Christianity and technology

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Christianity and technology

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From James C. Peterson:

Think back to Genesis 1. There God gives creation over to human dominion and places humans not in a wilderness but in a garden. A garden needs to be tended. Once cannot encourage the roses without driving back the aphids. The humans are directed to care for the garden and how to care for it. God tells them not to eat fruit from certain trees nor to eat meat. It is still God's world. It is not their world, one with which they can do anything they want. Nature is entrusted to humans to care for it as stewards. They are responsible to God for what they do with God's world, a place given to them in which to exercise stewardship. That includes making choices to shape and develop that which God has entrusted them.

Few of us live in a place where we could survive because the temperature is always right, with no need for clothing or shelter, or where we could catch our food with our bare hands and eat it raw. As soon as we use a hook to catch a fish or fire to cook it, we use technology. This is part of who we were designed to be. We are designed to shape, modify, and work with our environment and ourselves.

Nature is something God has created and declared good. Humans are to enjoy and use it to serve God and neighbour. Should nature then be left as it is? Should we have left smallpox alone? No. Is it the wisdom of evolution over time that as people age they have poor eyesight? Do individuals contravene evolution or God-designed nature when they accept glasses or laser surgery? The physical world can be improved, and it is our human nature and call to do so.

Saint Augustine argued in the fourth century that the world is not perfect and should be restored to what it was like before sin corrupted it. That requires shaping the the nature we have received. Further, there is a long tradition in church history that humans should not just restore the Earth. Instead, part of our calling is to improve it.

(From Miller, R. J., Brubaker, B. H., & Peterson, J. C. (2005). Viewing new creations with Anabaptist eyes : ethics of biotechnology. Telford Pa.;Scottdale Penn.: Cascadia Pub. House; Herald Press; p. 76)


  • Ellul, J. The Technological Society. Trans. John Wilkinson. New York: Knopf, 1964 (originally in French in 1954)
  • Ellul, J. The Technological System. Trans. Joachim Neugroschel. New York: Continuum, 1980 (originally in French in 1977)
  • Ellul, J. The Technological Bluff. Trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990 (originally in French in 1988)


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