The Redemption of Technology

For most of my life, technological advancement was believed and experienced to be a universal good.

Sure, you could find some weird pockets of luddite dissent, but the mainline view was that better tech made our lives better.

This is no longer the dominant belief. As far as experience, it’s a conundrum. Everyone benefits from tech advancements every day, yet people also feel a strong negative influence from the very tech they use to live and work.

One of the most common examples of this tortured state is the ubiquitous podcast conversation about how all of this social media and tech is destroying humanity, with an awkward caveat thrown in about how that very podcast conversation is only possible because of such tech.

Both views are true.

There is an ancient and persistent myth (in the true sense) of some lesser gods or fallen angels whispering the secrets of technology to humans before they are ready or able to use it well. It becomes a vehicle for darkness. Humans can’t properly wield it and they become its slave.

This is the tree in the Garden of Eden. It’s the fire of Prometheus.

When you get that dark mirror feeling that all these screens and social media feeds are somehow sucking your soul; lowering your vibration, feeding off your negative emotion, creating a false reality around you, pulling you away from a connecting to spiritual and physical truth, you are not wrong.

But that’s only half the story. If it ended there, we should be Gnostics, eschewing the material world altogether because it is corrupted with sin and darkness, hoping for some ethereal existence.

We shouldn’t, because the story doesn’t end there. The tree in the Garden of Eden becomes the Tree of Cavalry.

The cross is one of the most diabolical (literally) technologies imaginable. An instrument utterly optimized for human torture, suffering, public humiliation, shame, and death. A tool wielded by tyrants to cow the population into acquiescence. Stakes driven through hands and feet so that a body slowly asphyxiates on public display, naked and in horrific pain.

If ever a piece of technology was whispered into the inventors ear by a demonic muse, it was the cross.

Not only that, the Devil used it for his greatest act – his final blow to ward off any threat to his power over the kingdoms of earth. He used it to murder the only one who could defeat him and restore humanity to their divine rulership.

Can you think of a technology more evil and dangerous? A technology more to be feared and avoided? I cannot.

Yet the story of the redemption of humanity doesn’t avoid or evade this technology. It plunges directly into its dark depths. It uses it as the very means of our salvation. In the act of His death and resurrection, Jesus conquered the cross. He took it.

The cross is now a tool to fight against the very evil that created it. It is no longer a weapon of the enemy, but a weapon that terrifies the enemy. The symbol of the cross wards off the demons who inspired it.

If the cross can be redeemed, so can every technology.

This is the pattern. Technology is not bad. Humans are created to create; called to “fill the earth and subdue it”. We are inventive beings who seek progress and experimentation. That is God’s image in us.

Technology introduced in times and places where humans aren’t ready is dangerous, like giving a lighter to a toddler.

The answer is not to destroy lighters and revert to rubbing sticks together. That ship has already sailed anyway. The answer is to pray for protection and grow into the kind of beings who can properly wield a lighter.

The answer it to redeem technology.

Be aware of the dangers of technology, and our propensity to harm ourselves with it. Don’t be naive to its often sinister intentions or dark influences.

But do not fear it. Be shrewd as vipers and harmless as doves. He that is in your is greater than he who is in the world – and its technology.

You needn’t run away. You needn’t retreat. You needn’t reject the material because it is tainted. You can take part in the process of its redemption and the restoration of the whole earth to the Kingdom of God.