Biblical references to technology
|Biblical References to Technology|
|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS||
The following tables collates more significant references to technology:
|Verse||Summary of Content||Observations and Implications|
|Genesis 1||Creation by God's word.||God has a technique but requires no technology.|
|Genesis 2:7||"The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life."||More of God's technique.|
|Genesis 3:7||Fig leaves sewn together constitute the first clothes||(From John Dyer) "Adam and Eve quickly recognize that they can overcome one of the effects of the Curse by inventing clothing to cover themselves. We don’t normally think of clothing as technology, it is a product of human creation and an expression of the creativity of God. Sadly, Adam and Eve use their creativity not to glorify God, but in a way that is representative of humanity’s rejection of God and attempt to live apart from him. But rather than condemn them, God pours out his grace and “upgrades” their clothing from leaves to the skin of an animal (Genesis 3:21). God’s action seems to support humans inventing things that overcome the effects of the Fall, yet he also shows the inadequacy of our solutions."|
|Genesis 4:17||First mention of a city.||(From John Dyer) "The city, in all its technological glory, becomes a symbol of man’s quest to restore the comfort and power of Garden without the presence of God. Babylon, Ninevah, Sodom, and others come to represent the enemies of God and the collective human desire to live happily without him."|
|Genesis 4:22||Tubal-Cain forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.||The first use of bronze was about 3200 BC, and iron about 1800 BC ()|
|Genesis 6||Building Noah's Ark||A detailed design was provided by God, but there is no mention of instructions regarding how to build it.
Note that the Ark itself is a new technology, i.e. a boat.
|Genesis 9:20 - Genesis 9:21||Noah grows grapes and brews wine.|
|Genesis 11:1; Genesis 11:9||human languages||does this really count as a technology?|
|Genesis 11:1 - Genesis 11:9||Tower of Babel
||Here we see humanity attempting to use their creative powers to build their way into heaven. Part of the lesson here is that we should not arrogantly think that our own abilities are unlimited.|
|Genesis 11:31||Abraham came from Ur.||Ur was a Sumerian city where the Euphrates River ran into the Persian Gulf. This is in present-day Iraq, 1200km east of Jerusalem.
Abraham born about 1800 BC and hence would have seen the Great Ziggurat of Ur. A couple of centuries before, Ur might have been the largest city in the world, with a population of about 65,000. It was quite close to Uruk, which was probably the world's first city, holding more than 50,000 within a 6km2 space a thousand years before Abraham. (See articles on Abraham and Ur in Wikipedia.)
|Genesis 20:16||Silver||Implies mining, refining (which needs a furnace) and weighing.|
|Genesis 21:25||Well||Does this imply buckets and rope?|
|Genesis 24:22||Gold nose rings and bracelets|
|Genesis 27:3, Genesis 27:40||Weapons: bow and arrow, sword.||Note that the first mention of a weapon is the sword wielded by an angel to keep people away from the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). Other references to God using a manufactured weapon include Isaiah 27:1, Isaiah 34:5, Isaiah 66:16.|
|Genesis 28:12||Stairway (or ladder) in Jacob's dream.|
|Genesis 30:29 - Genesis 30:43||Jacob (the deceiver) does some selective breeding and genetic modification to make his flock better than Laban's.|
|Genesis 31:27||Tambourines and harps.||First musical instruments mentioned in the Bible.|
|Genesis 37:25||Ishmaelite traders: spices, scent, slaves|
|Genesis 41:47 - Genesis 41:49||Grain storage specifically to counter famine.|
|Genesis 46:5||Jacob and family travel in carts.|
|Genesis 49:5 - Genesis 49:7||Jacob curses Simeon and Levi for gratuitous use of weapons.|
|Genesis 50:2||Physicians, embalming||Were these techniques learnt by Joseph during his time in Egypt?|
|Genesis 50:26||Joseph is embalmed and placed in a coffin.||
|Exodus 2:3||Moses' baby basket was coated with tar for waterproofing.|
|Exodus 4:2 - Exodus 4:5||Moses' staff was designed by God "so that they may believe in the Lord."||See the staff in use in Exodus 7, Exodus 17:6, Exodus 14:16.
