Technology is all around us, and has been since the garden of Eden. We do, however, live in a hyper technologically advanced society. Technology helps us every day in the cars we drive, the medications we take, the phones we use, and it even effects how we do our jobs. Yet, technology advances so rapidly that it is difficult to stop and think about how best to use it and approach it in our daily lives. As followers of Christ, should we embrace technology with open arms and accept it into our lives without giving it a second thought? On the other hand, would it be wise to take a step back and consider the biblical ramifications of the technology that we make use of? This is what Tony Reinke discusses in his new book published by Crossway titled God, Technology, and the Christian Life (2022).

In the book, Reinke offers a brief overview of the history of technology, the history of innovators and innovations throughout history. He then discusses the posture that followers of Christ should have towards technology. First, provides a brief history of technology. Reinke goes all the way back to the book of Genesis and tells the story of technology from the first families who started to innovate with musical instruments, building materials and the like. He draws extensively from the story of the tower of Babel and discusses the ramifications of that event as seen in modern day technology. This is a fascinating look at the history of technology as one does not typically look to the book of Genesis when researching the history of technology.  However, Ricky is on point. From the beginning human beings have sought to use the material goods found in nature for use in advancing human engineering, science, and technology. Computers, cars, infrastructure, and other human innovations that we use to build major cities across the world are a direct reflection of our ancestors in the time of Babel. Since the fall, humanity has sought to make the world a better place not by looking to the God, but by looking within our own minds and abilities to make the world right. However, technology cannot, as Reinke discusses, fulfill the desires of the human heart. 

Next, Reinke traces the history of innovation and the spirit of the innovator from the book of Genesis through modern day. He argues that desire to explain the world without God is nothing new. The tech giants and innovators of Silicon Valley are just following the footsteps of their ancestor Cain, who sought to make a name for himself without God. This portion of the book is the most theologically rich. He makes the point that even while innovators seek to make the world better without God, they bring glory to him unawares. In their desire innovate they are using the talents and abilities that God has given them for the good of others, and point to the creator they are trying to avoid. This is a great reminder to the believer to live intentionally with gifts and abilities they have been given for the glory of God and the good of others. 

Lastly, Reinke sets forth a theology of how believers should respond, not only to current technology, but also future technological advances. He argues that it is not necessarily a bad thing to adopt new technology into our lives. However, we are to approach new technology with caution because we understand that it cannot be a substitute for God in our lives. God has given technology to us as a good gift, but we must not love the gift more than the giver. There is much good that can come from the technological advances of our day. Yet, there is much evil that can be done through it as well. It is for this reason, that Reinke advisers caution. In the end, Ricky‘s advice to the reader is simple: if the adoption of technology is not contrary to the teachings of scripture and does not violate the conscience it is permissible to. On the contrary, however, if the adoption of technology, even if it does not violate the teaching of scripture but does violate one’s conscience, it should not be adopted. I would wholeheartedly agree with Reinke to that end.

Although, I tend to be a tech moderate (I say this as I dictate these words to my iPhone), I find Reinke’s position as a tech optimist very compelling. There is much that dazzles the imagination and the advances in medicine, engineering, and the energy sector does provide a sense of hope and optimism in a global society that seems to be self-destructive. Yet, the advances in computer technology, AI, and robotics do seem a bit daunting and slightly raises the hair on the back of my neck. However, there are many advances in technology that are very well-suited for the advancement of the gospel throughout the world. What took the apostle Paul many decades, hardships trials, and even his very life to accomplish, we can now accomplish in minutes from our smartphones. Namely, we can proclaim the truth of the hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world on social media and other platforms. Millions of sermons, articles, and other teaching are downloaded and utilized every second throughout the world, which brings much glory to God. Yet, the most important aspect of a theology of technology is the fact that God is infinitely bigger, and infinitely sovereign over big tech. The wonders of Silicon Valley pale in comparison to the beauty, wonder, and majesty of the Lord Almighty. Even the very people who invented modern technology are gifted with such ability to invent such wonderful inventions to help us every day, bring glory to God unawares. So, I find myself a little bit more tech optimistic than I was before I read this book, because God is more wondrous than any technology that will ever be invented. Yet, I still believe that technology must be approached with caution and not accepted blindly.

God, Technology, and the Christian Life is an excellent resource to help followers of Christ think through how best to use technology in their daily lives. The book serves as a biblical of technology, in that Reinke casts a big vision for technology by casting an infinitely greater vision for God who has created human beings with the ability to create such wonderful tech. It is an excellent guide for parents, as well, to help them guide their children in the use of technology and think through how best to approach future advances of technology. I would highly recommend this book. It is a must read for every twenty-first century believer.

Editor’s Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

One response to “A Biblical Theology of Technology”

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