Occasionally I get asked to outline the basics of my understanding of technology and media and the Christian life — all topics of great interest to me. There’s much more to develop, and many questions remain for me that I have not figured out. But as best as I can put it right now, in a simplified form, put together this morning in a few free minutes, these are the six convictions for me when it comes to media, technology, and the Christian life.
(1) God is the Innovator, the fountain of every innovation and innovator. Steve Jobs was a sub-creator, and any digital device he envisioned manifests God’s glory in new ways to us all. Technology opens new avenue to see God’s brilliance as technology and media serve as a key source in this world to feed our awe and wonder.
(2) Most of our key innovators are non-Christians. The history of innovation in Scripture manifests a rebellious self-sufficiency from Babel to Babel-on. It will be through rebellious Cain’s linage God will introduce the world to metallurgy and music making (Gen. 4:21–22), innovations to later make Noah’s ark (metal tools) and temple worship (instruments). Innovation introduced to creation via fallen man produces technologies God’s people adopt and adapt in serving God and neighbors, vocationally and spiritually.
(3) Every human invention is made possible by existing natural resources and natural laws. Pre-ordained potentiality is the cause of every human innovation. One hundred lighting bolts hitting earth every second for millennia is the first cause of the digital age. Even our most advanced technologies (medicine, atomic energy) are in some way extracted from creation, the manifestation of potentialities God built inside creation.
(4) Having been the product of natural laws and natural resources, technology remains under the curse, expires, breaks, and fades away. But while operational, our best technologies steward creation, cultivate the earth, preserve nature, foster human community, augment (but not replace) human labor and fruitfulness, and fix broken biological processes.
(5) Scripture warns us explicitly against corrosive media (eye lust); and warns us equally in overindulging of non-sinful media (what the Psalmist calls “worthless things”). Even non-sinful media must be resisted through temperance and temporary fasts to give space for the soul to flourish in joy as it lives to God and neighbor.
(6) In a world of technological marvels and captivating media, Christians are left to discern beyond the potential and possible, to embrace the rare tech and media that can edify, a feedback loop of innovation and adoption (or temperance) that cannot be settled simply, cannot often get legislated, and will become increasingly personal and complexified in the near future.
What have I missed?