Does God Use Technology? | John Dyer
I'm chillin' on a blog tour promoting From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology by John Dyer. A post from me every week, plus more at host site: ChurchM.ag. Check it out..
Chapter 7: Redemption
Does God use technology? Yep. From the narrative of Scripture, Dyer points out three examples:
Noah's Ark. God's tech design. And one that shielded some of humanity from the destructive effects of sin. But the effects were only for a time: the DNA of sin got through.
Tower of Babel. Opposite example. God works against the city-building and unified language.
Law of Moses. In a world of spoken (oral) culture, God uses writing (in stone) to affix his law.
Can we think of other examples? And does this lead us to agree with this:
"Perhaps God is telling us that he values not just humanity, but also the creations of humanity"
301 Critique (more for the nerds) Dyer spends a lot of time here on communications technologies and language (love it), and makes three particularly important distinctions in human communication: orality, chriography (written), and images. When speaking of the law of Moses he follows Neil Postman saying that God wrote the 10 commandments in stone, and that this has theological meaning: that the fixity and permanence of writing was essential characteristic for God's law. This leads Postman to critique image-based communication as inferior, citing the "graven image" clause of the 10 commandments.
I've got some objections.
First is the historical assumptions. This is pretty old history, so there's no consensus, but scripture doesn't commit us to what we call the "10 commandments" actually scratched on stone, doesn't say what kind of writing it is (Dyer implies alphabetic, but Egypt was partially ideographic then logographic-phoenetic), and when and who the Pentatuech was written by (Moses is the traditional author, but multiple statements in the Pentateuch seem to be a much later recording of what he did/said). I don't really need to argue the historical view of scripture (and I'm hardly an expert), but the assumptions on writing that Postman made for this time always seemed problematic because of the foundations that weren't certain and not insisted on scripturally.
But further is Neil Postman's strong statements that the printed word is the primary and preferred medium through which God reveals himself. Dyer smooths over this a bit, but Postman really doesn't like images, nor does he like orality. McLuhan used to call Postman a "Print-Oriented Bastard." But while images of God the Father weren't to be carved, salvation history winds up leading us to the image and voice of Jesus his Son, not stone tablets--"the image of the invisible God."
Too much for now. Still a great chapter.