Is this God's style of technology?
|Exodus 5||Israelite slaves in Egypt are set a quota on brick-making.|
|Exodus 14:25||Wheels on the Egyptian chariots.||Note the Egyptian influence on Israeli technology: chariots, embalming.|
|Exodus 15:25||Moses uses a piece of wood to make bitter water drinkable.||Magic or chemistry?|
|Exodus 20:1 - Exodus 20:17||The Ten Commandments||
|Exodus 20:24 - Exodus 20:25||Altars should be made of unhewn stones, not defiled by using iron tools.||Why no iron?
See also Deuteronomy 27:5.
|Exodus 21:6||Use of an awl to pierce the ear of a slave.|
|Exodus 23:10 - Exodus 23:11||Letting land lie fallow every seventh year.|
|Exodus 25 – Exodus 31||Design of the Tabernacle.||God gives detailed descriptions of the Ark of the Covenant, furniture, lampstands, curtains, altar, utensils and clothes. But (like Noah's ark) God does not give instructions about how to make these things: he leaves the techniques of construction to us.|
|Exodus 28:3||Although the "skilled workmen" are to do the work, their wisdom comes from God.||The work is to be done by skilled craftsmen. This implies dedication, training and care.|
|Exodus 28:30||Aaron wears the Urim and the Thummim in his breastpiece||The Urim and Thummim are an early example of decision-making via technology (the first Decision Support System?). An example of their use is in 1 Samuel 14:41 -- apparently a lot-casting mechanism. Also mentioned in 6 other places in the Old Testament.|
|Exodus 31:1 - Exodus 31:11||God's selection of the chief craftsman: "I have filled him with the Spirit of God" as well as with "skills, ability and knowledge".||The role of the craftsman (and technologist) is no less spiritual or dependent on God than those who serve in other ways. This reminds me of the selection of deacons in Acts 6: even for the menial task of handing out food, the candidates needed to be "full of the Spirit and wisdom".|
|Exodus 32 – Exodus 34||The Golden Calf and the second set of Ten Commandments.|
|Exodus 32:4||Tools were used to fashion the Golden Calf.||See how Aaron denies the use of tools in Exodus 32:24!!! This may imply a belief that what occurs naturally is good, but that manufactured goods are not. But more likely, it is simply a denial of responsibility, like a child's "I didn't touch it, it just broke".|
|Exodus 32:20||Moses grinds the Golden Calf, scatters it on water and makes the people drink it.||Dana Ullman claims that this is Biblical support for homeopathy!|
|Exodus 34:1, Exodus 34:28||Moses uses a chisel to prepare the second set of stone tablets and then writes the Ten Commandments on them.|
|Exodus 35 – Exodus 40||Construction of the Tabernacle||Note the sandwich here: God's design of the Tabernacle, the people's failure, restitution, and then God's will is realised and the Tabernacle built.|
|Exodus 35:10 - Exodus 35:29||Not just a trained few, but all who were willing are invited to help in the construction. Each brings their own resources and skills.|
|Exodus 35:30 - Exodus 35:35||Re-affirmation of the chief craftsmen.||Similar to Exodus 31:1 - Exodus 31:11, but extends their mandate to teaching others.|
|Leviticus 19:35 - Leviticus 19:36||Do not use dishonest measuring instruments or standards.||Also Deuteronomy 25:13 - Deuteronomy 25:16, Proverbs 11:1, Proverbs 20:10, Proverbs 20:23, Amos 8:5, Micah 6:11.|
|Leviticus 25:1 - Leviticus 25:7||Letting land lie fallow every seventh year.||
|Numbers 10:1 - Numbers 10:10||Two trumpets made out of hammered silver – used to call the people together.||Communication technology: one trumpet for the leaders to gather, two for everyone. Paul makes reference to this in 1 Corinthians 14:8 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16.|
|Numbers 21:4 - Numbers 21:9||Moses makes a bronze snake. When someone is bitten by a snake, if they look at the bronze snake they live.||Pre-figures Christ's healing of us (John 3:14 - John 3:15).
