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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Contemptible Offering

The LORD Almighty says to the priests, “Children honor their parents, and servants honor their masters. I am your father—why don’t you honor me? I am your master—why don’t you respect me? You despise me, and yet you ask, ‘How have we despised you?’ This is how—by offering worthless food on my altar. Then you ask, ‘How have we failed to respect you?’ I will tell you—by showing contempt for my altar. (Malachi 1:6-7 Good News Bible)

Wow! That’s’ strong language that God used towards the priests. Needless to say God was not happy with them. They were giving Him the lame, blind and sick animals as offerings. They were giving Him animals that they didn’t want and were worthless (verse 8). By doing this they were saying that God’s altar was worthless! And this was contemptible to God. He wanted one of the priests to close the doors to the Temple so that no one would go in to light “useless” fires on His altar. He refused to accept their sacrifices. What a sad testimony.

Today we are seeing the same thing in Christian churches around the country. No, we don’t offer animal sacrifices anymore, but what we offer is still “useless” fire on His altar. If we do not give our best then He will not accept what we offer. That was the problem in Malachi’s day and it’s still the problem today. In fact, this has been the problem since the very beginning. Cain didn’t offer his best to God and God wouldn’t accept second, third or less from him. Nor will He accept that from us. God has not changed, nor will He ever change. One of the few times that Jesus talked about money, He talked about the poor widow who gave only a small “mite” or penny in the offering. Jesus said that she gave more than all of the rich people putting in their large sums. Why? The widow gave all that she had while the rich people were giving their leftovers or extra.

Don’t give Jesus your leftovers. He won’t accept that, ever. I love the song Howard Grose wrote in 1901, Give of Your Best to The Master.

Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor
Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example,
Dauntless was He, young and brave;
Give Him your loyal devotion;
Give Him the best that you have.

Refrain:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation’s full armor,
Join in the battle for truth.

Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.

Give of your best to the Master;
Naught else is worthy His love;
He gave Himself for your ransom,
Gave up His glory above.
Laid down His life without murmur,
You from sin’s ruin to save;
Give Him your heart’s adoration;
Give Him the best that you have.

(Give Of Your Best To The Master, words by Howard B. Grose, 1901, public domain)

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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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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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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I Believe…

  1. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. (2 Timothy 3.15-17)
  2. There is one God, evident as three separate persons, yet divinely one. (Deut. 6.4)
  3. Man is born into sin, lives in sin, and will die in sin unless he accepts Jesus as his savior. (Romans 5.12, 6.23)
  4. Jesus died so that man can be saved. It is a gift of God, not something man earned. (Romans 6.23, 10.13)
  5. There are two ordinances of the Church that Jesus commanded His followers to observe.
    1. Water baptism. (Matthew 28.19)
    2. The Lord’s Supper or Communion. (Luke 22.19)
  6. In the filling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a separate act of God. (Acts 2.4)
  7. Believers are to witness and make disciples. (Matthew 28.19)
  8. In healing of the body, mind and spirit. Jesus suffered that we might be made whole. (Isaiah 53.5,
  9. That Jesus will return again for His followers. That believers will be raised from the dead and those alive at His return will be taken up to heaven. (1Thes. 4.16)
  10. That those who refuse to accept Jesus are condemned to an eternity in a literal hell. God has not condemned them, but by their refusal of Jesus they have condemned themselves. (Luke 16. 19-31, John 3.18)
  11. In the promise of a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells. (2Peter 3.13)

Thoughts on life

My daughter is taking a class on ethics. Some of the questions she was asked to comment on were about life, murder and abortion. Below are the questions and her answers.

Is killing in defense of the innocent sometimes morally justifiable? Use examples to illustrate your answer.

