In this post, I will discuss what I believe is a proper view of technology. Put another way, I am seeking a distinctly Christian way to approach technology. Below are several concepts that will point us in the right direction.
Technology is not God. In his book “From the Garden to the City,” John Dyer writes, “This is our greatest temptation with technology – to use it as a substitute for God.” Technology is so enticing that we, often unconsciously, place a god-like trust in it. We believe that our deepest personal and cultural problems will be solved through technological advancements. In reality, these problems can never be properly addressed solely through technology.
Technology, like everything, was created good, but is subject to The Fall. Though God created everything good (Genesis 1:31), Romans 8:20 says that everything, including technology, was subjected to The Fall. This tells us that all technology has both strengths and weaknesses. Your iPhone may allow you to be in constant contact with your closest friends, but it likely also makes it very difficult to find and experience some much-needed solitude.
Technology should neither be completely embraced nor blindly rejected. Jesus desires us to live in this world (John 17:15), so we shouldn’t blindly reject the things of this world. However, Paul says he will not be mastered by anything (1 Cor 6:12). Taking this advice, we will need to find a way to use technology in a wise way such that it doesn’t consume us. Challies writes, “Our task is not to avoid technology but to carefully evaluate it, redeem it, and ensure that we are using it with the right motives and for the right goals.” John Dyer says, “Christians who live God-honoring lives in the digital world are those who can discern the tendencies built into all technology, and then decide when those tendencies are in line with godly values, and when those tendencies are damaging to the soul.” There is a way to be faithful to God with how we interact with technology, and we must learn to do so.
We are to use technology to serve God’s purposes. The cultural mandate (Genesis 1:28) calls us to steward creation. One way to steward is to create and use technology, but we must also seek to do so in a way that honors God. We are to use technology, not in a way that primarily serves us, but in a way that primarily serves God and others.
As in all aspects of our lives, we need to be accountable to God with how we use technology. In Responsible Technology, Stephen Monsma writes, “As image bearers of God, human beings are responsible before God for their activities. They are accountable for the way they exercise their creativity: what they do with their lives, what and how they shape, mold, and form.” We need to feel the weight of this, so that we can steward the resources he has entrusted to us well.
In summary, we are called to use technology as God-given, but we are to use in submission to His will in order to serve His purposes. In the next post, we will discuss what we need to do in order to accomplish this.