Authors: Joel Sikkema and Justin Vander Werff
We’ve recognized the ultimate purpose for creation, figured out the role of engineers in it, and then put on restraints to distinguish that we’re not the ones who do the saving. Now, maybe we’ve moved too fast. How can we focus on developing and keeping creation when there are so many things that are already messed up to begin with? Let’s address this question with Principle 4:
Our sin caused creation’s suffering. We have a responsibility to ease suffering by engaging the human and non-human creation.
We agree, the world is messed up. All of it has been corrupted by sin and that’s our fault. All of it? Our fault? Let’s dig into these statements. Genesis 3 describes humankind’s fall into sin. We commonly recognize our sinful nature by recalling Romans 3:23: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. But, sometimes we forget that sin didn’t stop with humans—it permeated all of creation! Read Romans 8, which states, “the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it” and “the whole creation has been groaning”.
Recognizing that sin has messed up the world, what should we do? Ultimately, we look to Christ’s second coming, which will complete His eradication of sin once and for all. In the meantime, we see a directive to ease sin’s effects wherever we are able. There are various biblical examples of this obedient service, but we’re civil engineers, so let’s talk about King Hezekiah. Times were pretty ominous during Hezekiah’s reign. It was clear that the Assyrians were going to lay siege to Jerusalem in the near future. Like today, in biblical times siege=suffering. So what did this king who “trusted in the Lord” (2 Kings 18:5) do? He alleviated this impending suffering by building a tunnel to provide a siege-proof water source for Jerusalem. Of course, alleviating suffering isn’t just an engineering task; consider the actions of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) or the establishment of deacons to help care for the poor (Acts 6:1-6).
Although Christ is the one who will ultimately eradicate sin, we certainly have our work cut out for us today!