Untold Billions: Are They Really Lost? -- By: J. Ronald Blue

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 138:552 (Oct 1981)
Article: Untold Billions: Are They Really Lost?
Author: J. Ronald Blue

Untold Billions: Are They Really Lost?

J. Ronald Blue

[J. Ronald Blue, Chairman and Associate Professor of World Missions, Dallas Theological Seminary]

Planet earth now strains under the weight of four and one-half billion people. Like some dusty tennis ball, the globe wobbles its way through space in an erratic but carefully designed course around God’s unrivaled source of energy, the sun. With each spin some of earth’s people die and others are born. The net increase each day is about 200,000. Every morning there are 200,000 more mouths to feed!1

In the year 2000 the world must make room for an additional two billion people and, within the lifetime of many reading this article, the globe will be packed with what demographers are now calling the world’s projected ultimate population size—close to ten billion people!2

It is hard to grasp the magnitude of the word “billion.” Government budgets and world bank transfers have made billions seem like so many buttons lined up behind a lone needle. It is easy for a meticulous accountant to record the figures “1,000,000,000” in the neat columns of some ledger. Easier yet is it for a congressman to add a few billion to an already fat “pork barrel” project.

A billion takes on more realistic value when it is divorced from the shifting value of dollars and is applied to the more constant measure of time. One billion days ago the earth may not yet have been created. One billion hours ago Genesis had not yet been written. One billion minutes ago Christ was still on earth. One billion seconds ago the first atomic bomb had not yet

exploded. Yet, one billion dollars ago, in terms of governmental spending, was yesterday!

Neither dollars nor days can adequately measure the significance of the growing billions of people who comprise the global village. It is imperative that Christians visualize the multiplied billions as individual people. It is not a matter of billions but of beings. The calculations and statistics must be interpreted with a concern for souls. Every life is of eternal worth. The billions must be portrayed in terms of individual spiritual needs on a stage as broad as the earth and in a time span as long as eternity.

A Challenge

Of the four and one-half billion beings presently residing on planet earth, about one-third are nominally Christian, one-third are unresponsive to Christ, and the remaining third have not so much as heard the name of Christ.3

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