|Deuteronomy 1:28||The spies sent into Canaan reported that "the cities are large, with walls up to the sky".||Should God's people fear the technology of their enemies? (Also Deuteronomy 20:1.)|
|Deuteronomy 3:4 - Deuteronomy 3:6||God enabled the Israelites to destroy all 60 of the walled cities in Bashan.|
|Deuteronomy 6:10 - Deuteronomy 6:12||When God gives you houses and wells and vineyards, be careful not to forget the Lord.||Warning about thinking that we achieved technological Utopia by our own cleverness. (Also Deuteronomy 8:10 - Deuteronomy 8:18.)|
|Deuteronomy 19:5||Cities of Refuge for people who kill someone unintentionally. The example is an axe-head accidentally flying off and hitting someone.||What happens when technology has negative, unintended side-effects? The user of the technology is not to blame, as long as there is no malice aforethought.|
|Deuteronomy 19:14||Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark||also Proverbs 22:28, Proverbs 23:10, Deuteronomy 27:17. If this refers to artificial landmarks created by surveying and placing a boundary stone, it implies several technologies.|
|Deuteronomy 22:8||Build a railing around the roof of your house so nobody falls off.||Israel's first OH&S policy!|
|Deuteronomy 24:6||Do not take someone's millstones as security for a debt.||Technology is valuable and important for a person's livelihood. Don't deprive people from making a living by taking away the technology they need to do so.|
|Deuteronomy 27:5||Build an altar of stone and do not use any iron tool for the job.||See Exodus 20:24 above.
These instructions were carried out in Joshua 8:31.
|Judges 1:19||Israel could not defeat an enemy because the enemy had iron chariots.|
|Judges 3:15 - Judges 3:23||The Israelite leader Ehud had a double-edged sword, about 50cm long. He used it to assassinate Eglon, king of Moab.|
|Judges 4:13 - Judges 4:16||Israel routes 900 iron chariots.|
|Judges 4:17 - Judges 4:22||Tent peg used to kill an enemy's commander.|
|Judges 6:11||Gideon hid in a winepress.||
|1 Samuel 13:19 - 1 Samuel 13:21||The Philistines don't allow the Israelites to have blacksmiths and charged the Israelites a fee to sharpen their garden tools.||This is an example of restricting an enemy's technological abilities for military advantage. Dominant nations still benefit from technological superiority, creating a cycle in which technology provides a power advantage and that power allows the technological superiority to be maintained.|
|1 Samuel 16:23||David plays harp to Saul.||Soothing effect of musical instruments.|
|1 Samuel 17:4 - 1 Samuel 17:7, 1 Samuel 17:49||David kills Goliath.||Goliath has advanced bronze armoury, but it is futile against a stone and sling. Our trust in technology to save us is not always warranted.|
|2 Samuel 20:15||Siege ramp||First mention of a siege ramp in the Bible. It was probably just a pile of dirt. Also in Kings, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel.|
|1 Kings 4:33||Solomon's wisdom was not only in the fields of politics, leadership, literature, spirituality etc: he was also famed for his scientific work in botany and zoology.|
|1 Kings 7:13 - 1 Kings 7:14||Solomon contracts Huram to manage the bronze work for Temple furnishings.||See also 2 Chronicles 2:13 – Huram was sent by the King of Tyre in response to Solomon's request for help. Huram could work with all types of material, including stone, wood, metals and cloth, and was also a skilled engraver. Although he was from Tyre, he was Jewish.|
|1 Kings 7:23 - 1 Kings 7:26||The Temple included an indoor swimming pool that held 44,000 litres.||See also 2 Chronicles 4:2 - 2 Chronicles 4:5.|
|1 Kings 7:46||The bronze furnishings were fashioned using clay moulds.||See also 2 Chronicles 4:17. All the Temple furnishings and the bronze Sea were taken away by the Babylonians about 420 years later (Jeremiah 52:17 - Jeremiah 52:19)|
|1 Kings 10:22||Solomon has a fleet of trading ships .||See also 2 Chronicles 9:21.|
|2 Kings 2:11||God uses a chariot of fire to take Elijah away.|
|2 Kings 20:7||A poultice of figs is used to heal a boil.||This same remedy is used in Isaiah 38:21. Where else in the Bible is medicine used for healing?|
|2 Kings 20:20||Hezekiah builds a tunnel to bring water into the city.||See also 2 Chronicles 32:30.|
|2 Kings 21:13||"Measuring line" and "plumb-line"||See also Isaiah 28:17 where these tools represent justice and righteousness, as well as other references listed for measuring line and plumb line.|
|1 Chronicles 22:15 - 1 Chronicles 22:16||Israel had many craftsmen in David's time: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, metal-workers.|
|1 Chronicles 23 - 1 Chronicles 27||Priests (Aaron), temple workers (Levites), musicians, gatekeepers, treasury, military, tribal leaders, administrators of royal property.||Israel's public service structure did not include a portfolio for technology.|
|2 Chronicles 1:14, 2 Chronicles 1:17||Solomon had 1,400 chariots. They were imported from Egypt, and Israel also resold them to other nations.|
|2 Chronicles 20:35 - 2 Chronicles 20:37||Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, forms and alliance with Ahaziah, king of Israel and they built a fleet of trading ships. But since the alliance did not have God's blessing, the fleet was wrecked.||
|Ezra 6:1||The Babylonian King Darius searches for, and finds, an earlier decree regarding the Israelites rebuilding their temple.||Government archives in 5th century BC. The first example of this was probably the Hittite archives in 1300 BC (back around the time of Judges). That included a systematic library catalog ().
