In his otherwise excellent work The Problem of Poverty, the Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper, as a man of his time (the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries), commended the merits of colonialism as if there were not already people in other lands with their own calling to “till the earth” that God had made. While unfortunate for his time and context, recent events may open up a case in which colonization may be the Christian duty Kuyper believed it to be: Mars.
“[W]e must never,” writes Kuyper,
as long as we value God’s Word, oppose colonization. God’s earth, if cultivated, offers food enough for more than double the millions who now inhabit it. Is it not simply human folly to remain so piled up in a few small places on this planet that men must crawl away into cellars and slums, while at the same time there are other places a hundred times larger than our native land, awaiting the plow and the sickle, or on which herds of the most valuable cattle wander without an owner?
To be generous, we might say that at least Kuyper wasn’t exactly an alarmist with regards to the idea of overpopulation. But that would be quite generous.
In reality, that land was the home and those herds were the livelihood of real people, made just as much in the image of God as Western Europeans like the Dutch.
But what if there was a truly uninhabited land, just waiting for human cultivation to serve for the needs of others and the glory of God?