Russell and Duenes

Archive for March 2015

God Is Very Generous, and Other Reflections On Money

leave a comment »

1. God is very generous. In Genesis 1:29 God says that he gave Adam and Eve “every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” God enriched Abraham, Joseph, David and Solomon greatly. In Deuteronomy 14 God told his people to eat and enjoy the tithe they were offering. He gave the Promised Land to the Israelites. Jesus told us to seek God and His kingdom first and foremost and all things needful for us would be given us as well. Jesus also said: “How much more will your Heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him?” St. Paul told the Philippians, “My God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Also, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8). Indeed, “all things belong to you.” And finally, God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 

2. God gives generously to His people so that we might generously bless others with God’s gifts, not hoard them for ourselves. God gave Israel the Promised Land so they could bless others. In Luke 6:34-35, Jesus tells us to lend, expecting nothing in return. Jesus says to “win friends for yourselves through the use of money.” Christians are to use their resources to further God’s “Great Commission” to “go and make disciples of all the nations.” Jesus has told us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). God gives to us in abundance so that we might be equipped for every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8). St. Paul exhorts Timothy to “command the rich to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” (1 Tim. 6:18).

3. God expects people to work to gain money, and work is good, not a necessary evil. Genesis 2:15 states that God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to “cultivate it and keep it.” In Proverbs 10:4, God says that the slack hand leads to poverty “but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” “He who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.” (Prov. 18:9). “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” (Prov. 20:4). “The desire of the sluggard puts him to death for his hands refuse to work.” (Prov. 21:25). St. Paul says that the thief should quit his thieving and labor for good with his own hands so that he might have something to share with those in need. (Eph. 4:28). Paul also says, “Even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.”

4. A sign of a redeemed person is that he or she is a faithful steward of God’s material gifts, sharing with those in need. God gave Old Testament laws about not plowing to the edge of your field, not going over your field more than once, paying wages as they were needed by the laborer, not charging interest to fellow Israelites, obeying the Jubilee statutes about freed slaves and returned land, etc. God tells us to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God,” which certainly includes doing justice with our resources. Jesus tells us not to lay up treasures here on earth, but to sow generously. St. James asks the question: “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” (James 2:15-16). St. John says: “Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:17-18). Our Lord tells us: Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? (Luke 16:10-12).

5. The desire to get rich and the pursuit of being rich is foolish, ultimately futile and spiritually deadly. Remember that God is the one who provides for us, “otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:17-18). Jesus exhorted us about the following: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.” “You cannot serve God and money.” “The worries of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” “How hard it will be for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” “You fool! Tonight your life is required of you, and all your things, whose will they be?” St. Paul reminds us: “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim. 6). St. John tells us to “love not the world, neither the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…The world is passing away and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17).

6. Jesus does not promise us riches in this life; in fact, he promises and commands us suffering and loss for the sake of the gospel. Jesus says, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” “Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” “Blessed are you poor” “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it for eternal life.” St. Paul said, “Have the same attitude among yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus . . . who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant.” The author of Hebrews reminds us that faithful men like Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets “conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; they shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength, and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused release, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (Heb. 11:32-38).

7. Our ultimate motivation and joy in all matters economic and financial should be to glorify God by making others glad in God. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31). “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. chs. 8-9). “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24).

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

March 28, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Dependent Upon Dependency

with one comment

Kevin Williamson is a journalist whose writing I have really come to enjoy. He’s a roving reporter for National Review and writes on a variety of topics with insight and wit. He has penned a little tract called The Dependency Agenda where he discusses Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and their outworking. At one point he writes:

Under the Great Society and its later permutations, [the poor] became dependent upon a professional class whose highly paid members were themselves dependent upon the dependency of their clients. Dependency became a valuable commodity. At the apex of the dependency food chain are the highest ranking members of a political machine ultimately dependent upon dependency and highly invested in its spread.

I do not think there is something sinister in this truth. I work for the government, and I like having a job. I don’t know that I reflect on how I might perpetuate my own job, likely because I don’t see public utilities drying up anytime soon. But most people are probably interested in the spread of things that will give them job security. Certainly the teachers union is a self-interested bunch, highly committed to preserving the administrative bureaucratic jobs within the public school edifice. Yet Williamson is pointing out the crucial conflict of interest that exists for those whose work is ostensibly meant to help the poor become self-sufficient, but who also know that if they were to actually achieve their goal, it would jeopardize the existence of their work. It’s like certain U.S. farmers. They might like to see poor African nations become self-sustaining agriculturally, but if that ever happened, it would jeopardize the existence of the food aid programs that help prosper those  same U.S. farmers. Thus, how committed will those farmers be to achieving the goal of African self-sustenance? The illustration could be multiplied in other areas as well.

