Technology and the Bible

Anyone who knows me knows that I like science and science fiction. Maybe it’s the draw of the utopian societies or maybe it’s the technology. I don’t know why but I have always been drawn to sci-fi. I love reading and watching videos about our most recent achievements in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and technology.

I am also a Christian. I love Jesus with all of my heart and long for the day when I will dwell forever with

Privative technology

the Master. But how do these two parts of my being mesh? Or do they? Some believe that we should live as simply as possible to the point that they abstain from using any technology developed beyond a certain point. Personally I disagree with this. If you are going to take that perspective then you need to abandon ALL technology including primitive tools such as flint knives and cut animal hides as clothing.

We think of technology from our modern perspective. Computers are considered tech but butter knives and spoons aren’t. But actually any tool from a simple stone picked up as a hammer is a form of technology. And we see these tools used throughout the Bible both for good and for evil.

So how should a Christian deal with technology? There are as many answers as there are people answering. Everyone has an opinion and since this is my blog, I’ll give you mine. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion.

I’m sure that by now you have guessed that I like technology, but it is actually a pretty complex issue. I’m going to bypass any tech that is used for or was created for war or evil. I’m also going to skip simple tools and basic electric devices such as toasters and gas ranges. Although without these our lives would be vastly different.

So let’s look at some of the tech we have available today and some of what the future holds.

Computers are probably the first thing many people will think of when you talk about technology. Without computers there would not be any modern, advanced technology. Computers are really nothing new. Manual computing devices have been around long before electricity was a common tool. At around 1620 an English minister invented the slide rule. With this device he was able to perform complex mathematical calculations very quickly. A device called The Antikythera mechanism was discovered around 1900 and it dated back to before the time of Jesus! But the oldest computer that I could find was the abacus. This device, still used by many Chinese, was may have been used by the Babylonians as early as 2400BC!

5MB compared to 32GB

While these aren’t what we would call computers today, they certainly were the beginnings. Modern electronic computers were developed in the 1950’s and since then have progressed dramatically. The picture on the left is an IBM 5 MB hard drive. They didn’t sell them but would lease them for $28,000 per month. The picture on the right are two 32 GB drives purchased for $12 apiece.  

We’ve all seen the pictures of the first Apple computer – made with a WOOD frame! This is the same company that now makes the iPad and smart watches.

Well, that was a great history lesson, but what about its relation to Christianity? No technology, in and of itself, is inherently evil except that it was thought of and invented by fallen man. I’m including even nuclear bombs. The bombs can’t think. They don’t know that they are about to wipe out an entire city. Those who decide to deploy those devices are the ones who may or may not be evil, not the bombs. A screwdriver isn’t evil even if an evil person uses it to stab someone.

I use my computer to write and post blogs. I have a wonderful program called e-Sword that has a ton of Bible translations in many languages. Most of are familiar with Blue Letter Bible phone apps. I’m 66 years old and went to collage without computers. I wrote term papers and did research by hand in an actual library with paper books. I had to show up in class to get credit and hand in paper test sheets. It wasn’t hard because it was all I knew. Of course my “friends” in sci-fi novels had computers and online classes, but I’ve never had a problem separating reality from fiction.

I had planned on putting in several paragraphs here about robots. Not industrial machines that build cars but humanoid robots or androids. I just watched a documentary on YouTube about Gemma Chan had an android made in her image that was so convincing that it fooled reporters who were interviewing the robot. They actually thought they were talking to Gemma not a chat-bot. It was eye-opening. So I’m going to hold off on giving you my opinion of androids. Since this isn’t the 24 century and not all androids are like Data I’m not sure what I think. I hadn’t realized that out androids were at that level yet. Sophia may have been granted honorary citizenship in Saudi Arabia but you would never mistake it for a living person. Yet the Gemma robot did just that. I have to process that for awhile before I decide what I think about it.

The images below are all androids (human-like robots)

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The Faces of hunger

Have you ever been hungry? I’m not talking about missing a meal every now and then and I’m not talking about planned fasts. Have you ever been unable to provide a meal when you wanted?

Worse than this, have you even been in the position that you could not provide a meal for your children? No money, no hope and no resources?

