In our day and age, we have technophiles, technophobes, and people in the middle. Technophiles are incredibly enthusiastic about technological developments, while technophobes are deathly afraid of them. But the Christian can stand comfortably balanced between the two, because the God of all of this stuff- all our technology, rules over it all.
Technology is a tool, and tools are given to us by God. The first stone Adam used to crack open a coconut was a tool. It was a token of technological advancement. As the centuries have passed, God has given us the resources and abilities to continue advancing our tools. These tools are not inherently good or bad in themselves. However, they can find themselves in the hands of a person doing good or evil, something beneficial or detrimental. They are not new “gods” unless we revere and worship them as such. They are neutral. However, as Doug Wilson points out in Ploductivity, technology is a form of wealth. The Bible describes wealth as a blessing, but a blessing that can easily turn our hearts away from God (Deut. 8:10-20). Therefore we must view our technological tools with grateful suspicion. We should be grateful for the blessing that they are and desire to use them to honor God. But we should be suspicious of our hearts that can quickly turn blessings into a means of forgetting the God who blessed us in the first place.
Tools are a key aspect of God’s sovereign rule over human history. He is currently bringing all things to a glorious end- a creation of a new heavens and new hearth- and what we are doing now, with our tools, he is using to bring about that end. He has done this throughout human history. Consider how the ark (and the tools that helped make it) enabled God to cleanse the earth and start over with a righteous family. Consider how the workmen with their tools created the beautiful temple in Jerusalem where men and women could worship God. Consider how today we use air-travel, podcasts, or television broadcasting to share the gospel in unreached places. God uses our tools to advance His kingdom.
Yet we know from experience that sinful people can also use tools for evil purposes, but even in their mis-use, God can use our tools to work good according to His plan. Consider the tools that made the cross: the tools that cut down the tree, fashioned the wood, mined the material for the nails, and hammered them into shape. After production and assembly, the cross was a horrific tool of capital punishment- yet God was sovereign over it. It was this tool in the hands of Roman executioners that God used to bring about the greatest and most glorious good in all of human history- the salvation of His people. Jesus created the very tree that he would be crucified on. He gave mankind the knowledge to create the tools to make a cross and nail him to it. Yet by doing so- He was indirectly giving mankind the gift of salvation. He was making provision for our sinfulness by His righteous life, sacrificial death, and resurrection- by exercising sovereignty over our tools.
Thus, he is sovereign over the next iPhone that releases- even though it may have adverse side effects on the tech-addicted. He is sovereign over the next vehicle that is designed, the next computer software system that’s created, or the next medical procedure that’s developed. He is sovereign over it all, including the most popular technological tools of the internet: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We shouldn’t be afraid of the potential brain-numbing effects of these tools, but should recognize the incredible opportunity they present us with. We can make use of these tools that God has given us to proclaim to the world who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s doing, just like Paul used the tool of papyrus to write epistles to the New Testament churches.
The necessary balance comes by striving to use these tools well for God’s glory. We have to fight to keep them in their proper place as tools that bring value to our lives, never letting them become our lives. How do we do that? By constantly taking our phone use, our social media use, our tech use, and analyzing them before God. “Is this honoring to you? Is this helping me live well? Is this distracting me from you, from my family, or other things that matter? Am I using this as a tool, or worshiping it as a God?” Our goal shouldn’t be to entertain ourselves, distract ourselves in moments of stress or anxiety, or make sure we’re up to date on everyone’s lives. Our goal should be to use our phones and apps (and all technology, for that matter) as tools that help us live lives that glorify and enjoy God, manifest His truth, bless others, and depict the beauty of a life lived contently under His sovereign care and rule. That’s how we magnify Christ as the sovereign God of technology.