Technology comes to us in various mediums (i.e., audio, visual, musical, type, digital, video, etc), and these mediums are not neutral. The medium itself imposes certain intellectual, emotional and physical adaptations upon us. As Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium IS the message.” Thus, it not only matters WHAT we watch on TV, but THAT we watch TV at all. The medium of TV changes the way we think and act and affects our attitudes toward life. Or take your ipod. By its very nature it is designed to be a solo endeavor. You put the buds in your ears and you’re in your own world. The unspoken rule for someone listening to their ipod is: “Don’t bug me.” At my old school they used to not allow ipods on the school bus trips, but now they do. Two guesses as to what has happened to conversation between students on the bus. God has spoken in various mediums, but our highest authority is the Word of God. We must conform ourselves to it.

Christians must be discerning in our use of technology, understanding the ways that it benefits us as well as the ways it encourages us away from God. John tells us to “test the spirits to see if they are from God.” We are to seek wisdom and discernment, according to the Proverbs, and “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Storing up God’s commands and promises in our hearts will help us rightly use and appreciate our technologies. Being in fellowship with God’s people will also help us.

Certain technologies work well with habits and attitudes in us that contradict God’s will. Certain technologies encourage us to believe that speed and efficiency are the keys to the good life, but Scripture contradicts this. God is not “speedy” in changing us and He commands us to learn patience and perseverance. Certain technologies encourage us to believe that we can avoid suffering or inconvenience, but God contradicts this. God calls us into suffering for Christ’s sake: “Take up your cross and follow me.” Certain technologies encourage us to believe it is good to avoid personal interactions with people, but God contradicts this. He commands us to have fellowship together and to cultivate face-to-face relationships where we can practically love and serve others. Certain technologies encourage us in our view that we can “have it all” in life, and sway us toward ingratitude when the technology doesn’t “fix” our lives. God teaches us contentment in Christ and the realization that we are “aliens and strangers on earth.”

Technology should point us to God and should advance his kingdom purposes (e.g., listening to a symphony with all the various instruments working together to play a beautiful piece can point us to the wondrous unity and diversity within the Trinity.). Technology should encourage us to think and feel in ways that honor God (Certain movies can direct our affections toward God and get us thinking about His world.). Technology should help us accomplish the purposes of God (e.g., showing the Jesus Film to unreached peoples, traveling to foreign countries to preach the gospel, bringing medical help to the impoverished of the world, teaching farming techniques to the poor, calling friends to encourage them in God, sending care packages to missionaries, writing songs that honor God in composition, style and lyrics, etc.).

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

March 26, 2015 at 3:27 am

Ronald Takaki: Hiroshima

with 2 comments

takakiImagine a man, when it all began, the pilot of “Enola gay” flying out of the shockwave on that August day. All the powers that be and the course of history would be changed forevermore. – Rush, Manhattan Project

[T]he USSR, depending on which historian you believe, would lose at least 11,000,000 soldiers (killed and missing) as well as somewhere between 7,000,000 and 20,000,000 million of its civilian population during the Great Patriotic War. – J.T. Dykman, The Eisenhower Institute

When the subtitle on a book about Hiroshima says, “Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb,” and the book is only 150 pages, one feels entitled to a little skepticism. Or maybe skepticism is not the right word. Suspicion of reductionism is probably more accurate. And I imagine it’s hard for any historian to avoid a certain reductionism when treating the United States’ use of atomic weapons, for it is a subject of momentous import, involving many brilliant, thoughtful, powerful and articulate people, all sinners, all with different influences and motivations which often conflict within the same person. Takaki is no exception. I say this because my reigning assumption about such matters is that the “whys” of it encompass many more aspects than we suppose, even if we are experts in the subject (which I am not; indeed, I’m not even a novice). I take this assumption from my understanding of human nature, such as it is.

Takaki’s answer to the “why” question seems to boil down to this: The United States did not drop the bomb mainly to expedite the end of the war with Japan (the popular/traditional notions of how many men our leaders thought we might lose by invading Japan being a myth); rather, we dropped the bomb because we were wedded to the idea of “unconditional surrender” and would not get off it, we wanted to impress the Russians with our weapon in the hopes that we might intimidate them, we had spent a lot of money on the Manhattan Project and needed to justify that expense by our use of the bomb, we had a unique racial hatred of the Japanese (that we did not have toward Germans) and Pearl Harbor fueled our bloodlust and desire for vengeance toward Japan, the “manifest destiny” idea that ran in our veins had hit the Pacific Ocean and needed a new territory and Japan fit the bill, and finally, President Truman worried that he might be thought a “sissy” and unmanly if he did not act decisively and toughly with Japan by dropping the bomb.

