Text: Genesis 1:26-28; Revelation 21:1-2, 22:3-4
AI, VR, IOT, these are all thoughts towards utopia, idealism, and the pursuit of having a perfect world. However, these realities have been influential to the church ever since the Covid pandemic happened. Sadly, the challenge and the transition to embracing digital technology as part of the church were not thought critically two years ago. Many thought that it will just subside after the trend of Zoom Online Worship, Hybrid services, and Worship Online streaming. That is why we are going to have this sermon series about God, the Bible, Technology, and the Church.
Nowadays, GenX (and Baby Boomers) people are digital immigrants who see digital tech as progress. While Millennials see digitality as a norm, essential. And the GenZ—digital natives—as language. The distinctions are needed to be understood to close the techno-cultural gap. Hence, the study of DT is significant to all generations.
The greatest technological influence on Christianity was the invention of the printing press by German innovator Johannes Gutenberg in the 1440s. The first book produced by Gutenberg’s Press was a Bible—known as Gutenberg Bible. This technology, his press, was the means to crystalize the Reformation Age of Martin Luther and other Protestants through printing pamphlets, books, church letters, and sermons.
Lastly, during Apostle Paul’s missionary journey, he utilized Roman’s road during the Pax Romana period. This road was an advanced technology made by the Roman Empire to connect their main city to the outskirts and neighboring towns. This road was mainly used by the military. Yet, Paul used this to advance the gospel of Christ as seen in Acts 28. To this notion, the roads that Romans built to move their legions were traveled by Christian missionaries of the first century. Now the network built by the US Department of Defense can be traveled by the Christian missionaries of the twenty-first century at virtually no cost.
Is it biblical? In a word, yes. How? Let us explore this idea of the Theology of Making. Found in the book of Genesis, the biblical grounding from God as the Creator (Genesis 1) also extends to perceiving humanity as imago Dei. Humanity as the image of God bears the calling to create, rule over, multiply, and subdue all creatures on earth (1:26-28). The beginning of the principle that human beings, as the image of God, are called to be co-creators in this world. Part of this co-creating is the creative development of digital technology for society which includes the church.
The Bible starts in the Creation narrative (creating the world; Genesis 1) and ends in the New Creation (Revelation 21-22). God commanded Adam to give or “create” names for the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). God created covenantal bonds for redemption starting with Adam and Even (3:15) also known as the protoevangelium. Next, God asked Noah to build or “create” an ark to preserve life (6:14-18). Moreover, through Abraham (12:2-3), God will “create” a nation—descendants of Abraham (15:18).
The New Testament is also full of creating narratives. Jesus Christ “created” the church as the new covenant family (Matthew 16:18). The Holy Spirit creates “new hearts” (Ezekiel 36:26-27) in the believer’s heart and created a “new temple” as the indwelling place of God (Rom 8:9-11). Finally, fast forward to the coming future. On the day of the Lord, we await the New Creation (Rev. 21:1-2).
Does it Glorify God? Why is it important to ask this question? In 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” A similar passage in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Yes, because it is conforming to God in His creation, and it serves its purpose. To create something is a part of our daily experience. We create a decision, you create a meal for breakfast. We create relationships. We are even called to procreate to multiply. Even in the church, we are called to create a worshipful atmosphere.
Again, technology is part of God’s providential wisdom. God is not surprised with these things that our society develops and creates. However, the church must maintain to be part of this engagement. We are not mere consumers and observers of this technology. We ought to take part in this techno-cultural shift. Remember in the 90s and early 2000s, what mobile brand was famous during that time? Nokia, right? However, in the following years, they have been left behind from the rapid changes of development. Likewise, the church will be left behind if we will not be critical of this matter. Digital We praise God for technology. We can continue worshipping God even many of you are there Online, via Zoom, and FB Live.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
January 16, 2022
This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.