May 22, 2013

Technology comes from God. He gave Noah and his sons the ability to use construction technology to build an ark (Genesis 6:9-22). He gave the people at Shinar the ability to use construction technology to make bricks and mortar and build a tower (Genesis 11:1-9). Building the ark was a good use of construction technology. Building the tower was not. Why was that?

Ark construction technology was used according to the will of God. “Make yourself an ark” (6:14). Tower technology was used according to the will of man. “Let us make …” (11:3). The ark was God’s plan to rescue humanity and give Himself glory (6:18). The tower was humanity’s plan to give themselves glory (11:4). Ark technology accomplished what God intended to replenish the earth. (8:13-19). Tower technology accomplished just the opposite of what the people intended. They wanted to prevent dispersion (11:4) and ended up dispersed (11:9).

God gives technical abilities to people as He did to Oholiab and Bezalel to craft the furnishings for the temple (Exodus 31:1-11). Our corrupt human nature, however, delights in misusing these gifts. In the very next chapter, Aaron uses craftsmanship to fashion the golden calf! (32:1-4) Technology itself is a gift. The misuse of technology profanes the gift.

Technology involving life abounds. A variety of assisted reproductive technologies offer hope to infertile couples. Stem cell research promises treatment for a range of debilitating diseases. Indeed, the use of adult stem cells presently treats over eighty diseases. Researchers make daily strides in treating cancer. Technology has helped increase our life expectancy.

So how do we know when technology goes from being a blessing to a curse? Here are a few basic questions and principles from the ark/tower comparison.

  1. What motivates us to use a particular technology? As they said in Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they never stopped to ask whether they should.”

  2. Is the technology in line with the revealed will of God? Technology that uses the intentional destruction of human life, for example, such as embryonic stem cell research, is not according to the will of God.

  3. Does our use of a technology give glory to God or to man? We can be so driven by our wants and desires that we leave God out of the picture.

  4. Does the technology enhance life or merely prolong dying?

Undoubtedly, more questions could be asked. The most important thing, however, that informs all the above is the fact that God’s primary will for us is the healing of our souls through Jesus Christ and spending eternity with Him. He provides the ark of His Church to bring us safely there. We can trust in Him. We have no reason to “jump ship” to build towers! In spite of our circumstances, we can all look forward to that time when there will be no technologies at all. They will not be needed! Everything will be new! (Revelation 21:1-4)