Based on the above claims, one of my good friends suspected I would hate Ronald Takaki’s Hiroshima. On the contrary, despite what I take to be Takaki’s thin support for some of his theses, I found the book to be well-written, very engaging and, as my friend also said, possessed of insight and value. I would recommend it to others. Takaki certainly adds texture and nuance to certain aspects of our decision to “drop the bomb” that deserve consideration when thinking about what Hiroshima has meant for our nation and world.

I appreciated Takaki’s exploration of the various important players’ thoughts, namely, MacArthur, Byrnes, Leahy, Oppenheimer, Churchill, Groves, Stimson, and of course, President Truman himself. The quotes Takaki marshals in support of his thesis provide good material for reflection, particularly as to how human nature and one’s personal history play themselves out when confronted with decisions that will lead to untold human suffering and death. How does one face down the choice of whether or not to vaporize 100,000 people in an instant? Yet at the same time, how does one decide what the true human costs will be on into the future if that course is not taken? Does one retreat into demonizing and “racializing” one’s enemy, as we clearly did with the Japanese? Does one resort to rationalizations because facing the truth is just too much? Does one subconsciously act in ways designed to overcome one’s insecurities or to placate one’s prejudices? Likely the answer is “yes” to all of these, even though this justifies none of them. I particularly liked Takaki’s treatment of Secretary of War, Henry Stimson. Stimson had profound and thoughtful misgivings about using the bomb with which I identified, and I think he was unjustifiably marginalized in the decision-making process.

I think Takaki is on to something when he talks about Truman’s desire to engage in what he calls “the diplomacy of masculinity.” Based on Truman’s own words, one sees that he wanted to be tough and decisive. He wanted both the Japanese and the Russians to know he was a “man’s man” and that he was not going to be pushed around. I suspect this motivation has come into play for all of our presidents who have had to confront an overwhelming military situation. No one wants to look weak. Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam come to mind. We may tend to give this short shrift as so much “psychobabble,” but to dismiss it is, I think, error. Pride and self-deception are two big things our Lord Jesus diagnosed about us, and we see them at work here.

Takaki is also right to consider our racial prejudices against Japan and our real fears of the Soviet Union and how those played into the decision. Takaki acknowledges, at some level, the wickedness of the Japan’s actions, but I believe he is right in arguing that part of our motivation for bombing them was our sense of superiority over those we took to be “beasts” and “monkeys.” Regarding the Soviets, we had seen them overrun Eastern Europe and we rightly identified them now as our main rival for world dominance. The Japanese were finished, one way or another, at this point in the war, and so there would be great pressure to make a kind of statement to Russia with our new weapon.

The book had another salutary effect on me, though Takaki may not have intended it. It reinforced for me the reality of our sinfulness and readiness to do evil before God and others, and the massive, unparalleled horror of this reality as it played out in World War Two. There is to my mind simply nothing like the 20th century – and World War Two in particular – in human history when it comes our desires to despise and destroy one another and our ability to carry it out on a massive scale. The barbarism of this war simply defies comprehension, even when we see what happened, for no one can truly see all that happened, much of which is still with us. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a terrifying and unspeakable destruction of human life. If one stops and tries to visualize the effects of that bomb as it incinerates tens of thousands instantly, and leaves untold others – along with buildings, plants and animals – to burn to death, and then the galling aftermath of radiation poisoning and death due to the devastation of the city’s infrastructure, one cannot fully take it in. It’s just emotionally crippling, if we feel in our bones that these are truly God’s image-bearers, as we are.

And yet, these bombings are only a small part of the horror. At the end of the war, practically all of northern Europe lay in ruins, with untold millions dead or maimed. At the least, something on the order of 26 million Soviets were dead. The Japanese homeland lay ablaze in utter destruction with its perished millions. Many other countries felt the brunt of our modern weaponry and vice (China, Phillipines, Australia to name a few), along with the U.S. and Canada. I experience a sick and anxious feeling inside me even as I contemplate it now. I fear we have lost this sense of what the war actually shows us about ourselves and our need for Christ’s redemption (which leads me to anxiously await David Berlinski’s book, The Best of Times, which he says will address something of this penchant for forgetting the bloodshed and inhumanity of the 20th century).