What do you do when your child tells you that they are hungry and you literally have nothing to give them? When you don’t even have a place to live? Or a safe place to sleep.

I’m calling this post the faces of hunger but I could call it the faces of homelessness. The pictures I’m posting are all Americans. They may be in your city or town. These children and single moms didn’t ask for this. They don’t want to be living on the street. The fortunate ones have a car as their home, but that’s not good enough.

You see, I’ve been there myself. I know what it’s like to have to tell your children that there’s nothing to eat. I know what it’s like to see your wife crying in frustration and despair. I know what it’s like to have to beg. It’s not a pleasant experience.

Yes, some people choose this way of life. These are not the people I’m talking about. How about the single parents whose partners are gone? How about the parents who have mental issues? Maybe they made some bad choices in the past and now they are living with the consequences. We all have made poor choices from time to time. Some worse than others.

How about the families that just aren’t making enough money? They have to choose between rent, utilities and food.

Looking at this picture you have to ask how anyone can live like this? No one should ever have to and these are the lucky ones. They have a roof!

It is estimated that there are over 209 million adults in America. Can you imagine if half of these people were to give just one dollar to help this situation? ONE DOLLAR. That would be nearly $105,000,000 toward the hunger crisis in America.

There are programs that can help. The government has welfare programs and churches have shelters and

feeding programs. But what about you? Are you a Christian? A follower of Jesus? Remember, Jesus took compassion on the crowd and fed them because they missed one meal! How can we not feel compassion for these who live beside us? The Pharisees asked Jesus who they should consider their neighbors. We have literal neighbors who are hungry and we do nothing to ease the pain. How can we, as Christians, just sit and let them go hungry?

There are places where you can donate food, money and your time. Donating you time is vital. Food banks and shelters need volunteer help so they can stretch their food dollars to feed more families. Every dollar they pay toward wages is money not going to food. Homeless shelters also need your help, physically and financially. Look up places near you. I know they are there. We often ignore these facilities until we need them, but they are there. I’m going to list a few but these are by no means the only ones. Do your own research. Some of these are Christian organizations and some are secular. There are also local shelters and foodbanks that you can find with a quick internet search. Your church may also have a benevolence fund or organizations that they sponsor and/or support.

Feeding America

Meals For Good

The Hunger Project

Feed The Children

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The Lord’s Prayer (vs 13)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (vs 13)

We just prayed that we would have our sins forgiven and now we are asking that we be guarded from falling again into sin. This is not saying that God tempts us but rather that God protects us from allowing Satan to be let loose upon us.  David once prayed, “Keep me safe, also, from willful sins; don’t let them rule over me.”  (Psalms 19:13 GNB)

Later in Matthew, Jesus said, “the spirit is will but the flesh is weak” and that we should continue to pray that we do not fall into temptation. (26:41) I want to note that it is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted. Everyone is tempted. The devil wants us to sin and stray so that our witness will be weakened and so that we will not be effective for God’s kingdom. The issue is when we give in to that temptation. You’ve heard the expression, “Just say no”? So when Satan sends temptation our way, just say no!

Deliver us from evil is often translated as deliver us from the evil one. Both are possible interpretations of the Greek text and the meaning is almost the same. Yes, deliver us from evil. However, delivering us from the evil one (Satan) will be delivering us from evil in general. The devil is real and he is constantly trying to get us to fall. As believers, we have the ability, through the Holy Spirit, to resist these temptations. James 4:7 says that we are to “resist the devil” then he will flee from us. Why? Because it is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to resist and the devil cannot stand up to God’s Spirit.

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Praise The Lord

Give praise to the Lord, O my soul; let everything in me give praise to his holy name.   (Psalms 103:1 Bible in Basic English)

I have always loved this verse, and those that follow. No matter what is going on in life, we are to give praise to God. Nothing can compare to His glory. Nothing can compare to His blessings. If you are alive, praise the Lord. If you have eaten today, praise the Lord. Even if you are ill, hurting or depressed, give praise to the Lord, for He is worthy of praise.

