What Does God Tell Us About Technology?

Technology has been an integral part of human cultural activity throughout history.

The Bible tells us of about a number of technologies, some used for good and some for evil:

  • Cain built a city (Gen. 4:17)
  • In a description of the lineage of Cain, we find Jubal who was "the father of all who play the harp and flute" (Gen. 4:21 NIV) and Tubal-Cain, "who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron" (Gen. 4:22 NIV). Note that bronze is an alloy made from copper and tin, showing a certain sophistication in Tubal-Cain's technology of tools.
  • Noah was directed by God to build an ark—a large boat. Using God's direct instructions, Noah designed and built this complex structure. (Gen. 6)
  • The tower of Babel was a monument to man's sinful pride, which led God to confuse the languages. (Gen. 11)
  • Abraham and Isaac dug wells (an early civil engineering project!) in Genesis 21 and Genesis 26.
  • Bezalel is filled with the Spirit of God to build the tabernacle "with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship." (Exod. 31:3–5).
  • Aaron fashions an idol in the form of a golden calf using a tool in Exodus 32:4.
  • King Solomon builds the temple in 1 Kings 6, and we learn of Huram, who is skilled in bronze work, in 1 Kings 7.
  • King Uzziah employs "skillful men" (engineers) in 2 Chronicles 26:15 to design machines to shoot arrows and hurl large stones. However, after Uzziah becomes powerful, his pride leads to his downfall (v. 16).
  • Psalm 20 examines human reliance on technology: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." (Psa. 20:7)
  • Isaiah prophesies that the people who go up to the mountain of the Lord will "beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks" (Isa. 2:4)
  • Jesus uses technology examples in the Sermon on the Mount and other parables, such as:
    • houses in the story of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24–27.
    • city gates in Matthew 7:13–14
    • cities and lamps in Matthew 5:14–16
    • fishing nets in Matthew 13:47–50
    • oil lamps in Matthew 25:1–13
    • lost coins in Luke 15:8–10
  • Paul communicates with the early churches by letters (which are then copied and distributed)
  • Paul speaks of the armor of God in Ephesians 6
  • History begins in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8) but ends with the Holy City (Rev. 21:2)

So, what might we conclude from the Bible's treatment of technology?

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These pages were written by Jeffrey L. Nyhoff and Steven H. VanderLeest and edited by Nancy Zylstra
© 2005 Calvin University (formerly Calvin College), All Rights Reserved.

If you encounter technical errors, contact computing@calvin.edu.