Friday, February 22, 2013

Technology and the Christian - Part 16

For context see previous articles (Part 1 here; Part 15 here)

God is interested in interpersonal relationships. The members of the trinity have loved each other since eternity past and have been carrying on a loving communicating relationship forever. When God created us, he created us in his image. One of the things that means is that he created us as communicating beings. He gave us faces so that we could see one another as we communicated. We could read each others facial expressions, point of focus, eye movements, and so on. Proverbs 15:30 says the light of the eyes rejoices the heart.

In his book The Next Story, Tim Challies explains that before the fall, God and man had direct communication. (page 93) He calls this immediate communication. The prefix im means not, as in immature, meaning not mature. So immediate communication is communication that is not mediated. In other words it is face to face with no intervening medium. Challies contends that this is God's preference and ideal. He writes, “I would argue that it [mediated communication] is, in fact, a lower form of communication, one that is intended to be a mere supplement to our lives. The best relationships we can have are not those that rely on mediation, but rather the ones that allow for unmediated contact and communication.” By unmediated contact he means face to face communication. I agree with this assessment. We thank God for means of communication that allow us to be in contact with family and friends that are far away. Sending a letter or email or text message allows us to communicate with those with whom we cannot have immediate communication.

When we were first created, God had face-to-face communication with us. After the fall, God basically turned aside in a way and Adam for his part hid so God couldn't see him. Ultimately God sent Jesus Christ to be the mediator between God and man so that fellowship and communion could exist. God wants immediate communication with us and he desires that we have immediate communication with one another.

But what's happening now is that we turn our backs on the immediate communication we could be having with family or friends who are right with us and communicating in a mediated way with others. We are neglecting what is arguably the ideal method of communication and substituting an inferior type of communication on purpose. Besides switching to an inferior mode of communication, it is often communication with someone who is further removed from us relationally than those right around us.

...To Be Continued...
Part 17 available once it is published here.

PDF version of the entire series

Challies, Tim. The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

Jackson, Maggie. Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2008.

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