God gives us so much, and so often we not only fail to thank His, but we ask for more, more and more. Maybe we should stop to thank Him for what we do have. Are you a believer? Then you have forgiveness of sin! What can be better? You are assured of eternal joy and a place with Jesus. No matter what is going on here on earth, in your physical body, you are delivered.

This Psalm goes on to list many of the blessings God gives His people minute by minute. And this list is by no means exhaustive. As I look back over my sixty-three years of life I see many time when He was working to my benefit and I never once thought it. I’m alive today because God intervened. No other reason.

So today, before you do anything else, give praise to the Lord with your entire being.

 

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Christians in wolves’ clothes

For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received. (Jude 1:4 Good News Bible)

We hear a lot about false teachers today. But how do we tell the difference in a true teacher and a false teacher. Often the false teachings are so close that it’s almost impossible to put your finger on the difference. The deceiver wants to deceive the believers and he frequently does this with slight, subtle variations on the Word.

Remember when Satan tempted Jesus? Satan used the Word, or I should say misused the Word. Satan quoted Psalm 91:11 correctly but took it out of context and applied it incorrectly. He does the same thing today. False teachers, prophets and preachers correctly quote the scripture but pull it out of context and misuse it. This is why it is sometimes hard to tell who they are. They use God’s very own Word as their calling card and we can sometimes get confused.

Paul said that in the last days there would be a certain kind of people abounding in our gatherings. 2 Timothy 3: 1-9 describes these people as selfish, greedy and boastful. Paul also says that they are merciless, slanderers and violent. Then he advises Timothy (and us) to stay away from such people. Jesus said that by their fruits you will know them. What kind of fruit are these false teachers producing? Often we have to look no further than their teaching to see their fruit. A leader who teaches that abortion is nothing more than a woman’s control of her own body is certainly and obviously not in line with the Word, no matter how many verses he or she quotes. I would like to say that this one is so obvious that no one would ever follow such a leader. Unfortunately, millions around the world and here in the US actually do follow such a leader.

It is imperative that we actually know the Word. Get into a Bible centered study group and do your homework so that you can be better prepared to defend the truth and to actually know the truth.

 

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Believe

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, “I believe. Help my unbelief!”   (Mark 9:23-24 World English Bible)

“If you can believe.” I am often like this father Jesus was talking to. I do believe, but there are times when I have to admit that I am human. I have doubts and fears. What if Jesus doesn’t do this or that and things don’t work out like I (think) I need them to work out? I do believe, but Jesus, help my unbelief!

This may well be why we don’t see the healings and the other miracles like I think the Bible says we should. We believe, but not like we should. I’m not saying that we doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. Nor am I saying that our salvation is in jeopardy, but do we believe Him before we believe a doctor? Do we believe Him before we believe a politician? Do we believe Him before we believe a pastor? When you accept a human’s word over the Word, then you need to ask Him to help your unbelief. “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

This should be our prayer any time we find ourselves questioning Jesus or His Word.

 

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Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. …And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1, 6 ESV)

 

Definition of faith: (Merriam – Webster dictionary)

  1. allegiance to duty or a person LOYALTY
  2. belief and trust in and loyalty to God
  3. firm belief in something for which there is no proof
  4. something that is believed especially with strong conviction

 

I am challenged from time to time to defend my position that Jesus is the only Way and even that God actually exists. These people want proof. Part of me understands this. I am, by nature, skeptical. I want to know why you tell me what you do.

So what is my defense and proof of God and Jesus? I have none! I do not try to prove His existence. I know He lives. I talk with Him daily. (If you think that labels me insane, so be it.) To quote the song “He lives within my heart.” The Holy Spirit dwells in me and as a result I have faith that God lives.

I could spend hours going over various archaeological finds that back up the Bible, citing miraculous healing and seemingly impossible rescues, all attributed to God. All of this is great and I love to hear about them. They bolster my faith, but they are not the reason for my faith.   The reason for my faith is that God put it in my heart to believe. If I think that I was capable of developing enough faith to be saved then I could boast about this as a work that I did. But it wasn’t me. In Ephesians we are told that it is definitely God’s doing that we have the faith to believe. In Romans we are told that carnal man (those not born again) cannot, by themselves, submit to God’s law and that in the flesh we cannot please God.

