind you, children contribute a great deal to the quality of life. A childless world would be a diminished world. 
But let's play along with the hypothetical. I don't know how long it would take, but wherever the cutoff occurred, there'd be no future generations. No more children.
Human mortality, including child mortality, creates room, both in time and space, for more children to be born. Children will be born further down the line who would not be born in a world without child mortality–or human mortality. Once the population becomes static, there's no more room for new children.
Child mortality results in the existence of heavenbound children down the line who'd never exist in a deathless world. 
In Biblical eschatology, the collective saints in glory, who comprise a subset of the human race, will be restored to the new earth. The saints in every generation, who go to heaven when they die, will resume life on earth. And the latter-day Christians have human mortality, including child mortality, to thank for that. 
One could also speculate on how many humans the earth can sustain at optimal levels. Technology can make a larger population feasible.

1 comment:

  1. One could also speculate on how many humans the earth can sustain at optimal levels. Technology can make a larger population feasible.

    Rev. 21:1 says, "....and there was no more sea."

    IF this is a literal description, then God could take those areas which were once oceans floors and raise them to regular "sea level." If God did that, then there would be much, much more land on planet earth.

    But I doubt it is literal. Part of the beauty of earth involves the interaction and combination of flora and vast amounts of water. Think of the beauty of many tropical islands. I suppose God could create more continents and remove excess water so that the globe has less water and more land.