How different this was from storage and retrieval of docs over the Internet!
|Esther 2:12||Twelve months of beauty treatment!|
|Esther 5:14||Mordecai is to be hanged on a gallows.||
|Job 7:6||"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle and they come to an end without hope."||Woven cloth was first evident in 7000 BC ().|
|Job 19:24||"Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever"|
|Job 28||Humanity mines for silver and iron, refines gold and copper, turns dark into light, digs deep for sapphires, tunnels through rocks, and explores the sources of rivers (vv1-11). But do they find wisdom (v12, v13, v20)? It cannot be bought (vv15-19). It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing (v21). "God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells" (v23). "The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding" (v28).||We will never find wisdom or understanding from science or technology or any other human achievement.
|Psalm 3:3||God is a shield around us.||Also Psalm 5:12, Psalm 7:10, Psalm 18:2, Psalm 18:30, Psalm 34:20, Psalm 115:9 - Psalm 115:11.|
|Psalm 20:7||"Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."||See the converse in Isaiah 31:1.|
|Psalm 38:2||God's arrows discipline us.|
|Psalm 44:3, Psalm 44:6, Psalm 44:7||Israel's victories did not come by their prowess with the sword but by God's right hand.|
|Psalm 64:7||God's arrows shoot down evil-doers.|
|Psalm 68:17||God has tens of thousands of chariots to bring against his enemies.|
|Psalm 115:2 - Psalm 115:8||God is superior to idols.||In the modern world this is more of a comment about a materialist worldview than about religious idols. The materialist atheist cannot see God in the world and asks us where he is, blind to the fact that God is sovereign. They can manufacture all manner of goods, even computers and robots. But they are a poor imitation, not really seeing or speaking or hearing or smelling. Of course, in this age, the manufactured goods are far more sophisticated than the idols of old, and computers can indeed perceive and respond to the environment. Nevertheless, they are mere machines, lacking the inner life of humans. Those who believe otherwise end up suggesting that we too are mere machines: perfectly fulfilling the prediction in v8. And even if they were to succeed in making machines with human powers, they would be no closer to understanding the God who made heaven and earth nor being open to God's blessing (v15).|
||"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone."||Quoted in 1 Peter 2:7|
|Psalm 119:105||"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."|
|Psalm 150||Praise God with trumpet, lyre, dancing, strings, flute and cymbals. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."||We should use not only musical instruments, but everything we create – houses, church halls, shopping centres, cars, boats, space shuttles, pencils, iPhones and kitchen sinks – to praise the Lord.|
|Proverbs 3:9 - Proverbs 3:10||"Honor the Lord ... then your barns will be filled ... and your vats will brim over ..."||Maybe it's not too much of a stretch to infer that if we honor God, then our technology will succeed.|
|Proverbs 8:12||"I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions."|
|Proverbs 17:3||"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart."|
|Proverbs 18:10 - Proverbs 18:11||"The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall."||We might imagine that our money makes us impregnable like a well-built castle, but in the end security only comes from trusting God.|
|Proverbs 20:26||"A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them."|
|Proverbs 25:5 - Proverbs 25:6||Removing the dross from silver compared to establishing a righteous kingdom.|
|Proverbs 27:21||"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives."|
|Proverbs 27:22||"Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him."|
|Ecclesiastes 2:4 - Ecclesiastes 2:6||The Teacher built houses and made reservoirs to water his gardens, but it was meaningless (v11).|
|Ecclesiastes 2:17 - Ecclesiastes 2:23||It can seem as though the whole of our life's work is just meaningless toil.|