Having said all that, I found Takaki’s thesis wanting at points. He claims that the decision makers knew that Japan was beaten and that their estimates of what the death toll might be should we have to invade Japan was quite low (around 40,000 killed, rather than the oft-asserted 500,000). Yet what our leaders estimated about Japan’s willingness to fight on, and their actually willingness to do so, are two very different things. In my limited experience, military leaders are not very adept at making accurate predictions about future events while in the “fog of war.” Predictions do not show us reality. Further, I doubt that policymakers’ predictions about how many we thought we might lose during an invasion were static. That is, such predictions changed at various points. Indeed, there is evidence that Truman was influenced by the estimate higher losses in an invasion. Takaki simply waives off the generally accepted view without any real refutation of it.

Moreover, even if we were not going to lose half-a-million, what kind of destruction would we have wreaked on Japan had we invaded? Would we have killed another 300,000 to 400,000 Japanese on top of the men we would have lost? Would we have continued our aerial bombings? Can anyone really tell us? In other words, I don’t take it as fact that somehow the human death toll would have been lessened had we invaded. But would we be sitting here talking about America’s moral atrocity had we killed the same number of Japanese, only having done so by invasion instead of A-bomb?

On the point of America’s sticking too hard to “unconditional surrender,” I have to wonder if Japan’s only “condition” for surrender prior to the bomb was keeping its Emperor, as Takaki claims. Were they asking for nothing else? Takaki makes the Japanese sound like they were virtually in full obsequious submission mode, just asking for one little thing, and we wouldn’t give it because we were adamant about bombing them. I cannot sort out Takaki’s claim, because he provides me no good basis for doing so, since he ignores any evidence contrary to his own version. I have to believe that evidence exists, otherwise no one would be holding the traditional line against Takaki’s view.

Further, Takaki’s implication that, had we taken the advice of those who wanted us to share our atomic secrets with the Soviets, the Cold War arms race with the Soviets might have been averted, seems naive. The arms race was already on, and the Soviets apparently already knew our progress on atomic weaponry. I cannot see the two countries coming to some sort of mutual disarmament agreement, or agreement not to develop further atomic weapons, had we only shared with the Soviets. Stalin was a mass murdering, lying, conniving, hideous thug of the worst order, one of the worst men in history. The idea that sharing anything with him would purchase peace is nonsense in hindsight. This seems to be the unfounded utopianism of much modern academic leftism infecting Takaki’s analysis.

I would have liked to see more support for Takaki’s thesis that Pearl Harbor created such a level of bloodthirsty hate for the Japanese that it propelled us inexorably toward dropping the bomb on them. Again, I did not live during that period, and I have not studied it, but if I am to believe that we wanted to “get Japan” as badly as Takaki suggests, I believe I need more evidence than he presents. Yes, the Japanese attacked us, and yes, our military leaders likely wanted to “repay” them in some way, but I don’t think he made the connection between that and dropping the bomb. I am sure it played a role and it is good to consider it, yet it is something I would expect in just about any war. To be fair, the book is very short, but this is a major argument for Takaki.

Takaki’s thinest argument, in my opinion, is his argument concerning race and American’s desire to have a “new frontier” to conquer now that we could no longer conquer any more of North America. Takaki writes: “From the very beginning of what would become the United States, race has been a significant influence.” The problem with this statement is, I’m not sure what it is supposed to mean. Takaki goes into an extended discussion of our history of race relations, mostly by stringing along racist words and actions that dot our historical landscape. But this begs the question, what about this makes our country unique? I would take it to be true at some level that “from the very time of Babel and onward, race has been a significant influence” in war. And undoubtedly I could pull in all sorts of racist quotes from every people and nation under the sun. Does this mean that race had nothing to do with our decision to bomb Japan? I think it likely did have something to do with it. But Takaki has not shown that it was a factor more influential than other factors. His evidence is mostly anecdotal to Truman.

Takaki’s evidence for our need for a new frontier is even more scant. Asserting that the “idea of democracy often embraced an expansionist vision for the new nation” and talking about Matthew Perry sailing his ships into Tokyo Bay is simply not enough to prove that we were looking for new areas of imperialist expansion. Again, I’m willing to believe this played some kind of motivational role, but probably not the one Takaki supposes.

