Having grown up immersed in a combo of (often) dystopic sci-fi and laughably bad “end times” views of Bible prophecy, I was once a very bold pessimist when it came to the long-term prospects for technology in particular and the future of humanity in general here on God’s green earth.
Ironically, it was the “Christian” Left Behind-style worldview that offered the most impactful dystopic and pessimistic vision of ’em all, which then made the dark futures predicted in flicks like Terminator and Aliens seem reasonable enough to run with. An ultimately dark destiny for human culture and civilization was a given, so why not sprinkle on some evil cyborgs and/or malicious aliens and have some fun with it, right?
Thanks to the way that was paved by Dispensational/Rapture eschatology, this sort of presumptive, presuppositional pessimism came easy: Pessimism about the potential for politics here on earth. Pessimism about the potential for technology here on earth. Pessimism about the potential for pretty much everything here on earth, including (and perhaps especially) pessimism about the impact of the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ here on His earth. (See: Encouragement from Satan.)
Having since transitioned by the grace of God into a perspective defined by the light of the Gospel-fueled Great Commission, I’ve become increasingly (and maybe even annoyingly) optimistic: Optimistic about art. Optimistic about technology. Optimistic about politics, economics, science, language…optimistic about the restoration and good use of
pretty much everything that God has given us and inspired us to discover, use, and cultivate all to His glory and to our benefit.
This is why things like robots, artificial limbs, faster computers, longer-range spacecraft and anything else that you can think of on the tech front do not frighten me. They encourage and excite me. And I hope that they encourage and excite you, too. (See: The devil only holds what we leave in his hands.)
They are tools; very cool tools. They can be used for sinful purposes , but they are in and of themselves anything but evil. Combining this truth with the biblical command to take every thought – including every scientific and tech thought – captive to Christ is something that we need to lay our hands (and minds) on now more than ever.
As technology advances at a lightning pace before our eyes, the pessimism of bad theology/eschatology combos is causing many Christians to fear and often disparage the wonderful advances that are being made. As result, the people of God are becoming further disengaged from active participation in the development and application of new technology.
This cowardly, fearful approach is not honoring to the King who has commanded and equipped us to engage the enemy and drive him from every field of battle, and take every thought, realm and tool in creation captive to Him. (See: Why All Christians Should Own Robots.)
When we skip out on this duty of ours, we do three pretty awful things all at once:
- First, as I mentioned, we dishonor and disrespect the King of creation. This is a very big deal.
- We surrender the development, direction and use of technology to our enemies, who are all too happy to seize the opportunity to take the reins and use those tools to actively oppose the Kingdom of God.
- We establish a tone of pessimistic, pre-emptive surrender and apathetic cowardice.
So yeah, this is serious stuff.
By His Spirit within His people, God has given us the calling and ability to constantly and significantly improve things here and now in a manner that is in harmony with His Nature as revealed in His Word. (See: What does Jesus bring to politics, education, law, and economics?)
In this context, let’s consider present technological pursuits in the area of life extension and life improvement.
While we have become familiar and comfortable with many incredible advances and applications in this area (think: hip replacements, heart surgery, and artificial limbs), the next logical steps tend to terrify most programmed-for-pessimism professing Christians in America and the West.
The thought of healthy 150- or 200-year-olds soon becoming a norm by way of medical advances seems somehow wrong to many. Scientific advances aimed at significantly extending life while simultaneously improving its quality strikes many a Left Behind mind as being suspicious and perhaps even inherently evil.
So when we hear more and more about unbelievers who are indeed pursuing such technologies for often ungodly reasons, we imagine our fears and suspicions to be validated when, in fact, they have not been. The fact that bad people use God’s gifts for bad ends based on bad motives in no way makes the gifts themselves bad. (See: The Reality of Transhumanism and the Glory of God.)
While we’re kicking around this “radical extension of life” concept, consider the following predictive passage from Isaiah:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,
and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD. ~ Isaiah 65:17-25 (emphasis added)
How about that?
A 100-year-old being considered a young man?
Hmmm…not a very Dispensational concept there, methinks.
And yet, there it is. In Scripture. As a (perfect and assured) prediction.
So what would an “old man” be in that scenario?
Something to think about…and something to be excited about.
The Gospel-fueled Great Commission can and will do things here on this earth the likes of which our minds cannot even begin to properly fathom. (See: Isn’t our robotic future exciting? (Or: Should Christians fear or embrace technology?) and Enterprise, Falcon, or Galactica? What will Christians use to explore the restored cosmos?)
So let’s get to it!
Let’s get biblically serious, biblically optimistic, and biblically productive. (See: Art, math, beauty, logic, law and economics…it’s all about Him.)
Something tells me that very big and very good things are very much possible down that path…all by His grace, all for His glory, and all to our eternal benefit.
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