Authors: Justin Vander Werff and Joel Sikkema
We have worked our way through four principles that arise from a biblical Creation-Fall-Redemption paradigm and directly affect our engineering work. We might view the first principle as the foundation, with the second, third, and fourth principles rising out of that firm foundation. Continuing with this imagery, our fifth and final principle might be thought of as a cloud that encompasses the middle three principles but then extends far above and beyond them. The principle is:
We live in the already and not yet of Christ’s kingdom.
What we are trying to recognize here is that Christ has already begun his reconciliatory work. Although the effects of sin are all around us, Christ’s kingdom is already here. However, the full consummation of Christ’s kingdom is not yet here and will not be realized until His second coming. What the fully consummated kingdom will look like is largely speculative, since God reveals little to us in His Word regarding these specifics. However, 2 Peter 3:10 and Colossians 1:19-20 seem to teach that our current existence will be preserved and renewed in some way, shape, and form (see further explanation in our 2013 CEC paper). We believe that a proper understanding of the final consummation is immensely rewarding and challenging for the Christian engineer. Although we can only speculate on specifics, Christ is certainly using us to accomplish His work, and our day-to-day engineering work is part of His plan.
We want to be careful to not press this issue too far, however. God’s Word is clear and deliberate in presenting Christ as the one and only reconciler again and again (Romans 5:10-11, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, Ephesians 2:16, for example) and nowhere do we see humans called to such a task. We, as humans, are not little “saviors,” rather we are entirely dependent on Christ’s saving work. If we lose sight of Christ as our redeemer, then our engineering work loses its meaning. The big narrative becomes disjointed fragments with far less significance if we do our work selfishly for our own benefit, or even only for the good of our neighbor. We must recognize that our work is part of our grateful service for Christ’s saving work and the continuing sanctifying work of the Spirit in our lives.
So, there you have it: five overarching principles that arise from a biblical worldview and should have a profound effect on our work as engineers. We hope and pray that in the years ahead we can challenge ourselves and our students to apply these principles in order to grow in our understanding and obedience to Christ in our daily walk and work. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions related to applying these principles or refining them to better equip Christians who serve in engineering!