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THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON 21ST CENTURY WORSHIP
Technology is a representation of God’s creative nature and putting it in appropriate use
should be our core obligation in making the earth a better place to live in. Through technology,
human activities are made easier as it amplifies speed and accuracy. Appropriate technologies
helps us worship God well; to bring about healing and not suffering; nurturing relationships and
not bring solitude; helping the poor and improving the conditions in the environment.
The rate at which technology is advancing is breathtaking- from genetic engineering,
artificial intelligence, mobile phones, and therapeutic cloning mobile phones to the internet.
Technophiles have almost permanent relationships with their gadgets and mobile phones. In the
early 2000, there was a growth about 300% in mobile ownership. 1About 70% of young adults
can be described having strong attachments to their gadgets. 2On the contrary, technophobes
bemoan the disappearance of personal contact due to emerging technologies. Christians however
respond to change in the society considering the effects of technology on Godliness.
The word “Technology” is from the Greek word “techne” whose English translation is
“art”. The Greek initially used it to mean law making and any other form of skill.3 It is until the
seventeenth century that it was redefined to refer to meeting human wants and needs through
material manipulation. Later in the nineteenth century, the word has been used to imply use of
applied science to supplement human labor4. Professor Jacob Bigelow explains that the word
technology was widely misunderstood5.
"Guardian And Ward: Testamentary Guardian", Michigan Law Review 2, no. 2 (1903): 146,
The Times, 10 May 2003
R Hooykaas, Fact, Faith And Fiction In The Development Of Science Dordrecht: Springer, 2011.
JACOB BIGELOW, MODERN INQUIRIES [Place of publication not identified]: FORGOTTEN
Technology has been in use since the beginning of mankind and is thousands of years
older than development of science. People in the prehistoric era came up with technologies that
helped them obtain the necessities of life. They developed tools, hunted with weapons, started
fires and even built shelters. About 8000 BC, settled agriculture involved craft development in
metalwork, weaving pottery and boatbuilding. Making work easier through improvement of
machinery has always been there; the wheel was developed in 3500 BC.
In his book “The New Atlantis”, Francis Bacon asserts that the use of science in
improving livelihood is a Christian vision. He recommends that scientific knowledge should be
used for improving life and not for gaining superiority, power of fame over others6. It is during
the nineteenth century that technology became intertwined with science and until today, the
association has been growing tremendously.
The Biblical Role for Technology
Through both His works and the Word, it is obvious to think of God the arch-technophile
and the enabler of the power of humans in technology. He has brought the material universe into
being out of nothing; this is an image of His artistic nature of bringing wonder inform both living
and inert. The Bible clearly stipulates God’s wisdom by comparing it to a craftsman delight from
day to day. The fine-tuned physical characteristics of the universe could have been impossible
without divine technology7. God is one who acts and speaks not one who is passive and lost in
silence. He has endowed us with the power and ability to use the abundant resources on earth to
steward his creation. As a moral obligation, we are expected to embrace technology as a chance
for subduing the earth8.
D.R. Alexander, Rebuilding the Matrix – Science & Faith in the 21st Century, Oxford:
Lion, 2001, ch.12.
There are three major engineering projects in the Old Testament that are described
vividly - The building of the temple, the ark and the tabernacle. These human innovations were
achieved through the willingness to build a sanctuary for God, obedience as well as for
worshiping Him. They were also a way of God presenting His creative gifts to mankind and how
the gifts can be put into technical use.
Through Spirit and skills, Bezalel was able to make a wide range of artistic designs.
Biblical projects also helped in developing teamwork as a vital aspect of the community.
Contributions at a technical level portrayed offerings to God from the heart. For the product of a
God inspired job to serve the purpose of glorifying Him, instructions were to be followed
precisely. Shoddy workmanship had no place in His work. Worship was quantified in terms of
accurate and full use of God given materials and gifts.
Other biblical passages have extended the large value attached to the human gifts of
creativity from God and how they can be used to glorify Him. More specifically, God’s son was
a carpenter. Paul gave an example of himself as a tent maker while asking the Thessalonians to
reap from the work of their own hands. In biblical literature, allowing one’s self to be occupied
by material worthiness has been considered as praiseworthy.
As a challenge to the romanticized consideration of nature, the bible presents the new
earth and heaven as a Holy City instead of a restored garden. The honor and glory of the nations
is brought into the city as a place of creativity and human community. God’s passion for
technology leads to the thinking that the new earth will comprise of the greatest technical
creations as a way of honoring and glorifying Him.
A. W Tozer, The Knowledge Of The Holy New York: Walker, 1996.
Technical creativity and manual labor has been attached high value by the bible. This has
impacted positively in shaping the history of science and technology. The ancient Romans and
Greeks had placed low value to manual labor due to its connection to slavery. On the other hand,
monasteries started to attach great value to technical development starting from the twelfth
century. Monks for instance, had labored through their lives in order to observe positive results
in their practical activities10. In the sixteenth century, the Puritan Movement embarked on
sponsoring projects which were concerned in fusing the practical and theoretical aspects of the
In addition to its role in encouraging technology, the bible has also gone ahead to give
strict warning warnings on the punishment that may come with abuse of creative gifts from God.
Due to prolonged absence of Moses, the Israelites had indulged into idolatry. It is the same God
given gifts that they had applied to make a golden calf in the same way they had made golden
objects at the tabernacle. The bible clearly stipulates the stupidity and terrible irony in idolatry.
The Contemporary Society
The debates in the modern world about technology are just an extension of the issues
discussed by writers in the Old Testament: Has technology enslaved us or is it serving us? Is
Technology subjective or objective from the society’s point of view?
A good example of how technology shapes our society is the Industrial Revolution.
Britain’ textile was transformed through technical developments in the eighteenth century
resulting in improved efficiency in production. Centralization of labor due to innovation of steam
driven machines, resulted in great mobility of labor. People started losing community and family
J. Forge, ‘The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain’, in M. Bridgstock et al., Science,
Technology and Society, CUP, 1998, pp.111–131; L. Mumford op. cit. pp.518–519.
ties as urban centers grew and massing of people was experienced11. These developments were
inevitable: Human choice lead to each stage because economic pressure and caused straining of
natural resources. Decisions were made on one direction because technology acted as the catalyst,
to propel the sharing of power in the society. Countries that could not adapt the new technologies
suffered from low incomes and unemployment.
The modern technology encourages communities to work coherently regardless of their
size. Industries that are computerized can be relocated to the most remote areas and require just a
few employees to operate. The cottage industry has been restored by the computer through
consultancy, editing and d...