Oh, I believe so. In our text for example, Mary (Thiroux/Krasemann pgs.186-187), was defending herself against a rapist who wasn’t going to stop trying to hurt her.  It is also justifiable to kill defending someone other than yourself.  My example? If one or both of my children were being attacked and I knew that there was no other way; yeah; that person would go down.  Although, using a mother may not be the best example.  Very few mothers wouldn’t defend their children regardless of the consequences.  Still, if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnessed an obvious crime against someone, child or adult, I could not just walk away, or watch.  I would do everything in my power to help, even if it meant taking a human life.  I know this makes me sound like I don’t have an issue killing.  I really do. I would do everything I possibly could to avoid it; but I would if I absolutely had to.

What about abortion? Are there any justifiable exceptions for abortion? Why or why not?

Absolutely not, in any way, shape, or form is abortion acceptable.   I have heard, I think, possible “reasons” why, and I still don’t think it’s okay.  Yes, I have been sexually assaulted; as a child, and as a teen, and there was a risk of pregnancy.  There is still no reason.  There is adoption.  There are so many people out there who cannot have children naturally, but want nothing more than to raise a child.  And there is biological proof, by doctors and scientists alike that have said that life begins at conception.  The fetes’ (which, by the way is Latin for baby) heart starts beating and pumping vital blood at five weeks of development.  The amniotic sac is present at four weeks of development.

Most women don’t even know that they’re pregnant until the fourth or fifth week!

http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-5-weeks_1094.bc

And when lives are at stake, such as the child’s, or the mothers, the answer is still the same.  Care needs to be taken when the pregnancy turns high risk.  There are so many technological advances now, that no one needs to terminate a pregnancy due to health.

How does mercy death differ from mercy killing? Is one more morally acceptable than another? Why or why not?

“The important distinction between mercy killing and mercy death is that mercy killing is involuntary, or does not involve the patient’s permission or request, whereas mercy death is voluntary and done with the permission of the patient and usually at his or her request”(Thiroux/ Krasemann, pg.209).

If I had to choose, which I guess here I do, I would have to say mercy death is the more moral of the two.  I really don’t agree with either, because the Bible clearly states, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13, NIV, Zondervan Publishing House, 1984, by International Bible Society), but it also states that we should, “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32, Zondervan Publishing House, 1984, by International Bible Society).  And to me, just standing by and watching someone just lie there on the bed suffering, with no hope of recovery is just wrong.  But then again, going back to the God factor, there may not be any hope for human intervention, but God can do anything, and it’s really not our place to decide who lives and who dies; that God’s.  This is a situation that I’m lucky to not have experienced yet, but I’ve been with people who have, and seen the pain they go through; the absolute helplessness.  It’s a horrible, awful experience that I hope to never go through.

Righteousness Needed No Defense

A recent story in the Persecution Blog caught my attention. Stacey Harp wrote about a Christian who knew where he stood and continued to stand there. It cost him three years in a communist prison. Even in prison he continued to spread the gospel.  (Reminds me of the apostle Paul.)

As I read this I thought about Christians in America. We love to complain about everything while sitting in our comfortable air-conditioned churches waiting for the lost to come to us. We have the freedom to preach the gospel without fear that we will get sent to jail. (Yes I know there are exceptions. They are exceptions, not the rule. Christians in some countries are actually being killed because they are being Christians rather than just born-again to get to heaven believers. We have these freedoms and mostly we ignore them.

Preaching the gospel is not a job for pastors and clergy. It is the command of Jesus to ALL who would claim that they are following Him.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:15-18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:18-19) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)

This is what we are told to do by none other than Jesus Himself. First in our hometowns, counties and states, then to all of the world. It’s a shame that nations evangelized by American missionaries are now sending missionaries to America. Not for training, but to win the lost because America has become a field ripe for harvest, but there are no willing workers.

My point is that we need to remember the example of Miss California who, despite knowing that she would lose the crown, had her eyes on a better crown. Knowing that she would be reviled here, she knew that righteousness needs no defense. The time has arrived when it is not popular to be a Christian. If you stand firm on Biblical principles you will be ridiculed and mocked. Remember that brothers and sisters in other countries stand at the risk of their lives. If we fail to stand now our nation may be the next to have martyrs listed in the Persecution Blog.