|Ecclesiastes 10:9||"Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them."||Working with technology can be dangerous.|
|Ecclesiastes 10:10||"If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success."||This probably generalises to most tools. If your equipment is sub-standard then it takes a lot more effort to get results. Nevertheless, a good tradesman never blames his tools. If you have the skill, you can still succeed -- maybe by sharpening the axe!|
|Isaiah 2:4||Turning swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks.||The same materials can have different technological applications. Indeed, the same technology can be used for both war and peace, for good and for evil.|
|Isaiah 2:12 - Isaiah 2:22||The Lord has a day planned when all human arrogance -- lofty towers, fortified walls, trading ships, idols or silver and gold -- will be be brought low.||This is a condemnation of arrogance rather than of technology. But how often does humanity show its arrogance by seeking power and control through technology? In the end, humans are an insubstantial breath (22).|
|Isaiah 5:28||God calls nations to battle against Israel, knowing that their weapons (bows, arrows and chariots) will overpower Israel.|
|Isaiah 10:15||"Does the axe raise itself above him who swings it ..."||Tools are subservient to their user. In context, God is wielding Assyria as a weapon against Israel and it is inappropriate for Assyria -- as the tool -- to think that they acted independently. A similar point is made in several places (e.g. Isaiah 29:16, Isaiah 45:9, Romans 9:21) about the relationship between a clay pot and the potter.
As a more general saying, however, this verse points out that no technology is greater than it's wielder, but merely a tool in the wielder's hand. Does that continue to be accurate in the age of intelligent machines?
|Isaiah 40:18 - Isaiah 40:19||To whom will you compare God? Certainly not to any idol crafted by human hands!|
|Isaiah 41:15||God will make Israel into a threshing-sledge to thresh/crush/winnow their enemies.|
|Isaiah 44:12 - Isaiah 44:20||A blacksmith or a carpenter may fashion an idol, but so what? The blacksmith still gets hungry, tired and thirsty like anyone else. The carpenter uses the same wood as his carved idol for kindling a fire to cook on! But he can't see that the wooden idol he created is a lie.||Craftsmen and technologists should have a sense of humility about their work.|
|Isaiah 64:8||"We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."||God as craftsman and technologist: a potter who chooses the raw materials, follows an intentional process, and makes use of tools (such as a potting wheel and kiln) in order to turn a design into a product.|
|Jeremiah 1:18||Jeremiah was as strong as a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall||Also in Jeremiah 15:20.|
|Jeremiah 2:13||Israel has forsaken God, the spring of living water, in favour of their own broken cistern.||In this modern world, we often think that our technological creations are making a perfect life for us. But in reality, we accept something far inferior to the abundant life that God intended (John 10:10).|
|Jeremiah 6:27 - Jeremiah 6:30||God uses Israel (or is it Jeremiah?) to 'test the metal' of his people|
|Jeremiah 8:22||"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?"|
|Jeremiah 10:1 - Jeremiah 10:16||Against idols. A craftsman shapes it with a chisel, adorns it with silver and secures it with a nail to stop it falling over -- but it is no more powerful than a scarecrow in a melon patch! Every goldsmith should be shamed but their idols: the images are a fraud.||See also Jeremiah 51:17.|
|Jeremiah 35:6 - Jeremiah 35:11||The Recabites don't drink wine, build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards.||While not strictly anti-technology, the Recabites took a kind of Amish stance. God congratulates them on upholding their ancestor's command and contrasts them to the rest of Israel who don't even obey God's commands.|
|Jeremiah 50:9||"Their arrows will be like skilled warriors."||Intelligent weaponry: a very advanced notion! Heat seeking missiles?
