Friday, February 26, 2010

A brief Christian perspective on "Sustainable Development"

Sustainable Development is a popular concept these days - it is a buzz word that is driving significant changes in global policies, legislation, and economics. This is especially true in the European Union. It is important for Christians to look at the things that the world is obsessed about very carefully. As Christians, we do have a responsibility to be faithful and good stewards with what God has given us - to not use things wastefully or recklessly, and (as with everything) to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And this is not an earthly kingdom, and so we view our responsibilities in that light, liberally giving to the work of the Gospel and supporting it by whatever means we have, especially in the local church and for the good of "the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). But because this is only a proximate care that we have over these things, whereas God has the ultimate control over all, we ought not be anxious and worried about tomorrow. We also know that ultimately this present world is reserved for fire when Christ comes again, and until that time it will grow worse and worse until it is finally ripe for judgment (II Pet. 3).

The world on the other hand is very worried about tomorrow. And it is also only interested in using its resources for furthering the earthly kingdom of Antichrist. The key questions to ask about "sustainable development" are, "Sustainable for whom?", and, "Development of what?" The world has its own ideas about that, but we are interested in the reason that the world exists - the salvation of the church in Christ, made up of God's elect from every tongue, tribe and nation.

I once asked one of my lecturers (I studied Environmental Science) whether sustainable development was not simply an admirable but impossible goal, based on the second law of thermodynamics (neatly expressed as "rust and rot doth corrupt"). The truth is that this world bears witness of itself that it is "wearing away like a garment" and cannot last - and therefore our hope ought not to be in this world, but in "the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God". But for the academics, economists and politicians of the world, their only hope is in this present evil age - and this is why they so strenuously fight for the idea of sustainable development.

As for climate change - it is not really scientific. This was the subject of my final year thesis at university, which I can send to anyone who is interested in reading more about it. Climate change is convenient hype to enforce more and more laws and policies in line with the world's philosophy of sustainable development. Things like this are likely to make living as a Reformed Christian very difficult in the days to come, as our freedoms are gradually eroded, and the world unites more and more in global governance for the kingdom of Antichrist. The influence of these philosophies is more evident in the EU than anywhere else in the world, in my opinion.