Is Technology Good or Evil?

The other day I heard a frustrated ministry leader say (in a message online) that the internet was just inhabited by “a bunch of vipers.”

The implication being made, it seemed to me, was that this technology existed primarily for evil, to be used only by snakes. (Of course I couldn’t help but wonder, was he including himself in that assessment, since he was currently making use of it?)

Clearly, many applications of technology (ie, applied sciences) are being used for great good – even allowing you to read this. The internet has expanded the dissemination of helpful information in marvelous ways, such as when valuable medical information is shared across great distances at almost lightning speed, helping doctors administer life-saving cures.

And yet, we can also acknowledge that certain technologies have also brought harm – some intended, some not – as when a biological weapon is devised, or a new product causes cancer, etc. Examples of this can be multiplied and discussed at length in a broken world.

So what should we believe? Should we view inventions like the internet as inherently evil? Or could it be a gift, to be used with wisdom and to the glory of God?

I submit that like the wine at the wedding of Cana (see John 2), technology can be a wonderful means to aid goodness and celebration – such as when the internet connects military families and strangers across the globe. We also know that the choice can be made to lose oneself in drunkenness – even as we might seek to “lose ourselves” in a virtual world or attack others on social media.

And that’s always the difference. Technology doesn’t automatically produce evil; it’s the purpose, desire, and intention that we connect to it that matters. As with wine or food, or our money, it’s ultimately an issue of the heart, as Jesus made clear: 

“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them… Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:11-19

If the heart is the source – and not physical, inanimate things – then it’s how we use technology tools (driven by our heart’s intention) that is the real issue. 

To be sure, we must use care in deciding what we put online, but we can thank God for the technology – just as we can for the printing press (new technology at one time) which helped facilitate the Reformation.


Keep the Focus in the Right Place

Our point is that while we do our best to use technology for purposes that aid human flourishing, we must be careful not to lapse into a misguided dualism that portrays matter as evil and the spirit as good, or moralistic assessments that miss the heart (and makes us look anti-science and silly to a watching world). Keeping the focus on grace and the heart – which is ultimately healed only in the work of Jesus – is what matters.

All this to say, your website is but a tool, a neutral instrument of communication in and of itself. It can help you communicate life-saving good news to people in your own city, planting seeds and touching hearts with the reality of a gracious God in Jesus – or it can obscure the clarity of the gospel.

To be sure, we must use care in deciding what we put online, but we can thank God for the technology – just as we can for the printing press (new technology at one time) which helped facilitate the Reformation.

Prayer for the Message, Means, and the Recipient

Do you spend time asking him to shape not only what you speak (that it would be grace-centered, seasoned with salt) but how you communicate  – that it would avoid the current pitfalls and limitations of online communication? Do you pray for those who will read your blog or listen to your podcast (as I am reminded to now), that they would be edified and not torn down? 

You might never meet the person who clicks on your site, but it’s encouraging to know that our Father knows where they are – and that’s what matters most:   

“…he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods [their exact times] and the boundaries of their dwelling place [their exact places].” Acts 17:26

Remember, He knows who they are, and that your loving use of technology as a means to reach them can make a difference! Technology can build connections, or tear them down. Let us pray that we will be builders, adding “spiritual stones” to the household of God: 

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

will never be put to shame.” 1 Pet.2 



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