|Ezekiel 1:15 - Ezekiel 1:21||In a dream, Ezekiel sees fantastic creatures with intersecting wheels.||A description of a UFO landing, according to  and .|
|Ezekiel 10||More "wheels intersecting wheels" (v. 10) as part of a strange machine involving cherubim.|
|Ezekiel 27 - Ezekiel 28:19||Lament for Tyre. Although Tyre had been built to perfection, renowned for her beauty, expert in ship-making, powerful as a trading nation, she would become shipwrecked, break to pieces and sink into the sea.||Once again, material prosperity and skills in technology (in this case ships and seamanship) are no guarantee of lasting success. Chapter 28 makes clear that their downfall was a result of pride that made them feel like gods.|
|Ezekiel 40 - Ezekiel 48||In a vision, Ezekiel sees a man with a measuring rod measure in detail the dimensions of a future Temple, its surrounds and the sub-division of the whole land.||
|Daniel 2:31 - Daniel 2:45||Daniel relates and interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream in which a succession of kingdoms (gold, silver, bronze and iron) are smashed by a kingdom established by God (a rock).||The point of the story is not about technology, the power of the metaphor is based on an assumption that what is God-made and natural can overpower anything made by human hands.|
|Daniel 3||Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego thrown into a fiery furnace|
|Daniel 5||King Belshazzar is drinking wine and praising "the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone" when suddenly a disembodied hand writes a message on the wall.||Belshazzar is criticised for placing himself (and his faith in gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone) above God. As in Chapter 2, the power of this comparison in underpinned by an implication that what God can do is superior to anything achievable by human fabrication.
|Amos 7:7 - Amos 7:8||God sets a plumb-line against which to judge Israel.|
|Jonah 1||Jonah tries to escape from God's call on a ship||No technology, and nothing human-made can hide us from God or take us out of God's reach.
The human-made ship takes Jonah away, but the God-made fish brings him back. I wonder how many people have been drawn away from God by technology -- perhaps a belief that technology makes God an unnecessary assumption, or perhaps just being side-tracked by an attraction to technology (addition to Internet gaming?) -- and I wonder how many are brought towards God by the majesty of God's creation?
|Malachi 3:2 - Malachi 3:3||God is a refiner's fire|
|Verse||Summary of Content||Observations and Implications|
|Matthew 2:1 - Matthew 2:11||The Magi follow a star.||Putting aside the unscientific notion of stars heralding a new king, the Magi were clearly both knowledgeable and observant about the night sky. They were presumably not Jewish (i.e. not one of God's people) and yet God used their pre-scientific astronomy to draw them into God's plan. Is there any reason why we should not expect the same today -- that people who study the created world are drawn towards the Creator, even those who are outside the Christian faith?|
|Matthew 7:24 - Matthew 7:27
||Wise and foolish builders||An engineering metaphor. Every wise builder understands the need for a solid foundation, just as every software engineer needs a solid development platform, every scientist needs a well-formed experimental method, every mathematician relies on the axioms of set theory, every mobile phone carrier needs a solid infrastructure, etc. Do we build our worldview with the same attention to the foundation?|
|Matthew 9:16 - Matthew 9:17
||New cloth to patch old clothes; new wine in old wineskins.||I don't know if there is any spiritual lesson here about technology, but the principle is certainly still true: don't try putting new software onto an old computer!|
|Matthew 10:9 - Matthew 10:10
||The disciples are sent out, without money or luggage or shoes or walking stick.||Christians do not need technology or any other baggage to carry out God's work. Like the birds and the lilies in Matthew 6:26 - Matthew 6:30, all we need is supplied by God. That does not mean that accessories such as technology are not helpful: just not necessary.
And note that later on, Luke 22:36 records Jesus telling his disciples that they should now take money and a bag and even a sword.
|Matthew 26:51 - Matthew 26:53
||During Jesus' arrest, one of his companions cuts of someone's ear with a sword, but Jesus rebukes the use of the sword.||Like the comment on Matthew 10:9 (above), Jesus does not need technology to achieve his goal.|
|Matthew 27:60||Jesus is buried||Is the stone that was rolled across the tomb's entrance "technology"? It is no barrier to God.|
|Mark 3:9||Jesus plans ahead by having a boat ready.||Nothing special here, but this is obviously one of many time that Jesus happily used technology.|
||Jesus is the son of a carpenter.||As a carpenter he would have used tools frequently.
