“Technology … is the bridge from this world to the imagined one.”
How is the Christian supposed to view technology? What are we supposed to do with it? Where do we draw the line between using technology to improve our lives and idolizing it?
These are some of the questions John Dyer seeks to answer in his book From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology. And if you’re at all interested in technology, if you ever read a blog post (which of course, you’re doing right now) or write one yourself, if you ever use facebook or twitter or any other type of social media, this book is for you.
From the Garden to the City traces technology’s usage from the Garden of Eden, through ancient and modern times, even to the future city of the New Jerusalem. Throughout that timeline, Dyer offers some clear and precise definitions and shares realistic and thought-provoking illustrations of both its usefulness and its harmfulness.
Dyer’s main premise is that technology transforms us. He offers the example of using a shovel to dig a hole. The shovel itself is not inherently good or bad; it is an inanimate object that can do nothing on its own. And yet, as we use it to dig a hole, it changes us by adding calluses and strengthening muscles. And what we do with that shovel can be either good or bad. In the same way, major electronic technology (internet, cell phones, etc) change us as we use them. They shape our thinking, our mental muscles, and perhaps add social calluses or even masks. And of course, we can use these tools for either good or bad. Dyer makes the point that “technology has a powerful yet limited redemptive capacity, but… it also has corruptive tendencies.” And as result, we can neither ignore nor indulge in it, but rather we must “work both through and against the value system” of today’s technology.
If you use a cell phone, you should read this. If you go online, you should read this. And if you are a Christian focused on glorifying God in every aspect of your life, of putting Him first and living solely for His pleasure, you should definitely read this. It’s easy to follow, simple to understand, and compelling to think about. From the Garden to the City is an incredible resource for today’s technologically inundated believer.