Posted on: September 5, 2017 Posted by: Felicia S. C. Gooden Comments: 0
sustainable development

Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22, and Matthew 19:21 cite Jesus’s command to a ruler seeking the Kingdom of God, requiring the wealthy man to sell everything he owned and give it to the poor. The benevolent ruler would then be rewarded with riches in heaven, and after executing this act, he would then be welcomed into Jesus’s inner circle. But what does this scripture truly mean? Does Jesus actually intend for all the world the be poor, or is this a call for sustainable living and moderation – a call to live as God originally intended in the Book of Genesis?
A conservative interpretation would conclude that God intended for man to thrive upon and be thankful for one’s “daily bread” as outlined in The Lord’s Prayer. The bare minimum is all we need for sustenance; therefore, those who seek to hoard massive reserves of resources are considered to be condemnable gluttons likened to Sodom in Ezekiel 16:49. However, a more liberal interpretation of the aforementioned scriptures call for abundance to be manifest for all men, women, and children on earth. The mass reserves of resources would be harvested and shared among mankind, quality of life would be raised, and a lifestyle of sustainable living would be created for the benefit of all people (Leviticus 25).
In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.[1] This agenda coincides with the liberal interpretation of biblical wealth redistribution (Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22, and Matthew 19:21, land management (Leviticus 25:23-28), and stewardship (Genesis 1:29-30). The resolution outlines 17 global goals and 169 targets in order to eliminate poverty and hunger, manifest and distribute renewable energy for all, tackle climate change and encourage environmental stewardship, and develop peaceful, egalitarian societies.
Christian alarmists, such as Ron Ross, see this as a push of socialist policies that will perpetuate communism, empower the antichrist, and initiate the One World Government, thus posing a dire threat to national sovereignty and individual liberty.[2] However, there is an abundance of biblical support for the global goals adopted in this resolution. Below is a table listing the 17 goals for global sustainable development along with scriptural support that upholds the biblical validity of said goals:
UNDP 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Goals

Goal Number Goal Target Scripture Reference
1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere Deuteronomy 15:7-8, Jeremiah 22:3
2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture Isaiah 58:10, James 2:14-18
3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages James 5:13-15, Matthew 10:8-11
4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all Ecclesiastes 7:12, Proverbs, 4:13, Proverbs 18:15
5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls Genesis 1:27, Matthew 15:22-28, John 4, Galatians 5:22
6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all Genesis 1:26, Leviticus 25:23-24; condemnations Jeremiah 2:7, Isaiah 24:4-6
7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all In the context of supporting the poor and creating a positive standard of living: Micah 6:8, 1 Corinthians 10:4, Leviticus 25:35-28
8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all Isaiah 1:17, Luke 4:18-19
9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation Leviticus 25:25, Ephesians 4:28
10 Reduce inequality within and among countries Proverbs 22:22, Proverbs 29:7, Galatians 2:10, Galatians 5:22
11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable Galatians 5:22, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 3:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, James 3:18, Proverbs 12:20, Romans 12:18, Colossians 3:12
12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns Romans 13:14, 1 Corinthians 9:25, Titus 1:8, 1 Corinthians 8:13, Colossians 2:18
13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts Genesis 1:26, Leviticus 25:23-24; Condemnations: Jeremiah 2:7, Isaiah 24:4-6
14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development Genesis 1:26, Leviticus 25:23-24; Condemnations: Jeremiah 2:7, Isaiah 24:4-6
Discipline: Romans 13:14, 1 Corinthians 9:25, Titus 1:8, 1 Corinthians 8:13, Colossians 2:18
15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss Genesis 1:26, Leviticus 25:23-24; Condemnations: Jeremiah 2:7, Isaiah 24:4-6
Discipline: Romans 13:14, 1 Corinthians 9:25, Titus 1:8, 1 Corinthians 8:13, Colossians 2:18
16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels Galatians 5:22, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 3:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, James 3:18, Proverbs 12:20, Romans 12:18, Romans 13:1-7
17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Galatians 5:22, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 3:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, James 3:18, Proverbs 12:20, Romans 12:18, Romans 13:1-7

While the table above is not an exhaustive list of scriptural support for the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, it can be seen above that there is an abundance of scriptural support for ending poverty and hunger, developing accessible energy for all, environmental stewardship, and developing societies of peace and tolerance.
To address the concern of nations losing their sovereignty and the rise of communism, under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, all nations maintain their sovereignty, as each nation is free to meet the collectively agreed upon targets in their own way according to their own political, social, and economic needs and preferences:

“Article 21. All of us will work to implement the Agenda within our own countries and at the regional and global levels, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. We will respect national policy space for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, in particular for developing States, while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments.”

“Article 38. We reaffirm, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the need to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of States.”

Although the concern of the rise of a global stateless, classless communist community  through soft power and the incessant push for a utopian world based on sustainability, peace, and tolerance is plausible, Christians who vehemently oppose the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda should take pains to understand two things: 1. developing such a world is not only biblically sound but also culturally preferable and 2. nations will maintain their sovereignty through developing programs according to their unique political, social, and cultural circumstances. More importantly, this global effort toward sustainability presents an opportunity for Christians to build the body of Christ through lifestyle evangelism. If we are to fulfill our God given duty to be stewards of the earth living in harmony with our fellow men as well as nature (Genesis 1:29-30), then we should make the effort to contribute to the achievement of these global goals by virtue of applying Christian principles in our homes, businesses, and daily lives.
[1] “United Nations Official Document.
[2] Ron Ross Ministries. The 2030 Agenda One World Government.

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