I recently attended continuing classes that covered energy efficiency and the new requirements to increase building safety standards and health performance. The instructor got my attention when he mentioned how building failures in other parts of the world affect our local building codes and vice versa. I had expected to learn about safety updates, but global implications were also prominent in the discussion. The instructor stressed the importance of moving toward a more global adoption of green construction and building energy-efficient homes to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The class focused on raising environmental and climate awareness to achieve renewable energy, a net-zero economy, and zero-waste lifestyles by 2050. I find this move toward global unity on this issue fascinating, as I believe it reflects a societal push for connectedness.
As a vegetarian, I have noticed the steady shift toward vegetarian awareness over the past few years. For example, multiple brands now offer a variety of plant-based options, such as the Impossible Burger. It is no coincidence that vegetarianism is considered one of the best ways to reduce environmental impacts and greenhouse gases globally. People are now turning to vegetarianism for ecological reasons as well as to show compassion for sentient beings and improve their health. People are realizing that eating animals is not a sustainable option for feeding all the people on the planet. As meat production has been demonstrated to have huge environmental impact, I expect to see an even greater push toward vegetarianism as more people realize that the future is plant-based.
As a Christian, I am also familiar with the religious calls to move toward unity in matters of spirituality and the steady push for world unification. The Popes recent calls for unity in environmental and religious matters, for connectedness, and globalism appear to be a push for a centralized form of religion. So what does all this mean?
The last couple of years have been unprecedented in that they have exponentially propelled us into a context that is shaping up to resemble some events described in the apocalypse. It seems we may be on the cusp of a new world government, perhaps a unified golden age that will give rise to world peace and prosperity—a grand conglomerate, if you will, in which scientists, religionists, and governments all work together to ensure the unification of society.
On the one hand, I find it very exciting to consider what might be coming. As a Contractor I love learning about high-performance building standards and energy-efficient homes. I recall how God indicated that new homes should be built with concern for safety and health (Deuteronomy 22:8). My choice to live a wholesome and vegetarian lifestyle also reflects a biblical ideal, and the protective stewardship of creation is a biblical mandate (Genesis 1:28–29). Aligning our lives with God’s healing action to heal all nations is noble (Revelation 22:2). Realizing our common humanity and uniting to fight big problems like natural disasters, world hunger, and poverty is honorable. The prophet Isaiah declared that in the future, everyone would have access to housing and meaningful and satisfying employment. There would be health care for all, allowing even the elderly to enjoy life to the fullest. There would be bountiful food and authentic, true religion. There would be human and animal flourishing without the threat of war or violence of any kind (Isaiah 4:3-5; 65:20–25; 4:3-5).
However, I am not entirely optimistic about this future utopia, apart from God’s redeeming power to bring it about. I fear our world may be on the brink of a pseudo-revival. There is a very real possibility that unification will be driven by coercion. We may be awakening to the fact that the world we all share is finite and in need of repair. Our choices have not only affected us but others around the world and the earth itself. Whenever we apply our lives to doing better—such as by alleviating suffering, standing up for justice, or making peace—we are making the world a better place, helping to restore it to God’s original intention. However, religion’s interest in government and the growth of government through the shaping of laws that affirm its authority are not coincidental. Humans and human organizations tend to be selfish and power driven, rarely considering the impact they have on others. We may see a steady push for religion to unify or for the government to order a spiritually infused and united faith that transforms dogmatic worldviews into a new unified oneness. The possibility that this will be accomplished through the threat and force of law seems very real to me.
The test questions after the Construction classes I attended included an assessment of sorts that considered people into three categories: (1) those completely compliant with climate change measures, even going above and beyond, (2) those who comply by doing the bare minimum, and (3) those who refuse to go along. It left me wondering what would eventually happen to the dissidents who refused to concede to unification. Over the last couple of years, I have taken special note of people’s awakening to the oppression of certain groups as well as the fear-driven views people tend to have of those with different opinions. Might the last push to justify unification be oppression of dissidents? Might there be a grand confederation to save ourselves and the world? It is possible that people will eventually be ordered to comply (Revelation 13:16).
That said, we are living in exciting times. The future we are headed into should lead us into the discovery of a deeper unity. Having Jesus-like love and compassion for all is the only way to achieve complete and lasting unity (John 17). Someday, this perfect unity will become obvious to everyone because the glorious Presence of God will be revealed on earth (Jeremiah 31:34; Revelation 18:1). The biblical prophet Zechariah shared some thoughts on this unity: “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9). This describes the true end of the world—beyond the judgment of reaping the consequences of our sin—when God’s ideal will be seen on earth, demonstrating why the first believers strove to carry this revolutionary message to the ends of the earth. They looked forward to the outpouring of God’s Spirit and the world flooding with the full glory of His loveliness, the likes of which the world had never seen.
If you find it difficult to be attracted to God because the narcissism of bad religion or the many false claims circulating about Him have spoiled your ability to see His beauty, consider that God’s loveliness will one day be fully displayed in a renewed heaven and earth. Our ultimate hope is not in this fallen world, but rather in the perfect kingdom of complete beauty and grace. In the meantime, know that all things that bring us hope, peace, and joy have their true source in Him. God is love, and if we seek that vision above all others, perhaps we will come to comprehend the depths of Zechariah’s meaning when he said that there will be “one Lord and His name [reputation] one.”
I’m all for alignment with this perfect vision.
Craig Ashton Jr.