God loves the world (that is the humans that He created) so much that He sent Jesus to pay an unbelievable debt that we are unable pay. This debt of sin and the penalty has been lifted for all people who believe. God gives everyone the faith. All they have to do is ask. The Holy Spirit draws people to Jesus. That is one of His purposes. The gift God gives, that is faith, is available to every person on earth.

If we accept God’s gift, we can experience the blessings and ultimate joy that goes along with the new birth. This is true Grace. If we demand proof, though, remember, “without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

 

 

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Works

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5 ESV)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 ESV)

If someone were to take these two verses, by two separate writers, apart from their context, they could make a great basis for a works based religion. And that has been done many times over the centuries. It seems, at first glance, that both Paul and James are teaching that we must have a certain kind of works in order to get into the Kingdom. But, as a friend of mine likes to say, “what does the rest of the Bible say?”

There are many places where Paul expounds on salvation by grace alone. He is very persistent in letting his readers know that it is not what we can do but what Jesus already did.

Throughout the Old Testament the prophets proclaimed God’s demand for perfect sacrifices. The lambs, bulls and doves had to be spotless. The Israelites were to give their best to the Master. So, with this in mind, how could any flawed human be a fitting sacrifice? We can’t. Romans 3:23 tells us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot do enough good deeds, or works, to attain salvation. Ever.

So what’s up with the devotion verses for today? It’s not a matter of attaining salvation. It is a matter of living out your salvation. If you are saved, that is “born again,” (John 3:3) then you will have the Holy Spirit living in you. Before you were saved you lived for yourself. Your mind was not set on the things above. Then Jesus cleansed you. He made you a new person. This new person is now filled with the Holy Spirit and longs to please his new Master. (If this is not the case with you then I strongly advise you to get with a Bible believing preacher and get yourself right with God.)

This does not mean that we are perfect. We are still human and still stumble, slip and even fall from time to time. The difference is that when we do sin the Holy Spirit prompts us into repentance. We know that we have done wrong. Not that we have done something that will hurt us, but we have done something that Jesus does not approve of. So the verses for today are not a works salvation. But if you are saved, than you will have the works. Your behavior will reflect the Holy Spirit inside you.

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Trust God

TRUST GOD

© 1997, 2019 Tim Lehmann

All rights reserved

I’ve gone through many changes over the years,

Mountains and valleys, laughs and tears.

Walking with God and heading His voice,

Going alone, making my own choice.

I’m prone to forget when times are down,

He still loves me and grace will abound.

Then I remember all that He has done,

And the freedom for me that He has won.

Often times I’ve heard him say,

“It’s not me who’s gone away”.

He lets me know that He’s still near,

Despite myself, He holds me dear.

When I act up and play the fool,

As if I were the deceiver’s tool,

He’s still my Father from above,

Chastening me with His love.

Hear these words I’ve tried to say,

Whenever you are tempted to stray.

Hold them always within your heart,

It‘s not God who chooses to depart

Temptation

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 ESV)

Picture yourself fishing. You have a line with a lure on the end and that lure is meant to attract fish. When the fish bite the lure they are hooked. And then cooked. The same happens to us when we “take the bait” of temptation and give in to sin. We get hooked. Then cooked. It’s not a pretty picture, but it is a fairly accurate one. Sin, whatever form it may take, is presented with the intention of spoiling your effectiveness as God’s witness.

It could be that it is an attempt to ruin your prayer life. This is a very important first step that the deceiver will take. If we give in to sin we are often embarrassed to go before the Throne of God and ask for forgiveness and help to overcome the sin. Guess what; God already knows what you did. And He is waiting for you to seek Him and His forgiveness. Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that you have gone too far. Seek Him now and ask that the Holy Spirit help you to break this sinful habit.

It could also be that this is an attempt to make you look hypocritical because you talk about being a Christian and yet you do these things. This would mean that your sin was public, and they often are. Sin can and will hinder a witness.

The best way to avoid these issues is to not take the bait in the first place. Always pray, as Jesus taught us, that God would lead us away from temptation. Be aware of your situations so that you don’t fall into traps before you are even aware of them.   And pray. Then pray some more.

 

 

 

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