[Note: This series covers my chapter from Terry James’ newest book, Discerners: Analyzing Converging Prophetic Signs for the End of Days. Available on Amazon! Start with the first segment.]
The Benefits of Technology
That brings us back to my initial question: How do you feel personally about technology? After all, now that you know that God is the source and provider of all true knowledge, and that knowing Him is the ultimate application of that knowledge, ergo wisdom, then is using His knowledge to create technology inherently a bad thing?
I would argue that since God Himself is a creator who made His children in His image to also be creators, and that He doles out knowledge as He sees fit for the purpose of leading mankind to invent new technologies, then technology is inherently good. After all, don’t we all have the need from time to time to fix problems and make stuff?
When mankind shivered out there in the wild in the cold of night, they figured out how to make a fire, then control the fire, and then safely bring the fire indoors. When their legs grew weary from walking and saddle-sore from riding, they invented the wheel and buggy, and later the monster truck. When the heavy earthen pots became too burdensome to carry back and forth from the well, they designed irrigation systems, mastered glass blowing to create light-weight pitchers, and eventually the thermos. When people got tired of burning their hands over an open fire while cooking their latest kill, they invented the charcoal grill and invited all their friends over for a BBQ. And, when their backsides grew red and raw from using pinecones in the outhouses, the Chinese (God bless them) invented toilet paper. Who can really argue with these technologies? These technologies, and so many more like them, fix mankind’s problems.
So, technology, good or bad? I’d conclude that technology is inherently good, but with this caveat, in the wrong hands technology can certainly can be misused.
The Progress of Technology
When I was a kid back in the 1980s, I faced some very serious dilemmas. The tough decisions I was forced to make affected my life so monumentally that, should I have ended up making the wrong choices, they would have forever sent me down the dark path of social obscurity. VHS or Betamax? Kodak 35mm film or Polaroid camera? Sony Walkman or Sound Burger 33 1/3 RPM record player? Slide deck or overhead projector? Commodore 64 or Apple Macintosh? Nintendo NES or Sega Master System? Transformers or Gobots?
As you can see, the 80s were a minefield of new technologies in which to navigate. Choose wrongly, and you may end up like Donovan from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Unless you’re a toddler playing with your mother’s Android, you have enough history to look back and see that technology has changed a lot — a whole lot — over the last few decades. Let’s not even talk in decades, but in just years. The child attaining adulthood today can with a shudder look back to 2002 when there was no Wikipedia, no Gmail, no social media like Facebook and Twitter, no cloud computing, no tablets, no smartphones, and certainly no high-speed Internet connectivity. Remember the sound a modem made when connecting a surfer to the World Wide Web? Ask a ten-year old that question today and they couldn’t even tell you. Even Bob Dylan couldn’t have imagined how much things would be changing when way back in the stone ages of 1963 he sang, The Times They Are A-changin’.
Times a-changin’ wasn’t always the way things were, though. For thousands of years of human history, life remained pretty much the same. Sure, every 300 years or so the world eked out a technological innovation that revolutionized the world, moving humanity from say the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. But, for the most part, limitations in travel left most inventions cordoned off to a tiny corner of the world.
But, then, AD 1454 finally arrived, and the German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg released the very first mobile, reusable type press (like an antique photocopier). At last, knowledge could be mass copied onto paper and be distributed far and wide. The age of the printed book revolutionized the world, and Gutenberg started with the fount of all knowledge — the Bible.
It’d be hundreds of years later before other monumental inventions transformed society: Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, Thomas Newcomen and the steam engine, Samuel Morse and the telegraph, Thomas Edison and the light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone, Alexander Fleming and antibiotic penicillin, Guglielmo Marconi and the radio, Philo Taylor Farnsworth and the television, William Shockley and team the transistor, and Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce the microchip.
Were you surprised to learn from you history classes that the most world-changing technologies were invented in the last 150 years or so? And, as we got closer to our own day and age, how each technological discovery came about faster and faster and faster, and how each grew more and more and more powerful, as one invention was built on top of another on top of another? This increasingly rapid acceleration of technological discovery has been called the exponential curve. Our technology has been experiencing an exponential growth as one discovery builds upon another at an increasingly faster and faster pace.
Let’s just look at the exponential curve of computers, for instance. The old joke is, “How do you know when your computer is obsolete?” The answer, “When you take it out of the box.” That’s not too far from the truth, though. Computer companies tend to double computer processing speeds every 18 months. Known as Moore’s Law, this is just one manifestation of the greater trend in how all technological change happens to be occurring at an exponential rate. By 2023, computers are expected to possess the processing speed equivalent to the human brain. By 2045, in a mere quarter of a century, Moore’s Law predicts we will possess computers with the computational ability equivalent to the entire human race!
The exponential curve is not just limited to computers. Other technologies in biomedicine, space science, chemical engineering, human engineering, and all the other sciences have been climbing faster and steeper up their own exponential curves with each and every passing day. It’s expected that in the next five years the world’s technology will be 32 times more advanced than it is today. It’s also been estimated that 65% of today’s kindergarteners, once they finally graduate from college, will ultimately end up working in completely new jobs that, at this time, don’t yet even exist.
This exponential curve in all areas of technology reminds me of another exponential curve, one Jesus described in the Bible. The Apostles once asked Jesus, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24; Luke 21; Mark 13). Jesus answered by provided ten signs to look out for that would reveal to us when His second advent would be upon us. A marked increase in false prophets and false messiah, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues, fearful events, signs in the sky, the persecution of Christians, and the world’s focus on Jerusalem would encompass the first nine signs, with the tenth sign involving the unnatural disasters that will directly precede the Messiah’s return. Jesus added that these signs would increase in frequency and intensity, much like a woman’s birth pains, the closer we came to His return. Exponential curves become, in and of themselves, their own sign that marks the advent of the Messiah’s return to this earth.
In the fourth segment of this series on the end times sign of technology, we’ll bust a myth and prove that the Old Testament is just full of technology.
In this book, edited by Terry James and including chapters by Dr. David Reagan and Nathan Jones, eighteen “watchmen on the wall” tackle issues that are critical for this generation of believers to understand. Each contributor examines, under the microscope of Scripture, a specific topic, from anti-God movements within religion and culture to satanic geopolitical rearrangements. This, we believe, will help make understandable the madness taking place in this generation.
Order Discerners: Analyzing Converging Prophetic Signs for the End of Days on Amazon! Available in kindle and paperback.