“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
True or false? When the population of lemmings grows too large, they get into a frenzied state, and huge groups of the furry rodents commit suicide by hurling themselves into the nearest body of water.
Many people believe this is true, but it is really nothing but a, well, rural legend that might have got its start from a news report that came out of Norway in 1868. A steamer there reportedly sailed for 15 minutes through a swarm of swimming and drowning lemmings. According to the report, the swarm was two-to-three miles wide.
Actually, lemmings really do throw themselves into the water – but not to commit suicide. They are simply migrating after depleting food supplies in their area. During a mass migration, many lemmings do, in fact, die from drowning. But more lemmings are eaten by predators.
Today there is another overpopulation legend that far too many people are believing. It’s the notion that mankind is overpopulating the planet. Some environmentalists have called for reduction of world population to just two billion – a reduction of over two-thirds of the world population. Others would like to see only a half billion people on our planet. And many think it’s permissible to kill humans in large numbers to avoid running out of food and other vital resources.
No, overpopulation is not the problem. The real problem is that man, in his pride, thinks he knows more than God knows about what is best for the planet that He created.
Heavenly Father, many environmentalists today stand in opposition to Your clear command to be fruitful and multiply. I pray that You will show them that Your ways are always the best! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Leaping lemmings,” Secrets of the Natural World, p.70 (Readers Digest/Dorling Kindersley, 1993). Photo: Lemming. (PD)