Obviously volumes have been written about the United States’ use of atomic bombs. I’ve read very little on it in my life, but it does not appear to me that Takaki has exploded any myths. What he has likely done, or at least done for me, is to add some layers and additional insight to the terrible events. I am not without my biases and prejudices, and I’m a product of my age, as is anyone. I appreciate Takaki’s helping me look at things from another angle, but I am also wary of historians taking events that are fraught with tremendous emotional, social, political and spiritual freight, who then seem to be overblowing the influence of “racism” on them. In my view, race does not color everything in our decision-making to the extent that 21st century academics and journalists say it does. I would just assume give the total reality (and all the players involved) its due weight when it comes to complex issues like Hiroshima and the Second World War in general. I find it helps me see again the totality of our need for Christ in every way, and it provides the greatest possible moral clarity, which is something of great value today, particularly among university students.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

March 22, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Duenes, History, Literature

As a Little Girl, I So Desperately Wanted a Daddy

leave a comment »

Heather Barwick, who was raised by two lesbian women, writes a poignant and thoughtful piece in The Federalist, entitled, “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting.” She touches on the pain caused by growing up without a father, and the difficulty of sharing her hurt, given the state of our gay marriage culture. She says,

Kids of divorced parents are allowed to say, “Hey, mom and dad, I love you, but the divorce crushed me and has been so hard. It shattered my trust and made me feel like it was my fault. It is so hard living in two different houses.” Kids of adoption are allowed to say, “Hey, adoptive parents, I love you. But this is really hard for me. I suffer because my relationship with my first parents was broken. I’m confused and I miss them even though I’ve never met them.” But children of same-sex parents haven’t been given the same voice. It’s not just me. There are so many of us. Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain, because for whatever reason it feels like you’re not listening. That you don’t want to hear. If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.

You read the whole piece here.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

March 20, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Duenes, Marriage

Technology Changes Nothing That Is Fundamental To Human Existence

leave a comment »

In his sermon, God Glorified in Man’s Dependence, Jonathan Edwards writes:

The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. he is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honour and glory . . . The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy angles, and will enjoy one another; but that which they shall enjoy in angels, or each other, or in any thing else whatsoever that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what shall be seen of God in them.

This is vintage Edwards, and it lays bare all of my religiosity for what it is: useless chaff blown away by the wind. If I read the Bible, have “quiet times,” offer up flare prayers, talk a lot about God, go to church, act moral and attend Sunday School, it’s all for naught if the Triune God, and true communion with Him and enjoyment of Him, is not my aim and pursuit. Something stirs in redeemed people when they contemplate and worship the God of Jonathan Edwards.

The modern technological advances that we enjoy are a cause for praising and thanking God. God has been good to us in gracing people with the know-how and creative ability to devise so many things we enjoy, which include but are not limited to: Antibiotics, Refrigeration, Indoor plumbing, air conditioning, vaccinations, computers, phones, airplanes, movies, mechanical farming, telescopes and microscopes, MRI machines, ultrasound, washers and dryers, genetic crossbreeding of food (think: Norman Borlaug), stereo systems, grocery stores, cameras, and much more which we cannot even begin to imagine living without. The Scripture says that “everything God created is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” (1 Tim.4:4)

Yet, no technology and nothing about technology changes anything that is fundamental to human existence. That is, God created us; we have rebelled against him by preferring other things instead of him; the penalty for this rebellion is bondage to sin, death, and hell; Christ came to set sinners free from the power of sin and death, and he alone can do this; and we come to know and experience eternal life by giving the controls of our life (and our technology) over to Christ. No technology can nullify, circumvent, change, overrule, or alter any of these facts about human existence, as much as we try. This is most important. Jesus said, “Humans…live upon every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Hebrews says we are to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Further, we must beware of the over-promises that come with technology. Our culture tells us that technology will change the fundamental nature of what it means to be human, will give us a way to get around the problems we face, will make our lives better in every way. Technology promises to fulfill us, satisfy our heart’s desires, and give us more efficient, trouble-free lives. But the realities remain the same. There’s no getting away from ourselves. The apostle John tells us: “Do not love the world, neither the things in the world; for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world. Now the world is passing away, and also its desires, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

God is very generous, as we see in Genesis 1:28-29, with His providence for Adam and Eve. God richly prospered Abraham, Joseph, David and Solomon. God told His people that they were to “eat the tithe” of their produce and livestock. God gave a good land, “flowing with milk and honey,” to His people. Jesus told us to “seek first His kingdom,” and all other good things would be added to us. Jesus also said: “How much more will your Heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him?” Paul writes: “My God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19). We also have a God “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Tim. 6).

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

March 16, 2015 at 7:17 pm