According to W.E.Vine's Expository Dictionary of New testament Words these are the only two occurrences of the Greek word tektōn (τέκτων) – from which we get the English "technology".
||Metaphor: you don't put a lamp under a bowl.||Jesus draws on his audience's knowledge of common technology. Here and elsewhere he seems happy to accept our attempts to make life easier via technology. It is also testament to his communication ability that he makes such effective use of concepts with which his audience is familiar to draw them towards a new idea.|
|Mark 13:1 - Mark 13:2||The disciples marvel at the magnificent Temple, but Jesus is not impressed. The Temple will be destroyed.||No building (or anything else built by people) is as magnificent or as sturdy as God. From John 2:19 we see that it is only the Temple of Jesus' body that can be destroyed and yet remake itself.|
|Luke 1:63||Zechariah uses a writing tablet|
|Luke 2:1||Roman census|
|Luke 2:7, Luke 2:16||Manger|
|Luke 3:17||Winnowing fork used metaphorically for sorting wheat from chaff|
|Luke 5:1 - Luke 5:11||Boats and fishing nets||Jesus honours the work of Simon and other fishermen, but calls them to leave their technology in order to follow him. Jesus is happy to make use of boats for his own purpose of teaching. Jesus also shows that nets and boats are not enough: not even enough to catch fish -- you also need knowledge and, by implication, spiritual insight.|
|Luke 5:31||Jesus likens himself to a doctor.|
|Luke 9:62||If you put your hand to the plough, don't look back.||What's wrong with looking back? It makes it impossible to plough a straight furrow. So don't start working for God if you're going to be distracted with other concerns rather than concentrating on the goal.|
|Luke 12:16 - Luke 12:21||The rich fool who builds big barns to store his wealth but then dies||A lesson in priorities: spiritual wisdom over wealth. But also a comment that technology (barns) cannot satisfy life's real needs.|
|Luke 12:35||Keep your lamps burning||Metaphor for being alert and prepared. But also an acceptance that it is quite appropriate to use artificial light sources. Thus nothing earth-shattering, but it is one of many examples where God accepts and even commends the use of technology. God does not expect us to just take the world as it is, but encourages us to create technologies to help us.|
|Luke 13:4||A building accident causes 18 to die, but it is not because the victoms were evil.|
|John 1:3||Through him all things were made||The Word of God, i.e. Jesus, was the tool of choice for God.|
|John 2:1 - John 2:10||Water into wine||The process of making wine usually requires substantial technology: agricultural implements, irrigation, fertiliser, grape press, chemistry, temperature-controlled vats, etc. But Jesus gets a better result by his own authority.|
|John 2:15||Jesus makes a whip to drive the animals out of the Temple grounds|
|John 6:19||Jesus walks on water||Even though Jesus frequently uses boats, he actually doesn't need them. Jesus can achieve his purpose without any need for technology of any sort.|
|Acts 7:48||"The Most High does not live in houses made by man"||God cannot be contained by anything humans construct. We cannot limit God, nor can we exceed or control God with technology or anything else we create.|
|Acts 8:26 - Acts 8:40||Philip ministers to the Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot.||The chariot is a symbol of affluence and authority rather than war. Perhaps like a Rolls Royce car today. But that doesn't daunt Philip! The pedestrian jogs along, hears Isaish being read through the window and offers advice. He gets to sit in the Rolls and preach to the rich and famous!
Apart from Revelation 9:9, this is the only chariot mentioned in the NT.
|Acts 18:3 - Acts 3:5||Paul, Aquila and Priscilla were all tentmakers.||When necessary, they earned money by their trade to support their ministry. But when others were able to support him, Paul would devote himself exclusively to preaching.|
|Acts 19:23 - Acts 19:41||Riot in Ephesus||Silversmiths (and perhaps other craftsmen) see their livelihood threatened by the Gospel|
||Paul travels by sailing boat||As a principle, Paul tries to become "all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:21). So it is not surprising that he would use whatever technology was available to further his cause.|
|Romans 6:13||Our bodies can either be instruments of wickedness or instruments of righteousness.||In the Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vine says the meaning of "instruments" here is most likely as a weapon.
We as people are like tools that, in the cosmic war, are used to advance one side or the other. Our bodies, as technology, are not neutral, nor mindlessly forced into service: Paul calls us choose to which purpose we will offer ourselves.
|1 Corinthians 3:6 - 1 Corinthians 3:15||In rebuking divisions in the church, Paul points out that we are God's co-workers. It matters not whether we plant or water: it is God's work that matters. It doesn't matter who laid the foundation and who builds on it, as long as the foundation is Jesus Christ. Whatever the building is made of -- gold, silver, wood, stones, or even straw -- will all be tested by fire.||Interesting mixing of metaphors, from agricultural to construction engineering. In our context, Paul could have written that the technology does not matter, only that our joint work seeks a common purpose and a common foundation, that of Christ. Paul returns to that theme in 1 Corinthians 15:58, assuring us that such labours are not in vain.|
|1 Corinthians 9:10||Ploughs and threshers|
|2 Corinthians 4:7||"we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all‑surpassing power is from God and not from us"||This strange technology -- the clay jars that are our bodies -- are very fragile and yet they contain the glory of God.|
|2 Corinthians 5:1||Our body is merely a tent, but will be replaced by an eternal house in heaven.|
|2 Corinthians 9:9||God supplies seed to the sower and bread for food||It is easy to see that God provides seed -- that's just part of what he created. But here it says he also supplies bread. Even though humans manufacture the bread (using a lot of technology by the way) even the results of our creative act ultimately come from God.|
|2 Corinthians 10:2||The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world|
|Ephesians 2:10||"we are God's workmanship"||God crafts us with the tools of love, grace, relationships with others, suffering and the Spirit of Christ Jesus within us. We have been manufactured for a purpose.|
|Ephesians 2:20||Christ Jesus himself is the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.||Who is the builder? See Hebrews 3:4.
Compare with 1 Peter 2:4 -- we, like Christ, are living stones, and we are being built into a spiritual house.
|Ephesians 6:13 - Ephesians 6:17||Put on the full armour of God|
|Colossians 4:14||Luke the beloved physician|
|2 Timothy 2:20 - 2 Timothy 2:21||All sorts of artefacts may be used for good or evil. Even people can become "an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work".|
|2 Timothy 4:14||"Alexander the metalworker..."|
|Philemon 1:13||"in chains for the gospel"||Compare with Ephesians 6:20 where Paul describes himself as "an ambassador in chains". But no chains can constrain God's work.|
|Hebrews 3:4||"God is the builder of everything"|
|Hebrews 4:12||"The word of God is ... sharper than any double-edged sword"|
|Hebrews 11:9 - Hebrews 11:10||Abraham was content to live in tents even though he looked forward to living in a city whose architect was God.|
|Hebrews 13:16||"But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."||Maybe it's not to much of a stretch to apply this to communication technology. (King James is the only one to mention "communication" in this verse, so I don't think this inference works. The Greek implies sharing rather than communicating. -- Matt)|
|James 3:3||Putting bits in horses' mouths|
|James 3:4||Steering a ship by a rudder|
|James 4:3||Moths eat clothes, and gold and silver corrode.||The stuff we create with technology and all our material wealth is ephemeral.|
|1 Peter 1:7||Faith is of greater worth than gold|
|Revelation 1:12||Seven golden lampstands represent the 7 churches|
|Revelation 3:18||God recommends that the Laodiceans buy salve to put on their eyes|
|Revelation 5:7 - Revelation 5:8||Throne, scrolls, harps, bowls of incense||Evidence of technology in heaven?|
|Revelation 6:1 - Revelation 6:5||Horse riders carry a bow, a sword and a pair of scales|
|Revelation 8||Seven angels each sound a trumpet|
|Revelation 9:2||"like the smoke from a gigantic furnace"|
|Revelation 11:1||A measuring rod|
|Revelation 14:14 - Revelation 14:19||One "like the son of man" and an angel wield a sharp sickle|
|Revelation 18:11 - Revelation 18:13||Merchants try unsuccessfully to sell precious metals, silk, linen, etc|
|Revelation 18:21 - Revelation 18:23||When Babylon is thrown down, there will be no more sound from musical instruments in her, nor tradesmen, mills or lighted lamps.|
|Revelation 21 (see also Revelation 3:12)||The Holy City -- the city of God, the new Jerusalem -- comes down out of heaven. It is huge and shines with God's glory. High walls. Twelve gates. Streets of gold like transparent glass.||Cities are not necessarily an evil created by humans: the history of creation will end with a city of God's creation.|